If you are living on a tight budget, the pressure to spend can build quickly. This pressure often leads to splurging, which sabotages financial progress and destroys your hope for a better tomorrow. One terrific tactic for avoiding the ill-disciplined spending that leads to debt is allowing yourself small luxuries, without actually forking over inordinate amounts of cash.
Here are 5 simple ideas from We Know Savings advice to trick yourself into feeling like you’re spending lots of money:
#1 – Attend Free or Super Cheap Events in Your City
A simple Google search for free activities in your city will yield a lengthy list from which to choose. Some of the most common free events include:
- Art Gallery opening receptions
- Free museum/zoo days
- Free concert-in-the-park series
- Outdoor movie screenings
- Company promotional events
These free events let you dress to impress and have a terrific day/night out on the town, without spending a dime. Many local gatherings offer complimentary beverages, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment.
#2 – Get Free Stuff for Your Home
If you feel like you are going to explode if you don’t buy a new bookshelf or dishes for the kitchen, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you can get almost anything for free these days, if you are willing to be a bit patient.
Websites such as craigslist and freecycle put you in direct contact with individuals that are looking to give away their possessions.
Next time you feel the urge to splurge, simply get online and “”window shop”” through the hundreds of free offerings posted each day. Fill your home with pre-used items that allow you to feel like you are adding value to your everyday life.
In addition, keep your eyes peeled for “”ground scores””, which are items that your neighbours set out on their curbs as a free giveaway. You can often get free furniture, electronics or clothes simply by dragging it in from the cold.
#3 – Borrow Instead of Buying
Simple entertainment extravagances like movies, books and CDs help you feel like you are having fun at the end of a hard work day. Instead of spending money to rent or buy these entertainment escapes, simply take a trip to your local library. Most libraries have an entertainment section where you can borrow movies and music at no charge, and the rest of the library offers more books than you could read in a lifetime.
Be aware that if you fail to return these items on time, you’ll be charged a small late fee. So do yourself a favour and return them as soon as you are done listening, watching or reading.
#4 – Make Your Own
Adorning your home with a new work of art can make you feel like a million bucks. Instead of actually spending a million bucks, take matters into your own hands and create your own masterpiece for your home.
Mosaic – If you have broken dishes or pots around the house, you can create your own mosaic frame, or upgrade a piece of furniture by adding a mosaic pattern to virtually any hard surface that responds to adhesive.
Art – Get a free canvas from craigslist, and paint your own masterpiece over the original. Hang it on your wall and enjoy the thrill of your work being on display.
Shabby Chic – Virtually any existing piece of wood furniture in your home can undergo a shabby chic makeover, which will make it look like an entirely new piece. A simple Google search can give the the lowdown on how to paint and distress your furniture on a shoestring budget, to create shabby chic pieces that look like they cost a fortune.
#5 – Be Pampered
One of the biggest reasons we spend too much money is because it makes us feel pampered. Make your soul feel like you’ve spent a ton of money on yourself by creating little luxury breaks for yourself each day. These breaks don’t have to cost you very much, but they can improve your overall quality of life and make you feel rich inside.
Bath – Epsom salt costs only pennies, but when poured into a hot bath it can make you feel like you just splurged on a few hours in a high end spa. Light a few candles, and have a glass of affordable wine to make yourself feel like a queen or king without pawning your royal crown.
Tea – Brew a cup of strong tea and drink it by candlelight, with soft music in the background. Practice deep breathing and let yourself focus only on the good things in your life. After about 20 minutes, you’ll begin to feel rested and pampered, without going over budget.