Home > Personal Finance > Buy This, Not That: 4 Money-Saving Substitutions

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Have you ever thought of a great plan just to be deflated by calculating a costly price tag? Sometimes it can be for something as big as whether you can afford to buy a house or as little as whether you can afford to buy that daily cup of coffee. There are plenty of ways to experience all the excitement the world has to offer on a budget — it just may take some minor adjustments and a little more work. When you are planning a purchase, it’s a good idea to consider a substitution item or activity to help you save. Here are a few switches to consider.

1. Your Fancy Night Out Substitute

When it comes to a date night or fun evening with friends, you may dream of elaborate restaurants, hot nightclubs, impressive cocktails and a car service. But there are plenty of ways to enjoy your time with others without overspending. Consider inexpensive date and friend activities like picnicking, hiking, a trip to the movies, or ordering takeout and a romantic evening at home. Instead of going out for dinner, you could try eating in and then head out for dessert. This way you get the dining out experience without the heavy price tag. Try making fancy drinks at home and turn it into a party where catching up with friends will come easy and cheaper.

2. The New Car Alternative

Buying a new vehicle is another place you can save. Instead of opting for a brand new car, it’s a good idea to shop used or previously owned ones. Within the first year of ownership, a car’s value drops significantly. Instead of overspending on the latest model and that new car smell, search for a deal on something a few years older that will hold its value well. It may seem less exciting, but there is always the option of test-driving, renting or borrowing a friend’s car to satisfy the excitement of the shiny and speedy. Your wallet will certainly thank you.

3. The Picturesque Vacation Substitute

Everything from plane fare, hotel costs and excursion fees can be overwhelming when you want to plan a little travel time. To cut back, consider using travel rewards from your credit card or finding ways to get paid while you travel. You can teach English, farm your way across the globe, make money through freelance writing and review travel experiences to fund your trips. It’s also a good idea to check discount websites for accommodations, tickets and experiences at lower prices.

4. Another Option for the Latest Gadget

Whether it is the latest phone, computer, television or appliance, be sure to really weigh your options before you purchase the latest gadget. Waiting just a few months and checking around for reviews on an off-brand or discount option can save you hundreds while still getting the features you want.

With my version of “try this, not that” I hope that you find what you were looking for at a more affordable price point. There are plenty of options out there to realize your big plans for less money.

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