Lessons Learned: Saving doesn't have to mean sacrifice

Save without sacrifice. It is the concept that marked the start of my journey as Young & Free Maine Spokester. I wrote a blog for my Spokester application on the ways you can save money without sacrificing the things you love. After a year of sharing money-saving, budget-friendly tips and tricks on the blog, I believe even more strongly that it's possible to do what I love without being limited by my finances. 

I love going to concerts. Concerts cost money. Will I ever stop going to concerts to save money? Absolutely not. Concerts make me happy and no one should have to sacrifice something that makes them happy. However, I'm also no stranger to pinching pennies, so I know I have to spend my money wisely on my concert adventures. I save on travel by getting cheap bus tickets through MegaBus, I buy extra tickets and resell them on StubHub when the show sells out, and I pack snacks for long trips so I don't have to get pricey take-out. These are smart money moves that allow me to save cash without cutting out something that I love.

In my eyes, riding a bus and eating trail mix from a plastic bag in my purse is not a sacrifice -- it's a better budgeting move so I can rock out to my favorite songs played by my favorite bands on stage. 

That's the key. You have to identify what a sacrifice is and is not.

  • Sacrifice is: Saying no to a night with your friends, even though you really love hanging out with them, because you don't know how to score discounts at the restaurant. Don't sacrifice spending time with your friends if it makes you happy! Instead, save without sacrifice and research deals and discounts at the place you'll be dining. Many offer savings or even freebies for college IDs, e-mail newsletter subscriptions, and early bird specials.
  • Sacrifice is not: Buying a reasonably priced used vehicle instead of a $60,000 luxury sedan to get to work every day. Shopping for a car in your budget is not a sacrifice, it's a smart money move. You'll still have a car. Maybe Jay-Z wouldn't feature it in a music video, but you'll still have a car. Besides, driving a used car with "character" makes for some good stories. My first car was a 1997 Jeep Cherokee with more rust than paint. It sure didn't win any beauty contests, but it got me around and my 4-wheel drive rescued many friends when they needed a tow out of the snow.

You don't have to sacrifice the things you love to save money. There are ways to enjoy everything that makes you happy while keeping your spending in check. I hope the tips I've shared this year have helped you learn ways to enjoy your life without being limited by your finances.  

Scenes from my Young & Free Maine Spokester Application video (Remember when I was a brunette?)

Scenes from my Young & Free Maine Spokester Application video (Remember when I was a brunette?)

Feel free to check out my 2012 Spokester Application to see where my journey started. Watching my application video for the first time since last year made me smile and left me feeling nostalgic. I've learned so much and come so far since I uploaded that video and crossed my fingers, hoping for the opportunity to serve as Spokester. It's been an incredible year. 

It's my last week as Young & Free Maine Spokester so I'll use this week to reflect on the lessons I've learned. I hope you'll chime in with your thoughts and the things you learned this year. 

Kylie K.