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One of the tenets of enjoying a financially sound life is frugal living — so long as that frugality isn’t tempered with a tendency toward silly miserliness. While some may argue that frugality is in the eyes of the beholder, the reality is that living on less than you make and intentionally saving and investing the rest is the fastest path to financial stability and wealth. That being said, there are some well-intentioned savers who really do have a hankering for the finer things in life, and if that hankering isn’t honored to some degree, it threatens to undermine any and all efforts to get spending under meaningful control.
If you’re someone who wants to make sound decisions with your money, but you also need to enjoy your life right now, here are a handful of ways you can give in to your high-end taste and still manage to save money.
Buy Items That Won’t Depreciate
Not all purchases are guaranteed to depreciate over time (unlike that new car someone just drove off the lot), and if you like fine things, you probably own a few of these. Whether you’re looking to purchase needed furniture for your home, or you enjoy art or authentic Persian rugs — NW Rugs has some beautiful ones — spend your money meaningfully and thoughtfully on items that will last and maintain, or even increase, their value.
Do Blind Triangle Taste Tests
For many people with high-end taste trying to save money, certain foods and drinks can put a serious dent in their wallets. While you may be convinced that you can tell the difference between that expensive vodka or bottle of wine and the cheaper stuff, have you ever tested yourself to be sure?
While it has the potential to provide a bit of a stinging blow to your ego, you may not actually prefer the more expensive liquor unless you see its label. If you’re serious about saving money and meeting your standards of taste at the same time, try a blind triangle taste test to truly discover what pricey items you can and can’t live without. Most taste tests employ a method of choosing between two different items, allowing for a 50 percent chance you’ll select the brand you want to, which is why the blind triangle taste test — common to the food industry — is better.
Have a friend pour two glasses of one type and one glass of another. Then, take a sip of all three and correctly identify which one is different. You only have a 33 percent chance of guessing correctly in this scenario, and if you don’t pull it off, it means you can’t actually tell the difference. So, you can quit buying the pricey stuff and settle for the mid-range. However, if you can tell the difference, you’ve adequately justified the extra cost.
Become a Better Cook
If you’re a foodie, it can be tempting to continue indulging your refined taste in the best restaurants and still save plenty of money, but eating out is much more expensive than cooking for yourself. Instead of resigning yourself to mediocre meals, however, why not invest in becoming a better cook? From YouTube videos on how to make a perfect béarnaise to Julia Child’s inimitable cookbook that really will help you master the art of French cooking, there are plenty of resources that, over time, will yield promising and delectable dishes.
Take Amazing, Budget Vacations
Getting away from it all isn’t just something the rich and carefree should get to indulge in now and again, but vacations are costly and can wreak havoc on your otherwise frugal budget. If you’re someone who loves to travel and would rather not give it up entirely in order to pinch pennies, then you’re just going to have to master the art of the budget vacation. Try these tips:
- Buy your airline ticket at the right time and for the right time. Purchase your ticket months in advance to enjoy the most savings, and travel when others are less likely to.
- Visit a less expensive place. London and Madrid are wonderful, but your dollar won’t go as far there. Consider traveling to less popular destinations like the Dominican Republic, Warsaw, and South Africa.
- Stay in hostels or inexpensive hotels.
- Plan on walking and using public transportation. Cabs and rental cars will eat your money up quickly. Rely on your feet and whatever public transportation is available.
Living frugally doesn’t have to mean foregoing every nice thing the world has to offer. From budget vacations to learning to cook, you can still enjoy the good life and save money, so long as you get creative about it.