When your budget's out of control, you know you need to cut expenses. However, cutting back always feels like a painful sacrifice. To ease the psychological burden, replace your expenses with something else. Photo by pshegubj.
As lifestyle site The Minimalists explains, removing something from your life entirely feels like it leaves a hole. Replacing it with something else, however, can feel like a positive change. For example, instead of simply cutting pay TV, replace your TV time with taking a walk. Instead of just cutting out fast food, replace it with some meals you like that you can cook from home. This strategy not only saves money, but it can help you feel happier with your life:
You see, I didn't simply go without — I replaced expenses with alternatives, which made my momentary forfeiture feel less like a sacrifice. Interestingly, once I became debt-free, I was able to bring some of these indulgences back into my life, doing so deliberately, discovering which ones I could afford, which ones would add value to my life, and letting go of the rest.
As the author goes on to explain, when you remove something from your life to replace it with something else, you learn which one you really enjoyed more. If you decide to bring a particular habit back into your life, then you at least know that it's worth the money to you.