How to live the good life without breaking the bank
by guest Blogger Carole Hoste
Girl, you’ve got it going on! You’ve got a degree, a job in your field, that cute studio loft apartment, and an incredible group of friends. You have a zest for life and desire to conquer the world!
You also have bills, student loans, and a salary that is more indicative of the struggling economy than of the amazingness of your skills. Ugh. What’s a gal to do when she’s trying to get her Sex and the City on, with a Two Broke Girls budget?
Never fear! You don’t have to choose between having fun and meeting your financial goals. With a little planning and creativity, it’s possible to do both. Here are some suggestions to help you with that:
Happy Hour, Happy Wallet – Many social outings revolve around food and drinks. Rather than hitting a trendy club where you’ll have a cover charge and premium drink prices, get together with your friends over happy hour. Nearly every kind of bar has some sort of special for the after work crowd. Enjoy cocktails and appetizers for a nice discount off their regular price. You’ll be appropriately dressed in your cute business wear from the day, which can save on having to buy a fresh dress for the club. Bonus – since happy hour is geared toward the 9-5:00 working crowd, it’s usually a great place to find eligible employed men looking nice in their office suits.
One or the Other – If you do find yourself involved in plans for regular menu price hours, consider only indulging in food or drinks, but not both. An outing is about the experience and the company you’re with. If you eat dinner with a water instead of those 2-3 glasses of chardonnay, you’ll keep your bill much lower. Likewise, if the main event is getting turnt up on cocktails, eat dinner at home before you go out and only pay for your drinks. Choosing one or the other allows you to slash half of your bill while still participating in the full experience.
Nifty Thrifty – Paying full price for your clothes is sooo 2016! Second hand is not only good to your pocket, but also less wasteful for the world and environment. Aside from hitting the standard Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, it’s common these days to find vintage boutiques specializing in second-hand clothes that are more handpicked to be on trend. Apps like Poshmark and The Real Real allow you to buy higher label, fashion forward items second-hand straight from your phone. Another fun option is organizing a clothing swap amongst your girlfriends – one girl’s trash is another girl’s treasure! You can clean out your closet, grab a few new cute pieces, and have a fun night with friends all in one.
*Bonus: In addition to getting sweet clothes on the cheap through these platforms, you can actually make money by reselling the clothes you don’t wear anymore. Win-win!
Free Fun – If you know where you look, there are often lots of fun, free events to enjoy, particularly if you live in a major city. The Facebook event page is a great place to start – simply search all of the events happening for a given day or weekend, and you’ll likely come across local music, poetry readings, networking events, classes, and workshops for free or very cheap. That $100 Beyoncé ticket might not be in your budget, but you can see the next up and coming star at the coffee shop down the street for $5. If there is a big name event you are just dying to attend, check Groupon and Living Social before you buy tickets – these discount websites offer seats to a lot of events for nearly half the face value price.
Budget Beauty – It’s easy to swoon at the MAC counter full of gorgeous shades, but the price of high end cosmetics can elicit more of a cringe. Drugstore make up brands have been stepping their game up their game over the years though, offering comparable products for a fraction of the price. Check out Make Up Alley or other cosmetic review websites, where users swatch and review all kinds of brands in search of the perfect “dupe” (replacement) for higher end colors and products. Remember Groupon and Living Social, mentioned earlier for cheap events? Both of these sites are always flush with deals for local spa services – never pay full price for your massage, facial, or Brazilian wax again! Just make sure you watch the expiration date, because even half price isn’t a deal if you miss out and waste the money.
It’s easy to feel like we need to keep up with the Joneses of the world – but there is nothing fabulous about poor money management. Just put forth a little creativity, planning, and open-mindedness, and enjoy life’s favorite indulgences while keeping your pocket book on track!
Carole can be followed on IG:@aresnouveau