A blog about spending wisely in your twenties, with advice on everything from cooking to saving money on gas; how to teach yourself to save money instead of spending it, traveling without breaking the bank, and much more.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

5 Money Saving Alternatives to Stuff We Do All the Time

There are a few behaviors that seem almost universal to twentysomethings. With few exceptions, we love to go out with our friends. We end up eating fast food because at some point during the day (or night), we skipped a meal. We go to the movies and drop $10 or more because we didn't plan ahead and we're sick of all the movies we own. I'm sure there are more, but I believe the five activities that follow are where we lose the most of our money- either we're having so much fun that we're not paying attention to how much we're spending or we're in denial about how much we've got available to spend. Either way, here are a few ideas to help you hang onto some of that "discretionary" income.

(1) A Night Out at the Bar: Hanging out at the bar is fun - and lord knows I miss it at times, I used to go at least weekly – but you can have perhaps just as much (and arguably more meaningful) fun at home. Buy a 12 pack and invite some friends over. Assign Bringing More Beer to some, and Bringing Snacks to others. Instead of running up a $10 -$20 tab and then waiting to sober up, go ahead and invite a few friends over to get tossed on a Saturday night. You’ll all save money!

(2) Starbucks/Smoothies/Soda: Whatever your overpriced beverage of choice, you can replace it and save money by doing it yourself. Make coffee at home. For the cost of a Frap and a muffin, you can get a big can o’ coffee. It’ll last you at least a month. Get a blender and make smoothies at home. Instead of soda, get addicted to another beverage (sweet tea and apple juice did it for me.) Instead of meeting up at Starbucks, invite a friend over for sammiches and tea. Or put together a small picnic and meet at the park.

(3) Dinners Out: Host a Pot-Luck. Invite everyone to bring a dish, or ingredients for a dish. Scramble up enough tables and chairs, and have a sit down meal at home with friends, instead of spending $16 a plate (plus drinks!) for a meal that either won’t fill you up or will leave rotting forgotten leftovers in your fridge.

(4) Fast Food: Don’t. Pack a lunch or dinner. I’ve gotten into the habit of taking a water bottle (or a sipper of tea or juice) and a bag of cookies or another snacky type food out with me on errands. When those errand running snack cravings attack, I sooth them with a cookie (homemade, of course).

(5) Movie Tickets: Oftentimes the “What do You Wanna Do? – I Dunno Whadda YOU Wanna Do?” conundrum ends in catching the latest flick. These days a movie ticket is at least $10 (around here anyway.) Ouch. Even seeing a matinee hurts. Instead, wait for movies to hit the dollar theater and go there. Or better yet, get a Netflix account. Or host a movie night at the house of your friend with the largest TV.

1 comment:

Hava said...

Thumbs up for the frugal(not cheap!) date suggestions. And I'm seconding you on not buying soda. I've been soda free for almost six months now and I love it.