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Just because you feel like going on a binge doesn’t mean you have to spend all of your money. There are plenty of tips to binge while sticking to your budget.
There are many ways advantage of the many cheap and even free activities near you. By treating yourself to smaller less expensive outings you will still have a great quality of life while still ending up saving.
Here’s a quick list of 13 practical tips to binge on a budget.
1. Use Receipt Scanning Apps
Receipt scanning apps are free mobile apps that pay you to take pictures of your receipt from grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and more. One of the most popular ones is Ibotta. Here’s a quick summary of how it works:
- Sign-up for Ibotta for FREE and get a $10 bonus once you claim your first offer.
- Purchase items that you normally would. Ibotta gives you cash back for purchasing groceries, electronics, prescriptions, meals at restaurants, alcohol and more.
- Match the offer on your receipt with the offer on the mobile app. You can earn anywhere between $.25 to $5 per offer, and you can claim more than one offer per receipt.
- Take a picture of your receipt. Just be sure it’s clear and easy to read.
- Wait 24 – 48 hours to receive cash back in your account. Claim your cash for PayPal deposits or free gift cards once you reach a minimum balance of $20.
Here’s a short list of some other popular receipt scanning apps:
2. Head To The Thrift Store
Sticking to a budget doesn’t mean cutting your shopping all together. Whether you are in the market for kitchen items or looking to jazz up your wardrobe there are plenty of ways to shop while sticking to a budget.
Thrift stores are an excellent place where you can find everything you need for pennies on the dollar compared to the mall or department store. If you are trying to minimize your spending but still need a good shopping spree, heading to the thrift store will make it so you can indulge guilt free.
The best part is that the money you spend here will likely go towards a great cause. Places like Salvation Army donates money to many great causes. You can shop here knowing that your money is going to help others.
3. Find An All You Can Eat Lunch Restaurant
Do you have any big eaters in your family? Stop overspending on eating out. We don’t recommend going out to restaurants often, but if you are craving something tasty these are the places to do it. If you go to all you can eat restaurants you will not leave hungry.
When going out for food there are some key things you should always remember. For starters, opt for eating out only at lunch time. Typically lunch prices come with discounted rates, especially at all you can eat and buffet style restaurants.
This is also great because you can fill up on lunch and then only opt for a light breakfast and dinner.
Secondly, be sure to call in advance and ask when the lunch meal goes until and if they have a maximum seat time. There is nothing worse than spending your money on a delicious meal out and finding out you need to rush as their serving time is near coming to an end.
When ordering, there are some tricks to keep in mind. Always opt for water to accompany your meal rather than a $3 soda. Also, skip the appetizers. Instead you should look to get full solely of your main course.
No more appetizers or desserts. As a bonus this will also help your metabolism by eating your big meal earlier in the day. You can find these all over the place for cheaper than you think.
Depending on your favorite food you can be looking at around $13 per person. This can actually be cheaper than groceries for your entire family. Also, many buffets serve excellent, healthy food. You can even get drinks and dessert.
Make this a once a month treat for the family.
4. Check Your Groupon
Groupon has everything from nights out on the town to travel deals to yoga classes. By signing up to their free service you have access to all of these. Taking advantage of these deals is a great way to get a night out on the town all while saving yourself a ton of money.
The best part is that signing up is completely free. You will start receiving emails that they think you will like. Be sure to check in regularly as the deals change daily.
The only issue with this service is that there is a limited amount of items and/or a timer that counts down how long a deal is available for. These deals can range from around 5% to up to 90% depending on what you are looking for.
As a bonus, try booking through your rewards visa to rack up points that can be used later.
These are a great way to save money especially if you are planning on doing the event anyway. Make it a habit to check Groupon for deals at restaurants or events you regularly attend.
5. Make Your Way To The Dollar Store
There are loads of items that you use on a daily basis that can be found at the dollar store. Every financially conscious person should make shopping at the dollar store a regular occurrence.
From vehicle supplies, barbecue accessories and everyday toiletries the dollar store has it all for a fraction of the price. Trading your expensive purchases for dollar store goodies will allow you much more money at the end of the month.
