When budgeting, artistic people often despair. After all, “accounting is for the logical half.” Meanwhile, left-brained folks often lack the creativity it takes to stay within a proposed budget. The reality is, both personality types can find creative ways to save. If you’re a musical, linguistic and artistic dreamer who thinks budgeting is all about “working with numbers,” take another look. The successful budget is all about changing perspective, a skill many creative people possess naturally. Need a few specifics? Here are five fun, creative ways to save.

Have a “freebie” week. Find fun, creative activities that don’t cost a penny. It’s surprising what interesting and exciting things there are to experience. For instance, did you know that the US National Park Service offers free entrance days throughout the year? What a great way to introduce your family to the great outdoors. Pack a colorful picnic and you’ll save even more.

Save energy. Looking at your energy bills can induce anxiety, especially in winter months. Check out simple ways to save on your energy bills from Kansas State University. Freethinkers will not just do these things, they’ll also use the list for inspiration. For resourceful types, ideas spark more creative ways to cut back on energy consumption to save cash.

Plan your meals. The grocery budget is one of the easiest places to save money. The challenge is to save and continue to feed your family nutritious, tasty meals. It just takes a few ideas and some advance planning. So if you’re the inventive one in the family, put your creativity to work. The USDA offers some great ways to stretch that grocery dollar, helping you stick to your budget and health goals.

Get creative with gifts. What fun for right-brained folks! Does your child have a birthday party invite every month that’s draining your finances? Get your kids involved in creating handmade presents, and give a thoughtful gift that costs less than that new popular toy. Creative gift giving isn’t just a money saver, it shows you care.

Pay yourself first. The first bill you pay each month should be to your savings or retirement account. Setting aside money from each paycheck before you pay your bills will go a long way to help that rainy day fund or retirement nest egg. Many financial planners call this the “golden rule” of wealth management. Set up an automatic deduction from each paycheck, and you won’t forget to put the money away.

Hopefully these ideas will help you think of more ways to keep your budget in check. In the meantime, stay focused on the path to financial freedom – the best kind of all.

For more details, and two bonus tips, click here for the full blog post, which originally appeared at www.mycvcu.org.