Saturday, February 16, 2008

Save Money this Weekend

For the most part, people are too busy to spend money during the weekday, it's the weekends where pockets empty. Presidents Day Weekend is among us and with any additional day off from work, represents an additional day to spend our hard earned money. Obviously the best way to save money is not to spend it, so how should you spend your weekends without blowing your budget? Milk Your Money came up with ten ideas to enjoy your time off while by keeping your credit cards in your wallet...

1) Invite your friends over for dinner. Rather than spend an evening out on the town. Most friends will provide some help by bringing beverages or a side-dish, and with the money already budged for food that night, the extra amount spent will be minimal.

2) Start a project at home. Have a room you have wanted painted for awhile or something that needs fixing? I know this doesn't sound like fun for some people, but I like spending my time off working on small projects around our home. Sweat equity is a great thing, pay yourself to increase the value of your investment.

3) Watch a movie. I rarely see a movie when it is in the theatre. If you think about it, the cost for two tickets will probably cost around $20 plus at least $6 of popcorn and a drink. That's $26 for two hours of entertainment which breaks down to $13/hour. Lately, we have been renting movies at Redbox machines for $1/night or watch a movie On Demand which we already pay for with our cable.

4) Get Active. To the contrary of what Gold's Gym says, staying healthy is cheap if not free. Walk your dog, play some tennis, go for a jog, work on your short game (golf), shoot some hoops, play tag with your kids - are all great ways get off the couch and save some money.

5) Plan Ahead. Do a little research before the weekend rolls around. Check to see if one of your favorite restaurants or bars is having a special, buy tickets in advance to sports events or concerts, or bring your own food or drink for a day at the beach. The more you get serious about your finances, the more you will realize that planning plays a major role.

6) Smart Shopping. Its inevitable that you will find yourself in a store that is literally full of things that you want to buy. For these times, its a good idea to follow the 2 week rule. Make a mental list of the things you want and then simply wait 2 weeks to see if you really do want it. A majority of the time, you will see that you don't really need the item. Ben does this with books, and of course golf clubs.

7) Streamlined Clutter. While this sounds boring, the long term benefits can be seen further down the road. Deep clean those storage areas that are full of things that have no other place. By taking "clutter" and either getting rid of it or putting it in the appropriate place, you gain the efficiency of the space you have available to you. Spend some time to be as thorough as possible and streamline your closets, putting clothes you haven't worn in a year in a box for long term storage. This will make your morning routine simpler and allow you to see your exact inventory of clothes. Apply this to your car, garage, storage closets, get the idea.

8) Budgetize Your Entertainment. In the event that you do end up doing something a little more expensive than usual, don't fret. Simply figure out how much you overspent and divide that by your allotted "weekend money," this will be the number of weekends you will need to lay low before you can spend for your budgeted weekend entertainment.

9) Wait for the DVD. Instead of spending $40-60 a month on cable, what if you spent $60-80 a year on TV series on DVD. If all you watched was Sopranos on HBO, you could have saved quite a bit by waiting until the season (or series) was over and watching the whole thing on DVD. Ben did this and said it was very rewarding as there was no weekly wait to see what happens. He is currently waiting for Lost to be over to do this as well.

10) Don't Cut, Just Curb. The weekends are highly coveted and far too short. We are not saying that you should stop doing certain things that make you happy, just see if there is a way to reduce some of them. Its unrealistic to assume that we can live like monks or spartans but the idea of frugality is in efficiency in the use of resources. $

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