“A dash of frugality is a good thing for everyone.”

Jason Chaffetz

“Without frugality none can be rich, and with it very few would be poor.”

Samuel Johnson

The road to financial freedom is a windy, curvy road with forks, u-turns, and dead ends. It’s like you want to go out and live your best life…but bills. Who wants to eat beans, rice, and ramen for the next three years? NOT ME!

Friendly reminder that FRUGAL ISN’T CHEAP. Frugal is defined as being “sparing or economical with regard to money or food.” Frugal means being creative with your time and money. Here are some tips to help balance paying off your debt without depriving yourself of everything you know and love:

Partying/Drinking

Partying and day drinking are two of my favorite hobbies #NoShame. From the high bar tabs to the junk food at 3 am, going out can easily add up. The average party-goer spends $81 on a night out and goes out two times per week.

Frugal fix: Happy hour is the ONLY hour. Happy hour is where you can get a hangover for 1/2 off. Peabody’s is a nightclub in Virginia Beach, VA that has $2 EVERYTHING for happy hour. Beer, vodka, rum, gin, tequila, whiskey, shots, and mixed drinks. We drink from 7-9pm, then walk down to the other bars where there’s no cover charge and great music. 10 times out of 10 we are drunk by 9 pm, so we spend the night dancing and having a good time.

A tab for TWO PEOPLE. Happy hour strikes again.

Another frugal fix: GOOGLE IS YOUR BEST FRIEND! Simply type in “open bars” or “happy hour” in your city to find great deals. Eventbrite.com is my go-to for low-cost libations. I lived in D.C. where places literally give out FREE BOOZE. My brothers came up to D.C. and we drank downtown for FREE. Sometimes the well/bottom shelf/house liquor isn’t even that bad. I’ve frequented places where Grey Goose is the bottom shelf for the open bar. Rosebar was giving out free Jameson Irish Whiskey for St. Patrick’s Day.

What better way to celebrate your big brother’s birthday than with FREE drinks in Downtown D.C.?!
My invite to a FREE open bar in Washington, D.C. Free Tequila from 4-5 was PERFECT.

A friendly reminder to tip your wait staff. Free drinks don’t mean free labor. Please tip at least $1 per drink. The bartenders come faster (and pour heavier) because most people don’t tip at open bars. You’re welcome 🙂

Frugal fix: Go to the liquor store and buy a bottle. Start drinking while you’re getting ready (aka pregame). Shots at the bar range from $6-15 depending on what you’re drinking. You could grab a $20 bottle, split it with a friend or two, grab some mixers, and turn up at a fraction of the price.

Bottle of Pinnacle: $13
Lemonade: $1
Total: $14

Another friendly reminder: An Uber/Lyft is cheaper (and safer) than a DUI.

Frugal fix: Paper not plastic. Leave your credit and debit cards at home. Go to the ATM, withdraw a reasonable amount for yourself (I usually budget $30-40), and have a BLAST! When your money is gone, you can keep partying without draining your bank account or running up a high tab.

Living in popular areas

Living in the D.C. area was expensive. It was so pricey that my former boyfriend and I lived in Maryland and Northern Virginia, and took the Metro (subway) into the city for work. The average rent in Washington, D.C. is $2,131. Our rent for a one-bedroom apartment was $1100 in Maryland and $1600 in Northern Virginia.

Frugal fix: Living 20-30 minutes outside of the city could save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. We saved $1031/month by living in Maryland and $531/month living in Northern Virginia. Using public transportation took the hassle out of driving, paying for gas and parking. A Smartrip Metrocard and a map were all I needed to get around D.C.’s Metropolitan area.

Frugal fix: Find a roommate. Sharing a space with someone could cut your housing expenses in half. Plus you can still be in an amazing area without breaking the bank.

Eating Out

Food is LIFE! There are countless restaurants with phenomenal chefs waiting to fill our bellies with the best food money can buy. Eating out is convenient, delicious, and fun. Eating out can also cost you an average of $232/month or $2,784/year!

