Unless you’ve managed to win the lottery (in which case, congratulations!), then you probably have a pretty tight budget. No matter how much we make, there’s always going to be a limit to our means. To many, this can be a source of immense stress as you try and cut, and cut, and cut some more until everything fits into a manageable budget.
The worst part? You feel powerless like there’s nothing you can do to make the situation better. You don’t feel like you’re living, just surviving. We’ve all been there, in fact, many of us are there right now. It’s time to start living comfortably. You have the power to make changes for the better.
12 Tips For Living Comfortably on Any Budget
1. Stay Flexible
It all starts with being flexible. Your budget may be tight, and it may fee like it’s set in stone, but it’s not. Yes, you should stick to it as much as possible, but if you tied yourself up into something that is more rigid than stone, you’re going to suffocate.
So, how do I create a budget that works for my standard of living? Step by step guides created by some of the most frugal and financially savvy professionals on the planet can put you on the right track. Coupled with a wealth of advice and insight from people that have been doing this for a living, you can be well on your way to be financially stress-free.
You can still have some of the things you want, just in a different form. If you want to splurge, why not get the store brand of something at the grocery store instead of the name brand option? That’s just an example, but the key takeaway here is flexibility to make small concessions when they arise.
2. Know Your Priorities
We often get pitched all kinds of things that we don’t need. The latest phones, new gadgets, and all kinds of other products. Today’s marketing makes us feel like we need these things, but we really don’t.
When you’re sticking to your budget, it’s important to look past all the things we want and focus on what we need. For example, I typically focus on food, utilities, and other basics when I’m spending and then look to other things after that for my budgeting.
3. Learn More About Finance
Finance isn’t the most exciting subject, but it’s something everyone should be familiar with if they hope to make the most of their budgets. Things like interest rates, credit repair, mortgages, and other terms should be well within your range of knowledge.
This will ensure that you can approach situations with the right tools to make smart decisions. It also means that you can keep yourself from being swindled or taken advantage of when you’re choosing major creditors or loan providers.
4. Splurge Selectively
If you lock yourself out of anything besides the bare minimum, you’re going to drive yourself crazy. You should give yourself the option to splurge every once and a while, but you should be selective about it. Politics aside, Ivanka Trump has some good advice for how to spend your money.
She says to “Invest wisely and splurge selectively.” Weigh the value of your splurge and how it will benefit you. If you feel the cost is worth it, then you should treat yourself to the occasional step outside the boundaries.
It’s not an issue if you’re smart about it. If anything, it makes your life more comfortable knowing you can have fun every once and a while.
5. Speak to a financial advisor
Financial planners can be a godsend. They are spending their days helping people just like you get a handle on their budgeting and finances. One of the quickest ways to get your spending under control is to set specific restrictions on how often you spend your income, what you spend it on, and how much of each of your paychecks you should be saving.
Financial planners and advisors at banks can even offer free advice on how to create better money habits. If you’re not able to secure an appointment with one of the bank’s designated financial advisors, even bank managers are trained as financial professionals, so you can always find expert advice from your local bank around the corner.
6. Earn extra income
You can also spend your time seeking out lucrative opportunities by investigating freelance job sites. Networks such as Upwork and Guru house tens of thousands of freelancing opportunities for people with a wide array of skillsets.
What do you enjoy doing that interests you the most? Do you like to do graphic design, copywriting, editing, data entry or research?
How about social media marketing or website development?
There are opportunities right now, as you’re reading this, that are paying a reasonable amount for services such as these.
If you can’t do much outside of the house because of budgeting restraints, discover what truly interests you. No matter what you choose to do, just know it’ll take some serious time and effort in order to create anything worthwhile.
7. Cook your own meals
Eating out doesn’t seem like much here and there, but it quickly adds up. If you stop and looked at all the money you spend outside of the house for food (beyond groceries) you may be shocked at how much you could be saving.
Even if you’re not someone who cooks a lot, you can find ways to eat from home and save not spend money eating out. For example, farmer’s markets often set up shop early on weekends where you can buy high-quality produce for a fraction of the cost.
8. Look for free opportunities
Whether it’s at your apartment complex, your housing subdivision, or a community event, there are often free happenings going on throughout the year. These usually happen around holidays, but you can find weekly or biweekly events by checking your local community’s calendar. Many of them are free entertainment and a great way to meet new people.
9. Cut out non-essentials
Sometimes we resign ourselves to certain things that we feel like we need to spend money on when we don’t actually need them. For example, if you’re still holding on to cable, why not switch to something like Netflix which is significantly cheaper.
Look at all the things you’re paying a monthly fee for and really ask yourself if you’re getting your money’s worth. You’ll find that a lot of it can go without negatively affecting your day-to-day life.
10. Exercise and stay healthy
Many people have trouble finding the time or motivation to exercise. One thing that will destroy your budget, are unexpected medical bills, or time off of work because you’re sick. If you keep your health in check, you’ll save yourself from having to see a doctor.
11. Sell anything you’re not using
We all have those things lying around that we don’t need and never use. They take up space and collect dust. Maybe it’s old collectibles, relics from a past era of your life, or just old stuff. Why not sell it to someone who will use it?
You can make some extra money and expand your budget a little bit to treat yourself and perhaps your significant other.
12. Drink more water (and less of everything else)
Drinking water is already a healthy habit, but drinking more of it will actually save you money. How? Well, if you’re drinking water instead of soda, beer, or liquor, then you’re not buying all of those things. It’s a simple swap, but it will save you money and benefit your health all in one fell swoop.
13. DIY your problems
If something goes wrong around the house or if an appliance breaks you could call someone to come fix it, but in today’s world, you can just as easily find the information you need to fix it yourself. DIY repair isn’t easy, especially if you don’t have any experience, but it can be a great way to pick up some new skills and save money in the process.
You can find video tutorials on YouTube and countless guides for just about anything on the internet these days.
14. Skip Starbucks
Sounds simple, but trust us, it’s critical to cover. I love coffee and more than I probably should. I used to shop at Starbucks every day. We’re talking $5-$7 each day for my morning coffee! It adds up insanely fast. I got myself a nice coffee maker and I’ve never looked back. In fact, I couldn’t imagine spending that kind of money these days.
Budgeting is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to rule your life. Consider these tips for staying comfortable in your budget and stay secure within your means, but not at the cost of living.
How do you live within your budget?
Let us know in the comments!