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Free Money Finance

Free Money Finance

Save Money By Shaking Things Up

Posted: 03 Apr 2017 02:05 AM PDT

The following is a guest post from Mrs. Picky Pincher, the blogger and money-saving maven at Picky Pinchers. She writes about living the good life while paying off $225,000 of debt. You can check out her 30-Day Frugal Cleanse to start your own debt freedom journey.

Back in my pre-frugal days, I bought a new pair of shoes whenever it tickled my fancy. I showered myself with fancy chocolate bars, which I inhaled with gusto. Trips to the salon were a regular feature of my self-pampering. Ahhh, I thought my life was so grand. I had a net worth of -$70,000, credit card debt, and a bin full of stilettos I didn’t wear.

Truthfully, I bought crap because I was bored. My life wasn’t very interesting, but a new gaming system definitely was! I bought things on impulse, looking for spendy thrills.

Thankfully I got my head out of the sand in May of 2015. Mr. Picky Pincher and I realized with shock that we had so much debt we couldn’t even buy a house. The horror! As it turns out, we were our own worst enemies. We blew money on restaurants, hobbies, drinks—you name it. Life was boring, so we spent money. It seemed like the logical thing to do, until we realized we had zero real money to our name.

In the years since, Mr. Picky Pincher and I have learned how to keep life exciting without dropping $50 every time we feel bored. Here are a few ways we keep life exciting without spending a lot of cheddar.

How I saved money by shaking things up

1. The cheap haircut

I get one haircut a year. I've almost always rocked long hair, but last month I was sick of it. I had to style it every morning so I wouldn't look like a troll. It also didn't help that the extra hair on my head made me unbearably hot. I was feeling "meh" about my appearance in general and longed for a change.

Instead of overhauling my wardrobe, getting eyelash extensions, or paying for a pricey chemical peel, I chopped my hair off for $14. I could have cut my hair myself, but I wanted the luxury of a salon haircut. Fancy, I know.

I felt so much better after lobbing off the extra weight on my head. As an added bonus, my new layered bob was low-maintenance and didn't even require brushing in the morning. I felt renewed and more like myself again--on the cheap.

2. A change of scenery

Although Mr. Picky Pincher and I are diehard homebodies, we get cabin fever every now and then. And cabin fever is an expensive ailment to have! It can result in impromptu shopping trips, catching a movie, or eating at a restaurant. There's nothing wrong with these things, but they can add up in your budget if you don't plan for them. We fight cabin fever by shaking things up for free.

If the weather's nice, we'll eat dinner outside under the trees. To get away from the house, we'll go for a walk in our neighborhood, visit our badass local park, or troll the aisles of our library for movies and books. I also like to find free events around our city. We'll attend an Irish heritage festival (complete with free food!) or a city-sponsored gardening workshop.

A simple change of routine and scenery solves our cabin fever woes.

3. Be fancy!

While there's nothing wrong with treating yourself every now and then, I used to blow my money on manicures and highlights. Those are definitely not budget-friendly, so I found new ways to get fancy without dropping $50.

Take a fancy bath. All you need is hot water, a soothing playlist on Pandora, and maybe some nice aromatherapy candles.

At-home massages. Who doesn't love a nice shoulder massage? Take turns with your partner or good friend and give each other a nice 'n' relaxing massage.

Mani-pedis. I used to love getting my nails done. Unfortunately, at $80+ a pop, I had to nip that habit in the bud. I started giving myself mani-pedis at home with a gel manicure machine I bought on sale. I get salon-quality nails for a fraction of the cost.

Fancy dinner at home. Nobody wants to eat roast and potatoes three times a week. Keep dinner lively by opting for a high-end menu. Mr. Picky Pincher and I cooked lobster at home for Valentine's Day instead of eating out. We had a great seafood dinner and spent a quarter of what we would have spent at a restaurant.

The Bottom Line

It's easy to get bored when you fall into a routine. Instead of spending money to feel happy and free, try shaking up your life on the cheap. Try these tips to keep things simple while pampering yourself.

We want to know: How do you treat yourself without spending money?


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