Easy Ways to Rein in Your Spending Without Sacrificing Fun
If you are like most people, you may find it difficult to save money because you feel like you will miss out on all the good things in life if you are pinching your pennies. Sure, fabulous meals out, exotic vacations, stylish clothes, and cool gadgets are nice to have, but they can really rack up the bills. The good news is that by making a few small changes, you can enjoy the same quality of life you have always had without giving your wallet a beating. Here are a few examples. (See also: 25 Frugal Changes You Can Make Today)
Set Up a Card-Less Bank Account
ATM cards are ridiculously convenient. They allow you to take out money any time of day or night, whenever and wherever you need it. However, this also makes it tempting for you to spend that money wherever and whenever. There are many banks that allow you to operate on a no-card basis, so you can only deposit or withdraw money directly from a teller or, in the case of a high-yield online savings account, only via an online transfer.
With these accounts you must physically go in to a bank to withdraw money, or wait a few days for the transfer to go through. This makes it more difficult to withdraw the funds, so it may prevent you from making impulse purchases. In addition, many card-less bank accounts have lower withdrawal fees and offer higher interest rates, so you may actually save more.
Host Nights in Instead of Going Out
A night out could cost you an arm and a leg in restaurant bills, movie tickets, overpriced drinks, taxis, or cover charges. On the other hand, staying in can be very inexpensive and just as fun. Invite people over to your house for a movie night, throw a BBQ or a potluck dinner, or just relax with a bottle of wine and good company. There are plenty of things you can do in the comfort of your own home that are enjoyable, yet cost next to nothing.
Get Fit Without the Gym
We all know that going to the gym is an excellent way to stay fit and healthy, but gym membership fees can also be wildly expensive. Besides, who wants to stay cooped up in the gym when you can be enjoying the great outdoors? Think about ditching the gym membership and taking up cycling, walking, or hiking, especially if you live in a walkable neighborhood. If the weather is not great, invest in a yoga mat and some exercise DVDs that you can do at home. The amount you save on one month of gym fees will easily cover the costs of the DVDs and mat.
Scour Your City for Free or Discounted Events
There is nearly always something cheap to do if you know where to look. Search online listings or in your local papers for interesting events that do not cost anything to attend. Many festivals, outdoor concerts, and cultural events do not charge admission. In addition, many museums, art galleries, and theaters offer special deals on certain days of the week. For a completely free outing, take a trip to your local park for a picnic or an afternoon gathering instead spending money in restaurants and coffee shops.
Cutting back on spending does not mean you have to cut back on fun as well. There are many ways you can have a good time without spending a cent. All it takes is some creative thinking and slight lifestyle changes, and you can enjoy life while watching your savings grow.