Have a sweet tooth? Try heading to the dollar store for your favorite candies for a mere dollar, sometimes even less. Want a romantic night? Head here to grab some dollar candles and flowers.
This store is so multifunctional you will find everything you need and more. The best part is when you have a full cart of goodies you won’t be hit with a giant bill.
You can find everything from tupperware and strainers for your kitchen to towels and even dog food. If you are needing something for your home you should head to your local dollar store to see if they have what you’re looking for.
More times than not you will find that big department store sell the exact same items for way more money.
6. Check For Free Entertainment Near You
Every now and then towns put on free entertainment. In the summer there is movies in the park, free concerts, festivals and farmers markets. Grab your family and some blankets and head to the park for a free night on the town.
In the winter most cities have Christmas themed events. They are free to attend, usually asking for donations to the local food bank for underprivileged families.
All of these are great ways to treat your family to a nice night, or even weekend, without forking over a lot of money. Looking for a night of drinking and dancing with the girls? There are affordable ways to do that too.
Try deciding on an itinerary beforehand and calling the clubs in advance. Oftentimes they will have a free guest list that you can put your group on. This will most often allow you to skip the line and grant you free cover to get in.
Make this even cheaper by enjoying a few drinks at home and sticking to one or two drinks only at the bar. This will allow you to go out and dance while not completely blowing your budget.
7. Buy A Tasty Treat
Some days, feeling like you’re breaking the rules can be as simple as treating yourself to a delicious chocolate bar or tasty ice cream cone. If you are trying to stick to a diet grab some fresh fruit, sponge cake and whipped cream.
You can even substitute the whipped cream for honey if you want to splurge a little bit. All of this will cost less than $10 but put a smile on your entire family.
When looking for a specific item, try searching for alternatives to make it cheaper. Wanting the nice family outing of enjoying an iced cream in the park? Skip the expensive ice cream shop and instead head to the grocery store to buy cheaper cones for the whole family.
Take these to the park to enjoy a much cheaper afternoon in the sun. Be sure to shop the deals with this one. Oftentimes you will find companies having deals during summer or wintertime.
McDonald’s is famous for their dollar drink summers. They are not the only company to offer enticing deals like this. Taking advantage of these seasonal incentives is a great way to enjoy a treat without blowing the budget.
Having a small cooler on hand can really help keep costs down as a simple bag of ice and you are a picnic away from a good day. Buying a half gallon of off brand coke will be much cheaper than a can of soda and get you more.
These small changes will add up to save you big.
8. Check For Rewards
Many companies offer loyalty programs. From gas stations to Starbucks coffee you can gain points to be put towards rewards for free treats. Be sure to sign up for punch cards, even if it is a place you are likely not to return to. Using these will quickly accumulate to free rewards that you can cash in when the budget is tight.
Another way to receive rewards or points is through your credit card. Make an appointment with your bank and talk about the different rewards cards that are available. From cash rebates to travel rewards, you can be accumulating a lot of bonuses just from your everyday purchases.
It can be worth your while to make all of your purchases through your credit card and then pay off the balance with the money in your checking account. This way you receive the maximum points for your shopping.
As a bonus this charge and pay off routine will help to build up your credit and give you more opportunities in the future.
Some credit cards also offer bonus points for certain times of the year or stores. Take advantage of these and you could potentially double or triple your point total. You can than use your points to purchase items or even trips around the world.
9. Plan A Night In
You don’t need to spend a lot to have a great night. Going to the movies can end up costing you quite a bit, especially if you are one to indulge in the many snacks available. Instead, head to the store to grab some cheap snacks.
All you need to do is grab some popcorn and head to the couch with a friend to binge watch the latest season of Game of Thrones. Not into tv shows? Netflix has a large selection of movies. Not only will this be fun, it doesn’t break the bank.
Make this a special night by getting some chocolates and melting them onto your popcorn. Small things like heating chocolate on the stove to create a fruit fondue can add a new element to just another movie night. Have some friends over and have a movie marathon.
For those that enjoy going to the bar for beer and sports, try bringing the bar to you. Buying beer in bulk and having a few friends over for the game can be a lot more fun than a bar.
