Most of the people live within their means, without having access to unlimited amounts of money. Living on a budget is something that concerns most of us. We all try to find ways to have a wealthy life, or at least, to live decently on a limited budget.
Because of the economic incertitude we are living in, more and more people do not know how it is to be living on a budget, or to make it through the day without spending a lot of money. However, life is not only about surviving, but also about enjoying each day, without stressing so much.
Working over-hours might be a part of the solution, but is not all you can do to save money, cut down expenses, and live a happy life. It is true, however, that you should carefully plan your budget, and consider paying off your debts, before spending all your money on other things such as impulsive shopping sprees.
Prioritize Your Life
The society and culture you are living in have an impact on your way of thinking about money. It is said that western societies have a wasteful consumerism going on while other communities have a sense of frugality in their lives. If everyone you know lives in a big house and owns a big SUV car, then the idea of you living in a small crowded flat will not make for a comfortable life.
You must decide what is best for you, along with what has the most importance in your life, and do not settle for anything less. However, you must also learn how to be a saver, not only a spender. If you know how to manage a small amount of money, you will also be able to handle large amounts of money.
Plan Your Budget
Write down your income, along with your monthly expenses. Keep all your records and bills, and write those sums down. This way you can have a wide but detailed view of your financial life. Then, you should find the areas in which you can make some cuts, without affecting your life in a significant way.
- Save on your home utilities: turn off the lights and the TV, switch the A/C at a lower temperature, renegotiate your phone and Internet agreements, and more.
- Cutback on your beauty regime. Instead of going to the gym, exercise outside, in a park, or take your bike to work. You can also try to make your own beauty remedies at home, instead of buying a lot of expensive creams and makeup.
- Look for discounts and coupons. Coupons can save you a lot of money, but you must be careful, you might not get the best buy. Also, look for generic products instead of buying premium brands. Many times, the only difference is the packaging.
Find A Roommate
You can save money by living with a roommate. If you have your own house, you can rent the spare room(s), and earn some extra cash. In some areas such as Los Angeles, you can easily save up to 200 dollars per month, if you choose to share your apartment.
Establish the amount of money you should spend every month and the amount of money you want to put away into your savings account. You should also have some money left for the activities you enjoy such as going out with friends, going to the cinema, etc.
Consider having daily, weekly, and monthly goals. This way it will be easier for you to keep track of your spending. Also, keep in mind to put some money away for emergencies. Whether is the faucet leaking or you get sick, there will always be cases of emergencies. Think of how many times you ended up spending money you did not plan on spending.
Change Your Lifestyle
Living on a budget can change the way you live your life. Or it can be the other way around, you can change your lifestyle in order to manage your money in a more efficient way.
- Create a separate account for savings. If you have all your money at your disposal all the time, you will never be able to save.
- Start cooking instead of eating out. Or even better, grow your own food. These measures of saving money are not only cheaper but healthier also.
- Find a second source of income. Even if you take a second job, or you start monetizing your hobby, try to search for new ways of increasing your income.
- Quit your vices. Stop smoking and drinking. It is not only bad for your health, but also it costs you a lot of money.
- Use cash instead of credit cards. This way you will not feel the same impulse to spend more than you can afford.
Living on a budget simply requires you to get creative with your way of life. You just have to be organized and carefully plan your budget. There are many ways to live a healthy and happy life on a small budget.