Most of us equate depriving ourselves of stuff and fun activities to reduce our spending. But what if I tell you that by making just a few adjustments here and there, we can cover the essentials and still have enough left over for the things that really make life worthwhile?
ONE: Cook most of your meals at home.
Stocking up on ingredients for cooking will not only enable you to cut down on your expenses, but you can also reduce your portions and control the amount of oil, fat, sugar and salt that goes into each dish. Huh.
Challenge yourself to master new recipes and allow yourself one special meal a week. Serve your family homemade pancakes and hot cocoa with skim milk for breakfast. Enjoy them with grilled fish, chicken sides, or lean cuts of beef and a fresh salad.
Two: Build your wardrobe on classic pieces.
After eating, a major part of our budget goes to clothes. Here’s a good rule to follow: Invest in a few wardrobe essentials by spending more on durable pieces, like jeans, trousers, a pencil skirt if you’re a woman, and a blazer or jacket.
If you think something like a bohemian blouse or graphic t-shirt will just be a fad or trend, just shop at thrift stores or bazaars.
Three: Learn the art of being a great host.
Going out to a bar or club, the cinema, or dining out on a fancy meal can add up to huge expenses over time. Why not come up with creative yet frugal activities if you want to bond with your friends?
Have a Netflix marathon at home with microwavable popcorn. Google recipes for face masks and turn girls’ night out into an at-home spa. You can liven up an otherwise boring Saturday afternoon by playing some of the latest board games.
Four: Take up an affordable hobby.
Instead of turning to retail therapy or binge eating to deal with stress, boredom, or negative emotions, look for a hobby that’s not only inexpensive, but requires active engagement. Journaling can be relaxing and therapeutic. If you like a challenge, a few notebooks with Sudoku or crosswords don’t cost much. You can try calligraphy using felt-tip pens, or unleash your inner artist by sketching with graphite pencils.
Five: When it comes to gifts, consider an act of service rather than a store-bought item.
This will really force you to think about the interests and preferences of your intended recipient. Take some colored paper, a pair of scissors, and a felt-tip pen and create a booklet with about 10-12 coupons, each with an act of service your recipient can “redeem.”
Here are several examples:
This coupon entitles you to a 20-minute foot massage.
I’ll buy you your favorite ice cream sundae.
I’ll make you chicken soup for lunch.
I’ll be doing the dishes this weekend so you can have uninterrupted reading time.
Six: Look for activities in your area that are free, or only charge a minimal admission fee.
See a free concert in the park, a performance by a string quartet or pianist in an auditorium, a poetry reading at your public library, a craft fair, or an art exhibit during a free admission day at a museum.
Seventh: Get fit in less.
Get together with some of your friends and join a hiking group, ride your bicycle, or toss a frisbee in the park. You can also walk your dog or your neighbor’s dog.
If you’re more introverted and value your alone time, you can go for a walk after dinner, do a 30-minute walking routine while listening to music, or work up a sweat by doing some gardening.
After working on perfecting his craft for almost 10 years, Ronali G. Dela Cruz has finally settled on a writing style she can call uniquely her own. He firmly believes that everyone is capable of developing financial habits and learning practical life skills to meet their goals and expectations, leading to a happier and more fulfilling life.