Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale says his budget dictates he cannot "buy the best of everything" in the transfer market this summer.
The League Two club have 19 players under contract for next season, in addition to four academy graduates.
They also have six players, including Christian Ribeiro and Alex Nicholls, who are yet to be offered new deals.
"You've got to compromise in some areas and that's not being disrespectful to some players," Tisdale told BBC Sport.
"I might be able to be quite bullish when it comes to making one or two signings, but then in other areas we have to be considered and selective with our recruitment.
"When you make that one signing that might cost you 50% more than you were hoping to spend, that will then influence how much money you have left for the next signing - it's as simple as that."
Since the end of the season Exeter have signed midfielder Lloyd James, plus strikers Robbie Simpson and Liam McAlinden, all on free transfers.
Tisdale says he wants to make "two or three more signings" ahead of the new campaign, "primarily in defensive positions".
"Most of what I'm doing is blind, you're going into the selection process blind of value and cost - you've got to go very slowly and you have to work it out bit by bit," he added.
"It's like going to Sainsbury's - you've got a budget to spend and you've got to buy all different types of things for your shopping trolley and if you start buying the best in everything, you'll find that you haven't got any money to fill your trolley up with some of the basics.
"It's the ugly side of the game because you're leaving people hanging on, players are keeping clubs hanging on - it's a big game of poker and it takes a long time."