How to Have an Amazing Weekend Without Breaking the Bank

 
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You’ve worked hard all week. On top of logging overtime hours and squeezing in early morning gym sessions, you also managed to skip the Starbucks drive-thrus and brown-bag your lunch all week. Go, you! Kickin’ butt and saving money! But now it’s Friday, and you’re ready to break free from the grind and break free from budget-constraints. It’s time to “work hard, play hard”… right?

This is a common weekend mindset for a lot of twenty-somethings. And while there’s nothing wrong with enjoying life and treating yourself, it’s easy to get carried away. Friday night drinks, a Saturday day trip, and Sunday brunch? Before you know it, your weekend, and your money, is gone.

So, is there a way to strike that balance? A way to have a fun and fulfilling weekend, without spending loads of money?

Sure there is! And there are plenty of studies that prove it. Check out these tried-and-true weekend hacks to upgrade your Saturday and Sunday, without having to upgrade your budget.

Pick a “Cheat Day”

Anyone that’s ever dieted before knows that “cheat days” are the best days. It’s like... finally! A day to cut yourself some slack and reward yourself after a long week of hard work. Well, this same principle can be applied to your budget. That is, as long as you are being mindful and responsible with your money! The key is to feel indulgent without going overboard.

Studies show that having a planned cheat day–whether from dieting or budgeting–can actually be really beneficial. According to the research, when “goal-deviation behaviors” (aka “cheat days”) are planned in advance, they can help you to stay on task toward your long-terms goals by helping you to regain self-regulatory ability, to increase motivation, and to contribute to a much more positive experience, overall.

Cheat days for the win!

Get Active

If you’re looking for the ultimate high this weekend, you don’t have to look very far. Not only is engaging in physical activity completely free, but it also releases happy chemicals into your brain, resulting in, well, happiness!

For an extra boost, take it outside! In a recent experiment conducted in Japan, participants were asked to walk either in a forest or in an urban center (taking walks of equal length and difficulty). Results showed that those who walked in forests had significantly lower heart rates, greater heart rate variability, and reported better moods and decreased feelings of anxiety. Nature is medicine! Go hiking, ride bikes, check out a local park.

Free, fit, happy? Sounds like a recipe for the ultimate weekend.

Embrace Self-Care Sunday

Despite what Instagram makes you believe, #SelfcareSunday is not about expensive, crystal-infused face masks or fancy aromatherapy oils. Instead, self-care is just that– taking care of yourself, body and mind. A simple self-care practice can improve your mood, stress levels, sleep habits, and more. And it doesn’t have to be boujee. Simply eating nutritious foods, taking a Sunday nap, practicing mindfulness, or taking a good ole traditional bubble bath, all qualifies as self-care. No crystals required.

Be Useful to Someone

In a recent interview on TIDAL’s Rap Radar podcast, Will Smith, said it best:

“I've been to the top of money, I've had all the sex that I've ever wanted, I've had all of the adoration...I've been to the top of all those material world mountains and nothing makes you happy other than being useful to others. That's it. That's the only thing that ever will satisfy that thing, is that what you're doing is useful."

Helping someone, or being there for someone, doesn’t cost a dime, but it truly is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself, as well as for others. Want to truly “be your best self” this weekend? Lend a helping hand!

Get Social, and Not on Social Media

Love the concept of JOMO. Staying in and saving money? All for it. But it’s not a free pass to stay in and isolate yourself all weekend, which is all too easy to do with Snapchat and Netflix.  It’s pretty much common knowledge now that social media only increases feelings of loneliness and depression. So instead, keep costs low, and the quality of your interactions high by inviting friends over for a game night, having a bonfire, or trying a new DIY-project.

Look & Plan Ahead

Feeling restless? Plan your next adventure! Research shows we’re often happier anticipating an event, like a vacation, than we are during or after it. Crazy, right?! So, go ahead! Set up a new savings goal with Peak, and let the planning (and saving) begin!

So before you break free, and bust out the credit card this Friday night, consider one of these low-cost, high-reward weekend activities, instead. What do you think? Do you have any favorites to add to the list? Comment below!