• 7 ways to cut down spending and still have a good time

    People say you shouldn’t waste your weekends, but when you’re trying hard to save for a home, ‘living your best life’ can begin to look a lot like a bottomless money pit.

  • People say you shouldn’t waste your weekends, but when you’re trying hard to save for a home, ‘living your best life’ can begin to look a lot like a bottomless money pit.

    Emptying your pockets on a single night out starts to feel less like fun and more like traipsing the graveyard of your home ownership dreams.

    However, there is a way around it. Sydney-sider and new homeowner, Jamie, 23, found saving for her RAMS home loan actually didn’t impact her social life as much as many would think. There are ways to make it work.

    We asked Jamie how she manages to enjoy her life and keep those purse strings tight.

    1. Revisit cook-ups with mates

    Instead of going out with friends, take turns showing off your skills in your own kitchen. You’ll end up spending a fraction of what you would normally spend on dinner and drinks at a restaurant or bar.

    “To catch up, [my friends and I] would often do at-home stuff. So, we would all go to someone’s house and have a Mexican night, or a big breakfast or just cook a BBQ,” Jamie says, adding: “I think it’s much nicer anyway.”

    7 ways to cut down spending - cooking fish

    Swap fancy brunches and nights out for home-cooked deliciousness – it’s a win for everyone! Picture: Getty

    2. Use cash on a night out

    If you’re keen for a big night out, Jamie’s hottest tip is simple: Take cash.

    “When it comes to going out with friends and going clubbing, I think the biggest thing is taking cash with you, and not your card,” she says.

    “My partner and I would set the budget to $200 or $150 for that night, we’d take cash out, bring it with us and leave our cards at home.”

    (Just make sure you have your phone with you for the Uber home!)

    3. BYO

    According to consumer watchdog CHOICE, wine is marked up 250% at restaurants. But it is important to remember that BYO comes with a corkage fee so depending on the size of your party – for instance, if you’re dining with a large group and corkage is charged per person – your drinks might end up similarly expensive once you take into account the cost of the wine and the corkage.

    However, in many cases you could save an extra $30 off your bill by opting to bring your own.

    4. Turn date night into a special occasion

    Jamie and her partner, Taylar, still went on extravagant dinners during their savings period – they just restricted themselves to doing it once a month.

    “If we wanted to go out once a month, we would go to Otto or China Doll in the city and we would splurge, but that means that every other weekend we’re not going out to a restaurant,” Jamie says.

    5. Go on mini breaks

    One of the hardest things for Jamie was not being able to travel overseas while she was saving.

    However, she encourages taking a mini-break to end the monotony of being at home. Camping is her go-to for an inexpensive but rejuvenating weekend away.

    7 ways to cut down spending - sydney skyline

    Can’t make it to New York – what about Sydney? Or even the local bush camp or a secluded beach? Picture: Getty

    6. Get crafty at home

    Arts and crafts still cost money, but in Jamie’s case, if you’re looking for furniture or décor to fill your new home, a bit of DIY could save you thousands.

    “I was so focused on getting a concrete dining table, but at all of the stores they were around $2000 and I knew I couldn’t afford it,” Jamie says.

    “So I found a lady on Pinterest who did her own [table] and I just replicated it completely. It was an extra $1500 that I saved to put into other things.”

    7 ways to cut down spending - cacti

    Try an afternoon of potting plants to keep your hands busy and away from more expensive hobbies! Picture: Tamara Graham

    7. Check your council website

    You know what they say, the best things in life are free.

    You’d be surprised by just how many things are on in your city this weekend, gratuit. Visit your art gallery (the general exhibitions are usually free), find a free yoga class, go to a speaking event, free festival or workshop.

    Originally published on flatmates.com.au

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  • Disclaimer:

    While such material is published with permission, RAMS is not responsible for its accuracy or completeness.  This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness of the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.