By Kimberly Mikesh

5 hacks to save you serious money

Tags Work & Money

Money can be a source of stress and unhappiness, but not when you're saving it. Here are 5 small ways to free up a little extra cash in your weekly budget.

1) Free friend time:  Spending time with friends and family and people you care about has a huge positive impact on your own well-being, but not when it's breaking the bank. Sure, going out for dinner and drinks is a fun splurge once in awhile, but there are plenty of free ways to get your friend-time, too. Go for a walk together. Visit an art gallery. Just sit outside (or inside if the weather is not cooperating) and catch up. No $ spent doesn't mean no fun had.

2) Treat yo' self...wisely: It's important to be kind to yourself, and yes, sometimes that means treating yourself to something that you don't actually NEED, but you really WANT. But it doesn't need to be something big. We've done the work for you by curating 15 awesome (and affordable!) luxuries -- all coming in under $5, so they're all perfect for any budget.

3) Make a weekly meal plan: You've got to eat. And putting forth just a little bit of effort in the meal planning department can save you hundreds of dollars each week if you're the eating-out type. And the best part? Not only can it save you a ton of cash, it can actually make you happier (and healthier) too. For real!

4) Meet for breakfast instead of dinner: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not?! A breakfast catch up is a killer way to start your day off with something fun and less expensive than lunch, drinks, or dinner. 

5) Don't be afraid to ask for a discount: Sure, this tactic isn't going to do you much good at major retailers, but small businesses have more flexibility and more opportunities. You've got talents so use them! Are you a rock star blogger? Offer to review a new business on your blog in exchange for a discount. Save on yoga classes for volunteering to arrive early, open the studio and sign people in for class. The possibilities are endless, you just need to get a little creative, which yes, also makes you happier

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