Saving money is always in style. Even rich people are known to frequent discount retailers , which should alert those still climbing the ladder to wealth that it’s never all sunshine and roses. Still, one of the easiest and most effective ways to save money is to simply stay in.
Home Sweet Home
As soon as you start your car, money is spent. Once you drive away, every stop bleeds a little more from your funds: grocery store, sit-down lunch, dry cleaning, two buy-ahead movie tickets, a quick coffee boost, a magazine that catches your eye. All these things seem like cheap and well-deserved benefits of life, but they add up to over $100 of short-term purchases.
You’ve probably spent a lot of time and money creating a welcoming and comfortable home environment, so why not enjoy it to the very fullest? Just think of the ways you could spend that $100 on fun without leaving home — and how far you could stretch it.
The Joy of Cooking on the Skinny
Going out to eat and ordering in are expensive. Believe it or not, you can make a 12-inch sausage or vegetable pizza for around $2.36, and that includes all ingredient and energy costs. Never made pizza dough? Find a demo online! You’ll find that it’s actually pretty easy to mix three or four ingredients together and shape them into a circle. Similar savings apply to burgers and fries. A quarter-pound burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, and condiments will set you back $2 if made at home, and fresh oven fries cut from real potatoes cost just pennies per serving.
If you want a more substantial, economical meal, try cooking pasta with meat sauce and garlic bread, a hearty beef stew, slow-cooker pulled pork shoulder with salad and corn on the cob, or a whole home-roasted chicken with potatoes and fresh green vegetables. All these dinners are mouthwatering and budget-friendly. Smart shopping, weekly grocery store specials, and coupons bring their prices down even more to under $6 for four people.
Get Your Game On
Video games are great for providing excitement and stimulation, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about older games like Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, dominoes, and backgammon. They can often be played by way more than two people, and they test much more than the speed at which you can push buttons to kill zombies on a screen. Other oft-forgotten interactive games like Pictionary and charades can be played by all ages, as can simple card games like Rummy, Bridge, Euchre, and Poker.
Don’t forget that not everyone has to play the same game. Breaking big groups up into smaller two-person games to match wits is both stimulating and challenging.
Invite Some Friends Over
Remember when spontaneously inviting friends over for an evening of socializing was popular? It never went out of style, actually — it just got lost in people’s overbooked lives and the search for that imaginary “key” to fulfillment. All you need are some crackers, chips, drinks, and a gift for gab, and presto! You’ll be having fun before you know it.
Adult beverages are particularly popular at social gatherings, but that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank to serve alcohol. Ask your friends to bring a 6-pack of beer or mixers like soda and juice. Bring out all those half-bottles of whatever you have left over from past celebrations and get creative. Another good way to satisfy those thirsts is with a big bowl of sangria or spiked punch, both of which are economical, tasty, and refreshing.
Host A Movie Night
Thanks to services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, most people now have access to all kinds of movies. From kids’ flicks to action, romance, horror, comedy, and everything else under the sun, either service has more selections than you could possibly watch in a lifetime. Two TVs are better for satisfying diverse tastes, but even with just one, you and your friends will almost surely be able to come to a consensus on something. If push comes to shove on what to watch, just do it the old-fashioned way: throw a few titles in a hat and draw one at random.
Staying in can also be productive. Instead of going out on the weekend, why not pull that old furniture out of the attic you’ve been meaning to renovate and get everyone in the family involved? Paint, brushes, and sandpaper are relatively inexpensive, and when all is said and done, you’ll have an entirely fresh-looking home décor. If you don’t have an attic, you can always try decluttering your home and selling a few things online. That way, you’ll actually be making money instead of spending it.