Top-Five: Ways to Save Money by Staying at Home

19 Jan

Note: Forgive the 3 week absence of my Top-Five list. With everything going on between visiting New Jersey for the holidays, relocating back home for a period of time, and getting settled I just haven’t found much time to sit down and write.

With the holiday season finally being over and 2010 in full swing, we can safely say that we’re no longer riding out the coat tails of holiday cheer or having to endure the expense either. So what are we to do with all of our shiny new gifts and maxed out credit cards? Simple. We stay home and enjoy them.

Christmas time is considered a time to give rather than receive, right? So what happens when we have no more means of giving? We have to rebuild our savings by spending less, which means going out less. Personally, I’m content with hanging out at home, watching movies, and spending time with Ben, but what about the people who prefer to be constantly busy and are completed repulsed by the idea of staying at home?

In this week’s Top Five, I’ll cover a variety of ways to save your cash by staying home and still having a great time.

1. All dressed up with no place to go. Who doesn’t love getting dressed up to the nines and hitting the town? But who says you still can’t get dressed up at home? Get dressed up, do your hair & makeup, wear your favorite 5inch high boots or expensive tie, and have a romantic dinner for two followed by a night of dancing to your very own soundtrack via your home stereo system and iPod.

When your feet start hurting from those heels, take’em off and dance worry free because you know what your stepping on. Plus, you won’t have to be one of those girls who wore the wrong shoes and ends up carrying them around with her for the rest of the night.

Dressing up at home has plenty of benefits as well. First off, there is no cover charge or long line to stand in, plus it won’t be crowded and there will never be a long line at the bathroom.

Second, the price of one drink at a bar is about $5 and upwards of $15 at fancier places. To buy a bottle of wine would cost between $5-15 which serves 5-6 glasses depending on the size of the bottle. A case of cheap beer, say a 12 pack, can range from $10-20 depending on the brand.

When you do the math you end up spending far more on drinks alone than you would by picking up a bottle of wine or liquor and a case of beer and enjoying it in the comfort of your own home. Plus you’ll be playing by your own rules at home versus the bar’s rules and etiquette. And let’s not forget the cost of tolls, gas, and parking as well.

2. Think like a child. This has to be one of my favorite ways to go about things when it comes to simplicity. One of my girlfriend’s says that she and her boyfriend will go to a friends house in pajamas, enjoy a delicious home cooked meal, and play Wii and other video games. She says “I get to be comfortable, have amazing Spanish food, and see a bunch of my friends all at once without having to spend a lot of money.”

It always makes a lot of sense to me to buy some coloring books, a box of crayons and markers, and just have an arts and crafts kind of night. Think about how stressful everyday life is as an adult and how many times we think about how easy we had it when we were kids. What kinds of things did you enjoy as a child? Coloring, play time, building blocks or Legos, nap time?

We’re forced to use our brains while we’re at work or in school, so maybe taking a night off, throwing on some comfy clothes, cooking up a delicious meal (tater tots, chicken fingers, pizza rolls, bagel bites, and mac & cheese), and spreading yourself out on the living room floor and going to town on coloring book.

If coloring books aren’t your thing try board games like Operation, Clue, or Apples to Apples.

3. Party like the Swedish do. Have a smorgasbord by way of a pot luck dinner party. Invite your friends over and have everyone bring a covered dish or dessert and their choice beverage. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a party like this and you still get to have a good time with your friends.

You can host the party and take care of the clean up afterwards while everyone else does their share by preparing their part of the meal. This is a cost effective way to get together with friends, share a meal, and still be under budget. If you’re feeling funky you can have a themed party, like jungle night or a masquerade.

After dinner the group can play board games or charades, watch a comedic movie with popcorn, or have a discussion of anything lighthearted and stress free. And let’s not forget karaoke.

4. Do the Betty Crocker dance. Wait, what?! Yeah…I said it. Have your girlfriends over and spend the afternoon or evening baking a bunch of delectable’s from a cook book or family recipes. This will allow for girl time and it’s cost effective because baking supplies usually won’t break the bank. Plus, who doesn’t love a good red velvet cake or a batch of dark chocolate cupcakes?

5. Create the perfect ambience. If you’re anything like me than you probably thrive on the ambience of any place you go. Even at home it’s a must to have the right type of lighting. Since, I’m the baller-on-a-budget type at the moment, I never feel childish hanging colorful strands of Christmas lighting along the edge of the wall and ceiling in the bedroom, because it really sets the mood for any occasion. After a long day the last thing I want to come home to is a house full of bright, eye-burning lights, but rather a place where the mood is set for relax mode.

For any of the occasions I’ve listed you can very easily and inexpensively set the right ambience. I’m a fan of the dollar store. Although not everything sold at a dollar store is truly worth your dollar but they do carry a decent selection of candles, tea lights, and assorted holders. They even sell a fair share of select scents and incense. But don’t limit yourself to a dollar store, be sure to check out places like Walmart, Target, Hobby Lobby, and Michael’s Crafts. And let’s not forget Goodwill or the Salvation Army either.

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