How to Not Spend Money (aka Money Saving Tips)

by Irina Gonzalez on June 30, 2011

in I'm Not Spending Any Money

Cuban churrasco and white rice with black beans and madurosAfter spending a full week not spending any money and then a second week trying to not spend money, I realized that the easiest thing to do is to not spend money during the work week.

My 2nd week of not spending money didn’t really go so well.

I didn’t spend any money on lunch or dinner during the week, but I did end up spending some money over the weekend. Though not as much as you’d think.

On 6/23, I cooked diner for a date and then he took me to the movies (no money spent), on 6/24 I had dinner at home but on 6/25 I bought lunch at Taco Bell. For dinner I went to a friend’s house and then had drinks with a date (where I spent a bit of money sharing drinks).

On 6/26, I didn’t eat out and on 6/27 I kept up with leftovers for lunch but then had to spend money on dinner for a Birthday girl. On 6/28 I had more leftovers for lunch and dinner, then on 6/29 I had more leftovers for lunch and used a Groupon for this delicious Cuban dinner at Amor Cubano. I did spend some money there, but not nearly as much as I would have otherwise.

So I’m compiling a list of how I spent the past two weeks (mostly) not spending any money. Here are my best tips: 

1. Invite friends over. The easiest thing to do to keep socializing but not spending much money is to have a dinner party or even just one friend over for dinner. I did this a few times during the past two weeks, whether it was inviting a friend over or going over to someone else’s house for food. I had a good time exchanging making dinner with my best friend, it was a genius way to save.

2. Drink your liquor. Most people I know have something in their freezer or in their cupboards. I have a bottle of white wine, half a bottle of red wine, and opened bottles of rum, vodka and tequila in my freezer. It’s not that I’m alcoholic (I swear), it’s all leftovers from parties. So instead of going to an expensive bar, just ask your friend to bring a mixer and have a relaxing drink at home.

3. Check for free covers. When I went to a gay dance party last Tuesday, I made sure that it was for free. Although my friend was hosting and I really wanted to go, I knew that if I wanted to save money I couldn’t afford to pay $20 to get into a club that I was only planning to stay at for no more than an hour and a half. I budgeted buying myself one drink, but I had to get in for free.

4. Go to free shows. I went to the movies with a date (he had a Fandango coupon) and went to another show with my friend. If you live in a big city (like me here in NYC), there are always free things around. But even if you don’t, there are always free events around. You just have to call ahead and find out, sometimes there’s free events on non-weekend nights. Trust me, you’ll love it.

5. Eat your leftovers. I had a ton of leftovers in my freezer ever since I started Leftovers Month back in March. So as part of trying not to spend any money this week, I decided to really make a concrete effort to finish all of them. Even when it came time to meet friends for lunch, I made sure we met in a park so that I could still bring my own food and finish it all.

6. Check out free food events. One thing I discovered: Whole Foods has plenty of free food events. Not all of them will have free food events, but I discovered a couple that have them once a week. I decided that not only is this a fun way to spend an evening, but it’s also a nice way to learn new cooking techniques. I learned a lot in the Raw Foods class I took and I can’t wait to take more.

7. Try free transportation. Well, riding my bike didn’t really go as well as I had hoped but this definitely would have been the best way to save some money. My second favorite way to save money is by walking everywhere. I spent a good amount of time walking around, particularly yesterday when I was running errands. It’s just the best way to do it, plus you get exercise!

8. Use your Social Coupons. I had a Groupon for $30 worth of food at a Cuban restaurant near me, called Amor Cubano. Although it had actually expired a few weeks ago, I called and sweet talked them into letting me still use it, so I had amazing Cuban food on a date last night. We did end up spending a bit of money (drinks/tax/tip not included), but it was still SUPER cheap.

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