Everyone has something they like to indulge in a bit more than they should. When you work hard on a regular basis, treating yourself to something nice seems fair. Buying nice clothes and jewelry, eating out for lunch, and even going to the movies can make you feel a lot better about the stresses of life. Yet, when it’s done too often it gets expensive and can even become addictive. Cutting back is the only way to resolve the matter but doing so doesn’t have to mean you miss out on the things you enjoy.
Here are some creative ways to save money on those guilty pleasures:
Eating & Drinking
If you tallied up the amount of money you’ve spent on eating out or grabbing a drink like coffee or alcohol, how much would it add up to? Treating yourself and your family to a meal is a common guilty pleasure. Americans spend a boatload of cash on fast food, coffee, and alcohol costing them thousands of dollars each year. If this is your problem area, here are some creative ways to save.
Cook at home – It’s nice to try new dishes and enjoy your favorite foods, but not when it’s putting you in debt. Make an effort to cook at home more than you eat out. If it’s variety you’re after, start looking for recipes online to try new meals.
Make your own cocktails – After a hard week at work, it is common to go to a local bar and grab a few cocktails with coworkers. Instead of paying $5 or more per drink, start making your own cocktails at home. You can purchase supplies like triple sec, fruit, juices, and flavored syrups at your local liquor store and become your own bartender. Then invite friends over after work for a drink.
Make your own coffee – If you need your daily dose of caffeine to get through the day buy a coffee maker, syrups flavored creamer, and make your own.
Who doesn’t love to shop? After all, you work hard, so you should be able to splurge a bit on yourself. Though there’s nothing wrong with having nice things, shopping can become addictive and expensive. Here are some easy ways to shop and save.
Shop online – You can often find the best deals for clothes, shoes, and jewelry online. Instead of spending the money on the gas to go out, look for deals like free shipping, percentages off, and clearance to save your cash.
Shop Thrift – You’d be surprised what you can find in a thrift store. Before heading to the mall where clothing tends to be a lot pricier, go to a nearby thrift store. You can purchase staple items from there and then look for deals on trendier pieces online to fill in your wardrobe.
Use coupons – Coupons are just like money and can save you a lot of green. Before going shopping, check local newspapers and online for coupons to your favorite retail stores.
Another budget-drainer and guilty pleasure that a lot of people indulge in is entertainment. Sitting in the house all day can often be boring and depressing. So, it’s only natural to want to get out and do something. Entertainment doesn’t have to cost a lot, however. Here are some tips:
Movie nights – A trip to the movies isn’t as cheap as it used to be. However, there are a lot of streaming and TV subscription services you can invest in to watch your favorite movies at home. To create a better experience, make snacks, beverages, and invite your friends over for a movie night planned to perfection.
Use Your Yard – if you have a nice backyard it too can be a form of entertainment. Allowing you to be outdoors without having to spend money, you can enjoy yourself in this extension of your home. Throw some food on the grill and relax under the sun for entertainment.
Check Your Community – There are a lot of events going on in your community that are free or very cheap. Check your city or county website to find out when the events are and start participating.
Life would be pretty boring and stressful if you never took the time to do things you enjoy. However, if participating in those activities is starting to become addictive or expensive, it is important to make a change. The above-mentioned strategies will help you with that. Now, you can treat yourself without the guilty – or the expense.