When you go on a diet, you deliberately stay away from food items which you know are delicious but contain lots of calories and fats. After a few days or weeks, you feel deprived because you did not get to eat what you usually have for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even snacks.
Depending on your personality, you might push through with the diet and persevere – or break down and binge eat so that you can go back to eating your favorite food. The latter is not a good thing because you will never meet your goal of losing weight if you keep on falling off the wagon. Perhaps a better solution would be to go for food items which are delicious but healthy – so that you will not feel deprived but still meet your weight loss goals.
The same thing applies when it comes to saving money. Your end goal is to do just that: save money. But you do not really have to deprive yourself of the everyday perks of being alive just so that you can save a few bucks. One of the reasons why people go back to their impulse buys and shopping sprees despite having a goal to save is that they deprive themselves of the pleasures of spending in the first place.
The key to success in saving is to look for ways to cut back on your expenses but without depriving yourself of the little pleasures in life. Read on to find out exactly how you can save money without feeling deprived.
Ways to Save Big Money without Depriving Yourself
When implementing the following ways to save big money, the number one thing that you need to remember is that being frugal does not equate to being deprived. There is absolutely no need for you to deny yourself the pleasures of a good meal or a great buy while you are in the process of saving money.
As long as you know which aspects of your spending you can actually save money on, you can be frugal without having to resort to self-deprivation. Specifically, here are the ways that you can save big money without feeling deprived:
Pack your lunch for work
During weekdays, you spend most of your time at work and lunch may just be the most important meal that you will consume. If you always go to that fancy restaurant, quite pricey café or even have something delivered at work, your food expenses will eventually add up. If you skip lunch, you will be tempted to snack on the goodies from the vending machine – and these are just as expensive.
The best way to not feel deprived of good food while you are earning a living is to brown bag your lunch. Even if you subsist on sandwiches, making them at home instead of ordering them from a nearby deli will save you a lot of money. That $5 that you will save for lunch at work everyday can add up to more than $1,000 per year.
If you don’t have the time to plan your meals, simply stock up your kitchen with cold cut meats, veggies and sandwich condiments so that you can brown bag your lunch in a snap. If you love working in the kitchen, prepare healthy dishes beforehand, pack it in the morning and heat it up in the office microwave come lunchtime.
Look for cheaper ways to consume digital content
Can’t survive without watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones, Walking Dead or a new cable show that’s making a huge buzz online? Instead of paying a premium fee for cable, look for cheaper ways that you can consume such digital content.
There are homeowners who resort to cutting off their cable or satellite TV subscription and solely relied on streaming services to consume their favorite digital content. This is something that you can apply as well.
If you are paying less than $100 per month on cable, you can cancel it and upgrade your Internet speed. Through streaming services, you can watch all the TV shows that you want at a fraction of the price – some you can even watch for free.
If you can’t completely go without cable, simply cancel the premium channels and stick to the basics. If you can go without cable, that’s all the better because there are HD channels that you can watch for free. All you have to do is install an antenna that will give you HD shows over-the-air for free.
Ditch the pricey lattes, but brew your own fancy drink at home
Starbucks, a fancy coffee shop or a similar store is right outside your apartment or is on your way to work. Every day, you spend around $5 for a cup of latte simply because you cannot function without your caffeine fix first thing in the morning.
Calculate how much you can save if you will stop going to these fancy coffee shops and brew your own drink at home instead. This is the perfect example of not depriving yourself while still being frugal.
You can invest in a decent espresso machine and a hand milk frother so that you can get the same quality drink at a fraction of the price. You don’t even have to dress up before your lips get a taste of that fragrant caffeine aroma – you can have a cup right in the comfort of your own home as soon as you wake up!
You can save more than a $1,000 by brewing your own fancy coffee drink at home instead of relying on baristas to make them for you.
Ditch the pricey gym membership, but still get your free workout minutes
Last January, you probably felt like you gained a lot of weight over the holidays so you gave in and signed up for that pricey gym membership. After a couple of months, you hardly find the time to go to the gym. So what’s happening to the membership fee that you are paying for? It’s simply going to waste. If you want to save a lot of money, cancel your gym membership right now and get your free workout minutes outdoors.
There are plenty of things that you can do to sweat it out without having to pay a penny: run, jog, cycle, walk, swim, hike or play sports. Being outdoors is a lot more fun, too, than sweating it out inside the gym.
Stick to a budget, but give yourself a treat every month
Similar to dieting, you have to give yourself a treat every month while you are in the process of saving. Let’s say that you have already crafted a budget which you are following to the letter. For an entire month, you hardly went out because you’d rather save the money for something more important.
To prevent depriving yourself of the pleasures of spending money, what you can do is give yourself a treat every now and then. You can include this splurge in your budget so you won’t have to stray from your financial goal. It can be something as simple as getting a professional massage, buying a new dress that’s under $50 or treating yourself to a movie or a fancy dinner with friends.
Know when to stock up and when to hold off on store sales
You’re in the supermarket and a couple of products that you regularly use are on sale. This is when you can go ahead and splurge by stocking up – because the savings that you will enjoy are more than half of the original price.
Let’s say that your favorite carton of juice is sold at 50% off. Stocking up on it will save you lots of money in the long run because it is a product that you really use, anyway.
The opposite is true when you see sales or huge discounts on items that you would not normally buy. Instead of enjoying more than 50% savings, you will simply waste the money if you end up not using the product at all.
Use a water filter to have designer water
When you’re out for a run or a hike, avoid buying designer which comes in non-Earth-friendly plastic bottles. What you can do instead is use a water filter and buy a refillable water container that you can carry with you everywhere. Not only will you be saving money on bottled water, but you can also do your share in helping save the environment.
Barter services or goods with friends, family and co-workers
Lastly, you can barter services or goods with other people. This is an excellent way of saving big without feeling deprived. Let’s say that you have a group of girl friends who get together once a week to watch movies or discuss books. Suggest a barter night where you can all bring items from your closet which were hardly used or were not worn at all.
That scarf that you hate because of the color might look good on your redhead friend, so you can easily swap it with a cute purse that she brought. This bartering system works well for other items which you can swap with family members or even co-workers. You will get the item that you need at no cost at all, and you can get rid of the stuff in your closet which are merely gathering dust.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to save big without feeling deprived. Which among these techniques are you looking forward to applying in your life so that you can save big money?