Live well on less
Just because the economy looks bleak doesn't mean you have to deprive yourself and your family. Here's how to spend less, but have more.
You don't need us to tell you times are tight. Between the rising cost of gas and groceries, a disheartening recession, and the shaky job and housing markets, you've probably spent more than a few hours worrying about your finances. But tightening your belt doesn't mean choking your spirit; you can still enjoy the things you love. "You don't have to deprive yourself, but you do have to become more conscious of how you're spending your money," says Judy Lawrence, author of The Budget Kit. "Living well is about spending in alignment with your values, not frittering money away on things that don't matter to you." Your first step: Become clear on what you most appreciate in life, whether it's taking annual vacations or having a souped-up cell phone. "There are ways to do the things you enjoy for cheap or free," says Shel Horowitz, author of The Penny-Pinching Hedonist. "There's a thrill to getting that beautiful thing or experience while also saving money." So you can live a rich life without being rich â€” it just takes some creativity and a chutzpah, Ã la these real-world ideas: