Contrary to what some bloggers would have you believe, being frugal isn’t always easy. In fact, I’ve often found that the key to money success overall isn’t ruling out splurges entirely but to find compromises in your spending. This is to say that, although there may be cheaper options out there, you’re at least saving when compared to the usual default.
Shop at fast fashion stores, outlets, etc.
If you’ve been watching as much Queer Eye on Netflix as I have, you may be considering making some upgrades to your wardrobe. While trying to get your closet to resemble the finished products featured on the show could easily cost you a small fortune, there are plenty of compromise options worth seeking out. For example H&M has now come to my rescue in a pinch twice when I realized that the items in my suitcase weren’t going to cut it in terms of dress code. Considering I was able to put together a complete wedding outfit — including a full suit but minus the shoes — for under $120, I’d definitely recommend both women and men check out this and other fast fashion brands for some deals before dropping hundreds on designer wear.
Speaking of Netflix, there’s a reason why it and the bevy of other streaming services have become massive hits in recent years. Offering a wide selection of entertainment at a monthly cost that’s likely less than the cost of a single movie ticket, these platforms have become a go-to for nights in while also leading a cord-cutting revolution against cable bundles. As a result, subscribing to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or other services can be a great way to stave off boredom without resorting to more expensive entertainment options. That said, the trick is not get too carried away with trying to consume every piece of content being put out into the world. Instead, just choose one or two streaming services to subscribe to and learn to make due (personally my two are Netflix and HBO Now).
Getting a Keurig
Last Christmas, my mother gifted our household with something I never really thought I wanted: a Keurig. Despite that hesitance, using the machine for the first time was just slightly short of life-changing. Now I enjoy a tasty cup of coffee each morning with relatively no effort.
But does having a Keurig really save me money? Well, yes and no (hence the reason I’m calling it a compromise). While it’s true that, at a rate of $.25 to $.50 per K-Cup, I am paying a premium on the convenience of not manually brewing a full pot, I will say that the variety and quality that having the machine affords me has helped curb my well-documented Starbucks addiction to some degree. So if you love coffee/tea/other hot beverages and little to no cleanup, I might be inclined to say this could be the right move for you.
Subscribing to a meal kits service
Full disclosure: I don’t actually subscribe to any meal kit services at the moment but I’ve frequently considered joining their ranks. Brands like Blue Apron, Plated, HelloFresh, and many others often promote the fact that their plans start at less than $10 per meal…which is still pretty expensive in my book. That said, if you’re using these services to spice up your dinner menus and prevent you from dining out, it might not be a bad option. Of course, being the picky eater that I am, I’m still not a 100% sold on the idea but the braver side of me is definitely intrigued in this compromise.
Utilizing fans or space heaters
Finally we look to something a little less tangible: the temperature of your home. Especially during the winter and summer months, I’m often pulled in two directions — one that finds me wanting to run our central HVAC system all damn day and the other part of me that doesn’t want to spend that money. Not that I’d ever suggested freezing or sweating to death just to save a few dollars anyway, but investing in a tower fan or space heater can be a smart way to keep yourself comfortable without sending your electric bill through the proverbial roof. With heat waves being a common theme so far this summer, this is one tip you’ll want to keep in mind as we race towards fall.
As hard as we may try to save money whenever possible, the truth is that the cheapest option isn’t always the best option for many of us. Instead, perhaps it’s time you sought the middle ground and considered some of these spending compromises. Hopefully these plans and others can help you save money while still enjoying your everyday life.