How to save money without feeling deprived so you can stick to your budget and quickly reach your financial goals. With these frugal living tips, you’ll get your monthly spending under control while still having fun!
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Let’s go ahead and get one thing out in the open: spending money is fun. I mean, who doesn’t love buying new clothes, picking out home décor, and eating at nice restaurants?
But we can’t ignore the less enjoyable side of spending money. You know, the credit card bill that comes at the end of the month. Or the debt that slowly increases month after month. Those are things that cause a lot of stress and sleepless nights for many people.
Even though spending money is fun at first, the reality is that if left unchecked, it can cause financial disaster.
But what can we do about it? How can we save money instead of spending it without feeling completely and utterly robbed of exciting experiences and nice things?
I have good news for you today, friend. I can show you how to save money without feeling deprived so you can have the best of both worlds: lots of fun and healthy finances!
Before we get to the good stuff, though, we need to do a little research.
Assess your spending
Unless you regularly make a budget, you probably don’t know where all of your money goes each month. That’s why we need to start with an assessment of your spending habits so you can see exactly where you spend your money.
When you know where your money goes, you can focus your money-saving energy where it makes the most sense. For example, it won’t do much good for you to spend less money at the grocery store if half of your paycheck usually goes toward eating out at restaurants.
For this assessment, print out my free budget printable so you can fill in each category with the amounts you typically spend each month.
Rather than just guessing how much you spend on each category, look over your recent debit and credit card statements so you can see how much money you ACTUALLY spend on things such as groceries, eating out, clothes, and entertainment. It may surprise you!
Now that you know what bills you have and where you spend the rest of your money, we can get to the good stuff. Let’s talk about how to save money without feeling deprived!
How to Save Money without Feeling Deprived
Cut out the expenses you don’t need or care about
Look at every item on your budget sheet and determine if you need, or even want, to spend your hard-earned money there. Do you really use Netflix, Hulu, AND cable enough to warrant spending money on each of these services? If you don’t get your money’s worth out of something, then stop paying for it. You probably won’t even miss it!
Find inexpensive alternatives for the things you normally buy
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to rob yourself of every fun experience when you’re trying to save money. The key is to shop smart so you get more bang for your buck!
Look over the categories on your budget sheet again. Do you spend too much money on clothes? Eating out? Entertainment? Salon visits?
Choose inexpensive alternatives to costly products, services, activities, and events so you can have fun and enjoy life without breaking the bank.
Here are some of my favorite alternatives:
- Shop at thrift stores, yard sales, and flea markets instead of paying full retail
- Grocery shop at Aldi instead of regular grocery stores
- Watch a matinee instead of an evening showing at the movie theater
- Repurpose items you already have at home instead of buying new items
- Take day trips instead of overnight trips
- Cook your favorite meals at home instead of going out to restaurants
- Rent a movie instead of going to the movie theater
- Attend free events instead of expensive ones
- Have a date night in instead of going out
- Pay for Netflix instead of cable
- Exercise at home or outside instead of paying for a gym membership
- Buy used books or borrow from the library instead of buying new books
- Buy store brands instead of name brands
- Do your own mani/pedi complete with a relaxing foot soak instead of visiting the salon (all you need is 1/4 cup of Epsom salt and a few drops of lavender essential oil in a tub of warm water for a wonderful foot soak!)
See? You can still have a lot of fun without spending a lot of money!
Include some fun money in your budget
Even though you’re trying to save money in as many ways as possible, you still need to be able to indulge guilt-free every now and then. In fact, Dave Ramsey says that having a little bit of fun money is essential if you plan to stick to your budget!
Side note: If you don’t know how to make a budget that actually works for you, here is a post that teaches you how to create a budget.
But before you toss out everything we just talked about, “indulge” doesn’t mean giving yourself $200 to blow each month. Rather, your fun money should be a reasonable amount that won’t undo all the progress you made saving money elsewhere.
Right now, Josh and I each get $25 per month to spend however we choose. That probably seems like a small amount, but that’s the number we settled on while we’re trying to pay off his student loan debt.
Wrapping It Up
So now you know how to save money without feeling deprived! Once you assess your spending, all you have to do is cut out the expenses you don’t need or care about, find inexpensive alternatives for the things you normally buy, and include a little bit of fun money in your budget for small indulgences.
Even though changing your spending habits will be a bit of an adjustment at first, adopting the right attitude will go a long way toward making the process more enjoyable. I find that it really does come down to mindset. Since Josh and I approach saving money with a positive attitude, we find all sorts of ways to have fun while spending less!
Remember, you don’t have to rob yourself of fun experiences when you’re trying to save money. You should still enjoy life and do things that make you happy. The key is to spend your money wisely so you can have fun AND protect your financial wellbeing.
Other Posts You May Enjoy
- How to Spend Less Money When Your Spending is Out of Control
- 30 Ways to Save Money So You Can Reach Your Financial Goals
- 7 Free or Cheap Ways to Exercise on a Budget
- 6 Tips to Score Big at Thrift Stores
- No-Spend Month Results: What We Learned from Our First No-Spend Challenge
- How to Prepare for a Successful No-Spend Month
What about you? Have you been wondering how to save money without feeling deprived?
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