If you find like your wallet weeps inconsolable tears every time Monday rolls back around, you've got to make a change. It's time to find a way how to save money on the weekends without becoming a total house cat. While I know it can be hard to turn off the phone and sit in the dark with the shades closed come Saturday night, you luckily don't have to become a recluse in order to save your savings from falling between your fingers. All it takes is a little bit of strategy and planning to keep all those funds where they should be: Comfortably tucked away into your bank account.
While things like "fun" and "budget" are often times seen at opposite ends of the spectrum, your social life actually doesn't have to suffer much when you tighten the purse strings. Things like turning off your Uber account and swapping an agreed-upon bar for one with happy hour specials will do wonders for your bottom line. Below are 11 tips on how to save money on the weekends and still have fun. So yes, take out the party dress. You can still wear glitter and be savvy with your cash.
1. Host Your Friends
If the plan this weekend is to hang out with your favorite people, swap bar tables for coffee tables. As in, invite your friends over and party together at home base. David Carlson, author of the book Hustle Away Debt, tells Bustle over email, "While not an option for everyone, consider hosting friends at your place instead of going out to eat or going to see a movie at the theater. It’s an easy way to save money while still hanging out with people." You can make it into a fun potluck or have them bring their favorite cocktail ingredients. It'll save everyone involved a bundle.
2. Sell Items For Funds
If your closet hasn't been cleaned out in six months or you have a lot of ignored items lying about your room, then you might just have going out money waiting to be cashed in. "Sell extra stuff to help fund your weekend adventures. Almost everyone has extra stuff they no longer use or don’t want. Selling extra stuff on eBay can bring in money that can be used for going out or travelling," Carlson explains. Whether it's last season's coat or an iPod you no longer use, cleaning up your apartment can lead to some guilt-free splurging money.
3. Plan Out Your Weekend All The Way
It might sound rigid, but having concrete plans from Friday to Sunday can help save you major money because you won't spend unnecessary cash when you feel bored. Finance writer Erik Folgate from budget site Money Crashers suggested, "We like to plan one meal for eating out. So if we say, we’re going out to eat Saturday night, then we know that’s our meal out, so we’ll need to eat in for the rest of the meals." If you didn't have this plan, the chances are high you'd end up visiting more than one establishment a weekend.
4. Ditch Uber
If you're in a city or town that has a decent train and bus system, delete your Uber app and promise to only take public transport to cut down on costs. Finance writer Maya Kachroo-Levine from budgeting site The Financial Diet chimed in, "Instead of using the fact that the bars close later than the metro as an excuse to take an Uber, use that as motivation to leave the bar earlier and make your train. If you’re hesitant to take the metro by yourself, find a friend who will swear off Uber with you and join you on the subway." That way, you're out of excuses.
5. Hunt Down Specials
If you want to enjoy a fancy meal or pretty cocktails, see if you could do it at a place running a happy hour special or hosting a Groupon. That way you can do it for half the cost. "Save money on food and drinks by planning ahead. You can go to restaurants that have happy hour or ones that are running promotions. Avoiding paying full price can feel satisfying when you pull it off," Carlson advises. It's worth researching.
6. Buy Higher Quality Coffee
To dissuade yourself from popping into the coffee shop every weekend morning, buy fancier coffee upfront so that it feels like a treat every time you brew it. "I’ve tried to spend a little more on at-home coffee up front, so I am not tempted to buy a cup of coffee at the Intelligensia near my house. I buy cold brew at Trader Joe’s (which cost $8 up front) and can get about 15 cups of coffee out of it," Kachroo-Levine offered. Who needs to spend five bucks a cup when you have the good stuff right in the kitchen?
7. Limit Your Drink Intake
If you want to go out, you still can! Just limit yourself to one or two drinks at the bar, and then switch to Sprite or Cola afterwards. "Whenever I go that route, I get a glass of seltzer at the bar because it spares you the agony of being asked over and over why you’re not drinking," Kachroo-Levine brilliantly highlighted. You'll still get to enjoy the fun ambiance of the bar or restaurant, and you won't blow your budget while doing it.
8. Fill Up Your Weekends With Garage Sales
If you and your friends are into DIYs, consider spending your weekends repurposing old treasures. "If you really want to make some extra money consider going to garage sales and roaming Craigslist for things to flip. People who have garage sales usually just want to get rid of stuff so you can typically get it for quite a bit less than it would sell for online," Calson recommends. Whether you refurbish that old coffee table into an amazing centerpiece for your living room, or hem that vintage dress and then sell it on Etsy, it'll be a fun and cheap way to spend your weekend.
9. Tell Your Friends
Share with your friends that you're trying to save money, and they'll (hopefully) help you stay on track. Lifestyle writer Adrienne Breaux from lifestyle site Apartment Therapy advised, "Yes, telling friends and family about your money-free weekend plans can help keep you accountable, but it might also help take temptation off the table." That way if they want to hangout, they won't recommend that one place with the 12 dollar drinks or 15 dollar cover. You can do something wallet-friendlier.
10. Keep A Running List Of Freebies
When you hear about something cool and cheap happening in your city, immediately pop it into a "Weekend" file on your phone. That way you can be the one reaching out to friends and organizing a thrifty Saturday instead of someone else taking the reigns and creating a luxurious bar crawl. Also, you can keep track of random activities you'd like to do when you're free that would cost you nada. "Free arts shows in your community. A visit to the local library. A walk around a park with a good podcast. There are a number of free things to do, and a great place to start is to consider your favorite hobbies — and how you can tackle them without spending a dime," Breaux offered. It's a great idea to have all these options ready at your finger tips.
11. Think Of A Goal
It helps to stick to a plan if you have an actual goal in mind. In order to help you stay on track with your budget, try placing a challenge you'd like to meet come Monday. "Others just pledge to cut down on frivolous spending. Others really try not to swipe their credit card the whole weekend," Breaux suggested. Some other suggestions would be "wanting to only to spend 20 bucks" or "swap cocktails for beers" — whatever it is, highlight it as a goal to be met.
While being on a budget can be hard at times, it definitely doesn't have to be boring! Live it up... but with a fat wallet.
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