Do you ever take a look at your bank account on Monday and shudder at the amount of money you've blown in the past 48 hours? It's difficult to stay on a budget when you want to go out and socialize with friends. Here are a few tips that you can implement to stay on track so you aren't crossing your fingers that your checks clear at the end of the month.
- Take a look at your spending habits, and budget accordingly. You might find that you can afford the weekly movie, bar hop, and brunches if you refrain from going out during the week so you can play on the weekends. Calculate the average amount you like to spend on the weekends, and avoid buying the little things that add up big like Starbucks or frozen yogurt during the week.
- Itemize your spending, and cut what you can. Do you spend the most out at restaurants or drinks at the bar. Opt for making brunch or dinner with a group of friends rather than going out. Challenge yourself to play bartender, and concoct fun drinks at your house before you go out.
- Cash only. Take out the amount you've budgeted yourself for the weekend, and leave your cards at home. This way, you aren't tempted to splurge anyway, because you have a confined amount.
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- Split meals and wine bottles. Most restaurant portions are too huge to finish anyway, so you might as well pay half the amount by splitting a meal with a friend to be satiated. If you are drinking, wine by the bottle might be the best deal. Since you'll probably order two or more glasses anyway, split a bottle with a friend or two.
- Strike up conversation at the bar. You never know what will come of it. You might meet someone interesting, engaging, and willing to buy you a drink. Push yourself to meet a new person and save a little at the bar: it's a win-win situation.
- Take advantage of free entertainment. You might want to go see a movie for a big premier or for a special occasion, but usually cities will have free concerts, festivals, dance lessons, and other entertaining events that are 100 percent free and fun.