If you need extra cash for living expenses, or if you need to build your personal savings account, entertainment and recreation might be the first things you cut from your budget. This can certainly create wiggle room, but you don’t have to give up fun entirely. Life isn’t only about paying bills. You work hard, so you deserve a little playtime.
Here’s a look at ways to save money without sacrificing fun.
See also: Five Life Hacks that Save Money
1. Cut Expenses You Don't Need
Write down every single monthly expense you have, and then number these expenses based on importance. You might realize that you’re spending a lot of cash on unnecessary stuff, which can prevent growing your savings or making ends meet. These expenses might include weekly or monthly dog grooming appointments, car washes, housekeeping services, and spa appointments. Cancel a few services and you can save money without sacrificing your entertainment budget.
2. Sell Your Stuff for Cash
Go through your house and pull out every item you no longer need or use. This can include clothes, jewelry, electronics, toys, etc. Have a yard sale or list these items for sale online. Deposit the proceeds into your savings account, or put the cash toward an unexpected bill.
3. Automate Your Savings
Your income might be enough to support paying bills and fun. But if you never deposit anything into your savings account, you might unintentionally spend more than necessary on entertainment.
Take a look at your budget and assess how much you’re currently spending on entertainment each month. If it’s too much, commit to slashing your entertainment budget and put the difference into a savings account. To make sure you’re saving consistently, automate your savings. Transfer a certain amount from your checking into your savings at certain times of the month. Or direct deposit a portion of your paycheck into savings. This is a painless, effortless way to save money and still have a good time.
4. Find Cheap or Free Entertainment
There’s no rule saying you have to spend money to have a good time. Take advantage of local resources like Groupon or LivingSocial and keep an open eye for BOGO deals and other discounts. If you’re planning a vacation, search Groupon getaway deals to receive discounts on hotels and other attractions in the destination city.
5. Host Game Night at Your House
You’re probably not the only one in your circle looking to save money without sacrificing fun. Host game nights at your house and ask everyone to bring a simple, inexpensive dish. You can hang out with your friends and enjoy a delicious meal without breaking the bank.
6. Plan Activities with Groups
Whether you’re going to a museum, an amusement park or another local attraction, invite a group so you can receive a group discount and save. Depending on the attraction, the group rate might be 40 to 50 percent off regular admission.
7. Plan Activities Earlier in the Day
Instead of going to dinner and movies with friends during the evenings or night hours, make lunch plans on the weekend. Many restaurants have lunch menus with cheaper prices, and if you catch a matinee movie, you can spend $3 or $4 less per ticket.
8. Work a Sixth Day
Get a side hustle or a second job to save money without sacrificing fun. Perhaps work a half-day on Saturdays or a few evenings during the week. The money from your full-time regular job can pay bills and help you prepare for the future, whereas earnings from your side hustle can be your fun money.
Everyone needs to unwind after a hectic workweek, and entertainment and recreation can refresh your mind and body. As long as you’re spending in moderation and you have a savings plan, there’s nothing wrong with having fun.