Here you will be in the comfort of your own home and not worrying about your spending. This will also save you huge with not having to taxi home.
Wings and nachos become much more affordable on planned nights in. Try switching up with your friends on who hosts to keep costs more affordable. Even better, tell everyone to bring an appetizer and a case of beer and you will have much more than you need.
10. Indulge In Some “Me Time”
Sometimes when the urge to spend money kicks in you aren’t as eager to spend your hard earned dollars as you are for some good old fashioned fun. Head to Barnes and Noble for some window shopping.
When you find a book head over to your local library or better yet download your library app and rent that book.
Pro Tip: Smaller public libraries that don’t carry many books usually offer an online book store. They will give you access to a vast majority of the most popular books for free. Simply talk to the librarian and find out if your library offers this service. All you need to do is download the app and select the ebook you want. This allows you to read your favorite books on your iPad without worrying about late fees.
If you are outdoorsy go for a bike ride or take the dog for a hike. Want some quality alone time? Grab a couple bath bombs and throw them in the bath and enjoy a glass of wine.
Grab a bottle of nail polish and make it a mani pedi night. Regardless of what you do, spending some quality you time is likely to be much more satisfying than splurging on a Starbucks.
11. Grocery Shop For A Treat Dinner
It can end up being much cheaper to go grocery shopping to buy all the mix-ins to cook up a delicious hand crafted pizza than it is to order out. The results can be quite rewarding as well.
Learning how to braise meat or create a mouth watering dressing will stick with you for the rest of your life.
Use this new knowledge to surprise your significant other with a fancy three course meal. Bring out the good plates and cutlery. Light some candles and set the mood with some romantic music and a bottle of wine on ice.
Complete the evening with their favorite dessert and a nice massage. Not only will this be a night to remember but it will surely be less expensive than a night on the town.
This is also a great way to bond with loved ones. Kitchens are meant for making memories. Invite a friend over to bake some cookies. Try getting creative and making a sushi party. The results will likely make for a memory you will cherish, even if the food doesn’t turn out.
12. Sign Up For All The First Month Free Deals
Most fitness places will have enticing deals for newbie clients. Taking advantage of this is a great way to save a ton while jumping through exciting programs.
Take a look around town at different kickboxing places, yoga studios and other fitness centers to see what their deals are. Oftentimes they will have a first month for only $x deal to attract new clients.
Don’t tell them in the beginning that you only intend to do the one month and sit back and enjoy your new class. This is a great way to see what kind of programs you enjoy most and try new things.
Pick something that you have never even heard of just to see if you enjoy it. Places like community centers and YMCAs are always running classes throughout the year. The best part is that these are not expensive at all.
13. Trade Your Fitness
Oftentimes yoga studios and other places are willing to do trades if you ask. Basically this means that you volunteer there and get free memberships. This is a great way to feel like you’re binging on an expensive hot yoga class when in reality you aren’t blowing your budget.
This is also great for places that have pricey monthly fees. Try going to the owner and asking if they are willing to organize a trade agreement.
Lots of times this will sound something like you coming a half hour early and staying a half hour late to set up and clean up after the class. This is a win win for both parties.
14. Day in the City
Even though you are sticking to a budget there are things you can do with a night on the town. Make it an adventure. Get a different perspective of your city. Take the bus to the heart of the city and walk the streets.
Grab a coin and flip it every time you come to a crosswalk. Heads for right, tails for left. Head to museums. Take this time to investigate the exhibits.
Most of the time museums don’t cost anything, if not a few dollars. Jump from one exhibition to the next until you’ve made it through the building.
We all like saving money. By using the tips and tricks on this list you can actually enjoy life while sticking to your budget.
There are many ways that you can save money on the things you already do. Not only that, but if you spice up activities you already do, like watch movies on Netflix, your life will only get more enjoyable.
Being on a budget does not have to be hard or difficult. You will need to make some sacrifices but not in every aspect of your life. All you need to do is cut the amount it costs to do the things you love.
Are you on a budget? Try some of these tricks for guilt free spending and let us know how it goes in the comment section below.