I am passionate about living large on a budget. When I encounter a way to feel rich and spend poor I’m happy. Granted, I’m not a really extravagant type, but I do like nice things. In order to splurge on activities such as travel and quality furniture, I cut back in many less important areas.
Try these food and fun activities for a week or two. Take the money you save and use it to splurge or better yet, to bulk up your savings.
Inflation is here and it is distressing. I hate hitting the supermarket and watching the prices go up before my eyes. That’s why I frequently make great meals out of cheap ingredients. Challenge yourself and give it a try.
CABBAGE: A head costs about a buck and has about 6-8 servings.
- Make some coleslaw; easy and fun. Just cut it up, add some onions, carrots, vinegar, mayo and a bit of Italian dressing from the fridge; delicious.
- Make soup a meal by starting with a can of tomato soup, add cabbage, beans, potatoes, and onions. Serve with bread. It’s so cheap that it’s like eating for free. My family loved it.
- If you’re really creative stuff some with rice, meat/beans, tomatoes etc. and bake it in the oven.
PEANUT BUTTER: About 3 times a week I eat a peanut butter sandwich. Make it with banana, jelly, or bacon. Great for all!
PASTA: Where do I begin? Is there food more versatile and affordable? Maybe beans.
- Marinara with a bit of ground hamburger
- Olive oil and veggies
- Cream soup and frozen spinach
- Canned chili (veggie, turkey, or regular), shredded cheese, and onions
I enjoy choosing a few ingredients I have on hand, plugging them in google search and see what recipes come up!
CHEAP FUN AND RELAXATION
I am big on fun and relaxation. Commit to a cheap week or month and see how it goes.
- Hit the library and stock up on FREE movies, books, and music.
- Get out your pennies and have a family poker tournament, or scrabble, monopoly, or chutes and ladders (if the kids are small).
- Go on a nature walk; pick up some leaves, twigs, and stones. Bring them home paint and glue them to make a craft!
- Teach your pet a new trick. Not so great for cats!
- Go on YouTube and get instructions to create something together as a family.
- Play the videogames TOGETHER.
- Pick up the football, waffle ball, or soccer ball and have a game.
- Check out the free events in your town on the week-end.
What did you learn during cheap week?
You can do activities for a day, or a week or two that you might not maintain for the long haul. That said, it’s a fun challenge to uncover ways you and the family can cut back a bit, and you may surprise yourselves and want to continue some of these new strategies.
A caveat: don’t cut back too much or you may feel too deprived and go on a spending binge to compensate.
What are other activities you recommend for a cheap week?
This is a guest post by Barbara Friedberg, MBA, MS, is editor-in-chief of Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance.com where she writes to educate, inspire, and motivate for wealth in money and life. Learn about personal finance from a real life portfolio manager! Stop by the website and download the valuable free eBook” 20 Minute Guide to Investing.”