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Financial smarts: maximizing weekends

I’m all about getting the maximum juice from the financial lemon. I really believe you can get far more pleasure out of your dollars with a little forethought, and lead a much richer life with less money. But then again, I’m not the kind of person who would ever buy pre-boiled, peeled eggs. How is that even a thing? Except for elderly or disabled people who need things made as easy as possible, and that is most definitely not who they’re marketing to.

Recently,  Lifehacker’s Nick Douglas had an excellent article on maximizing your holiday weekend, and that’s really in my wheelhouse. I think much of it could apply to any weekend. Having been a horrible student of math in childhood, and dreading every Sunday night with its attendant un-done math homework, it’s been really hard to get over the rumination and fear at the end of the weekend. And even my daughter, who never even went to school, gets depressed on Sunday evenings. I guess we’ve all had enough terrible bosses to develop that dread of Monday morning. If nothing else, a lot of us feel that the days we so anticipated on Friday afternoon feel wasted by 8 pm Sunday.

I’d like to stress some of Lifehacker’s points, and add on a little of my own thinking.

  1. Do something to celebrate Friday night. Lifehacker regularly runs “three ingredient drinks” so if you need an idea to try something new, I can recommend the maraschino martini from last week. Friday night is the only night we have mixed drinks, so it’s special. Stop for a beer, invite friends over, go out to eat, whatever. I favor watching the expenses on this one, and not cultivating practices that result in a hangover Saturday morning or the rest of the plan falls apart.
  1. Get up on Saturday and Sunday by 8 am. Douglas makes the excellent point that this probably allows you to sleep later than in the rest of the week, but that you haven’t then slept so late that you feel the morning is wasted.
  1. I recommend you set aside half an hour to an hour before noon on Saturday to clean or repair something. This should be something doable—not requiring a run to Home Depot—so that you can feel pride that you’ve actually accomplished something. Sort a drawer, re-pot a plant, sweep the kitchen, vacuum the car. Bonus points if it’s something you’ve been putting off. Even if you get nothing else done, I promise you’ll feel better about yourself. In fact, keep a running list of achievements. If you note it in  your planner you can use it to reinforce yourself that you have indeed accomplished something.
  1. Make at least one effort to get out of yourself. Go out for coffee and be extra nice to the people surrounding you. Chat up the checker at the grocery store. Call your mom. Just do something to define yourself as a nice, social human being.
  1. This one is critical: plan something special for Sunday late afternoon/evening. You need something to look forward to, not dread. This has to be something you’re really looking forward to, not just watching the best PBS programs of the week. Go to a movie, schedule a mani/pedi (what we did last weekend), explore an inexpensive ethnic restaurant (again, bonus if you go with a group), go over to a friend’s or invite them over—and don’t sit around commiserating: remember board games?
  1. Spend some time with your pets. When was the last time you spent some focused time playing with your cat? Taken your dog on the walk she really wants? We’re always excited to get the kitten or puppy, but then they tend to become part of the furniture. Their joy can enhance your joy.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Do you have any ideas or activities that take away Sunday night dread? Do share!

Posted in Cash flow & Spending, General Financial Planning and tagged , , , , , .

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