Let's face it, budgeting is nobody's idea of a good time. But, it is necessary to make sure you stay within your means. You take your lunch to work, lower your thermostat, and cut way back on that latte habit of yours. Sticking to a budget is the hard part, so take some time and notice the progress that you've made (or are making) toward your goals (whether that be saving for your vacation, paying down your loans, or whatever else you are focused on). Being on a budget doesn't mean your life has to suck, though. You can do things to make some extra money, or find ways to have fun for little or no money. The trick is simply knowing where to look.
Attend the Event for Free
Communities in Montana are always hosting fun and free events for you to go to. By checking your local community's calendar, you can usually find a few events each month that you can go to - free of charge. Not only does this give you something fun to do, but it keeps you from spending those hard earned dollars you are trying so hard to save.
But say there is an event you REALLY want to go to, but can't or don't want to justify the expense of attending (ticket costs can really kill you if you aren't careful). Well, there are easy ways to still attend without having to fork over your cash. The best way? Volunteering. Volunteer for these events by helping with planning, setup, or clean up and the event will often "reward" you with a free pass (or free passes) to attend. Other times you can volunteer to be an usher or other support staff, and then you can enjoy the event for free while also giving back to your community.
In Butte, the Butte-toberfest welcomes volunteers with free admission and an event t-shirt for your help. If you think you might want to volunteer, head over to their volunteer page and see how you can help.
The Helena Symphony Orchestra and Starz on Stage are just some of the many performances scheduled to take place on the Helena Civic Center Stage in 2018. The Civic Center welcomes and encourages volunteers to help make its events a success, so sign up and get your entertainment for free while supporting local talent.
The historic Ellen Theater in Downtown Bozeman brings films, comedy, and bluegrass music to the community and is always looking for volunteers to help make each show a success. The Sweet Pea Festival is another great opportunity to volunteer for an event and get a pass as a result. Even though the Sweet Pea Festival has already happened for the 2018 season, you can always sign up for the 2019 event!
Make Money Without A Second Job
Life is hectic and busy enough without adding a second job. Even though the paycheck of a second job might sound appealing, it sucks up all of your free time and doesn't give you much flexibility in your schedule. There are easier ways to get some extra money without having to get an extra job.
Get Rid of Your Stuff
For example, do you pay for a storage unit to store that extra stuff that you don't have room for in your home? Realistically, it is probably costing you about $50-$100 a month. Multiply that by the 12 months in the year and you are looking at between $600-$1200 worth of savings each year. Just by getting rid of your storage unit. Honestly, the used things your are storing could probably be replaced brand new for the amount of money you could have saved if you weren't paying for that storage unit in the first place. Sell that stuff that you aren't really using through a garage sale, eBay, Craigslist, or other online selling forums. You'd be surprised what people will buy from you, and it is a really easy way to make some of that extra money.
Use Your Skills
If you decide you like selling things, this could be a fun way for you to make some extra money on the side. If you have an eye for fashion and clothing than Poshmarkand Refashionerare some websites you could look into to getting that started. If you like crafting, look into Etsy. eBayhas worldwide reach and well-established methods. Make the most of the website using the tips offered bynerdwalletandThe Balance Small Business. There are tons of options out there, do your research, and you will find something that works for you.
Get Your Dog In-On the Gig
If you are a pet lover, consider turning that love into a little extra cash. Boarding costs for one dog average $22-$40 per night depending on the facility and the attention the dog needs. If you have the space and a fenced yard offer to care for dogs at your place. One week a month at $25 per night will bring in an extra $175 per dog!
Crash at Someone Else's Pad
Take this one step further and offer house sitting services. Depending on the number of animals and what extra care the homeowner might need, you could be earning extra money while still keeping your day job. A household with two dogs could easily earn you $50 per night. One week a month is an extra $350 to help you stick to your budget and have a little more money to do fun things with. These jobs might take a little time to pick up, but over time, word of mouth will help build your business. If you consistently do a good job, before you know you will have some solid referrals keeping you busy.
No matter what your financial goals are, budgeting can be tricky. Use these ideas to help you reach your goals and stick to the budget you worked so hard to create. Brainstorm some other ideas with friends, and let us know what ideas you have and how they are helping you stick to your budget.