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1. Dining out
You know that cooking at home is cheaper, but sometimes you just want to go out and try something new. Eating out at lunchtime instead of in the evening could make a huge difference in your budget.
Many restaurants offer lunch specials that can be a fraction of the cost for a meal at dinnertime. For example, Blackbird, an iconic restaurant in Chicago, offers a popular three-course lunch prix fixe menu for $25. That’s less than the cost of any of their dinner entrees.
And paying with a credit card that offers points, miles or cash back for dining out can help you stretch your budget even more.
If you’re a fan of online shopping, subscribe to your favorite brands’ emails so you’ll be notified about discounts and flash sales. You can also watch for giveaways on social media.
Using a secondhand shopping site like ThredUp is another way to save on designer brands. (You can also sell old clothes and accessories through the site.)
If you need an outfit that you’ll likely only wear once or twice for a wedding or special event, consider renting from services like Rent the Runway, Le Tote or The Black Tux instead of paying full price for a gown or tuxedo that will end up collecting dust.
And remember to periodically take stock of what you already own. At the end of every season, comb through your closet to examine what you have — and donate or sell items that you don’t wear anymore.
Massages are the ultimate way to relax after a long week, but they can be pricey. A 50-minute aromatherapy massage at a resort spa in Austin, Texas, for example, costs $175, which comes out to $2,100 per year if you get one massage a month.
Trade the luxurious spa atmosphere for a no-frills environment and look for places that offer massages in more casual, communal settings. A reflexology massage at Zen Well Spa in Austin costs $66 for an hour.
Another strategy is to look for places that offer first-time specials or Groupon discounts — or head to a massage school, where you can get a discounted rate from a student or recent graduate. A student massage at the Colorado Institute of Massage Therapy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for example, is $40 for an hour.
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