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  • Writer's pictureLei Malingan

How to Save Money and Still Have Fun: The Ultimate Guide


How To Save Money and Still Have Fun

How To Save Money and Still Have Fun


Everyone wants financial security but attaining it is usually associated with being miserly and worse, miserable. With the rising inflation rate in the country today (3.8% for April 2024 from 3.7% in March 2024), financial security seems harder and harder to attain without making drastic changes to your spending habits or your lifestyle.


But who says you have to be miserable?


Saving money doesn’t mean deprivation. It’s about making smart choices so you can still live comfortably while working your way to your financial security. It will require you to look into your spending habits and find out which ones are draining money out of your pocket.


In this article, I’ll show you how to save money and still have fun, without changing your lifestyle.



Building Financial Foundation


But why do we need to save money? Having enough money is a great way to secure your financial future or retirement. It provides a safety net if you meet some unforeseen circumstances like accidents or disability. It also gives you the freedom to pursue your passions and dreams without worry. 


  • Budgeting is one of the key steps in your financial journey. Having a budget allows you to track your income and expenses and take control of your finances. You can opt to record your budget through free budgeting tools online that make it easier to create, monitor, and check your budget. Google Sheets, Good Budget, or Spreadsheets are just a few examples I can recommend and you can find many more depending on your needs. 

  • Understanding your spending habits is another key step to building your financial foundation. Your budget can give you a snapshot of your spending and help you identify your money leaks, e.g., subscriptions you don’t use and daily expenses that add up. 


As I promised, here are various ways to help you start that saving habit without altering your lifestyle.



Slashing Expenses With Caution


Food expenses usually constitute the highest portion of our budget and can strain our wallets. But there are ways to be smart and save money in grocery shopping without sacrificing quality and variety.


  1. Plan meals and create a grocery list. Having a list will help you prevent impulse purchases and ensure you only buy what’s on your list. Eat a snack before grocery shopping. From a personal experience, shopping on an empty stomach makes you prone to adding food items that are not listed. If you’re buying at your favorite store, get to know the locations of the items on your list and plan your route accordingly, avoiding aisles that might tempt you to buy impulsively.

  2. Check your pantry and refrigerator. Before heading out, check if you still have stocks of the items on your list. This will help you utilize what’s in your pantry and ensure you don’t waste food items that might expire soon.

  3. Consider generic or store-brand items. These are usually cheaper but have the same quality as the name-brand items.

  4. Buy in season. Produce that is in season is cheaper and fresher.

  5. Consider “ugly-produce”. These are blemished produce but are just as good as their “perfect” counterparts and come at a lower cost.

  6. Compare unit prices. Don’t be fooled by package sizes. Always check the price per unit cost (ounces, grams).

  7. Take advantage of sales and flyers. Plan your purchases around sales and stock up on pantry staples and non-perishables when they’re discounted.

  8. Embrace coupons and loyalty programs. Most stores now offer digital coupons and loyalty rewards every time you shop and can give you significant savings and discounts.

  9. Buy in bulk (with caution). This is a good strategy for pantry staples that are non-perishables. But check the expiry dates for perishable items to ensure you will use everything before it expires.

  10. Limit processed and pre-made food. Yes, they come in handy when you’re running late and in a rush but these food items are often more expensive and less healthy than whole foods and home-cooked meals.

  11. Explore the discounted aisles. You can save a lot of money from this aisles. The items are usually on sale but only buy if you plan to consume them immediately or before expiry. Most items offered in these aisles are about to expire in 3-6 months or even up to a year and are usually part of the slow-moving inventory.

  12. Cook meals at home. Eating out is expensive and sometimes the food portion sizes are small. Home-cooked meals allow you to control portion sizes and are more budget-friendly. You also control what gets in your food. 

  13. Reduce food waste. Having a weekly menu and regularly checking your pantry and refrigerators minimize food waste by ensuring that you consume what's available first before replenishing your stocks. 

  14. Buy produce at the local market. The prices in the local market are much lower than in the grocery store plus you can haggle with the market vendor for a discount. I also choose to buy from vendors without a stall. They are usually backyard farmers selling their produce. Sometimes they will offer you the lowest prices to dispose of their products and earn a little.

  15. Consider expensive food items as a reward. If you can’t curb your cravings for, your pricey favorite iced coffee, consider buying it as a reward after achieving your hard-earned goals instead of buying it daily. 



Travel Without Breaking the Bank


I get it. Destressing and recharging after working hard is a must and traveling to local or international tourist spots is top of many bucket lists. But admit it, you sometimes have second thoughts because, yes, it might cost us a lot of money. Good news! Here are some frugal ways to travel and still get that much-needed R and R without breaking the bank.


16. Travel during off-seasons. Book your accommodations and tickets in advance and take advantage of travel deals and discounts during the off-peak season. 

17. Explore alternative routes. Buses, trains, or carpooling for domestic travel are significantly cheaper than flying. You also get to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

18. Embrace the open road. Road trips can be a cost-effective way to travel and explore scenic routes and are made affordable if you split gas with friends.

