This, Not That: Mini Challenges for Making the Better Financial Choice

Smart money management is all about choices. Choosing the more affordable or financially savvy option keeps you on track. So we’ve rounded up mini challenges — inspired by Eat This, Not That! — that can encourage you to take the budget-friendly route. Are you up for the savings?

Long-Lasting Investment Pieces (This) vs. Trendy Clothes (Not That!)

Maximizing your wardrobe is all about carefully curating your closet. Rather than buying fast-fashion pieces, invest in versatile clothes designed with the quality to outlast the latest trends. You’ll save more in the long run by choosing high-impact basic items you can mix and match for dressier and casual ensembles. If your closet has a high turnover rate, start to rebuild it with fine-tuned shopping and neutral colors. Over time, you’ll start to spend less by avoiding those bargains and impulse purchases.

Meal Prep (This) vs. Lunching Out (Not That!)

It’s no secret that eating lunch out every day is a costly habit — and preparing lunch at home is the better option for your wallet. Meal prepping requires some extra time and effort, but it’ll benefit your budget! Dreading the preparation? Check out these tips:

  • Make it into a Sunday ritual! Grab a coffee and enjoy the process.
  • Jam out to fun music or turn on a podcast while cooking and prepping.
  • Look online for easy and simple, yet tasty recipes with minimal ingredients.
  • Crank up the crockpot and let the slow cooker do the work for you.

Reusing (This) vs. Buying New (Not That!)

Stretch your dollars further by choosing to reuse, rather than buying new. This can mean taking books out of the library, borrowing items from friends and family, and giving old furniture or clothes new life by upcycling. Also, there are so many sites and apps that make it easy to buy reused:

  • Patagonia’s WORN WEAR hub offers discounted, pre-worn outdoor gear and attire.
  • The Offer Up app serves as a “value-exchange” marketplace for buying and selling a variety of previously owned items.
  • Gadget Salvation sells certified pre-owned and quality-inspected laptops at the lowest prices.

Keep in mind, you can also make money selling your own used items on sites and apps like these.

Saying No (This) vs. Saying Yes (Not That!)

Learning to say no can have a real impact on your finances — and it’s hard! There’s pressure to say yes to a dinner date, group trip or happy hour, plus who wants to miss out on the fun? But sometimes you have to make the small sacrifice so that you stay committed to your big goals. You may be seen as boring or cheap, but you’ll feel good knowing you’re holding onto more of your money. One way to still keep your social life is to set up a FUNd category in your budget. Then pick and choose what to join in on, as long as you spend within your set limits.

As you invest in versatile clothing, meal prep, buy reused and say no, you’ll start to develop a more frugal lifestyle. Choosing the more affordable option may become a habit in other financial areas too. Every opportunity to save, no matter how little, makes a difference.

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The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.