When trying to save your hard-earned money, do you think about the dreaded words – “sacrifice” or “compromise”?
Does saving cash conjure up images of struggling or depriving yourself? Perhaps it does.
Some of you may have found a way to save and enjoy life.
It’s okay to want to live well for less – you’re not a cheapskate – you’re human!
Spending doesn’t equate to happiness anyway (ask your local Billionaire).
But most of us desire the choice – to be able to do what we want and decide how to spend at least some of our time.
So how can you save money without cutting quality? Read on.
Spender or Saver?
I’m lucky – I’m a saver.
I never seemed to need any instruction or role models – it seemed to come naturally.
But extreme saving can result in no fun.
As you focus too hard on saving (yes, it can be addictive!). The reason you are saving money in the first place can get lost in the euphoria of your ever-growing pile of cash.
And then there are the spenders. ‘Fun’ is their middle name (Or at least that’s what it looks like on the outside). But the spending high is often short-lived.
The inevitable pain (paying for your fun) comes hurtling down the road eventually. Moreover, if you seriously struggle with saving money, there might be an underlying issue.
Is there a happy middle ground?
Below are a few modern ways of saving money without sacrificing your lifestyle. After all, what’s the point of the money anyway?
1. Become a “Deal-er”
No… not one of those dealers.
I mean a deal-finder. Someone who gets the movie, meal or vacation, but at half the price!
I had a friend who was great at this. She had an enviable lifestyle and never seemed to miss out on anything; she never paid full price.
But it took a lot of patience and effort.
She knew what days of the week were cheapest for certain things, only ate at places when a deal was available, collected coupons and joined reward programs.
For all the cheapskates out there, this may be the most fun way to save money and live well.
2. Get Interested in Tax
You would be delighted if you found $1000 on the ground in a park, right?
But if you could save $1000 by following a few legal, tax-friendly suggestions, would that also make you as happy?
Taxes can be complicated, so understanding them sometimes feels irrelevant and out of reach for the average person.
I’ll just say it – it’s also boring!
Minimising taxes or taking advantage of grants and schemes are realistic ways to save money.
It’s about keeping more of your salary – your after-tax amount.
This is not about some crazy tax scheme doing the rounds on WhatsApp. It’s about identifying ways where you can maximise your tax situation.
For example, if you are buying a home, see if any grants are available in your area.
Or perhaps discuss buying an investment property instead of a home for yourself with an accountant or qualified financial planner.
Or re-structure your salary and any allowances as per your company’s rules.
3. Group Your Fun – Vacations
Think about that villa with a pool in the best part of town – then think about how you can experience that too!
You can significantly reduce your travel costs with a group of people.
It’s not a strategy you may want to use all the time. Still, it’s an option to consider so you don’t have to compromise on many aspects of your vacation while saving money. One more way of having fun without sacrificing fun is to be aware of the budget-friendly travel places.
If you share accommodation, transport, food and entertainment costs, you can enjoy a more luxurious getaway than you could afford on your own.
It’s a cheapskates holiday, but it looks like a luxurious lifestyle – like the rich and famous! To plan your vacations, utilize our free Travel Bucket List Template filled with ideas and examples.
4. Treat Yourself to ONE Special Purchase
You know that wishlist you have on your phone, scribbled in a diary or the one you keep a mental note of – well, bring it out into the open.
You don’t need to feel guilty for wanting nice things and fun experiences.
It can make you feel down if you cannot afford to buy anything and only save.
So how about you continue to save money, but you also save a small amount to splurge on one of your wishlist items.
💡 Maybe you can’t upgrade your vehicle, buy that new suit or watch and go on vacation this year. But if you pick one thing from your list, it might prevent you from feeling like you are missing out (which can lead to a blowout and all those savings gone!)
When walking around in your favourite new shoes, you might even forget the other items on your list!
Reaching your savings goal will take longer, but it might not feel as hard.
5. (Slightly) Delay Gratification
Wait a minute – this article was supposed to be about no sacrifice?
Isn’t delaying gratification a sacrifice?
Well, it depends on your definitions.
You need to define ‘delay’ and also ‘gratification.’
What if I suggested that you would be much more gratified if you saved for something over several months? Pay for it outright rather than having it now, but it’s on loan on your credit card?
What if the gratification was MORE than the short-lived gratification of instant?
Okay – you might not be convinced just yet.
💡 What about trying to wait just one night? See if you still want the purchase in the morning.
You may save money by just slightly delaying your spending gratification.
You can “have it all” (well, sort of) – if you WAIT.
6. Utilise’ Freebies’
‘The best things in life are free’ – apparently, someone said it, so it must be true.
It is possible to save your cash and have an entire weekend of fun (depending on where you live).
See how many free things you can experience in your city.
Here are a few I have used myself –
- City or Country Parks & Gardens
- Community Events
- Seasonal Festivals
- Cultural Festivals
- Music Performances
- Sporting Events
- Free Transport Offers
- Wildlife/National Parks
- Food Festivals
- Shopping Samples
- School events
- Friends Parties or Occasions
Find where you can have maximum fun with minimum spending in your town!
7. Fitness First
One area that can cost a lot of cash is the gym and associated paraphernalia.
Don’t get me wrong – I love gyms and have been to some quite serious ones.
But if you are trying to save, you can get fit without the cost.
These are just a few options for those who don’t want to drop their fitness goals while saving money –
- Exercises at home
- Jogging/Long-distance running
- Swimming in a natural body of water
- Climbing steps
- Using Public Fitness Equipment
But if you need the gym and the best gym outfits and equipment, you might need to find another area of your life to cut back on.
8. Get Serious – BIG Moves
For those who mean business on the money-saving front, there are a few life-changing ideas that improve your savings and create the life you want.
If your lifestyle costs too much, and you have the courage, think BIG Moves –
- Move to a cheaper City
- Move to a cheaper Country
- Re-train for a higher-paying career
- Downside your house, vehicle etc
- Sell Possessions
- Move in with a friend or family member
- Assess your “wants” versus “needs”
This last one is BIG for many people.
Do you actually need all this stuff?
I personally know this dilemma – I moved country and threw away almost everything I own. It turns out I didn’t need most of it.
A big move overseas is not for everybody, however.
You can re-assess minor elements of life, such as going for low-maintenance haircuts, beauty regimes, clothing, diet etc. – can you do it differently? (ie. cheaper).
9. FREE TIP
One of the best ways I found to save money is to track your money.
I have backups of old Excel sheets in my graveyard of laptops where I monitored expenses and income for years (decades!).
Without this insight into what’s coming in and where it goes, it is hard to ever gain complete control of your savings.
Recommended Reading about Money & Mindset
- Psychology of Money – From our curated list of self-help improvement books.
- The Richest Man in Babylon
- Think and Grow Rich
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Jennifer is the co-founder of menPsyche. She holds an Applied Science degree in Public Health & Health Promotion and authored the ‘Personal Disaster’ book series.
Jennifer has a vast range of experience across many domains, including extensive international exposure.