There is just no getting past it… We live in a world of instant gratification. A world where almost anything is just the click of a button away.
The unfortunate reality that goes along with this convenience is that so many of us tend to struggle to control ourselves in any meaningful way without feeling deprived. This is especially true when it comes to saving money.
We have been conditioned to focus on our immediate desires and buy what we want without any thought for if we really need it (or if we can even afford it).
When you think about this, it probably comes as no surprise that the average American household credit card debt as of March 2019 is $6,270 and 45.4% of all households carry some kind of credit card debt (Source: ValuePenguin.com).
Whether or not you have credit card debt, if you have found your way here you’re probably looking for a way to save more and spend less. Preferably without feeling miserable while you do it.
So how can you save money without feeling like you’re giving up all of your favorite things? Well, we’re glad you asked because today we’re going to share 7 great tips to show you how to save money without feeling deprived.
The Secret That Will Change The Way You Feel About Saving
Before we dive into the tips we want to share a simple little pearl of wisdom that will seriously change the way you think about saving. This one basic piece of advice will help you cut back your expenses in many ways that you’ve probably never considered before.
And you’ll be able to do it without feeling like you’re missing out on anything.
Do you want to know what the little secret is?
It’s really quite simple.
All you have to do is realize that…
Saving money is not about depriving yourself, it’s just about determining your priorities and learning to compromise.
At the core of it all, what you need to be able to do to save money without feeling deprived is to have a solid understanding of your true priorities and what you’re willing to do to achieve them.
Once you determine that saving money is indeed a priority for you, it won’t feel like you’re depriving yourself. It will feel like you’re achieving your goals.
While it may seem simple, this is one of the key factors that makes it so hard for some people to save money.
If you struggle with feeling deprived when you’re trying to save, think about your priorities next time you want to make an impulse purchase.
You’ll feel much better about passing on that extra takeout meal or new pair of shoes you don’t need when you actually stop and think about why saving money is a priority for you.
How To Save Money Without Feeling Deprived
If you have read this far and decided that saving money is truly important to you, we have some good news for you…
You’ve already made it past the hardest part.
If saving money is a priority for you, then you’re starting with the right mindset to be successful.
And we truly believe that successfully saving money is more about your mindset than your willpower.
Being consistently frugal is about finding the balance between what you want and what you need. And there is no reason you can’t be frugal and have fun at the same time.
Now, if you’re ready to find out 7 top tips for how to save money without feeling deprived, then read on:
1. Set Meaningful Savings Goals That Reflect Your Priorities
If you really want to figure out how to save money without feeling deprived, you need to have a good understanding of your priorities. Once you have these figured out you’ll be in a good place to set some meaningful and achievable savings goals.
And goals are a great way to avoid feeling deprived. By setting goals, you give yourself something to aim for, which can be a great way to stay motivated when you’re trying to save.
We recommend that you set a range of goals. Some should be small and easily achievable. These are great for helping you make regular little wins and feel like you have some momentum.
Others should be bigger stretch goals. These should be aspirational and longer term goals. The kind of thing that you’ll really feel great about achieving.
Having a combination of short, medium and long term goals is a great way to stay motivated to save day by day, while also allowing you to keep sight of your higher level purpose for saving.
If you tend to set your goals then forget about them, try getting in the habit of using a journal or planner. Write down your short, medium, and long term goals and pencil in a reminder to review them regularly.
2. Remind Yourself What Delayed Gratification Feels Like
Remember how we said that we live in a world of instant gratification?
Well, reacquainting yourself with what delayed gratification feels like is one of the best ways to get to a point where you can save money without feeling deprived.
One of the top tips for learning to save more without feeling deprived is to practice delayed gratification. Next time you want to buy something that you’re not sure you need, we challenge you to stop. Don’t even add it to your cart. Just write it down and make yourself wait at least 48 hours.
If you still desperately want it after 48 hours, then you can consider buying it. However, with many things, you’ll actually realize that you didn’t want or need it that badly anyway.
This probably won’t feel great at first, especially if you’re an impulse spender. But delayed gratification is one of those things that gets easier over time.
We would even argue that delayed gratification can improve the way you feel about whatever it is you’re waiting for.
Yes, that’s right – we’re telling you that waiting to buy something will make you enjoy it more.
Before you throw your hands up in the air and tell us we’re crazy, just stop and think for a moment….
Remember back to when you were a child. Think about the weeks and months leading up to big events like Christmas or your birthday.
You probably spent much of that time in the lead-up to those events feeling excited about them and thinking about all the new toys you would get.
Then after the event, the excitement faded and you weren’t that keen to play with your new toys anymore.
Now think about the last impulse purchase you made. How long did you use it before the rush you got from buying it wore off? Probably not very long.
So next time you want to spend money on something that isn’t really necessary, try delaying your purchase. Think about if it will truly bring you joy.
If not, skip it and save yourself some extra money. And if it will, the anticipation of waiting a bit longer before you shell out the cash will only increase your enjoyment of your new purchase.
3. Cut Those Unnecessary Expenses
If you haven’t done this already, it’s a super easy tip to implement.
Grab a pen and some paper and go back through your last few months of bank statements (or your budget, if you have one) and write down everything that you pay for that isn’t completely necessary.
This could include things like the gym membership that you rarely use, your third TV streaming service, or the subscription box that you aren’t really that excited by anymore.
Once you have your list of unnecessary expenses, go through and list them out from the ones that you would miss most to the ones that you don’t think you’d miss much at all.
