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Three Frugal Ways to Save Money and Still Have a Life

Save MoneyWho doesn’t like saving money? I know that I do! However, that can be a challenge as you want to be able to enjoy life and if you never spend money on anything life can get boring awfully quickly. As with many other things in life, there is some sort of balance to be had and the same is true when it comes to trying to save money yet have a life at the same time.

It can take a little bit of effort to find ways to save money on the things that bring you joy in life, but it is most definitely possible. Instead of just locking yourself in your house and putting every free dollar into the bank, consider the following three tips for living a frugal lifestyle and still having some fun at the same time.

#1 – Look for Affordable Activities

Doing things with your spouse or kids can get expensive in a hurry. For example, if you buy tickets to a concert or sporting event, you could be set back a couple hundred dollars in no time at all. However, if you look for other activities that won’t be as expensive, you can still have fun as a family and save money at the same time.

Looking for parks in your area is one good option to get out of the house and explore nature for little or no money. You can pack a lunch and spend the day outside walking on trails or spotting wildlife. Even if the park has an admission fee of a few dollars, it is likely to be much more affordable than other activities you can find around town.

#2 – Save Money By Skipping the Drinks

Do you like to go out for a nice dinner from time to time with someone special? There is nothing wrong with that at all. However, it can get expensive if you aren’t careful. One good way to save money and still have a nice evening is to skip the drinks when you place your order.

Drinks are significantly marked up at restaurants, and they can easily add quite a bit more to the bill by the end of the evening.  By just drinking water, you can save money and still enjoy a tasty meal at a nice restaurant. I know it may feel like it detracts from the experience of having a meal out, but I’d much rather save money on drinks as opposed to adding empty calories and having a higher bill to boot.

#3 – Vacation Closer to Home

You don’t have to ditch the idea of taking a vacation just because you are trying to save money, but you can modify your plans to make the trip less expensive. Transportation is one of the more expensive parts of every trip, so planning a getaway closer to home can cut into the cost significantly. Rather than paying for gas to drive several hundred miles, or airfare to go across the country, staying within a couple hours of home will make a vacation seem much less costly.

With a little research, you should be able to find a fun place to go that will offer plenty to do without breaking the bank. Just because a vacation doesn’t take you all across the map doesn’t mean it won’t be one that you remember for years to come.

 

What are some frugal things you do to save money yet still have a life? What is one thing you refuse to pay for so you can pocket the money instead?

 

Photo courtesy of: 401(k)calculator

 

This post was featured on See Debt Run, I Need Money ASAP and Finance With Reason

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John Schmoll is a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. He's passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes so that they can live lives free from the shackles of debt and empowered to make their money work for them. You can check out his other sites: Frugal Rules, for ways to improve your financial literacy; and Sprout Wealth for tips on different ways to make more money. John has been featured on Forbes, Lifehacker, Yahoo Finance and US News & World Report.

24 comments

  1. We love finding museums or other locations that we can get into for free or a suggested fee. We recently went to the Museum of Natural History and because we went after 4pm, we all got in for free. It’s fun to try to “beat the system” while entertaining yourself.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Your Financial Roadmap AKA Your BudgetMy Profile

  2. We rarely drink when we’re out at restaurants. I hate paying $8 for a drink I can make at home for 50 cents!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…Knowing When to SplurgeMy Profile

  3. We avoid paying late/overdue fees whenever possible. On a general note we avoid fines. It’s a total waste of money. We will also be taking a small vacation this year only a few hours away. Should be much cheaper than vacations we’ve done in the past.
    Liz recently posted…May {in Review}My Profile

  4. You know, I’m not sure I have something that I would refuse to pay for because anything could be worth paying for given the right circumstances. As far as ways to save money and have a good time. I think hiking is one of the best ways to go!
    Joshua Rodriguez recently posted…I Finally Met Jeremy From Modest MoneyMy Profile

  5. I love hiking as well. I think is one of the cheapest ways to enjoy nature, get some exercise, and kill a few hours of your time. We also love to go to the park and have a picnic. All we need is a blanket, a few snacks, and a book and we’re set for a few hours.
    Aldo @ Million Dollar Ninja recently posted…Our Trip to BostonMy Profile

  6. The free museum days that Shannon mentioned is definitely something I do on occasion. There’s actually a lot of free events in San Francisco, during the summer’s there’s a lot of street fairs which is really nice. Then there’s always First Friday Art walks.

    The way that I save on vacations is that I travel to places where my money can be stretched a lot further. From San Francisco a flight to NY is probably pretty similar to Mexico but once I’m in Mexico everything is a ton cheaper than NY. A lot of places in Central and South America are like that, getting there is the only expensive part but if you are on vacation for a few weeks then only having to spend $10 a night for where you sleep is going to save you more money in the end.
    Zee @ Work-To-Not-Work recently posted…The Power of NoMy Profile

    • We have a good bit of that here in Omaha as well, though I’m sure less than what you’d have in SF.

      That’s a great point Zee! I’m all about stretching your dollar especially on vacation. We’re actually thinking of somewhere in South/Central America in a few years as my in-laws live in San Diego and we could fly out of there and they can watch the kiddos.
      John Schmoll recently posted…Three Frugal Ways to Save Money and Still Have a LifeMy Profile

  7. Everyone complains about the cost of big city living, but one of the best perks is all the free and affordable activities. You just need to do a little research.
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted…I Timed My College Graduation Perfectly… Just In Time For The Great RecessionMy Profile

  8. I almost always drink water when dining out. Unless it’s a brew pub or a Mexican place with amazing margaritas, I’m all about tap water with lemon!
    Lauren recently posted…Was it Worth it? Buyer’s Remorse or Money Well SpentMy Profile

  9. Committing to finding vacations closer to home is a huge one! You don’t know what you can find until you look. My husband and I almost drove to Ocean City Maryland for a night which is pretty expensive and far from us just to have a beach day. And found out that there’s a beach 20 minutes from our house! Seek and you shall find!
    Taylor recently posted…We Paid Off My Student Loan! – and then got a $1,000 bill.My Profile

  10. I’m huge on skipping drinks! I prefer to order water and save the money. It’s amazing how much drinks add up.
    Natalie @ Financegirl recently posted…9 Ways To Keep Your Money Safe While TravelingMy Profile

  11. Funny enough my tip would actually be to vacation away from home. Being based in New Zealand, it’s often cheaper to foot the flights to South East Asia and then to enjoy the lower holiday costs there than to travel around New Zealand
    Christine Berry – Wealth Way Online recently posted…I Sold My Bitcoin – 26% Profit in 1.5 MonthsMy Profile

  12. I’ve actually skipped the drinks and opted for water with lemon or lime. Much healthier and better on the wallet.
    Jason @ Phroogal recently posted…The “Aha Moment” That Started It AllMy Profile

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