Jena was kind enough to put together this guest post.
Saving money is no fun. The honest truth about frugal living is that, for all its benefits, sometimes it can feel like a drag. However, I've learned that the best way to stay on the straight and narrow (and cheap) is to look for the fun in everything and try to come up with entertaining activities and bonuses to saving money. Here are a few fun ways to cut household costs:
First up, always look for free stuff. It's everywhere, you just have to know where to go. For instance, the public library is a great place to get free movies and CDs, not to mention all the books you could want, and all for the cost of zero dollars. (Just don't rack up any late fees.) I can't stress enough how awesome it is to be able to stock up on media to keep the whole family entertained without worrying about whether we can afford it. Similarly, if you want to pay for movies but still keep costs low, check out DVD rental kiosks like RedBox, which charge a dollar per night. A dollar! That's tough to beat.
If you're looking for more ways to have fun on the cheap, I suggest investing in some board games for the family. It's worth the one-time expenditure to get years of creativity and enjoyment from these games, and they have the added benefit of turning a night at home into a great bonding experience for all involved. It doesn't matter if it's a classic like Monopoly or a newer participation game like Cranium or Catch Phrase. Games are a great, cheap way to have a fun-filled night with friends and loved ones.
Here's another tip: staycation. There's no reason to think that you have to load the family in the car and travel across the country in order to take a well-deserved break from the rat race. Take a few days off work and just stay at home. Visit your local parks and zoo, take walks, read, play with your family, and do all the things you don't normally have time to do. You'll be amazed at what you come up with, and you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much money you're saving compared with a more lavish vacation.
It's also a good idea to give yourself small rewards for saving cash. For instance, plan out your budget and look for ways to cut the fat (long-distance phone calls, extraneous car trips, etc.). Every three months, reward yourself with a gift. It will act as a light at the end of the tunnel and help you focus your money-saving goals much better than an abstract attempt to just save wherever possible. I like to go to the bookstore and pick up a brand new hardback as a treat for doing well.
The bottom line is that you can indeed have some fun by saving money. You just have to keep your eyes open for fun opportunities. Enjoy!
This guest post is contributed by Jena Ellis, who writes on the topics of Online Certificate Programs. She welcomes your questions and comments at her email Id: firstname.lastname@example.org.