So you just got your latest credit card bill, and the first thought that crossed your mind was “Yikes!” Followed quickly by, “I have got to get my spending habits under control.” In order to do that, it’s a good idea to set up a budget for yourself that you can actually stick to. Just because you’ve decided to save money, however, doesn’t mean that your life has to be boring now or that you can no longer go out with your friends.
There are ways to have fun while still saving money, and you can also cut back on unnecessary expenditures that are separate from your social life. Sticking to a budget while still having a social life is truly the best of both worlds. Here are six simple changes you can make to save money, but not miss out on life.
1. Check Your Auto-Subscriptions
Quick, how many subscriptions do you currently have on auto-renew? If you can’t remember off the top of your head, then it’s probably time to check and make sure you’re not paying for services that you don’t even use. When I did this, I realized I’d been unknowingly paying for Showtime for an entire year and wasn’t even using it, all because I signed up for a free trial and forgot to cancel it! Learn from my mistakes, and check your auto-subscriptions now.
Even if you know you are actually using all of your subscriptions, it’s still a good idea to check and make sure you’re not being double-charged. If your auto-subscriptions are a bigger drain on your bank account than you initially realized, it could also be time to re-evaluate. Do you really need Netflix and Hulu? Consider how much you’re actually utilizing these services. If you’re only watching Netflix once in a blue moon, you might be better off canceling and going over to a friend’s house to watch the next season of Stranger Things instead. That way, you could even turn your frugality into an excuse to be social!
2. Go Out for Coffee Instead of Dinner and Drinks
Listen, I love to partake in dinner and drinks at a nice restaurant as much as the next gal, but it can get very expensive, very quickly! Try going out for coffee instead. Even an overpriced latte at Starbucks is less expensive than one cocktail at a restaurant. If you’re really craving a wine night with the girls, consider just having them over to your place for wine and appetizers instead of overpaying for wine at a restaurant. Or you could…
3. Host a Potluck
If you’ve ever hosted a dinner party, you know that all of those expenses can add up fast – especially with how high grocery prices are nowadays! It’s almost more expensive to host friends at home than it is to go out with them to a restaurant. Enter: the potluck. Potlucks are a great way to spread the costs out more evenly, since you only have to cook one thing instead of an entire meal.
Potlucks are a great way to spread the costs out more evenly and sample new foods.
Potlucks are also fun! You get to spend time with your friends, share cooking tips, and sample foods you wouldn’t ordinarily make yourself. And you get to do all of that while saving a little bit of money! Let’s make this year the year we bring back potlucks.
4. Get Books from the Library
Is one of your goals in 2023 to read more books? You can do it without paying a single penny for a book with the help of your local public library! If you’re not utilizing your local library, take this as your sign to go and get a card right now. That way, you can stop buying overpriced books on Amazon and get them for free instead!
If you’re a #lazygal like me and don’t always have the time to drive to the library to check out books, you can download audiobooks and ebooks for free from apps like Libby or Hoopla through your library account. Even if you’re not a big reader, you can get free movies and music from the library too. Instead of paying to rent movies from Amazon, you can likely get them for free from your library.
5. Opt for Curbside Grocery Pickup
You know how you’re not supposed to go to the grocery store when you’re hungry because you’re more likely to buy unhealthy foods? Well, it turns out that if you’re trying to save money, you probably just shouldn’t go to the grocery store at all! How many times have you gone into the grocery store to grab just a few things and come out with 10 different snacks that you didn’t need? While it can be fun to browse for fun snacks and sweets, they can add a hefty sum to your already-inflated grocery bill if you’re not careful.
You’re less likely to impulse buy if you opt for curbside pickup.
Choosing curbside pickup for groceries (and other stores like Target) will prevent you from roaming the aisles and buying things you don’t need. In addition to saving you money, opting for curbside pickup is also a great trick to eat healthier because you’re less likely to impulsively buy junk food. Healthier finances and a healthier diet? Talk about two birds with one stone!
6. Shop at Thrift Stores or Wait for Sales
Is there a better feeling than someone complimenting your outfit and being able to say, “Thanks, it’s thrifted!” or “Thanks, I got it on sale!”? Getting a good steal at a store is a thrill like no other, especially when you’re on a budget. Just because you’re spending less money doesn’t mean your wardrobe needs to suffer.
Instead of shopping online, where it’s all too easy to fill up your cart with clothing you don’t actually need and might not even like that much, go thrifting instead! Thrifting is also a great activity to do with your friends, so you could turn it into a fun social outing. You can find some truly great items; sometimes, you can even find designer pieces that have hardly ever been worn. If you do feel the need to shop online or at a big-name store, try to wait for sales or stick to the clearance racks when you go.
Hopefully, the ideas on this list proved to you that “saving money” does not need to be synonymous with “having zero social life.” Is budgeting always easy and fun? No, it’s going to require sacrifice in some areas of your life. But your bank account and your peace of mind will thank you in the long run!
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