I had a unique opportunity this weekend to stay at home. It’s not my normal routine. Normally, by the middle of the week, I have more than enough plans to run through the weekend without taking a breath. On most Sunday nights, I find myself wondering out loud “where did the weekend go?!” So, this weekend would be a complete change of pace for me, which is good. But time and rest are not the only potential gains for a weekend at home. Staying at home for a weekend can create a savings bridge, or more accurately cost avoidance, for paycheck-to-paycheck household.
Staying at home for a weekend can provide a savings buffer from normal expenditures. But what does one do to create a cost-efficient weekend at home? In my case, fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, there is PLENTY to do and/or accomplish. Maybe the list of tasks available to me at home will provide you with your next weekend-at-home savings opportunity.
On a weekend at home, I can dig into the following projects without spending any money:
Cleaning & Organizing. As I live alone, there are plenty of days & weeks when I just come home & drop everything, almost literally. So, a weekend at home gives me the opportunity to catch up to the piles of paperwork, tools, & mail that seems to collect at an exponential pace.
Reading. From books to newspapers to online articles, I have plenty of reading to catch up on during a weekend at home. And the directions I can go in are multi-faceted, from home improvement, to work (yikes!) reading, profession reading, and even leisure reading.
Home Improvement Projects. Granted, these projects have a tendency to cost money. However there are those projects that are a simple turn of the wrench instead of an extended trip to the local do-it-yourself store.
Puzzles & Board Games. I have a few puzzles waiting around for a rainy day, OR waiting around for a weekend without plans. Board games are always fun if family or friends stop by to visit.
Television & Movies. My DVR is full to capacity almost all of the time, and admittedly my last resort for entertainment. I’m normally negotiating with myself as to what program to delete to record something of a higher priority. Today, as I find myself in a middle of a rare Bruce Springsteen song – 57 Channels (And Nothing On) – I’ve fired my DVR to life to watch a program, saving me from the delete dilemma later this week. For those without DVR, there always seems to be something to suit a variety of interests on television.
Hobbies & Goals. What do you like to do in your spare time? Do you have a hobby – models, stamp collecting, knitting? Do you have lifelong goals that you are trying to achieve, but always take the back burner to higher priorities? I have several of both, so I can always find something to do on a weekend at home
Of course, I am sure there is more that I can add to my own list! These are mere examples of how a weekend at home can be productive, enjoyable, and cost efficient.
A weekend at home can be cost efficient as long as you are aware there are challenges to be aware of. First, grabbing take-out food for a meal, or meals, can counteract the stay-at-home savings plan. A take-out meal is often rationalized as a reward for sticking it out at home (I know – I’ve used it many times!). One take-out meal is understandable, but multiple meals will negate any cost savings you may be getting by staying in. But this weekend, I took a different strategy: clean out the freezer. Fortunately, I’m blessed to have plenty of food in the freezer that can be pulled out for a meal. The second, and more threatening counteracting agent to a cost efficient weekend at home is internet purchases. Two words: stay away! Even the briefest bout of boredom during a stay at home weekend can draw out the Internet purchase temptation.
It’s easy to see how a weekend at home can be beneficial to your savings when you live paycheck-to-paycheck. It’s not always a desired situation, but can provide a respite to the seemingly continuous flow of money leaving your wallet or pocketbook to pay for entertainment and/or travel expenses. Regardless of whether you call it a savings bridge or cost avoidance, a weekend at home can help set your finances in better position for the next round of bills & expenditures. Now, on to my next cost-savings home task from my list; just where will it take me?!