Then draw a line below the stuff that you really don’t want to live without and cut the rest.
If you’re struggling to cut out anything at all, go back and think about how much these little expenses cost you per year and what you could be doing with that money instead.
For example, maybe you have a gym membership that costs $50 per week. That’s $2600 per year. Do you use it enough to make it worth $2600 every year or could you be spending that money on something that brings you more value or more joy?
If it’s important to you and you use it regularly, you can consider it an investment in your health. However, if you only go to the gym now and then you should consider cutting the expense and focusing on other forms of activity that are cheaper or a better fit for your lifestyle.
Keep your goals in mind and make sure that you regularly look back over your expenses and cut out those that aren’t important to you anymore.
If you really struggle to cut back on your expenses, another way you can make things work in your favor is the increase your income. Why not try a side hustle? We recommend these 6 Easy Online Side Hustle Ideas You Can Start Today.
4. Save More On The Simple Things
Take advantage of all the low hanging fruit when it comes to saving money.
Unless you’re already living a truly frugal lifestyle, it’s likely that there are a bunch of simple and easy changes that you can make to your shopping habits to save money without feeling deprived.
Optimizing your trip to the grocery store is a great place to start.
Think about where you have the best opportunities to save.
For example, can you:
- Buy in bulk – focus on items that offer a cheaper per pound price for larger quantities or multi-buy specials. Only buy what you know you can use though. No one likes food waste.
- Stock up on your favorite non-perishable products when they’re on sale.
- Plan your meals to take advantage of weekly specials at your local grocery store.
- Stop being a brand snob and give cheaper home brand products a try. So often these taste just as good as the more expensive branded variety, so find the ones you like and save.
Another really simple but often overlooked way to save more is by making the most of the things that you already have.
Take Amazon Prime for example.
Over two thirds of all American households are Amazon Prime subscribers, most of them don’t take full advantage of what a Prime membership has to offer.
Amazon Prime membership has so much great free content included like music streaming through Amazon Music, free movies and TV shows through Prime Video, and a ton of free books and magazines available through Prime Reading on the Kindle app.
If you’re one of the increasingly smaller number of households that don’t have Amazon Prime yet, consider signing up for a free 30-day trial to see what all of the fuss is about.
It really is great value, especially if you shop through Amazon regularly.
5. Stop Eating Out (Or At Least Cut Back A Bit)
If you don’t cook your meals at home most days, this is definitely a great way to start saving more money.
It’s crazy how quickly buying your work lunches, getting takeout or, eating out a few nights each week can add up.
A single person can save an average of $55 per week just by making their own work lunches at home instead of buying them.
That’s $2750 saved per year just for one person’s lunches.
Now imagine how much more you could be saving if more than one person in your household currently buys their lunch.
Cut back on the regular takeout and eating out and you can literally save thousands of dollars per year.
Food is definitely one of the areas that so many people overspend on, which also makes it a great place to start in your quest to save more money.
You don’t have to cut it out completely, but if you find that you buy more than 2-3 pre-made meals per week you should definitely consider cutting back.
By cutting back on the number of meals you purchase each week, you may even find that you enjoy the occasional takeout or purchased lunch that much more.
But what about the social side of eating out?
If you’re one of those people that loves eating out because of the social aspect, fear not. There are still plenty of ways that you can save money on food without becoming an antisocial homebody.
Next time you want to catch up with friends or family over a meal, why not plan to do it at home rather than going out to an expensive restaurant?
Try taking turns to host dinner parties with your friends. You can even try a pot luck and ask your guests to bring their favorite food to reduce the cost.
If you’re really unwilling to cut back on the number of times you eat out during the week it’s still possible to save money.
Try finding restaurants that offer happy hour specials on food and drinks, and schedule your outings during those times.
Lots of restaurants have great discounts on food and drinks during happy hour, and taking advantage of this can be a good way to save money without feeling deprived.
6. Change The Way You Shop For Clothes
Sneaky number 6 is one of our favorite money saving tips that will leave you feeling anything but deprived.
Why you might ask?
Because this one will allow you to keep your clothes shopping habit.
That’s right – it’s possible to go clothes shopping AND save money.
But before you go running out to re-stock your closet, there is just one small catch.
It’s about how you shop.
If you really want to save, you need to focus on taking advantage of the best sales. Usually, this will mean buying clothes at the end of the season when they are they are the most heavily discounted.
While it means you may not get a lot of wear out of your new clothes for the current season, it will set you up with a great new wardrobe for the following year. And usually with amazing savings.
Shopping the end of season sales can help you save so much money and get your shopping fix too. It truly is one of the best ways to save money and still feel like you can treat yourself now and then.
7. Find Ways To Treat Yourself That Don’t Involve Your Credit Card
Saving money doesn’t mean that you can never treat yourself. Trying to cut back on everything that you enjoy is a surefire way to feel deprived.
Instead of being super restrictive, focus on finding ways to treat yourself that don’t involve giving your credit card a workout.
This could be reading a book or going for a hike. Some other great ideas include taking advantage of free activities like going to your local museum or community open-air theater. You could even pack up a picnic lunch and go enjoy it at your local park.
If none of the completely free events really interest you, there are always ways to save money on the things that you do enjoy.
For example, if you like to go to the cinema, you can save money by packing your own snacks rather than buying from the concession stand.
At the end of the day, it all comes back to compromise and finding ways to save money on the things that don’t really matter to you, so you can spend more on the things that do.