Curb Your Weekend Spending

The weekend is upon us, as Pay Day might also be. Most women will admit that these two events and SPENDING go hand in hand in hand. We've worked hard all week to rein in excess spending, but when the weekend hits we wreck all that effort.

So how can we combine self-control with some weekend R&R?

1. Fun doesn't mean mega-bucks. It means finding things to do that will draw your family closer together. Does spending money seeing a movie at the theater outweigh an evening camped out on the living room floor watching a movie? The treats are less expensive and you can take a bathroom break whenever you want. Check out local art museums, the park down the road or your own back yard. You'd be surprised at how much there is to do that doesn't cost a thing.

2. Take a break from window shopping. "I'm just going to look." How many times have I heard those words flowing freely from my lips...and then came home with two or three little bags? If you want to maintain your bank account you have two choices: don't shop or don't spend. If you don't have to go shopping, then don't go. If you want to go look, leave your pocketbook behind and just enjoy the experience without the temptation.

3. Plan your meals now. Instead of calling out for pizza or running to the Chinese take-away as a last-minute option, plan some meals for the weekend that will create lots of great leftovers. You'll have plenty for lunches both days, and then something to take to work and school on Monday. It's a lot more cost-effective and much tastier!

4. Instead of meeting friends or family at a restaurant, host a pot luck. Have everyone bring their favorite covered dish, you provide the lemonade and coffee, and you'll have an inexpensive, memorable evening with the people you love.

5. Set a spending limit. Since you probably don't want to be cooped up in the house all weekend, reserve a certain amount of money for your "running around money." Take cash and when it's gone, it's gone. You can still do a little browsing, get that cup of coffee or buy a new book. It's all about moderation and enjoying the time you spend out and about...not trying to balance the checkbook later.

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