Ever get through the week thinking you're smashing your savings goals, then the weekend rolls by and you're strapped for cash? Is it truly realistic to shut off your social scene and hibernate to save? This strategy doesn't suit everyone and, let's face it, it's not one that will always last.
Whether you're saving for the next holiday, a new car or home, or just looking to bolster your back-up funds, it doesn't have to dramatically change your social life. Swapping some of your usual activities with cheaper (but equally as fun) options can help you keep saving through the weekends too.
That's why we've put together these eight creative ways to save money by swapping your weekend plans for a more cost effective one!
Dinner to breakfast, brunch or lunch
When we're talking social catch ups, dinner is often the go-to meal to have out, but it's also the most expensive.
Think about your typical spend on a dinner out in the city – main course, drinks, transport in and out – if you're skipping entrée you might get away with spending less than $100, but not often.
The brunch scene is offering a great alternative to the dinner catch up with lots of cafés in our cities, suburbs and of course along our beaches.
Consider a breakfast, brunch or lunch as your first weekend swap. These meals, with a coffee or juice will probably cost you a maximum of $40 – and who doesn't love to eat breakfast throughout the day?
Night out to board game night in
Group activities like escape rooms and mini golf bars have become really popular for a low-key night out. Again, we're not saying to never have fun again, but consider occasionally swapping them for a board game or cards night at home.
You'll be surprised how similar these nights can be. You'll still experience friendly rivalries and strategic teamwork, but be aware you might discover a competitive side of your closest friends and family that you never knew they had!
Cinema experience to movie night
There's something special about the cinema experience so save that for the blockbuster movies you've been waiting for all year. This could be an easy way to cut down on your weekend expenses.
Grab your like-minded friends, discover what your streaming services have to offer and enjoy the night in on the couch for next to nothing.
If you want to replicate the cinema experience grab your typical snacks, dim the lights and crank the volume to make the most of your viewing.
Winery trips to tastings at home
We often forget that the best recommendations come from those who we're closest to, so why not swap on a weekend to a winery, brewery or regional restaurant and host a tasting of your own.
Have your crew over on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and get them all to bring their favourites. This way, you'll still broaden your palate and pick up on some new go-to options.
By having everyone bring something to share or taste you'll all save some cash and cut down on the travel expenses out to the countryside.
Degustation to themed dinner parties
A degustation can be delicious and eye-opening to new foods, but even the name screams expensive!
If this type of dining is something you do often, it's another great opportunity to share the load and host a themed dinner party.
Degustation dinners often follow a theme, so take this idea but have each of your guests create something to share. Divide the delegated meals up between entrées, mains and desserts and everyone will hopefully be bringing something new!
If there's a certain cuisine that's popular amongst your group, use that as the theme, or get your guests to tap into their heritage or youth and create something that's been passed down to them.
Shopping mall to farmer's market
Going window shopping? Great, but how long does it take for you to remain on the outside of that window?
Your local shopping mall can be a dangerous place for splurging but you might have to visit it weekly to get to your supermarket.
Swapping the mall for a farmer's market will:
- Give you the option of fresher fruit and vegetables and;
- Help remove the temptation of visiting other shops.
You'll probably still have to visit the supermarket for your weekly shop, but to cut out the mall's temptations completely, visit a standalone supermarket – one that you don't have to go past your favourite clothes shop to get to.
The gym to park gym
Exercise is important and can be a distraction from spending money over the weekend.
If you have a membership, great, but $50-$60 is probably the starting price of most monthly gym memberships – some even costing you that per week!
It may not be sustainable forever, but at least while you're saving, give a park gym a try. While it won't have the range of dumbbells your gym does, it will have all the equipment to still get you that intense workout.
And do you really need to be spending excessive amounts of money if you're not utilising all of the gym's equipment? Run, walk or go for a bike ride along the beach, river or around your surrounding suburbs.
Getaway to staycation/road trip
We all need something to look forward to and take us out of our busy routines, and if¬ travelling is that, keep it in your plans. But what about the smaller getaways over the weekends?
If you're saving for a bigger holiday and short stays and getaways cut into these savings, swap them for a staycation or road trip.
A staycation may not sound as fun but it could be exactly what you need – allowing you to do some jobs around the house, break up the working routine and still explore what the regional areas of your state have to offer through a road trip.
We understand that saving there can be a real struggle in saving, especially if you have an active social life. It's not viable to cut out all the things you enjoy doing, but swapping them out with some of these suggestions might just help you hit your savings goals sooner.