1) Be a deal hound at the grocery store. I buy the cheapest possible dried and canned goods. The chain grocery store in UT is called Smith's. They have deals each week if you use the free rewards card. I am OBSESSED with continually one-upping the savings from the previous week. The cashier probably thinks something is wrong with me, because I compulsively watch the screen as she's scanning items to try and mentally calculate if I'm going to beat last week's deal total.
2) Set a limit on how often you'll go out to eat. For us it's 1x/week, and 1x/month we'll splurge on a nicer place.
3) Exercise is free. While I often daydream about having money to spend on countless gym memberships, taking unlimited yoga and barre classes, and purchasing every outdoor toy at REI (road bike, mountain bike, skate skis, winter camping gear, SUPs, kayaks...the list goes on and on)... for now we are content to lace up our running shoes and have a 5 year love affair with the thousands of miles of singletrack mountain trails- don't feel too bad for us! Hiking and running are about as affordable as it gets with sports in Utah, so that's what were sticking with for now.
4) The dreaded stay cation. There's nothing I love more than getting on a plane and fulfilling my dreams of getting away from it all (all = the sick institution & that loud, annoying as *** pager), but plane tickets are pricey so sometimes we have to cave into the stay cation. If there ever was a place to serve up the best in local day trips, Utah is it.
5) Avoid impulse buys. Whether its a flannel shirt, a book, or a pair of running shoes- I make myself mull it over 3x before actually buying. Last weekend, I spent an hour trying on running shoes at REI, desperately wanted to take a pair home but instead went home to think about when and how it would fit into the budget. Hence, the mulling over for the 1st time. To be totally honest, running shoes are a necessity in my life- so I likely won't hit the 3x mark, but you get the picture.
It's hard to imagine the day where we won't cringe at spending money. Maybe when we're middle-aged, have repaid our debts to Uncle Sam, and have those mythical things called kids that are worth spending money on. For now, I'll convince myself that depriving ourselves of the fancier things in life is all about having a bit of Type 2 fun after all.