You penny pinch and save all week but somehow still end up over your budget when number crunching time rolls around. There’s a good chance your weekend activities may be setting your balance out of whack.
It’s a good idea to take a careful look at your spending patterns and try some weekend hacks to keep on track. Below are the common weekend budget-busting causes and some suggested solutions to help you break the overspending cycle that’s wasting your weekday hard work.
1. Peer Pressure
It can be hard to say no when your friends have an itinerary full of weekend fun, but not everyone has the same income, debt or financial goals. This doesn’t mean you can’t spend your weekends with the people you love, it’s just important to remember your budget while making plans.
If you go somewhere with more expensive items, you can cut back on what you order or purchase — weekends are not a spending competition. For example, in a restaurant order an appetizer as your meal or split a meal. In a store, it’s OK to window shop instead of spend.
The first step is taking a moment to determine what you are willing to spend and what is important to you about the activity. If you are really interested in a band or singer, you may still be able to afford the concert but not the front-row seats.
Once you’ve determined what you are comfortable with, the next step is talking to your friends about finding some things that everyone can afford and enjoy. Maybe they will also be OK with the cheaper seats. Or maybe you all can go to the concert and hang out beforehand (tailgate) before going off to your separate seats. The important thing is to talk ahead of time so you don’t end up feeling resentful later.
2. Directionless Spending
If you find yourself swiping your credit card without much consideration just because it isn’t a workday, this could be a problem. Maybe your regular schedule doesn’t apply, but the rules of your budget still should.
Don’t let yourself go shopping after brunch just as something to do or get that last drink just because you don’t have to work the next morning. It’s a good idea to plan out your weekend so you know what you can afford and what you might want to skip. This way you can maximize your time and your finances.
Also it’s a good idea to check out free events in your city as these can expose you to new things and new people without sacrificing your precious funds. Especially in summertime, you can often find great activities, shows and events at discounted prices or even for free.
3. Losing Track
No matter how much planning you try to do, free time can sometimes lead to some unexpected expenses. This doesn’t mean you should give up on budgeting altogether. Almost equally important to setting limits ahead of time is tracking the aftermath.
It may seem tedious and time-consuming but it’s a good idea to review your spending regularly and see where you are getting off track. Seeing where your money goes can help you pinpoint budget leaks, adjust your behavior to limit your spending, and can help your estimates be more accurate for the future.
Perhaps you need to allow yourself a little more money in your budget for eating out on weekends in the summer than you did in the winter. Or maybe you need to rethink entertainment options that are less expensive.
Reviewing your budget and tracking your spending regularly can allow you to make a budget that works better for you. Overspending on your credit cards can also have bigger consequences on your credit standing. You can see how your balances are affecting your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.
Sticking to your budget can be hard, but don’t let yourself blow all your hard work (and hard-earned cash) on the weekend.
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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.
This article by AJ Smith was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.