Taking care of yourself when you are on a budget can be tough sometimes. If you are wondering just how you are going to make ends meet, you should probably start by creating a list of priorities.
An effective list of priorities will include several categories. You want to include things like rent/mortgage, loans, utilities, and food in your primary category. These things all cost you money and you cannot avoid paying for them. They are indispensable expenses- as much as you might like to be rid of them, they are here to stay.
Next up, you probably want to deal with things you enjoy, but are not necessary. Under this category we place things such as going out to the movies, dining out with friends, going out to bars for drinks, paying for shows, and seeing preventative health care providers such as acupuncturists, massage therapy, or spending time at the spa. Things in this category are great to keep around, but you might need to consider whether or not you can afford them. Going out to movies is an enjoyable past time, but you can invite friends over, pop some corn, enjoy a cold soda, open up some candy, dim the lights, and do your best to mimic the theater environment. You will quickly get over the fact that you are not paying $15 per person to see the same movie. If your friends are budget-conscious too, or at least supportive of your efforts to minimize expenses, they will probably even bring over some treats, potluck style, minimizing your costs further. Paying hundreds of dollars to listen to live music is an expense you are going to have to really examine. If it is critical to your emotional well-being, find a way to keep it in your budget. If you can do without, it is a great place to start trimming the fat, so to speak. There is plenty of great music available for free online. You can also find plenty of venues that offer live music. Buskers on the street offer up live music for free daily. Likewise, paying inflated prices to drink alcohol in a bar is just not worth the cash for most people. If you must frequent a bar, just buy a soda- if it feels awkward or rude, just remind yourself that you are still supporting the establishment and your presence is far better than you not being there.
As you can see, what you want to consider are the things you enjoy, but are not necessary for survival. While you can successfully cut out some of these places, it is definitely worth taking care of your health. Preventative health care goes a long way in saving costs later on. If you feel your body needs acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care, or spa time, be sure to listen to your body. It would be a shame to wind up unable to work due to illness, or worse, hospitalized and footing the bill for that, too.