If you’re like most people, you’ve been looking for painless ways to save money.
After cutting several things out of your budget, you may have found yourself backsliding, and buying stuff you don’t need only after a few short days. Sometimes being frugal is burdensome because it often involves denying yourself. You may be hesitant to start saving cash because you’re afraid it will mean cutting out everything you enjoy.
Well, the good news is you can save money and still have fun. You might even have more fun when you figure out ways to keep cash in your pocket and still do the things you love. Here are four ways to save money without giving anything up.
1. Shop smarter
Do you always pay full price? You can save a ton of money by purchasing items at a discount. Know that you can still enjoy the shopping experience without spending a lot of cash. You simply need to pay attention to when you shop. Most stores have big sales around the holidays or regular clearance sales during certain times of the year. Learn when your favorite store usually has a blowout sale and shop accordingly. Also shop for certain items during specific times of the year. Each month, you can purchase items within certain shopping categories for almost half their usual price. For example, you can get great deals on automotive items in April and discounts on hardware and tools in June. Also take advantage of store rewards and credit cards rewards programs.
2. Hang out — at home
You don’t have to go out to have a good time. You and your significant other can have just as much fun sharing a bag of popcorn on the couch while watching a TV movie. If you want to mix things up a bit, invite some friends over and have a get-together at home. Add some music along with good food and drinks, and you’ve got yourself a party. The best part is, if you want seconds or a drink refill, you won’t have to pay extra.
3. Cook more
Instead of ordering out or eating on the go, cook more of your meals at home. Why go to a restaurant when you can prepare some of the same foods in your own kitchen? It will take some time out of your day and a bit of preparation, but the effort will be worth it once you see the dollars start to add up. Eating at home also tends to be a healthier option. You can control how much oil, salt, sugar, and other unhealthy ingredients are added to your food. Depending on how much food you make, you’ll also have leftovers for your work lunch. Brown bagging it can save you $10 to $20 a day, and those small amounts make a difference in the long-run.
If you don’t know how to cook, take a free cooking class. You’ll learn a new skill and maybe make a few new friends. One place to try is Williams-Sonoma. They offer free technique classes as well as instruction for children and standard cooking classes.
4. Start a savings group
Meet up with other people who want to save money. It will be like a support group for savers. Your main activities will be to track your progress, set savings goals, and support each other in your efforts. You can even read personal finance books and discuss them during your meetings. When you know others are cheering you on, it will be much easier to make the right decisions with your money.
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