Yes, we are in the midst of a financial crisis. Everyone is feeling it, especially those of us on "Main Street." But does it mean that you have to give up having fun? Here are a few ways to still have fun in your life, spend guilt free but still watch your bottom line.
1. Need an excuse to shop? Use old gift cards! Almost everyone has an old gift card lying around in a drawer or wallet with a balance you forgot about. You can also sell or trade any of your cards on plasticjungle.com.
2. Have a swap party with your girlfriends! Help stretch your budget when you have the urge to go shopping and buy something new. Invite everyone to bring a bag of clothes, or a purse they don't use anymore, and you all go home with a new piece of trendy clothing!
3. Make your wallet as beautiful as possible. This is one of the first things you can do to start looking at your money in a more positive manner. You don't have to spend a lot on a new wallet, but take pride in how you deal with your money on a daily basis.
4. Shop on EBAY or Craigslist for the latest designer bags. At the same time, sell a purse that you don't use anymore. You can find great deals on slightly new and used bags and if you sell one you aren't using you can come out even!
5. Look for deals at your favorite stores and coffee houses. Use a pre-paid card at Starbucks and now you get free WIFI. Starbucks is also giving out coupons in the morning for free drinks in the afternoon, so you get two for one!
6. Space out your luxuries. If you are getting a manicure every week, get one every other week. At the same time, say no to the extras and go back to basics – no more French manicures - but that new shade of pinky-beige? Perfect.
7. Don't pay for a gym membership AND yoga classes. Choose one or the other or look for a gym that offers both. Cutting out the one you don't use as often can save a lot of money. You can also ask to renegotiate your gym membership for a better rate.
8. Pick Friends with good money habits. Stop spending as much time with girlfriends who shop too much or go to the trendiest restaurants, spending too much on drinks and dinner. You can always make an excuse to meet them after they've shopped or after dinner for a quick drink.
Check out "MY MONEY MATTERS" kit. Featured in Newsweek and Essence Magazines! www.mymoneykit.com.