Take Control of Your Finances and Still Have Fun

Written by Karen Bryan

It’s extremely common to be stressed about money. We live in a world where people are spending money they don’t have on things they don’t need, thus creating an annoying amount of debt that just won’t go away. In the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) space, it’s common to see high earners in their 20s and 30s outspend what they make.

Saving money is easier said than done, especially when most consumers are frequently swiping their cards, signing up for subscriptions, and not thinking twice about how much those little purchases add up. You may even think that it’s impossible to have fun while saving money, but that’s not always the case!

There are lot’s of ways you can make budgeting enjoyable and spend money in a smart way so you aren’t depriving yourself. Any of the following tips below will help you take control of your finances without sacrificing fun.

1. Search for Deals

If you’re in saving mode, you never pay full price. Look online for discount codes or deals. There are sites out there dedicated to finding the best deals for certain products (Goldstar, ScoreBig, Groupon, RetailMeNot, and many others) that you can use so you never have to pay full price for fun events and products.

2. Practice Numerology in Your Savings

This is a fun way to push yourself to save more just for the sake of saving. While most people save up with a particular goal in mind, I suggest you save up now so you will already have an emergency fund in place.

Some people will celebrate certain dates that represent a certain number, such as pi day on 3/14. You can do the same with an arbitrary goal you set for yourself. For example, save $2,017 for the year of 2017. And now you have a nice amount of money saved up.

3. Free Activities

Now is the time to start branching out and getting creative with fun activities. Many cities offer free events, especially in the summer months. Check social media to find listings of fun community activities that don’t cost you anything. Go on hikes or adventures to places you’ve never been in your town. Sign up for some volunteer opportunities. You may even meet some new friends or discover a new hobby in the process.

4. Cook or Garden

By growing some of your own vegetables or spices, you will save money and you won’t have to make quick runs to the grocery store for your favorite fruits or vegetables. You can also save money by cooking instead of going out. Have your friends come over and cook together instead of overpaying for a restaurant meal. Your wallet will thank you.

5. Swap Clothes

Do you have any friends or family members that are the same size as you? If so, you should swap clothes so you both can feel like you went out and bought a new outfit. Sometimes you will need a special dress or suit that you’ll end up wearing only once, so why not shop your friend’s closets first to see if you can find one for free!

6. Buy Early

If you’re wanting to go to a festival or other special event, it’s worth buying tickets early since most vendors have early bird pricing. Ticket prices will go up the longer they are on sale, so plan ahead if there’s an event you’ve had your eye on. In this case, the early bird truly does get the worm.

7. Cut the Cord on Cable

In today’s world, there is no need for you to be paying a cable bill. You probably already have a Netflix or Hulu account where you can watch your favorite shows. There are actually a ton of other streaming sites available (HBO, ESPN, Amazon, etc.) that have all types of shows and movies. So say goodbye to your cable bill and hello to online streaming.

Matthew Stevens is a finance industry veteran, but prides himself on being tech savvy and abreast of any emerging trends in the test prep world. He seeks to ease the test prep process for future charterholders by reviewing and comparing cfa study materials and resources. Outside of work, Matthew enjoys crafting new wood masterpieces in his shed and taking in the natural wonders of the world.