Nothing can kill your motivation to save faster than feeling like you're being deprived of something. Rather than saving by forcing yourself to abstain, focus on substitutions you can make to your habits that cost less.
Photo by romana klee.
As personal finance blog The Simple Dollar explains, buying a cheaper version of an item can be more rewarding and nearly as beneficial to your budget as giving it up entirely. Rather than buying the brand name product, grab the store brand. Instead of foregoing a gadget purchase, shop used products. While cutting out needless purchases is great, there are some things you'll always want or need to do. In those cases, substituting a better deal will be more beneficial to your habits than just guilting yourself out of spending money at all:
This is how I spend a lot of my spare time when I'm doing mindless things like driving to the doctor's office. I spend time looking at the ordinary things I do in my life and look at potential substitutions that might conserve money, time, or energy and leave me with more of those resources than the current way I do things.
When you're trying to save money, it can feel like any cash you spend at all is a problem. This isn't always the case, though. If something adds value to your life, you can buy it, but there may be a cheaper way to add that same value. The more you can substitute the things in your life for better deals, the better your budget will look.
The Frugal Magic of Substitution -- and 25 Ways to Make the Magic Happen [The Simple Dollar via Rockstar Finance]