I enjoy shopping and spending money sometimes; the act of it (as long as it’s quick), getting new things, and wearing or enjoying those new things. But sometimes I just don’t have the money to spend because of whatever happens to be going on in my life. Maybe I went to a concert, a birthday party, and traveled to spend time with family within a couple of weeks.
While I live comfortably, I don’t have the luxury of unlimited fun money. So I have to be smart with my money and sometimes avoid spending so that I can afford all of my living expenses and contribute to savings. Whether you need to temporarily cut back on spending or are trying to achieve a savings goal or pay off debt, here’s a list of productive things to do instead of spending money.
Here are 25 ideas to start with:
- Meal prep for the next week
- Go for a walk/jog, do yoga, or other exercise
- Take a bath
- Read a book
- Invite friends over
- Create and/or review your budget
- Write down financial or other goals
- Call a relative or friend you haven’t talked to in a while
- Do a puzzle or brainteaser
- Organize your closets
- Declutter and sell items you don’t need
- Volunteer at a local food shelf, animal shelter, etc.
- Clean out your refrigerator
- Bake something you can share with your co-workers or neighbors
- Pull your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com (for free) and review for errors
- Shop around for better auto insurance
- Update your resume
- Pack your lunch for the next day
- Make a to-do list for the next week or month
- Help your child with homework or do an art project together
- Write someone a letter and mail it (Who doesn’t love getting mail that isn’t a bill or junk mail?!)
- Set up automatic deposits into a savings account from your paycheck
- Declutter your inbox and unsubscribe from emails you don’t need
- Switch to paperless billing and set up automatic payments for any you haven’t set up yet
Even though items listed above aren’t necessarily the most fun things to do, you will either feel productive and even maybe more relaxed afterward. Plus, if you have the itch to spend money, staying busy always helps.
Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.