There is an alternative, or substitute, for almost anything you might need. Do you remember the tables in cook books or perhaps from your home economics class that showed how you could substitute something else for an ingredient you were missing. Cocoa, which is less expensive, can be substituted for chocolate baking squares, usually with the addition of some butter. During World War II, government pamphlets and homey advice from the popular Betty Crocker publications encouraged homemakers in their quest to make wartime rations stretch to feed a family.
Sometimes you will need to substitute because you don't have an item or it is too costly. Regular vanilla is an example of an expensive ingredient as is saffron. Other times, it might be for health reasons that you substitute applesauce for half the butter in a recipe. Just google substitutions for . . . and prepare to be enlightened. Just do a little research and be leery if the substitute involves a complicated chemical formula. Some substitutions for sugar have had bad publicity.
What about substitutions in other areas of your life? Can you substitute a night at home with Netflix and whatever snack pleases you (and is likely more healthy than movie popcorn) for a visit to your local multi-plex at the $16 a person ticket price? I find it a great advantage to be able to pause the movie for various purposes. I still remember missing a vital part of a three hour movie during a trip to the washroom, inconveniently located. There was no pause or rewind button there.
Make it a creative challenge. If you have a goal or dream that is truly worthy of your carefully nurtured funds your so-called deprivation will be easier. I have paid for too many entertainments in the past that were ultimately forgettable. Sporting events and concerts can be a disappointment if the team loses or the band seems apathetic. Taking the family to a major league hockey game or musical concert including tickets, parking, gas to the event, and snacks between periods or at half time will cost you in the several hundred dollars. I remember buying tickets for one of the boy bands of the past (Back Street Boys?) as a treat for a pre-teen daughter who was crazy about the and desperate to go to the concert. By the time the date of the concert rolled around, some six months later, she was so over them it was laughable except for the money I'd paid. And I sure didn't enjoy watching them gyrate.
You could buy a CD or DVD of a music group's performance and listen to it many times over. Or you might find that rather than being a spectator, being a sport or musician yourself is ultimately ore rewarding. I get a lot of pleasure out of playing the piano and since my parents were kind enough to pay for the lessons I took in childhood, ongoing expenses are limited to occasional music purchases and tuning the instrument from time to time.