A well-planned gap year does not require you to spend thousands of dollars. Some of the most transformative gap years are also the most affordable. You may find that a gap year actually helps to save you money.
Be frugal but don't obsess over every dollar. Don't miss out on once in a lifetime opportunities. When in situations where bargaining is culturally appropriate, bargain, but consider the significance of that amount of money to you compared to the person with whom you are bargaining.