Maybe it’s something about being 25, but I am all about the finances right now. I just want to get rid of that consumer debt, start automatically pulling money into my savings, invest and pay off student loans. I also want to be available to afford the shiny things in life (if you know me, you know my dream care is an all black Range Rover), which–to me–means starting to save right now, while securing multiple sources of incomes.
Of course, I already work a 9-5, freelance and write for brit.co on the side, but the best way to save money is to cut back on your day-to-day expenses (it’s so hard to say goodbye to Goddess and the Grocer’s wildflower honey teal latte though!).
But when you’re trying to save money, or if you’re broke as a joke, it can be difficult to cut back, while still not cutting out people or entertainment from your life. And for that, I offer these simple alternatives:
- At-Home Spa Treatment: Whether you still have some leftover LUSH clay mask or you need to make a face mask out of banana and avocado, slather the goodness on, whip out your nail polish and start painting your toes. Go the extra mile with a bubble bath (if you have bubbles, otherwise it’s good to soak in coconut oil too!), a candle or Spotify and a good book.
- Book Haul: Visit your library and stock up on everything you ever wanted to read. Challenge yourself though. Don’t just stick to the same old nonfiction or sci-fi. Grab books that make you uncomfortable or teach you something new. Look out for bookclubs too and see if you can’t meet some likeminded book nerds.
- Join a Blogger Collective (or Group): If you’re a blogger, joining a local blogger community is a great way to build your blog (and also your potential business), while getting great discounts on free food, exercise classes and other such goodies. Plus, it’s a great way to meet other bloggers in your area (networking!). Of course, if you’re not a blogger, take a look-see around your neighborhood to see what other shenanigans you can join. For example, if you live where I live (Lakeview/Lincoln Park area), there’s a coffee shop that hosts evening talks on everything from saving you money to eating healthy.
- Start a Blog: If you don’t have a blog, start one! It’s a great way to share ideas and have a creative outlet. Don’t like sharing your ideas with the world? Whip out a notebook (they can even be the 99 cent ones from Walmart; there are so many back-to-school specials, you’re sure to find one relatively cheap!) and start journaling away. Who knows, could lead to something.
- Dinner with the Besties: Grab your gals and invite them over for dinner. Chances are, you have quite a lot of food just hanging around that can easily be made into a dinner for 2-4 (quinoa goes far, my friends). They can even grab a bottle of wine, throw in a DVD or put on Netflix and boom! [Adult] girls night.
- Social Media Reach Out: You’d be amazed who would meet up with you if you just reached out to them and asked. Not only does this strengthen your network, it also provides you with new connections and someone to hang out and get to know either over a cheap cup of coffee or donut, or just a walk in the park. Just shoot them an email, a direct message, a tweet, a snap…whatever your method! Give it a shot. What’s the worst that could happen?
- Practice Your Look: Want to mix up your look, but have no monies? Youtube is an excellent source of makeup and hair tutorials. Just sit back, watch and practice, and head back to school or work looking like a new you.
- Workout: As Kayla has proven, you don’t need a gym to workout. Yes, you can purchase a program, but there’s also Youtube or BodyRock.tv or just simply running or walking down the sidewalk or through a park.
- List of “Have Nots”: We all have it. That forever-getting-longer list of things we attempt to start and never finish. The online classes we still belong to, but never even got through section one. Whatever it is, start writing down ALL the things you have yet to accomplish and want to. See which ones you can put energy into.
- Yoga/Meditation: Though this is sort of like working out, it’s more working out for your mind. Meditation has been proven to literally rewrite your brain. So if you’re feeling especially stressed, download Breathe (it’s free!) and start practicing.
- Volunteer: Another great way to combine your passions with meeting like-minded people. No, it’s not a club or shopping downtown. But, you’re doing a good thing, meeting good people and making the world an overall better place. Think that has a higher sense of gratification than any pair of jeans every can (though, they do get pretty close).
- Learn a New Skill: If you’re looking to advance your career in any way–which you should be if you’re still in the workforce–check out Youtube or a variety of other free sources to learn new skills related to your job or career path. Not only can learning a new skill be time-consuming and challenging (in the best way), it can also make you stand out among other applicants the next time you want to switch up your job.
- Build Your Instagram Following: This is kind of a silly one, but Instagram is HUGE right now. If you’re lying around, watching TV and deliriously bored, try just scrolling through Instagram, commenting and liking any photo or profile that stands out to you. Meanwhile, try taking a creative eye to all your photos–setting a specific look and feel, really trying to get the best photo possible, no matter how silly you look in public. Do these things consistently, and see your followers slowly build (mini accomplishments!).
- DIY Coffee Dates: I’m obsessed with hanging out at coffee shops or meeting up with friends (obviously), but when you’re on a budget, coffee outings should be one of the first things to cut down on or cut out completely because those $5 suckers add up FAST. Instead of hanging out at a coffee shop, make your own tea or coffee concotion at home (there are plenty of recipes and how-tos), while fashioning out a cozy nook to give you better coffee shop vibes. Invite friends over to chat and flip through old magazines or whatever else, while sipping a matcha green tea latte, and boom. Coffee date, at home (or on the go, if you want to walk around your neighborhood!).
- Bake for Your Friends: Another great way money can fall out of your pocket? Lunches and desserts while you’re out. Rather than be tempted by co-workers to escape the work place and hunt for food among the $15 entree meals and $5 cupcakes, bring a lunch and bake up your own beautiful cupcakes to pass around at work. Bonus: your boss will love you even more.
- Keep Track of Your Fave Shows: This is a bit silly, but I literally write in my planner when a show is on. It’s like a little event at the end of my day that I can get excited about.
Anything you guys do to keep entertained while keeping your money in a good place? Please share! Options are a good thing.