If you’re making a conscious effort to spend less and save more, it can be much easier to control your spending during the week than at the weekend.
You’ve probably mastered the art of taking home-brewed coffee to work, preparing a packed lunch, and going straight home without stopping off at the mall.
At the weekend, you have more free time on your hands.
You have no fixed routine.
You may feel bored.
You might feel like you deserve a reward for working hard all week.
All these things can lead you to spend money unnecessarily.
The good news is that there are some easy ways to reduce your spending at the weekend.
Plan Your Weekend in Advance
Boredom often leads to unnecessary spending, so plan your weekend in advance. That way, you’re less likely to feel aimless and bored.
Here are some things you can do to plan your weekend in advance:
- Plan all your weekend meals and do your grocery shopping on a weekday evening. You’ll be much less likely to order a pizza or go out for dinner if you’ve planned all your meals in advance. Go grocery shopping on a weekday after work, so that you’ll have less time to browse and buy extra items on impulse. Grocery shopping expeditions at the weekend often consist of a leisurely stroll around the supermarket, leading to many impulse purchases and a surprise at the checkout when you realize you’ve spent much more than you intended!
- Plan indoor entertainment. Visit your local library on Thursday or Friday and borrow books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, video games and other amusements for the weekend. Take the whole family along and choose a selection of entertainment that will please everyone. If you subscribe to Netflix or a similar service, discuss which films or shows you’d like to watch at the weekend. Invite friends or family members round, plan what you’ll all eat and drink, and include all the items in your weekly grocery shop (see above).
- Plan outdoor activities that cost little or no money. Once you’ve planned your indoor entertainment, it can be tempting to stay at home all weekend. Instead, plan at least one low-cost or no-cost activity that involves going out and doing some exercise, whether it’s a bike ride, a long walk with a picnic, a trip to the park, or a visit to the local swimming pool.
- Avoid shopping malls at all costs. Shopping malls are magnets for your money. You may intend to just drop by the mall, visit one store and buy just one essential item. Two hours later, you’ll have browsed in several other stores, bought lunch, and purchased a pile of unnecessary things. If you really need to buy something from a mall, go during the week at a time when you know you’ll have a time limit, such as in your lunch hour. This will stop you from spending a lot of money, even if you’re tempted.
Do Something Creative
Some people use shopping as an outlet for their creativity. If you don’t go shopping at the weekend, you’ll have time to do something creative, whether it’s renovating or decorating your home, upcycling furniture, making something by hand, cooking, drawing, painting, or writing.
The sense of achievement that a creative activity gives you will be much more satisfying and long-lasting than the temporary high you feel when you’ve bought something.
Doing something creative at the weekend will mean you go back to work on Monday with renewed energy.
Budget for Treats
If you’re trying very hard to save money, you can feel as if your life consists of all work and no play.
It won’t be long before you feel like you deserve a reward for all your hard work.
The danger is that you’ll blow your budget on something that you can’t afford and don’t really need.
The answer to this dilemma is to set a budget for treats. Decide on an amount of money you can afford for purely frivolous spending each weekend and set it aside.
You don’t have to spend all of this money each weekend.
You could save the money in your “treats budget” until you can afford to buy yourself something that you would really like.
Or, you might blow the whole of your “treats budget” on inexpensive treats every weekend.
The choice is yours. Whatever you do, you’ll find that you don’t feel deprived and your efforts to save money are not thwarted by a big splurge at the weekend.
Plan, Be Creative and Treat Yourself
So, plan your weekend in advance, make time for at least one creative pursuit, and don’t forget to dip into your “treats budget” and spend a little money on yourself.
By the time Monday morning comes around, you’ll not only have saved money but you’ll also feel relaxed, refreshed and ready to start the working week in a positive frame of mind.