How to Cut Back on Spending During the Week, So You Can Have More Fun on Weekends

On one weekday, you can easily spend just as much as you do on the weekends. If you can learn to budget, organize your spending into categories and stick to a plan, you will be able to save valuable money during the week that can up your spending on weekends. Budgeting centers around balance, and as long as you follow these tips to cut back on weekday spending, your weekends will be more fun without any risk of breaking the bank.

During the week, focusing on to-do lists and simultaneously saving up your money can open up funds on the weekend. Whether heading out on adventures with your friends, attending a trip sponsored by your school, or treating yourself to non-dining hall food, weekends always are a good chance to switch things up and splurge a little. If you think ahead, you’ll have much more money and less stress for your weekend splurges—no regrets. 

Skipping out on your weekday coffee runs could save you between $3 and $6 on average per day. Add this up, and you’ve just found a hidden $30 you could use for some weekend fun, such as movie tickets. Here are some of the best ways to find and save that extra cash during the week.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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1. Plan for necessary weekday purchases.

Organize and prioritize essentials.

When you’re shopping for things like groceries, it’s important to have a list in-hand. Without a list or a plan, you can get distracted and easily spend more on things you don’t need. By making a list, you can check your local store’s deals for that week and come prepared with any coupons you need. Plus, you can plan meals and snacks in advance and hold yourself accountable—no more “there’s nothing good to make” excuses.

Sign up for rewards programs and take advantage of sales.

From groceries and gas to Dunkin’ and Starbucks, almost every store has a rewards program you can sign up for to rack up points, earn rewards and get access to exclusive deals and sales. There are no drawbacks to signing up for rewards programs, and they can help you save money and earn free or discounted items throughout the week. Some stores even have apps for your phone, making it even easier to keep track of sales.

2. Do-It-Yourself

Make your own food and drinks for most of the week.

A huge expense hides in plain sight behind your daily coffee run, Chipotle meal or quick snack-on-the-go. Instead of relying on fast food, plan to cook most of your meals for the week, especially lunches and dinners. Eating out might seem more enticing, but that’s not the case for your bank account. Coffee is another spot where major spending lies. Getting a $3 coffee every day seems like a small price to pay at the time, but picture how that builds over weeks, months and semesters. Save money (and time) by making your coffee at home. Investing in a coffee maker might be worthwhile if you are constantly seeking out your morning pick-me-up at a shop.

Only use cash during the week instead of your credit or debit card.

Swiping your card makes it easy to forget about spending, but seeing the numbers on your statement at the end of the month doesn’t feel good. By only using cash during the week, you hold yourself more accountable. It’s much harder to drop $100 cash at Target for decorations and makeup than it is to swipe your card and move on.

Create a savings jar where you put all of the loose change you acquire during weekdays.

When you get home every day, place all of your loose change into a jar or mug. This method of saving seems so simple, but you would be surprised how much change you acquire over the course of a month. You can then deposit everything in the bank or use it for weekend fun however you please.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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3. Allot some spending for treats during the week, too.

Don’t go from spending whatever you like to being very tight with a budget overnight.

Starting any big change at 100 percent is hard, and pretty much guarantees that you’ll have a tricky time adjusting. Give yourself time to adjust to your new spending routine, and you will be much more likely to succeed. Start with one change at a time and see how implementing it goes. If it works for you, then add another savings method to your routine.

Give yourself room and flexibility.

This might sound counterintuitive, but it’s so important to allot for treats in your budget. Whether you set that amount at $5 or $30, set aside money that you can use for a spontaneous dinner out, coffee or trip to a store you love. You won’t disrupt your spending routine, and you won’t feel like you are being forced to give up everything you enjoy. Budgeting is about being prepared, so prepare for both unexpected expenses and get ahead of big spending projects before they catch up to you. 

4. Use spending tricks to be more mindful of impulse purchases.

Use the 10/10 rule.

If you’re in a store and see something you want, but don’t need, spend no more than ten minutes considering it. At the end of the ten minutes, if you’re still not sure about purchasing it, use this rule to make a decision. If it’s more than a certain amount, like $10, put it back and reconsider later. If it’s less, just go for it so that you don’t waste your time. You can also consider the following:

Wait it out.

If you really want to buy something during the week, set a certain amount of time as your standard to wait. Most people use a week as the baseline for this, but you could do more or less as you see fit. At the end of that time, if you still want the item, you’ve thought it through rationally and eliminated the impulsiveness of it.

By cutting back on spending during the week, you open up some of your budget to have more fun on weekends. Weekday spending often can be avoided or planned for, and the money you save will benefit your budget in many ways. Without the stress of a budget strain, and the added bonus of all that hidden money you find to spend on weekend fun, you'll be able to go out with your girls, have all the snacks for a Netflix night or head out for a fun adventure with no regrets on the weekend.