The transition from "best" to "next best" could be a painless way of saving money

How to Love the "Next Best Thing"

by Tara Alley

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When it comes to stretching dollars, let's face it that we aren't looking and/or can't be looking for the brand names, the top of the line services, or the best of the best. However, we can look for the next best thing. Depending upon your personality, this can be easier for some than for others. So, what do you do when you constantly feel like you're just settling? How do you go about seeking what you can afford without comprising what you enjoy? Here are some easy tips that make the transition from "best" to "next best" a painless way of saving money and give you reasons not only to accept the next best, but to love it.

Look for Another Version of the Same Thing

Wherever possible, look for the items that have a second version for free. Take magazines for example. You can pay for a subscription, which basically just places a hardcopy in your mailbox once a month. Or, you can go online and view nearly all the same information, but this time for free. The same thing is true with newspapers. There's nothing lost except the cost!

Reason to love: No more stacks of papers and no more trips to the recycle bin.

Make Your Own (Fill in the Blank)

Think you can't live without your morning coffee from the shop down the street? You don't have to give it up, just track down a coffee maker and start making your own. Paying $3.79 for a loaf of bread that only lasts a couple days? Invest in a bread-maker or, better yet, make your own homemade bread. The options here are endless.

Reason to love: Both will taste better made from home than the store version.

Substitute Paid Services for Free

Cancel your gym membership and get outside for your exercise. Or, if your weather doesn't allow for that, get a couple exercise DVDs and start pumping the iron and burning those calories in your basement.

Reason to love: No more fighting or waiting for the treadmill to open up. No more awkward conversations in the dressing room. No more germ covered stairmaster.

Video: The Decadent Frugal Lifestyle

Shop the Deals & Steals

You don't actually have to pay full price for that high-end massage, fancy pedicure, or awesome restaurant. Sign up for sites like that will send you a daily e-mail blast with top notch products and services that are anywhere from 50% to 90% off. Do a Google search on your hobby and "deals" to see what comes up. You don't have to go shop at Best Buy to purchase a Dell computer. Shop the online auctions like eBay. Get the same stuff for lower prices.

Reason to Love: Never have to leave your home, fight the traffic, or fight the shopping mall crowds. The products are delivered to your door!

Save money on your favorite restaurants.
Buy $25 Certificates for $10!

Remember, Half the Time, It IS the Best Thing

Can't accept buying the Target version of Jergens® lotion? Remind yourself that more often than not, items like this are made with exactly the same stuff at exactly the same factory. They just happen to be packaged differently and one gets a $2 price increase for the label. So if you're used to thinking you're settling with the next best that isn't at all what you want, just tell yourself that it probably actually is the best thing. It's just disguised otherwise.

Reason to Love: You aren't actually giving up anything or any quality. You are getting the best!

Tara Alley is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging and frequently writes about tips for saving money. She is also currently working alongside of Whether you're a coffee connoisseur, a life-long barista, or just now getting hooked on coffee, you'll find help selecting the right coffee maker for you.

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