Nathan Lippincott is a financial advisor and budgeting expert. In this blog, he shares tips for ways you can save money through fun activities and personal challenges.
You would be surprised at how many people cannot think of ways to save money. It would seem to be a simple thing, but in today’s society of hustle, bustle and competitive living, many cannot see that cuts are possible and often overlook ways to conserve their funds. If they are resistant to change, saving can seem intimidating and burdensome. In reality, sometimes the tiniest changes can net large amounts of savings and none of them have to be oppressive to your enjoyment of life.
Ways I've Saved
I can remember when, years ago, my family and I were living on an extremely tight budget. We did many things to save money and get ahead of our debt. These are just a few ideas of what we did to take the stress off of our pocket books, so to speak.
With Friends: The Five Dollar Club. This one was probably my favorite savings method. We would invite all of our friends over and, depending on how many people showed up, we would have to figure out how to provide dinner on $5 per person. If only four people showed up, then you had to get dinner for less than $20. If more came, then the spending options increased.
It made an exciting game and was much cheaper than going out to eat. It was a fun way to spend a Friday night and it encouraged us to think outside the box regarding what all we could buy for the amount of money we had. Creativity + Savings = Budget Friendly Fun! So if you are on a budget or would just like to save a little money, try throwing a Five Dollar Club night once a month.
With Kids: Stay at Home Games. Find ways to make staying home with the kids exciting so saving money isn’t a chore. Kids today often think they have to go out in order to have fun – out to eat, out to bowling, out to ice cream, etc. But with some more creativity, you can make staying home fun for them as well.
Make a game out of making dinner together – plan a wacky menu, cooking competitions, or even blind taste testing. The vast majority of people reading this blog will own some type of streaming competition. Use Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime to find a movie for all to enjoy and have a home theater night. Have a game night or an arts and craft evening; with kids, if you find a way to make something a competition or game, they will nearly always enjoy it. There are many ways you can have an evening of fun without spending a dime.
Personally: Set Goals. Challenge yourself with spending habits (I do this whether I am on a budget or not). Try to pay everything you possibly can on the first day of the month. Then, see how many days you can go without spending any money at all. Don’t cheat! See if you can go 7, 10, or 14 days without spending a penny. Pack a lunch and don’t swing by the gas station for a drink or snacks. After a month or two, you will think about filling up on gas on the first day of the month, or buying your groceries then too. The challenge is fun but the exercise of your self control is what truly benefits your long term financial habits. You’ll also be pleasantly surprised at how much savings you have!
These are just a few of my ideas of how to save money. If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them!