We all secretly live for the weekends. The days when we can feel unchained on so many levels and not worry about work.
Although these are the days of freedom in our seven-day drudgery cycles, they are also days of abandonment when it comes to money. For whilst work prevents us from spending with abandon between Monday and Friday, Saturdays and Sundays allow us ample time to browse the stores, do more social and recreational stuff and splurge money that we don’t really have.
Even though it is virtually impossible to eliminate all weekend spending, here are some tips to cut down on some of it and save money in the process:
Set a weekend budget
It’s a drag to set a budget, but if you’re serious about making savings it is an essential task. Personal finance blogger David Carlson advises us to try the cash method of budgeting. “Set aside your budget for each weekend, but set it aside in cash. If that cash runs out, you can no longer spend money on entertainment or restaurants that weekend.
“Having your budget in cash creates a physical barrier to spending. It becomes much more real than a number on a spreadsheet or a number in your head.”
Entertain at home
One of the most expensive things on the weekend is going out. The drink and food cost a fortune, the cover charges at stadia and clubs are steep, and then there is also driving there with fuel that is becoming ever more expensive.
So what do you do when you can’t watch the rugby at the stadium or a movie at the cinemas? You entertain at home, of course. Maya Kachroo-Levine, editorial assistant at the finance website The Financial Diet, suggests hosting brunch at home. “And have everyone bring something. It can be on short notice because all you need to do is send out a quick email or group text saying that you’ll host, and will make a one to three dishes, or provide the alcohol, and then ask everyone to bring something.”
Carlson also offers wise advice in this regard: To only go out one night a weekend. “Making this small change can potentially save you a significant amount of money. If you must go out both Friday and Saturday every weekend, make small changes to spend less. Order cheaper food and drinks at restaurants. Don’t buy drink and snacks at the movie theatre.”
Relax for free (or almost free)
“Make good use of free recreation. Go to a park or look in the newspaper for free events going on around the city. Use the outdoors, it’s free!” writes Erik Folgate, contributor to the personal finance website Money Crashers.
You could visit the local library, go jogging or playing soccer with friends at your neighbourhood sports field or just watch movies at home. The opportunities are endless!
Plan your spending
You cannot avoid malls, restaurants and shops on Saturdays and Sundays forever and neither should you. The trick is to not go there without a purpose or plan. Folgate advises to start by taking your credit card out of your wallet before you leave the house. This will cap your spending and not saddle you with debt later on.
Moreover, he says we should not go out shopping without a list and just to window-shop. “We always end up buying stuff for the house that we don’t need or clothes that we didn’t budget for.”
Breaux, A. n.d. “How to save money: 6 tips for planning a spending-free weekend”. http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-save-money-6-tips-for-planning-a-spendingfree-weekend-208630.
Carlson, D. 2016. “How to save money on weekends”. http://www.feex.com/blog/how-to-save-money-on-the-weekend/.
Folgate, D. n.d. “Avoid spending too much money on the weekend”. http://www.moneycrashers.com/avoid-spending-too-much-money-on-the-weekend/.
Kachroo-Levine, M. 2015. “9 specific ways to save money this weekend”. http://thefinancialdiet.com/9-specific-ways-to-save-money-this-weekend/.