Life gets in the way sometimes, and this can mean unexpected expenses – a surprise lunch out with a friend, an extra stop at the grocery store because you have nothing for dinner, filling up on gas because you didn’t realize that you don’t have enough gas to last the week… It happens to the best of us.
I am trying to be a bit more mindful of my weekly spending lately. I’ve figured I can shave about $100 per week off my usual habits by making a few small changes. This doesn’t mean I’m not going out, or that I won’t buy a coffee – it means that I will plan ahead and figure out easy alternatives to my plans that still let me enjoy the company of my friends or my hobbies, all while spending less money.
- Bring lunch instead of buying it.
I work in the middle of the city, and there are so. many. options. for lunch that it is very easy to avoid putting in the effort of preparing something the night before. My usual habit right now is purchasing lunch (or breakfast…) 2-3 times per week.
Savings: Approximately $10 per day x 3 days = $30
- Suggest a walking date instead of a coffee date.
I go on 2-3 coffee dates with friends each week. This week I am going to suggest that we go for a walk instead, and I’ll leave my wallet in my office too. Alternatively, bring your own tea or coffee in a travel mug and meet somewhere like the park to catch up without spending money.
Savings: $5 per coffee (I like Starbucks, okay?) x 3 dates = $15
- Go out for Happy Hour instead of a meal.
In an upcoming post, I’ll share my favourite local places to go for Happy Hour. You’ll still get to go out with your friends, but you’ll cut your bill in half by taking advantage of Happy Hour specials.
Savings: $35 for a full meal vs. $15 for 1 small dish, a drink, GST, and tip = $20
- Stay in.
If you like to go out with your significant other for a night at the movies, consider having an “at home” date night this week. Pop a bowl of popcorn, watch a movie or a TV show on DVD, and have a cuddle on the couch.
Savings: $13.25 x 2 = $26.50
- Have a “clean out the pantry” meal.
Instead of picking up something on the way home from work, shop from your own pantry. There are so many things you can make with a few simple ingredients – I like taco bowls the best when we are doing this (leftover meat – or leave it out for a vegetarian meal, black beans, corn, rice, peppers, and avocado). An added bonus of shopping in your own kitchen is that you aren’t tempted to pick up other things at the store – things you don’t necessarily need. You can use the Ingredient Chef for ideas for dinners that use what you have on hand!
Savings: $10+ or whatever you’d spend at the grocery store on dinner
It may not sound like much – in fact, now that I have written out my plan for the week, I think it sounds very achievable – but you can save you over $100 per week just by making a few simple changes to your habits.
Of course, not every week will present you with the same opportunities to save money. You’ll have to get creative. Don’t lose sight of the fact that it all counts… skipping a coffee here and there may not seem like much, but added to the rest of your savings that week, it can make a difference!
What other ideas do you have for saving $100 this week?