In a recent money-saving seminar that I taught, Claire came up to me after and said, “we just don’t have any fun anymore. Everything goes just to pay our bills. We just don’t have any extra money to do anything fun, and when we do, I feel guilty. We should be putting all our money into paying down debt, saving some money, and saving for college for the kids”.
I have thought a lot about Claire and her situation. Can you relate?
If having some family fun, going out, and having some discretionary money is important to you, extra money can be found, both inside your home and within your household budget.
Here are 13 tips for finding extra money to spend on having some fun!
Take a look at your monthly spending and give my suggestions a try. Next month, when you have some extra money, save half, and put the other half into a separate account for your “girls just wanna have fun” fund.
1. Have some fun for free! Each week, I post a list of free weekend activities from craft classes for kids and adults, free museum days, free guitar lessons and much more. You can find that list of free family activities right here.
2. Cook more and eat out less. Even those fast food cheap meals, juices and coffee drinks can add up to hundreds of dollars spent each month. Learn how to cook once and eat twice and make more meals with your slow cooker.
3. Start clipping coupons. Even a rookie can save 20% – 30% on your food and household purchases using coupons. Most families spend in excess of $7,000 a year on groceries. A conservative 10% savings will give you an extra $700 per year. I could have some fun with $700!
4. Grocery shop with cash. Read my post offering 30 Ways to Save on Groceries Without Clipping any Coupons!
5. Learn how to DIY: From cutting your kids hair, bathing your pets, doing your own yard work, cleaning your own house, fixing broken appliances, working out at home, all of these can be done at home. You can use You Tube to find free how to videos.
6. Sell your old stuff. Here is a list of Retail Stores offering gift cards and/or cash to trade in your unwanted gadgets, electronics, and appliances.
7. For a free no fees checking account to stash extra cash, I use and recommend Capital One. Their customer service is great. I have a separate account where I squirrel away money for savings but it is so easy to transfer it into my “regular” checking account at my local credit union.
There are no fees associated with this account. With free ATM withdrawals and no overdraft fees, you can use this as your primary account, or as it as a secondary account.
8. Check your credit card statements each month for errors or for charges that do not belong to you. In this “post Target security breach era” we are living in, this is crucial! You may find that you have been billed for something that you did not authorize.
9. If you have reoccurring monthly subscriptions, take a hard look at those. Can you live without them? Give it a try! You can always enroll again. Sometimes, when you call to cancel, you will get offered a cheaper price to keep you as a customer. Has this ever happened to you?
10. Shop for gifts year- round when you see them on sale. Try to pick up all your gifts at clearance sales. Keep a list of birthdays and special occasion with you. I keep mine right on my smart phone. Set aside a place for a gift closet so that you are not running out and grabbing a gift at the last minute.
11. Reduce your electric and water consumption and watch your bills get reduced. Use a power strip for charging and turn it off when you don’t need it. Unplug appliances when not in use, turn off the lights, and turn off the automatic sprinklers when it rains.
12. Other frugal readers of mine have given up cable TV, eliminated home phone lines, raised their insurance deductibles, started carpooling, and refinanced mortgages. I use a site called Whitefence (it is free, just plug in your zip code) to see what cable, TV and phone bundles are currently being offered to customers in my area. You can either switch, or use the information to negotiate a lower rate.
13. I use Swagbucks for my internet searches and then turn my Swagpoints into Amazon.com gift cards. When I am shopping online at Amazon.com, I just apply the gift card codes to my order and that money comes right off the bill. I use my free Amazon gift cards for gifts and special purchases for my home. We bought our Keurig coffee pot and juicer this way. Read about Getting Started with Swagbucks right here.
What ideas have you implemented to find some “fun money” in your budget?