I keep an active shopping list divided into categories: clothing, accessories, electronics, house stuff, and trips. Nerd alert. It’s part financial planning, part style organization, and lately, the part that usually gets the least attention — trips — has gotten a bit more attention, leaving me with countdowns to the arrivals of these adventures and my bank account depleted.
I just booked an airline ticket to Chicago for Labor Day where I’ll be meeting my college besties for what we’ve dubbed #Reunion2013.
So, in light of putting these vacations on the books (yay!), I’ve put myself on a bit of spending hiatus. I don’t mean to imply that usually my spending is unlimited because it’s far from, but I’m usually scouting for a good deal on something on my shopping list, good consumer I am.
Now every dollar I have is evaluated for what it can get me now against what adventure it could buy in Europe in a few months or how much shopping and brunching I’ll get to do in September with my biffles. So, in the spirit of moderation, I’ve come up with a few guidelines to curb my spending as I focus on saving for my summer of fun.
Limiting meals out. Whenever I look at my budget, the place I always determine that’s the easiest to change quickly and has the potential for meaningful savings is eating out. Fortunately, I enjoy cooking, so by grocery shopping at the beginning of the week and cooking enough to have leftovers for lunch the next day, I can get through most of the week without going out to eat. But being a moderation-ist and not an absolutist, for this to be sustainable, I’ll justify the occasional frozen yogurt or takeout order.
I also lowered my monthly budget for shopping, which is why these booties aren’t mine.
Planning cheap or free weekend activities. While I love a trip to the movie theater and a weekend filled with brunch and shopping, I’m opting for no- and low-cost entertainment alternatives — watching movies and TV at home, making crafts out of stuff I have at home, and taking hikes both urban and otherwise.
So last weekend we spent the early afternoon on Sunday at the Treasure Island Flea Market — a once monthly outdoor market that takes place on the island in between San Francisco and the east bay. While tempted by a few good deals — among them a basket of fresh donuts for $4 — I just browsed and walked away with just photos and some vitamin d.
The plan for this weekend is a cheap craft (stay tuned!), blogging, and reading. Maybe a hike, if the weather holds up. Happy March!