Wondering how to live on a budget without being miserable?
The average American is living in $38,000 worth of debt and that is excluding their mortgage. Most people are paying enough money on debt that they could be paying a second mortgage. And many people are also paying a second mortgage.
That’s a lot of debt!
If you’re tired of being in debt and you want to learn how to live on a budget without being miserable, you’re in the right place. I used to think that being on a budget meant you couldn’t buy anything or do anything and I didn’t want to have anything to do with that.
Maybe you’ve thought the same thing.
Continue reading this article to learn more about budgeting and how to live on a tight budget without feeling bored or deprived.
Stop Trying to Keep Up With Other People
The kiss of death to any budget is trying to keep up with other people. You might see a friend or family member going on a vacation to an exotic island or another appealing place.
It’s easy to try to justify spending money that isn’t within your budget to go on a trip to keep up with them and feel better about yourself.
You never know how much money they spent vs how much debt they went into to go on the trip.
Instead of putting yourself in a tough spot by going on a vacation you can’t afford, save money and pay cash for the vacation.
Don’t Forget to Budget for Fun
Why would you keep working and working if you never got to have any fun? Neither you nor your family is going to stay on a budget if there isn’t fun involved.
You don’t have to do things that are super expensive to have fun. You can go bowling or go to a discount movie and you aren’t going to break the bank. Just make sure that you have it in your budget to do these things. You don’t want to go into debt to do activities.
If you don’t have the money in your budget to do it — don’t do it.
It’s worth it to get a side hustle and do a little more work to pay for the fun you want to have.
Do a Cut Your Expenses Challenge
When you give yourself a challenge and only make it for a month or even a week, you might be surprised at what you can live without.
Some of the things that you might not notice that are eating away at your budget are:
- Dollar store and thrift store finds
While these things might not cost too much, if you’re not tracking what you’re spending very carefully, it is easy for your budget to get away from you.
I use a spending tracker app on my iPhone and there are similar apps for other devices. I know exactly what I am going to spend each month and I stick to it. I even overestimate on categories that might fluctuate a little bit.
You can also create a miscellaneous part to your budget so you don’t have to dip into savings if something not so awesome happens.
If we don’t spend our miscellaneous budget, we put it in savings to go toward something that we want to do or something that we want to buy.
When you get to the end of the month and you’ve seen everything that you didn’t buy that you normally would, you might have a couple of hundred bucks. Put it in savings or even put it toward next month’s fun activities budget to reward yourself for being disciplined and not wasting your money on short-lived pleasures.
If you’re tired of being broke, this is a great step in the right direction.
Learn to Love Cooking
I have to say that we’ve never been a family that goes out to nice restaurants to eat much at all. But we’ve been guilty of stopping at fast-food spots and eating off the dollar menu. After drinks and everything, you’re looking at 20 – 25 bucks depending on where you’re going.
While it’s like – ah, it’s the dollar menu — good job, you! It’s also like, hmm… that just blew our budget out of the water. lol
Now our food budget is where we can spend a certain amount of money per month but we also have one time of going out to eat a nicer place than Taco Bell or McDonald’s. Maybe Zaxby’s? 🙂
Cooking saves you so much money. Eating takes a lot of cash whether you’re eating in or out when you’re a family of 6 but cooking makes all the difference.
My hubs went to school and became a certified chef so I am freaking spoiled. hahaha But you don’t have to do that. I cook alongside him even though I’m not as great as he is.
Be Proud of Your Budget
Before I started budgeting, I used to feel terrible when I couldn’t go to places and do things when people asked me. Now, I just know whether it’s in the budget or not.
If it’s in the budget then I go and if it’s not, I just say — ah darn, not in the budget this month. I appreciate the invite though!
There’s nothing to be ashamed of when you’re in control of your financial life.
After our truck and RV upgrade, our next goal is to get out of debt and save money so we don’t have consumer debt. Debt for a business is a whole other story and maybe one day we’ll do that but consumer debt — gag!
How to Live on a Budget With Joy — Now You Know!
Our home is usually a pretty joyful place and I don’t feel like we are missing out on things because we’re on a budget. I feel the best I’ve ever felt even though I tell myself no many times when I want to make impulse purchases and spend money I don’t have.
Now that you know how to live on a budget with joy vs living on a budget and being miserable, you can get started. It took me a long time to get to where I am now and if it takes you a while — no worries. One step at a time. 🙂
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