For many of us, it’s all too easy to be infatuated by the glitz of red carpet fashion, the newest, shiniest tech release, or perhaps securing a dinner reservation at an ultra-exclusive restaurant.

And more times than not, we convince ourselves that we need these expensive things.

And although indulging every once in a while isn’t necessarily a bad thing, there may be other options out there that could do just as much for a lot less money. 

Teresa Ubando, Branch Support Manager at HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union, shares tips on how to manage those “champagne tastes” even on a “beer budget”.

Tip 1: Set a budget, make use of mobile apps

Before making any sort of purchase decision, set a budget.

Take into consideration your cash flows—income and living expenses—as well as any savings goals and start from there.

Once you’ve accounted for your financial responsibilities and obligations, you’ll have a better realistic gauge of how much you have to spend.

Treating yourself now and again is a good thing.

In fact, sometimes you need it.

But if you’re looking to get something special for yourself, it’s important to understand that it will necessitate needing to make adjustments in other areas of your spending so you can afford it.

Also, avoid making impulse purchases.

Since these types of buys are not accounted for they can really bust your budget.

A great way to keep track of your budget is to use a mobile budget app. 

For example, at HawaiiUSA we have our own app called My-Fi that allows you to simply create a budget, set up financial goals, track expenses, and much more.

The simpler to understand and more accessible your budget strategy is, the greater the likelihood you’ll be able to stick to it.

Tip 2: Unsubscribe from mailing lists and unfollow retail brands’ social media accounts and channels

A very simple, practical, but seemingly overlooked and discounted tip is to avoid temptation.

That might seem too commonsensical or obvious, but it doesn’t lessen the effectiveness of removing things that could tempt you to spend irresponsibly.

And if you really stop and take a look at all the things you do on a day-to-day basis that result in exposing you to the next “must buy” item, I think you’d be surprised with how even seemingly unrelated activities can influence your behaviors. 

For example, consider unsubscribing from retail mailing lists.

Yes, getting emails about the season’s best sellers or the next big sale can be great, but they may convince you to buy something you might not truly need it right now.

Another area that you could limit your exposure to is social media, specifically official retail accounts.

Similarly to emails, a company’s Facebook or Instagram account might be a great way to stay up-to-date on what’s coming out, but it’s also probably doing a good job at planting that seed to spend in your brain.

Consider unfollowing those accounts so you’re not tempted every time you open up your feed.

Tip 3: Cut back on eating out. Use frugal/couponing blogs to find great deals and savings

Eating out is easily one of the most common and frequent ways you can end up spending money.

And if you’re a foodie at heart, going to fancy restaurants or trying to make sure you try every new eatery that opens up can quickly lead to an empty wallet.

Instead of needing to go out all the time, eating at home can provide you a great cost-savings alternative, as well as being a fun, engaging activity to do with friends and family.

Or maybe even consider meal prepping and have an entire week’s worth of meals ready to go without needing to worry about what’s for lunch/dinner.

And while you’re at it, subscribe to frugal/couponing blogs and you might find great deals and savings.

If you do go out, take advantage of available happy hours.

That’ll let you get a taste for only a fraction of the cost. 

Responsible spending isn’t a bad thing.

Spending is always going to happen.

So, why not get rewarded for it?

Since you’re staying within your budget, look into opening a rewards credit card; HawaiiUSA has our VISA® Platinum Rewards and Pink Platinum Rewards Cards for example.

And by using them to make all your purchases, you’ll be earning rewards that may range from merchandise to points to cash.

And as long as you pay off your balance each and every month, you’ll avoid having to pay back interest on top of what you’ve spent.

For more information on HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union, visit their website at