Hey Savvy readers! We have a fun guest post today from Michelle Laurey. She is a freelance writer who enjoys riding her bicycle, relaxing in the fresh air, rereading Harry Potter and daydreaming about visiting new places. As you can see, her idea of fun never costs a lot. Here are some ideas on how to have fun while you are trying to save money. Enjoy! – T$C
Money, money, money… It ain’t funny and it is not a rich man’s world! In the wake of the recession, most of us had to learn how to cut back and to suck the life out of a penny. Now, penny-pinching can seem boring or even daunting but, as an experienced penny-pincher, I promise you that you can find fun in it. So without further ado, here are three ways you can make being frugal fun.
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1. Go DIY Crazy
There is so much joy to be had in making something on your own and you can be sure to save a few dollars! The first thing you should do would be looking at the most costly things that are coming into your home, then seeing if you can replicate the product yourself.
Let’s start with the obvious – food. With our busy lifestyles, it’s easy to fall into the trap of buying fast food for lunch and throwing away money together with our health. Cooking doesn’t have to be time-consuming; there are numerous meals that can be prepared in under one hour using healthy ingredients.
If you live in a house, grow your own vegetables in the backyard. You can also grow different herbs on your windowsill and feel like Jamie Oliver. With all the fresh ingredients, you just need your imagination and creativity to make a nutritious masterpiece.
Bring lunch to work instead of buying it in a restaurant. When you find the time, you can bake cookies and surprise your colleagues – you’ll have fun decorating them and everyone at the office will find work easier with some sugar in their bloodstream.
You can also have fun and save on drinks. Now, most of us enjoy the social trip to the bar, but you could do this for a smaller price and in the comfort of your own home. Imagine that after a day of hard work, you know there is a bottle of quality beer waiting for you at home. You can enjoy it in your pajamas, watching a movie with your partner.
Yes, it is possible with beer that you get off the shelf, but you can also brew your own. Brewing kits can be found for as little as $20 and after you buy all the ingredients, you’ll save almost a half of the price of a mainstream quality beer. Plus, you get to test different tastes, find what you like best, and grow your creativity.
Last, but not least, make gifts on your own. Think about the person who you’re giving it to and make it personal. Looking at old photos with that person, making something that you know they will like will certainly bring a smile to your face. In addition to that, the receiver will appreciate a gift you made with your own two hands much more than those that you simply went out and bought. And did I mention that it is cheaper?
2. Turn It into a Game
With the ever-increasing use of coupons and vouchers, why not turn the boring and labor-intensive task of couponing into a game. You could set competitions between your friends to see who can get the closest to paying $0 for the groceries or you could have a prize for the person who used the most coupons.
Or you can join a free app like Ibotta and all work together to earn cash back and save money.
If coupons are not your thing, take a look at your personal savings plan and choose one goal.
For example, every year I save up for Christmas by putting all of my change under a quarter in a jar. One year I came up with $120 in change alone and then used it to fill up the fridge with food that was easy to cook. I even added a few expensive goodies that I would otherwise be unable to afford.
3. Find Free Fun & Entertainment
If you had to give up activities you liked because you can’t afford them, you’re not the only one. Fortunately, you just need to be on the lookout for free events – and there are many – concerts under the stars, lectures in libraries, movie showings in theatres… You could also take a packed lunch and go enjoy the beach or the local park. Not to mention the many museums with free entry.
For those of us who like spending our free time snuggled up in a blanket, libraries are a little frugal paradise. Instead of buying books or DVRs, you can pay for the membership only and read and watch away. There is no limit.
Gym junkies can consider turning their home into a gym. Housework is a good calorie burner and it gets the heart rate up. What’s more, if you have a big enough front room, YouTube has plenty of exercise videos for free to get your Zumba on!
The local paper is a good place to start to look for free events and also for giveaways and, who knows, you might even find a free exercise bike that is no longer wanted.
All in All
As you can see, you can have fun on the cheap – and these are only some of the ways. The world of frugality is your oyster and clearly, it doesn’t need to be a chore to save a few pennies.