Are you trying to cut down on costs or save for a goal, but you don't want to put your social life completely on hold? Swapping some of your usual activities with cheaper (but still fun) alternatives can be a way to help keep costs down while still getting your social fix.
We've put together eight creative ways to save money by swapping your weekend plans for a more cost effective one.
Dinner to breakfast, brunch or lunch
When we're talking social catch ups, dinner can often be the go-to meal to have out, but it's also the most expensive.
Think about your typical spend on a dinner out in the city – main course, drinks, transport in and out – if you're skipping entrees you might get away with spending less than $100, but not often.
The brunch scene is a great alternative to the dinner catch up, with lots of cafes in our cities, suburbs and of course along our beaches. Consider a breakfast, brunch or lunch as your first weekend swap. Better still, make it a coffee date to make it even more cost effective.
Night out to board game night in
Group activities like escape rooms and mini golf bars have become popular for a low-key night out. Consider occasionally swapping them for a board game or cards night at home.
You'll be surprised how similar these nights can be. You'll still experience friendly rivalries and strategic teamwork, but be aware you might discover a competitive side of your closest friends and family that you never knew they had!
Cinema experience to movie night
There's something special about the cinema experience, so save that for the blockbuster movies you've been waiting for all year. This could be an easy way to cut down on your weekend expenses.
Grab your like-minded friends, discover what your streaming services have to offer and enjoy the night in on the couch for next to nothing.
If you want to replicate the cinema experience grab your typical snacks, dim the lights and crank the volume to make the most of your viewing.
Winery trips to tastings at home
We often forget that the best recommendations come from those who we're closest to, so why not swap on a weekend to a winery, brewery or regional restaurant and host a tasting of your own.
Have your friends over on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and get them to bring their favourites. This way, you'll still broaden your palate and pick up on some new go-to options.
By having everyone bring something to share or taste, you'll all save some cash and also cut down on the travel expenses.
Degustation to themed dinner parties
A degustation can be delicious and eye-opening to new foods, but even the name screams expensive!
If this type of dining is something you like to do, it's another great opportunity to share the load and host a themed dinner party.
Degustation dinners often follow a theme, so take this idea but have each of your guests create something to share. Divide the delegated meals up between entrees, mains and desserts and everyone will hopefully be bringing something new.
If there's a certain cuisine that's popular among your group, use that as the theme, or get your guests to tap into their heritage or youth and create something that's been passed down to them.
Shopping mall to farmer's market
Your local shopping mall can be a dangerous place for splurging, but you might have to visit it weekly to get to your supermarket.
Swapping the mall for a farmer's market will:
- Give you the option of fresher fruit and vegetables and;
- Help remove the temptation of visiting other shops.
You'll probably still have to visit the supermarket for your weekly shop, but to cut out the mall's temptations completely, visit a standalone supermarket – one that you don't have to go past your favourite clothes shop to get to.
The gym to park gym
Exercise is important and can be a distraction from spending money on the weekend.
If you have a gym membership, great, but the cost can add up.
It may not be sustainable forever, but at least while you're saving or trying to cut down on costs, give a park gym a try. While it won't have the range of dumbbells your gym does, it will have equipment to give you a good workout.
And do you really need to be paying for a gym membership if you're not going often or utilising all the equipment? Run, walk or go for a bike ride along the beach, river or your surrounding suburbs.
Getaway to staycation/road trip
We all need something to look forward to and take us out of our busy routines, and if travelling is that, keep it in your plans. But what about the smaller getaways over the weekends?
If you're saving for a bigger holiday and short stays or getaways cut into these savings, swap them for a staycation or road trip.
A staycation may not sound as fun but it could be exactly what you need – allowing you to do some jobs around the house, break up the working routine and still explore what the regional areas of your state have to offer through a road trip.
We understand that trying to cut down spending can be a struggle, especially if you have an active social life. It's not viable to cut out all the things you enjoy doing, but swapping them out with some of these suggestions might just help you hit your savings goals sooner.