Anyone with an opinion about your budget will probably leap at the chance to tell you that cutting stuff is the only way to save. While it's true that reducing expenses is an essential part of balancing your budget, that doesn't mean that depriving yourself constantly is necessary. Photo by Alejandro Forero Cuervo.
As personal finance site The Frugal Cottage explains, self-deprivation isn't the same as being frugal. We get the two mixed up a lot, though. Being frugal and cost-cutting is about finding the least expensive way to do the things that you want or need. Self-deprivation is just saying no to everything at the expense of yourself. Only one of these actually helps your budget and your life:
There is a balance to be found, in terms of spending and saving. There is nothing exciting or motivating about not spending a penny and making your life more of a survival existence, or scraping and scrimping to save everything. But, neither is there anything exciting about continuously spending money on the latest xyz. There has to be your own balance between wants and needs, and having a goal in mind will help you establish what these are.
Of course, that doesn't mean you can say yes to everything you want and still expect to save money. Part of balancing your budget is making a conscious choice to change your lifestyle to fit your means. When you choose to do it, though, it's not deprivation. It's a choice. No matter how you choose to structure your life, you need to give your desires some space, or else you'll constantly break your own rules when things get tough.