Our income isn’t where it has been for the last 2-3 years, but it usually picks up after the summer. Mr. BFS and I are cutting back on the unnecessary general splurges voluntarily to buy ourselves enough time to either see an online income increase again in August-September or to make a new plan of attack. We are making more than enough to get by, but no reason to tempt fate. 🙂
Cutting Back Doesn’t Have to Mean Cutting Out
BUT, cutting back on spending doesn’t mean that you have to stop having fun! I started this blog in order to point out how you can save for your future and live in the now at the same time. It’s doable even when you don’t have a ton of money. Here are some ways that we are still having a great time without breaking our budget to do it – that means keeping it to less than $50 a month on average. Say hello to cheap fun!
Movie Nights: $Negligible Now
We’ve done movie nights at our house for more than 5 years. It can be as easy as sitting around the tv in the living room. But my husband and I used some of our fun money in early 2013 to install a $1400 system in our media room. We have a great projector that displays a VERY clear image, a 100 inch screen, surround sound, no windows, and enough seating for 6 people to comfortably watch movies all night long. We want to finish it off with actual in-home theater seating like recliners with cup holders, but that is a $1000-$1500 plan that will have to wait.
We have movie nights as a couple a few times a month and with groups of friends about once a month (other than the Game of Thrones night that you’ll read about next). Generally it costs nearly nothing. We have Netflix streaming already for about $9 a month in order to watch our favorite tv series now that we are cutting cable soon, our friends bring DVD’s, we have some DVD’s, or we rent a new release from Redbox using a coupon (so it’s usually less than 50 cents per rental). Thanks to my mom’s sense of humor (which I inherited), we also have a 10 year supply of popcorn kernels (a Sam’s Club special – 30 pounds of kernels) and our roommates/friends have an air popper that we use to make the deliciousness.
Game of Thrones Night: $5-$10
Yep, Game of Thrones is awesome. This “Honest Trailer” pretty much sums up its awesomeness. Seriously, watch this – it is HILARIOUS!
Basically, one of our friends has HBO Go and there are 5 of us that have decided to pick a night every week to watch the latest Game of Thrones (GOT) episode together. We meet at around 5pm, all contribute ingredients to the meal that my husband usually volunteers to cook, we watch GOT, and then we play board games until everybody has to leave. Since everybody contributes to the food, and our friend already has HBO Go, it ends up being about $5 a person per week overall.
Once this season wraps up, I am going to ask if we can re-watch Orange is the New Black – I’ve LOVED both seasons!!!
Cheap yet Yummy Alcohol: $5
Did you know that Aldi’s sells alcohol? I didn’t even notice until about 2 weeks ago. On a whim, my friend and I tried a $5 bottle of Red Moscato from California, “Moiselle”, and it is freaking YUMMY! Seriously, it’s just $5 a bottle and we have confirmed its yumminess with at least a half dozen of our friends. You need to try it, that’s all I’m saying. Oh, and that for $5 a person, we all have a very giggly evening in. 😉
Groupon Specials: $20-$50
It doesn’t sound cheap/frugal, but spending $20 on a foam run (a 5k run/walk that shoots you with glow-in-the-black-light-foam at night) is a steal since it lasts for hours and is a memory that will last forever. I also have recently spent $50 on 10 pole dancing classes is going to be great too. That’s $5 per class! Not bad for an activity that strengthens your core and develops your arm and leg muscles! Way to go Groupon!
I’ve also used Groupon for $5 movie tickets and discounted frozen yogurt coupons. Here’s a picture of a color run I was able to afford thanks to a Groupon special. Overall, I seem to spend about $100 a year on these online coupon deals…
And even though the Groupon links are my own referral links to them, they never asked for me to post about them or anything like that. I just use Groupon and like it, BUT ONLY WHEN YOU BUY SOMETHING THAT YOU WOULD USE ANYWAY OR THAT YOU WOULDN’T USUALLY DO BECAUSE OF COST. Memories and time with others is what I consider the most important parts of life. Getting a great financial deal on them is just even better.
Have you done any of the activities that I mentioned? What other ideas do you suggest for living it up on the cheap? Isn’t the Honest Trailers guy FANTABULOUSLY FUNNY?! My friend got me hooked a few months ago…
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!). I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!