Without thinking too much about it, write down five of your favorite hobbies. If “budgeting” made it onto your impromptu list, consider yourself lucky. For most folks, shopping and dining out take priority over living frugally and saving for the future. Even those who force themselves to budget usually do so out of necessity rather than desire.
We’re proud to proclaim that budgeting doesn’t have to be a drag. With the right attitude and approach, reducing your spending and boosting your savings can be downright exhilarating. We found these four fun budgeting ideas by listening to members of the ever-frugal Pinterest community, and we’re sure you can find plenty more by reflecting on your own day-to-day experiences.
1. Clipping Cyber-Coupons
The Internet has changed the way we do plenty of things, including coupon-clipping. Visit any number of coupon-aggregator sites to find great deals on specific brands of clothing, dry goods, groceries and food staples. Many such deals simply aren’t available in the store or through the mail, and some offer cumulative benefits for repeat users. Scan the codes with your smartphone or print out paper coupons for your next trip.
2. Envelope Budgeting
If you’re looking for a way to control your spending and look great doing it, envelope budgeting is right up your alley. Make an envelope for each type of expenditure that you regularly make. These might include clothing, groceries, school supplies, entertainment and various bills. Fill each one with enough cash to cover a frugal weekly budget for the applicable category. Once the cash is gone, your weekly spending spree is over. For an extra-fun approach, decorate each envelope.
Thrift stores are more popular than ever, so don’t wait another minute to jump on the bandwagon. Visit your local charity shop or mom-and-pop store for deals on clothing, furniture and other necessities. Large thrift stores carry a stunning range of styles for a fraction of the cost of name-brand outlets.
4. No-Spend Months
While frugality is a virtue in every month of the year, it’s surprisingly fun to devote a specific 30-day period to a budgeting strategy that would make a monk proud. During your “no-spend month,” challenge yourself to spend only what’s absolutely necessary to keep you alive and well. You’ll be surprised at how liberating it is to wave goodbye to entertainment, restaurant meals, name-brand clothing and other unnecessary purchases.
Contrary to popular belief, budgeting isn’t about denying yourself the pleasure of buying cool things—it’s about saving up for your future and having a great time in the process.