19. Utilize public transit. Local buses, trains, and subways are cheaper ways to get around new places and can offer a glimpse into local life.

20. Embrace local experiences. Explore local cafes, restaurants, and festivals, and skip the expensive tourist traps. You’ll get authentic experiences with the locals and save money. 

21. Focus on experience over luxury accommodations. Hostels and guesthouses are more budget-friendly and sometimes offer additional services like cooking your meals. It’s also a chance to meet fellow travelers. If you plan to stay longer, consider apartment rentals or house-sitting.

22. Explore for free. Take advantage of free walking tours, and museums with free admission days, or try the local parks. Many cities also offer cultural and local events to attract more visitors.

23. Foodie on a budget. Savor the local delicacies and street foods in your destination. Or cook your meals in your hostel kitchens and skip the fancy restaurants. It’s cheaper and you also get to experience the local cuisine. 



Debt Repayment and Building a Sustainable Savings Habit


Debt can feel like a heavy burden but don’t fret! Here are some ways to tackle debt effectively and build a sustainable savings habit.


24. Face the facts and get real. List all your debts including the outstanding balance, interest rates, and minimum payments for each. Create a budget to understand your income and expenses then cut or minimize your spending on unnecessary items to free up extra funds for debt repayment. 

25. Choose your debt repayment strategies. You can opt for the avalanche method or the snowball method. The avalanche method prioritizes paying for debts with the highest interest rates first while the snowball method tackles smaller debts first. The former saves you money in the long run while the latter gives you a quick win and motivational boost. Consider consolidating your debts into a single loan with a lower interest rate to simplify your repayment process and save you money in the long run.

26. Slash your spending. Revisit your budget and identify areas to cut back or minimize spending. You can prepare your packed lunches instead of eating out or make your coffee instead of buying expensive ones. Take advantage of free resources like libraries, parks, and museums for entertainment. Consider hosting potluck games or movie nights with friends instead of pricey excursions. Take up free or low-budget hobbies like biking, hiking, or volunteering to get free resources. Negotiate lower interest rates from your creditors. Good credit standing, being a loyal customer, or explaining your situation can help in your favor.

27. Boost your income. Explore side hustles like freelance jobs, online gigs, or part-time jobs to increase your income and generate money for debt repayment. Declutter your belongings and sell items you no longer need online or through garage sales.

28. Stay Motivated. Keep track of your progress. You can use charts and graphs so you can have a visual of your progress. Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or money counselor for encouragement and accountability. Celebrate your milestones no matter how small! Every debt paid off is a victory.

29. Automate your payments to ensure you never miss and avoid late fees.

30. Build an emergency fund so you don’t have to dip into your savings for unexpected expenses like accidents.

31. Be SMART. Make your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. This will help keep you from getting overwhelmed and frustrated and let you focus on your financial goals.



Conclusion


We all aim to have a balanced and comfortable lifestyle - learning how to save money and still have fun. And the above-mentioned tips and guides can help to make such lifestyle works. Again, saving money doesn’t mean working too hard and playing too little. You don’t have to be miserable by depriving yourself of the comforts you are used to. You don’t even have to make big changes or sacrifice your lifestyle to achieve it. It’s about making smart choices and the willingness to make the necessary adjustments to make it work. A little planning and smart shopping can go a long way. Being resourceful and prioritizing experience over luxury during travels.


So, plan your adventure, conquer your debt, and embark on that journey without draining your wallets and sacrificing your lifestyle. Start your journey to financial security and freedom today!

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8 komentarzy

Oceniono na 0 z 5 gwiazdek.
Nie ma jeszcze ocen

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Karla Obispo
Karla Obispo
05 cze
Oceniono na 5 z 5 gwiazdek.

I love this list! If I may add one, download the app called Money Manager. It will give you a chart on where your money goes. It also shows your money flow.

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Sheneri
Sheneri
26 cze
Odpowiada osobie:

Thank you for sharing Money Manager.

Will consider it for future blogs :)

Polub

Gość
04 cze
Oceniono na 5 z 5 gwiazdek.

Great post on money saving techniques, buying local and exploring for free and avoiding food wastage are useful tips!

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Sheneri
Sheneri
26 cze
Odpowiada osobie:

Thanks for your beautiful comment.

Appreciate much.

Polub

Geraldine Sebastian
Geraldine Sebastian
30 maj
Oceniono na 5 z 5 gwiazdek.

In the end, it all sums up to always find the right balance to earn and spend.

But one should also need to open their minds to sustainability and passive income as well.


Love this article!❤️

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Sheneri
Sheneri
26 cze
Odpowiada osobie:

Agree right balance between earning and spending.

And thanks for the love :)

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Gość
30 maj
Oceniono na 5 z 5 gwiazdek.

Very informative. Yes savings is important kasi kung wala kang save. Wala kang makukuha kapag kailangan mo. Thanks for sharing the tips. It is very helpful ❤️❤️

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Sheneri
Sheneri
26 cze
Odpowiada osobie:

Thank you for the appreciative comment😊

Polub
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