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Of course it's easier to save money during the week: most of your time is taken up at work or school, and sticking to a regular, budget-friendly routine for meals and evening down-time doesn't take much self control. But on the weekends, you have two full days to fill up and more variables – from birthday parties to date night – that tempt you to spend money freely.
Keep reading for ideas on how to save money on fun, extra purchases during the weekend.
• Eating out: In the United States and the United Kingdom, one of the most popular ways to celebrate the weekend is to eat out at restaurants. Compared to what you could spend cooking versus what you spend on a single meal at a restaurant, eating out seems like a waste of money. But there are ways to cheat a little on your budget without overindulging or sacrificing nights out. Eat at restaurants that offer promotional deals, online coupons or buy-one-get-one specials. You can also order an appetizer for your main meal, split meals with a friend or date, and drink soda, tea or water instead of expensive mixed drinks.
• Shopping: Weekend shopping can be the result of a specific errand or boredom. If you're going out just to window shop, leave your credit card at home, or withdraw a certain amount of cash, and then limit yourself to shopping with that money alone. If you have something specific to shop for, try to go to an individual store rather than the mall to avoid extra temptations.
• Parties and special events: It can be tough to stay home if you feel obligated to attend birthday parties or special events at bars, restaurants or other pricey venues. If money is an issue, make a point to stop by the party but bow out early. Drive yourself to save money on taxis and alcohol, and always remember that you do have the right to decline the invitation.
• Extra entertainment: The weekends are a time to unwind, and staying inside can be depressing. To curb spending on movies, concerts, new CDs and other entertainment expenses, allow yourself one special treat per weekend, and then rent movies, go to the park or meet a friend for coffee instead of indulging in everything you'd like to do.
• Dinner parties: When you're feeling social, invite friends over for a game or movie night, and ask each guest to bring one food or drink item. It cuts the cost of a night out for everyone involved, including you.
• Exercise: The gym can be a busy place on the weekends when people have more time to devote to classes and longer workouts. Cancel your expensive membership and run around your neighborhood, design your own workout plan or watch a workout DVD. Although you have more temptations and down-time during the weekends, you can still save money. Create a separate budget for weekend spending, incorporating a few sensible treats, and limit spending by using coupons and cash and by sharing with friends.