Frugal Fix: Potlucks. Friends and family are the best part of eating out. It’s a nice way to catch up and connect over the thing that brings us together: FOOD. Consider having a potluck that way you can spend time with your loved ones and share the love of food. Ask everyone to bring a dish (or a beverage), you provide a dish or two, and VOILA! Wanna know the best part about potlucks? You get to keep the leftovers 🙂 Now you have food for days.

Frugal Fix: Happy hour. If you absolutely positively can not stop eating out then please indulge at a discounted price. Happy hour is where it’s at! Most restaurants don’t offer entrees at a lower price, so feast on appetizers. Some places also have a different deal every weeknight. Like $2 burger night or $1 taco Tuesday. Call your favorite restaurant to find a special deal on your next meal.

Frugal Fix: Eat at home. You’ve heard your frugal friend say this before, and you’re gonna hear me say it again. EAT AT HOME. The same pasta you pay $15 + tip for costs $7 to make at home. Same thing with burgers. Most restaurants charge $11-17 for a burger. You could pay $6 for a pound of ground beef, $3 for 24 slices of cheese, and $5 for buns and toppings (lettuce, tomato, onions, etc). You could make at least six burgers for the price of one.

$40 for a week’s worth of groceries

Going Out

Being out and about is so much fun. Being broke isn’t. There’s nothing wrong with getting out of the house every once in a while, but you don’t have to break the bank every time you step outside.

Frugal fix: Game nights. Instead of going to the party, bring the party to you! Game nights are the best way to have fun with your friends without breaking the bank. Ask everyone to bring a game. You can also buy cost-effective games like Uno or a deck of cards that never go out of style.

Frugal fix: Refer to partying/drinking and eating out sections in this article for additional tips.

Traveling

Your frugal friend is addicted to traveling and doesn’t plan on going to rehab any time soon. I still traveled even while paying off debt, thanks to these cheap travel sites. Traveling changes your life and your bank account balance. But it doesn’t have to drain your bank account if you stick with me!

Frugal fix: Find a job that pays for your housing and food. Work on a cruise ship or teach English abroad.

Lived in Hawaii for FREE by working on Norwegian Cruise Lines Pride of America cruise ship.

Frugal fix: Travel to places where prices are low. Some of the most cost-effective places to travel are Mexico, Colombia, South Africa, Thailand.

$1 shots in Nicaragua!!!

Frugal fix: Travel in groups. Group traveling is fun and everyone shares the cost. Check out my article on group travel for more ideas!

Self-Care/Beauty

“Take time to do what makes your soul happy.”

Unknown

You have to take care of yourself! The road to financial freedom can be very stressful. I cannot stress the importance of self-care enough. Self-care can be a range of things from taking a day off from work, going on vacation, or simply catching up on sleep. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to take care of yourself unless you want to.

Frugal fix: Free self-care includes running, walking, reading, writing, sleeping (my favorite), meditation, taking a nice bath/shower, turning off your phone, painting your nails, listening to music, praying, screaming at the top of your lungs.

Frugal fix: Groupon has a plethora of massages, facials, and getaways for a fraction of the price. I’m talking an hour massage for $25 type deals. Check out Groupon in your local area today!

Frugal fix: If you HAVE to have your nails done, there’s a fix for that too. Your frugal friend loves having her nails painted. It makes me feel extra girly and put together. It’s just pretty, I can’t explain it. But, paying $70 for a gel manicure and pedicure every two weeks was the worst. Yes, I felt pretty, but I wasn’t happy when I looked at my bank account. I noticed that nail salons were simply plugging in a small machine to dry the gel on my nails. I took a picture and found the same machine on Amazon for $45. I paid another $15 for eight gel polishes, a base coat, and topcoat. I’ve been saving money on manicures and pedicures ever since. I’ve had my machine for over a year and only paid $60. That’s less than one trip to the salon. People always ask, “who did your nails?” That’s how good they look. Trust me, you can be fancy and frugal at the same damn time.

What are some of your favorite frugal fixes for everyday fun? Anything you would like to add? Let me know in the comments below!

Stay frugal, be brilliant!