Did you make a New Year’s resolution to spend less money this year? It’s a great goal to have, but as many other resolutions go (to lose weight, for example) it may go by the wayside as you begin to fall back into your old routines. When Friday arrives after a busy week and we gear up for free time over the weekend, it’s easy to fall hard into these money traps. Here are a few more money traps to consider this weekend and ways to avoid them.
The road trip: Doesn’t hitting the open road with a group of friends sound like a fun idea? While this is often a popular way to take a quick trip over the weekend consider how much you will actually spend. First off, there’s the cost of driving. It can cost you up to $5 an hour on the gas alone, along with the eventual expenditures resulting from wear and tear on your vehicle. Then, there’s the food. Chances are while on the road, you’ll be eating fast food, which is not the best use of your money. Additionally, you will more than likely stay in a hotel along the way that can cost at least $75. So, if you do decide to take off on a weekend road trip, make smart choices. Decide how much you want to spend on gas and only travel as far as that will take you. Pack your food to save money (and the extra pounds the junk food will add to your waistline). Also, cut out the hotel cost and consider traveling to places where you have family and friends so you have a free place to crash.
The big event: Are you a football fan? Do you love catching the hottest concert? These things are a lot of fun, but they will certainly cost you. Not only are the tickets expensive, but the refreshments and food at most venues are priced ridiculously high. Also, unless you live in a bigger city, chances are these big-ticket events aren’t actually taking place in your hometown. Therefore, not only will you have to buy the ticket, you’ll also spend money on travel and hotel accommodations. Before you purchase your ticket consider looking into local music shows or sporting events. While they may not be the hottest things out there, you can still have a very similar experience while supporting local artists or athletes.
The mall: We all know shopping can get expensive but consider the mall the absolute worst place for weekend money traps. Not only is there an endless amount of stores where you can waste your money, there is also a food court and often a movie theatre. The mall can literally be a one-stop shop for blowing your money and breaking your New Year’s budget. While it can be fun to hit the mall where there’s something for everyone before you do, think about what you actually need. Does your child need a new pair of shoes? If so, go directly to that store and nowhere else. If you’re just looking for a shopping experience, then hit the grocery store instead and get what you really need for the coming week.