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Feeling like you’re deprived is one of the hardest parts of sticking to a budget. You feel like you can’t have any fun, do anything extra or spoil yourself.
I get it.
Currently, our family is a single-income family and we are trying to save our pennies while still maintaining a life that we enjoy. We have found that the below tips have help fight the feeling that we are deprived of luxuries and helped us maintain a handle on our budget.
1. Make Time To Read A Book
If you’re on a budget, one of the cheapest sources of entrainment can be reading! Now, if you’ve gone to the bookstore lately, you’re likely to tell me that books are expensive! And they are.
Here’s the hack: buy your books used! If you have a used bookstore around, see if they will take your old books in exchange for store credit or cash. Then, use that toward new books to read! Even if you don’t want to trade-in books, these used bookstores will still be cheaper than buying new.
Don’t have a used bookstore nearby? Go to the thrift store for cheap used books.
And, of course, if you have the time to go to the library and can assure that you’ll return your books before a late fee, the library allows you to read for FREE. However, if you’re like me and your life is crazy, I’d probably end up paying late fees, which isn’t budget friendly at all.
More into e-books? Make sure to check out books that are free with your Prime membership on Amazon!
2. Binge Watch TV Shows
My husband and I are firm believers in not spending money on cable. It is a huge expense that we decided to do without. However, we don’t go without entertainment.
These days, we have opted to pay for one streaming service at a time (besides Amazon Prime that is included in our subscription).
For a long time, we spent money on Netflix. Recently, we decided to swap out Netflix for HBO Now (anyone else a Game Of Thrones fan?)
Between Amazon Prime and choosing one streaming subscription to spend money on, we have a ton of entertainment for only a fraction of the cost of cable.
Streaming tv shows and movies are a budget-friendly activity that should help squash the feeling that you’re going without!
If you are addicted to shows on cable that you can’t live without, check around and see if they are available to be streamed. Many channels let you watch new episodes online for free after they air on television.
And, if that’s still not enough, check into services like Sling TV, which let you stream television shows for cheap.
3. Get Into Youtube
There’s an incredible world of free video content out there. It’s called Youtube.
Almost everyone is familiar with Youtube. And it is more than just funny pet videos!
If you’re looking for some free entertainment, try finding Youtube channels that speak to your interests.
Into makeup? There’s a billion makeup channels. Into watching people share their shopping hauls? You can find that too!
But really, if you have a hobby, there’s likely going to be a channel that speaks to you.
4. Go For A Drive
If you just need a little bit of an adventure, go for a drive! This is a relatively inexpensive way to get a little adventure in your life.
As a stay-at-home mom with a husband who works from home, there are nights where we put Graci in the car and go for a drive.
Don’t drive? Plan an adventure on the local busses!
5. Make A Night Out Of Self-Care
I don’t know about you, but most days, I’m rushing through. When the baby is asleep, I grab a quick shower. At bedtime, I do the bare minimum – take off my makeup, brush my teeth and put my hair up. Most days, nothing “extra” ever happens.
If you are like me, then one way that you can really spoil yourself is to set aside some time one night to use all of the products you don’t make time for normally.
On nights that I want to pamper myself, here are things I try to do:
- Light a candle
- Shave my legs
- Use a body scrub
- Apply extra conditioner or hair treatment
- Do a multi-step facial cleansing
- Put on a face mask
- Paint my nails and toes
A lot of these suggestions are based on what I personally have sitting around in my bathroom. If you don’t have some of the necessary products for the above, then use what you do have. I’m betting that if you look around your bathroom that you may have some products you forgot about.
At the very least, taking a long shower will make you feel pampered!
6. Bake Or Cook A Meal
I’m not a huge fan of cooking myself (although that’s changing slowly), but if I’m having a day where I need a little extra pampering, I like to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies.
In fact, in my last hours before being induced with Graci, I spent time baking cookies. It was a great distraction and when I was done with all the work involved, I had delicious cookies to indulge in before checking into the hospital.
Baking can definitely be an expensive hobby, but it doesn’t have to be! After you buy a lot of the “base” ingredients, you won’t have to buy them every time.
Cooking more your thing? Spend time cooking a meal that is a little more elaborate than you’d normally do. You will not only enjoy the process of cooking, but you’ll have a meal at the end that you could have spent a lot of money to buy in restaurant. WIN WIN!
7. Online Window Shop
Now, this one may not work for everyone. However, if you feel like you have good self-control, one thing that you can do is online window shop.
When I have money, one thing that I really enjoy spending money on is cosmetics. So, if I’m not currently able to spend money on cosmetics, I like to go to sites like Sephora and add items to my wish list. I also do this for other items on Amazon.
(This can be dangerous if you are likely to just buy whatever it is you want. I used to be like this, so please know that sticking to a budget can get easier!)
So what’s the point of doing this? To torture ourselves?
Here’s how I think about this – If I make a list of items that I really, really, really want, I will know exactly what to buy when I get birthday gift cards, Christmas money, etc. And what is even better is that I will have put a lot more thought into my purchases this way and won’t regret spending my money on something spur-of-the-moment.
We hope that these ideas will help you enjoy life while sticking to your budgeting goals. Do you have any go-to activities when you’re trying to save money? I’d love to hear about them below!