Save money while also enjoying life

Live Well for Less

by Ashley

We’re all trimming our budgets these days, which also means we’re steering clear of any wallet-draining vices like a dieter avoiding a doughnut shop. And that’s a shame, because that daily latte habit or weekend movie indulgence gives us something to look forward to during a stressful workweek. It’s time to live well for less.

Fortunately, there’s no need to go cold turkey. You can still enjoy your vices—and save money—by changing your habits so that they’ll cost less. Here’s how.

A Cheaper Cup of Coffee
The best way to save on your morning coffee habit is to downsize it. Start ordering your drink in a smaller size and you’ll save a chunk of change every day. Bring your own mug to snag additional savings. And, if you’re a Starbucks addict, start paying for your drink with a preloaded gift card. A prepaid card helps with budgeting, and Starbucks gives users pricey add-ons like soy milk and syrups for free.

Happy-Hour Hints
It’s hard to pass up a post-work nosh with your closest associates. To save in this category, consider turning your dinner dates into happy-hour get-togethers. You can still enjoy their company but will spend less on the same food and drink you’d sample come dinnertime.

A Whittled Wine Budget
If you pour a glass (or two) of wine to unwind after work, you know that a nightly wine habit can quickly drain a bank account. The irony here is that you can save on wine by buying more of it, or at least more of it at once. When you purchase a case of wine (typically 12 bottles) instead of individual bottles, most grocery stores, wineries, and bottle shops will give you a discount of 15 to 20 percent off your purchase.

A Budget-Friendly Blowout
When you’re polishing your professional image, salon bills add up—especially if you insist on frequenting a high-end salon. The key to saving money and looking good is to put your faith in a local beauty school. Beauty school students can cut and color your hair and perform other salon services for a fraction of the price a big-name salon does. If you’re worried about working with a novice, ask for a senior student or have their instructor nearby during your appointment.

Fine Films for the Frugal-Minded
Weekly trips to the theater are a big budget buster, but not everyone is willing to save money by watching blockbusters on their television at home. Find a middle ground by locating a second-run theater in your neighborhood. You’ll have to wait a few weeks (or months) before the buzzworthy movies arrive, but your ticket price will drop drastically for the same experience the big-chain cinemas offer.

Wallet-Friendly Reading Material

If you can’t pass the grocery-store checkout without grabbing a glossy, it’s time to order a yearly magazine subscription. Or, join a service like MAGHOUND  that delivers subscribers a selection of magazines each month for a set price. Finally, try the library, where you can check out back issues and novels from your favorite author for free.

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