Most people are fairly good at living within their means during the workweek, but once the weekend hits, all bets are off. If you can find a way to curb your weekend spending habits, you’ll find that you have a lot more money left at the end of the month.
The problem with letting your guard down on the weekend is that it doesn’t take much to blow through a moderate budget – especially when you have kids in tow. A trip to the water park ($50), fast food lunch ($20), movie theater and snacks ($50), shopping ($100), dinner and drinks with friends while the kids have a babysitter ($75)…before you know it you’ve spend hundreds of dollars on cheap, meaningless entertainment.
From a personal finance perspective, the weekend is dangerous. You’ve made it through a stressful week of work and just want to relax. You tell yourself that you deserve to enjoy nice things and experiences, so you splurge a bit. Then Sunday night or Monday morning rolls around, you look at your budget or bank account, and regret how much money you threw away.
The weekend doesn’t have to be something you look back on with regret. It’s possible to enjoy a fun weekend with kids without overspending. In fact, there are plenty of ways to experience a free and cheap weekend. Take a look:
The movie theater experience is certainly fun and exciting, but it’s not cheap. With movie ticket prices averaging $10+ for kids and $13+ for adults, a parent with two children is going to spend a minimum of $33 on tickets. Throw in a bucket of popcorn, three drinks, and some candy and you’re looking at $50 for a 90-minute experience.
The funny thing is that, with today’s technology, you can watch new movies in the comfort of your own home for just a couple of dollars. Sure, you won’t get the massive cinema screen and booming surround sound, but you also don’t have to get out of your PJ’s.
When you you’re busy having fun, you don’t have a lot of time and energy to dedicate towards spending money. And one of the best ways to have free fun is by spending time outdoors.
There are lots of free/cheap activities you can do outside on a nice weekend, including: going for a run, playing disc golf, having a barbeque at a local park, organizing a pickup basketball game, going on a hike, swimming, hosting a block party, visiting a community festival or farmer’s market, etc.
Nobody is saying you can’t spend any money over the weekend. The key is to spend less money. In addition to curbing wasteful spending, look for opportunities to save on the activities and expenses that you still want to do.
For example, check online for coupons before going out to eat. You may be surprised to learn that many restaurants have deals available for those who want to save a few bucks.
Tired of doing the same old things on the weekend? Check the community calendar for your town and/or surrounding towns. You’ll find that there are often free seasonal activities put on by different groups in your area. These are great opportunities to meet other people and try something new (without spending a ton of money).
How many times have you complained that you don’t have any food in the house? While you may be low on food, you probably aren’t as empty as you think you are. Between canned goods at the back of the pantry to forgotten items in the deep freezer, you have food. You’ll simply have to get creative!
Try the pantry challenge, where you build menus around the ingredients you have around the house. Your goal is to clear out your pantry and make delicious meals – all without going to the store.
A cheap weekend doesn’t have to be something you endure. In fact, many people discover that the creativity and freedom of a cheap weekend actually leads to more enjoyment. As you plan out some activities and experiences, be sure to choose some things that you and your kids will be excited about.
Written by Nbracco for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.
Featured image provided by Jenn Evelyn-Ann