Want to spend less and save more? Redefine this one word

2. Can I spend less to achieve the same level of satisfaction?

Of course, a life without any discretionary spending isn’t a palatable one for most of us. In fact, Odjick encourages everyone to spend money on things they like.

“You might opt to keep some of the extras, which is totally fair, but getting clear on what counts as a necessity can help you really enjoy your discretionary purchases more. You don’t need a latte, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy one — and if you know it’s a treat, as opposed to what you buy without thinking about it because you need it, you’ll probably enjoy it more.”

Being honest with yourself about what you do and don’t actually need makes you appreciate the non-necessities more — which makes them even more enjoyable. But here’s where you ask yourself the next question: If I know this isn’t a need, is it still worth it to me, or just a default?

Want to spend less and save more? Redefine this one word
Want to spend less and save more? Redefine this one word

For some of us, those afternoon lattes are the highlight of our day. It’s worth it to put money towards things that bring us genuine joy. But for others for whom that latte is merely a habit, and nothing more, it may be time to rethink that default spending. Getting used to buying things regularly that you don’t actually need, and especially that you don’t even want that much, will surely lead to overspending — and fast.

How can cutting back on “necessities” make room for more wants?

Maybe you really love those daily lattes, but you’ve realized that, on your salary, you really can’t afford to keep having them if you want to reach your bigger financial goals. You of course can’t starve yourself or go without transportation in order to save money, but as much as it hurts, fancy coffee can go.

But fortunately, there’s probably somewhere else in your budget where you can find that $4 a weekday you’d like to spend on a latte. You just have to get creative with what you spend on necessities.

For example, we may know how important it is to cook at home in order to save on food costs — but we may not be optimizing our grocery budgets in order to do so. For example, Sarah, the who blogs at Smile & Conquer, sticks to a strict meal plan every week so as not to overspend on food. That way, she knows what she’s spending beforehand, and make sure she’s making the most of her shopping list by using several recipes with overlapping ingredients.

If you start paying better attention to your spending in one area, like groceries, you can figure out how to get your daily latte without jeopardizing your finances. $20 a week saved at the supermarket means $20 more you can put towards your coffee habit.


  • The one move you can make to improve your wealth and health
  • How a do-not-buy list can save you hundreds of dollars
  • 13 easy ways to save money
  • How to budget and get out of debt if you live paycheck-to-paycheck

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