People think that a tight budget means being miserable. In fact, some of the happiest people are some of the poorest. The trick is learning how to live without being so dependent on money. The truth is you can live a fulfilling life and be content without spending a lot of money. Let’s take a closer look at how to live comfortably on a tight budget.
Discover Your Money Wasters
We all have those things that eat up our budget. It might be a morning coffee or a subscription service you don’t use. Track your expenses, EVERY penny you spend, and see where you’re wasting money. Tracking your spending habits can be really eye opening.
When I analyzed our recurring subscriptions, I found that we were paying for Netflix every month, and there really weren't any shows that we were regularly watching. I ended up cancelling, and I can always get it back again in the future if something pops up that I want to watch.
It's easy to be excited about a new service when you first get it (like listening to music through Amazon Music Unlimited), but then you find yourself using it less and less over time. Do you use it enough to justify the expense? Is there a less expensive option available?
Find Ways to Do Things for Free
There are so many ways to do things for free. You can watch TV, read, play games, watch movies, and so much more for FREE. There are so many free streaming services for TV, movies, and music. You can also download thousands of books for free. There are many games you can play on your phone for free. You can also go to free community events to get out of the house without spending money.
We love to have people over for dinner (which is way less than meeting in a restaurant), and we love to watch movies together at home. Even if you rent movies from Redbox, it's still cheaper than taking the whole family out to the movies with the cost of entrance to the movie and any snacks you buy from concessions.
Switch to a Cheaper Option
There’s almost always a cheaper option. Sometimes, it’s something as simple as switching cellphone carriers. Other times, you might need to think about downsizing or moving to another neighborhood in order to cut costs. Again, tracking your expenses will help a lot with this.
Several years ago, I analyzed how much money I was spending on Verizon for my cell phone. My kids were getting old enough to want their own lines, and I just couldn't afford that for everyone in our family. I wanted to stick with the Verizon network since it worked well in my more rural suburb, but I found that Total Wireless uses the Verizon network but for way less per month per line! It felt like a risk to switch, but it's worked great for our family for several years.
Shop with Intent and Purpose
Shopping can be entertaining, but it’s expensive and can be impulsive. When you walk into a store, you want to know exactly what you need so that you can get it and get out. You never want to walk into a store to just browse and see what you find. This leads to spending money you can use for more important things.
Make sure that you're also intentional with your online shopping. Don't read all the promotional e-mails and then click through to browse. You may end up spending money that doesn't need to be spent. When you do have a purchase that need to be made, you can always check out my online coupon code database for savings codes and then shop deliberately.
Hit the Thrift Stores and Yard Sales
Last, but not least, when you need something, try to buy it used. You can save so much money buying used. Whether it’s toys, clothing, furniture, or even a car, buying used will save your family hundreds to thousands per year. You can check out garage/yard sales, thrift stores, Craigslist, or even local Facebook yard sale groups.
Being on a tight budget doesn’t have to mean being miserable. There are so many ways you can save money and still do the things you love. The key, the REAL key, is to stop spending money where it’s not truly appreciated. Don’t pay $100 for your cellphone bill when you can pay $40. Take the time to save that money!