It’s the weekend, you deserve to kick back and relax. You can still enjoy a night out with friends without damaging your budget. It is possible to effectively manage your finances, stay within budget and still have fun on the weekend. Here are five tips on how to do it.
1. Start Saving
It is never too early or too late to start saving. So you don’t have to worry about this on the weekend, open up a savings account to help you save up for those weekend festivities. Consider sitting down and thinking about what plans you have coming up and if you have cash ready to pay these events off right away. For example, you may be attending a concert, birthday party, wedding, etc. and you’ll need to figure out the best way to fund that.
Once you have an idea of what important plans you have coming up, you may want to try to put aside some extra cash for each. You can start off with small amounts like $20 or $25 each week. If you aren’t sure about your upcoming weekend plans, then start saving anyway. You never know what fun events will come up that you will need extra money for. This way, you can avoid putting it on your credit card.
2. Set Up an Emergency Fund
If you tend to go away often on the weekends, you may want to think about setting up an emergency fund in addition to your savings. You may want to tap into your savings account or “what if” fund as I like to call it, every once in a while, but an emergency fund is strictly for emergencies. If you plan to go away for a short vacation, it’s important to always have a back-up fund in case things go wrong. You may have a medical emergency or car issue while you are away. If this happens, instead of falling into debt and tapping into your 401K or loading up your credit card, you can use your emergency fund – that’s what it’s there for.
3. Use Cash Instead of Credit Cards
If you can’t afford to pay your credit card statement in full, this may be a good option. Instead of racking up the interest on your credit card, consider bringing cash out with you for your weekend festivities. If you bring out a limited amount of cash, it will be easier to budget for discretionary spending. This way, you will know how much you spent on tickets, food, drinks, etc. instead of learning how much you’ve spent when you check your credit card statement later. You also may find yourself having less guilt if you only spend the cash you bring, as it’s what you budgeted and this can help you avoid impulse buying.
4. Sign Up for Automatic Payments
By enrolling in automatic payments, you reduce your odds of missing a payment. Just make sure you have enough funds in your account to cover the bills so you don’t get hit with an overdraft fee. By paying your bill on time, you can maintain a good payment history, which can help improve your credit score and credit history. (To see how your payment habits are affecting your credit, you can see an overview of your free credit report summary, updated each month, on Credit.com.)
5. Be Social in Your Community
Instead of blowing your paycheck at a 5-star restaurant, consider other options that use your funds and time off wisely. If the weather is nice, consider attending your local park for a night out. Be sure to check in your local community to see if any free concerts or festivals are going on nearby. If you spend more time doing things locally and living frugally, then you can spend less time worrying about how much money you’ve spent.
Image: Jacob Ammentorp Lund