The money you set aside for discretionary purposes is a truly wonderful part of your budget. It’s that little section of money that you feel is truly yours. All other amounts are the sole property of your debtors. A few thousand go straight to living expenses that can’t be avoided, ex. mortgages, car payments, utilities, and food.
While some financial experts will say that as long as you have debt you should never be setting aside any discretionary money, it’s important to not let your budget feel as though it’s strangling you. If you feel that your budget is too strict it will usually lead to just losing your budget altogether.
As long as you are working towards paying down your debts and your immediate financial responsibilities have been paid such as short term or payday loans that are due, the discretionary money is yours that you can use for anything, and that comes with a truly freeing feeling. Wouldn’t it be nice therefore if you could stretch that discretionary money to encompass more things?
Luckily you can. There are a lot of ways you can save money on things you would already be using your discretionary money for. Here are 8 of the best ways to do it.
Save Money on Entertainment
Begin by getting a library card. For those readers and movie watchers, a library card allows you access to nearly unlimited literature and cinema for free. With the recent advance to e-book checkouts, you can check a book out without ever leaving the comfort of your own home and read it on your e-reader. After a normal checkout period, your book will automatically delete itself from your system.
You already pay for the library system with your taxes; why not take advantage of the resources that are rightfully yours? Get a library card and check out a book or movie before you buy it.
Most of the time, you won’t read or watch these stories again. Why buy them if you’re never going to pick them up again? Library cards will help you filter out the books and movies you would like to own.
Once you find the media you can’t live without, you can use your discretionary money on them. Until then, don’t waste your money on them yet.
Ask a Friend
Second, share entertainment amongst your friends. If you don’t own a particular movie, someone you know likely does. Ask to borrow the movie for a weekend and return it promptly afterwards. With an extended network of friends, you can get your movie fix without having to purchase it.
Timing is Everything
Third, stop paying for the more expensive entertainment when there are cheaper options. A Friday night movie is nice, but a Saturday afternoon matinee is cheaper.
When the difference in price comes down to the time of day instead of quality of product, the choice can be a no brainer. Go see that movie you’ve been dying to see, but see it at a cheaper price.
Make Your Hobbies Pay
Fourth, invest in something that will turn a profit when it’s time to sell again. Turn a hobby into an income. If you’re interested in guns, make that into a money maker. Buy a gun, modify it, use it to your heart’s content and then turn around and sell it for more than you spent on it.
Just as long as you’re using the gun for your own use before selling it, you won’t have to create a business out of it. It’s just a way to make money off the investments you put your discretionary money into.
Turn whatever you are purchasing with your discretionary money into something you can sell again later. Some ideas will be more obvious than others, but with enough of a creative idea, you can learn to make money instead of just spend it. An additional source of income is never a bad thing either.
Look For Free Entertainment
Fifth, find as many free things to attend as possible. You can find outdoor movies, meetings, plays, and celebrations going on all the time, especially during the summer. Don’t be afraid to try something you wouldn’t normally do either.
Go to see things simply because they’re there to see. You will enjoy a more rich and diversified life if you get out there. You will learn more about the world, even if all you learn is that you don’t want to be a part of that experience again.
Wherever you live, free events are going on all the time. Get involved with the community and you’ll know where they are.
Just because your money has been marked for free use, doesn’t mean that you have to use it without thought. The occasional night on the town is a great activity to use it on. Most of the time though, why not stretch it a bit to get maximum enjoyment?
You might find better uses for that money if you don’t use it on the first big idea that pops into your head. Other times you’ll make something more with it than you ever thought possible before.