How To Have Fun Without Spending Much

Published: 19th February 2007
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As young, vibrant, independent women, most of you like to go out to concerts, dinner, movies, maybe even travel a little. You also like to look your best and make an effort to get the best make-up, grooming products, haircuts or manicures. that your money can buy. You want to go out with friends, network with your coworkers, take a cooking or writing class, and meet a hot date while you're at it. As a young woman, you have a need to experience all the great things that life has to offer. In other words, entertainment and personal grooming are a big part of your life. How do you then, reconcile the added expenses that these fun things bring against your non-existent entertainment budget?

My advice to you is to, first and foremost, prioritize. Ask yourself what is the one thing you cannot afford to miss every month. Make a list of all the entertainment things you would like to do and then go over your budget and find any extra dollars that you can allocate every week for at least one outing a week. If getting a weekly manicure or going to the hair salon four times a month is more important this month than going out to that trendy restaurant or concert, then you know what your entertainment money will be used for. As your priorities change every week, so should your plans for entertainment and pampering.

Once you know how much money you can spend on personal grooming, entertainment and miscellaneous expenses every month, I would suggest that you take that money out of the bank and keep it at home or with you when it's time to go out. This will allow you to pay for things with cash and avoid getting into credit card debt. If, on the other hand, there is no money left from your expenses to go out once a week, then see if you can go out once every other week. The one week where you cannot afford to go out, you can rent a movie, call a friend you haven't spoke to in a while, or read a book you have been putting aside for some time.

I know what you may be thinking: "it sucks that I am a young, beautiful, smart, and fun woman who wants to enjoy life and can't because I don't have any money. Moreover, one outing a week is simply not my idea of enjoying my youth. It is simply not realistic and cannot be done." Let me remind you that everything is possible, especially if you set your mind to it. When I decided to move to the United States, I picked one of the most exciting but expensive cities in the world, New York City. I had less than $7,000, no job, spoke very little English, and expected the money to last for 3 years.

It sounds funny, but coming from a small town in Puerto Rico, I didn't know any better. When the money was gone (a mere 3 months later), I had to get a part-time job paid $150 a week. Needless to say, entertainment was the least of my priorities. In a city with such cultural and artistic diversity, staying home every week seemed to be a sin, a major punishment. I had to prepare myself mentally for my new reality, stop dwelling on what I didn't have, and concentrate on the opportunities that the city had to offer (which were many) that were available for free or for very little money.

My point with the above story is that living within your means is possible. You must make the best of your reality while you work to build a better one. Keep that in mind while making your budget and learn to take responsibility for your finances. Remember that you are working towards goals that will eventually improve your economic station as well as other parts of your life.

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