When you’re on a budget, it can sometimes feel like you’re missing out on the things that you love. However, your money-saving efforts shouldn’t negatively affect your mental health. With some creativity, you can cut back on your spending without giving up the things you love most. Here are six ways to save money without depriving yourself. 

1. Switch to More Affordable Insurance Options

Insurance is one of those monthly expenses that you just can’t avoid. However, you can still save money each month by looking for similar coverage options with a lower monthly premium. Shopping around and comparing costs can help you save a significant amount of money every month. 

Luckily, the internet makes it easier than ever to compare your insurance options and find the right choice for your needs. Get a car, renters’, or home insurance quote from several providers to see who can offer the best value. You’ll be able to lower your monthly budget without changing your habits. 

2. Automate Your Savings

If you struggle to build savings, try making automated transfers instead of doing it on your own. Apps like Chime and Oportun will automate your savings for you to help you build a rainy day fund. These apps pull small amounts of money from your account each day based on your spending and earning patterns. You can also set restrictions based on your preferences. 

This way, you’ll save money in the background. You won’t have to change your spending habits or remember to make bank transfers. Even if it’s only a few dollars at a time, those savings will add up over time and can be incredibly helpful in an emergency. 

3. Have Fun Cooking and Hosting at Home

One of the biggest challenges of being on a budget is the social pressure to spend money. When your friends invite you out for dinner or drinks, it can be tempting to spend beyond your means. Fight that temptation by hosting parties at home with your friends. A potluck-style dinner is affordable for everyone and ensures that you still have plenty of tasty food. Of course, you can still go out from time to time—just save the expensive meals and drinks for special occasions. 

Frequent takeout meals can also eat away at your budget. Try meal prepping on the weekends so you always have an affordable meal ready to eat. While this might seem like a chore at first, learning to cook can actually be a very fun hobby. If you learn how to make some of your restaurant favorites at home, you may not be tempted to go out as often. 

4. Become Sale Savvy

Products like groceries, cleaning products, and work clothes are essential purchases. However, you can still save money on them by looking for sales. Start by looking at brick-and-mortar stores in your area to see what kinds of sales and coupons they offer. Then, look online to see if there are any e-commerce options that are more affordable. 

While this takes a little extra time, sale shopping can help you find the products you need without overspending. This approach can even extend to activities. For example, you can look for happy hour options to save money when going out. If you’re attending a sports game or concert with friends, you can also look into group tickets to cut back on prices. 

5. Exercise On Your Own

Some expenses are obvious must-haves that you can’t cut from your budget. Others are purely discretionary. Gym memberships are a cost that seem to fall in the middle, since regular exercise is necessary to stay healthy. However, there are ways to maintain your workout routine without going to the gym. 

In the long run, investing in a home workout machine might actually be cheaper than paying for a gym membership. If you like to run or bike, try doing so outside whenever you can. If you enjoy the social element of going to the gym, look for local exercise meetup groups. These are all effective ways to get your exercise in without a pricey gym membership. 

6. Consider What Makes You Happy

There’s no way around it — if you want to save money, you’re going to have to cut some expenses out of your budget. However, this doesn’t mean you have to get rid of the things that make you happy. Go through your discretionary expenditures for the month. Identify which ones bring you the most joy and which ones you can live without. 

For example, maybe you really enjoy going to see new releases at the movie theater. Upon examining your budget, you also have some streaming service subscriptions you barely use. In that case, cancel your rarely-used subscriptions, but plan to go to the movies once or twice per month. By cutting out expenses that don’t matter to you as much, you’ll be able to treat yourself periodically without feeling bad.

Final Thoughts

Saving your money doesn’t have to mean depriving yourself of the things that you love. Instead, it requires you to determine which expenses are truly necessary and important to you. By being more mindful, you can make big changes to your budget without giving up your favorite morning coffee. 

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