The words limitless and budget tend to be thought of as polar opposites in life. How can you possibly live life to the fullest when the minimal funds in your bank account are constantly hanging over your head like a dark storm cloud?
The idea of reeling in your spending with a tight leash is enough to make some people cringe, but only those who have yet to discover the true meaning of the word budget. It isn’t about becoming an expert in frugality or sacrificing life’s luxuries in the pursuit of penny hoarding, but rather a proactive plan to live within your income and expenses while still living happily.
Impossible? Not at all. Here’s how it’s done.
Take Out Your Largest Expense, Bills
Nothing eats a larger chunk out of your monthly earnings that bills. Now, before you jump ship and head off the radar into some kind of mountain cabin, take a minute and think about how you could really cut back on your spending here.
You could save on electricity each month by relying on it less. Cut the cable cord, turn off the computer, and head outside for hike or even just a walk around town. Find ways to entertain yourself without a constant barrage of media, and you can rest assured that you’ll start feeling happier in just a few days.
Cut back on the gas bill by bundling up, swap your expensive phone provider out for a cheaper carrier, conserve water and anything else that slowly eats away at your bank account. You have the potential to save hundreds.
Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time
Each week, write down a list of meals you would like to eat each day. Then, go grocery shopping for just those items. Use less ingredients to keep things simple and cheap, cut out meat a few days a week, and skip the junk food altogether.
Not only will your body feel healthier, your spirits will lift when you realize just how much money you’re saving while still eating delicious meals. Pro tip: spices are incredibly inexpensive, and they go a long way in turning an ordinary dish into an extraordinary one.
Become a “Dollar-aire”
How far can you stretch a dollar? Make it a game and head over to your local dollar store. What used to be a $150 supermarket run can easily become a $30 trip instead. Just because the items aren’t name brand, doesn’t mean they aren’t the same quality. You’d be surprised at how two household that are exactly the same can cost $1 at one location and $15 at another.
Become an Opportunist
Who doesn’t want a brand new 4k Ultra HD smart TV? You could pick one up right now for around $700 dollars, or you could wait until stores have their record sales and pick one up for $200. Which option sounds better to you?
Start taking advantage of sales when it comes to larger expenses instead of impulse buying. Everyone makes a big fuss about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but did you know you can find similar sales throughout the year? Keep your eyes open during each season and you’ll be able to wrap Christmas up for half the cost without the hassle of crazed shoppers.
The same goes for furniture outlets, game platforms like Steam, popular clothing stores like American Eagle and even tuxedo/dress shops. You can still live the high life, you just don’t have to drain your savings to do it.
Get Rid of Your Debt
If you follow all of the above steps, you ought to have an enormous chunk of cash saved each month. Now it’s time to finish those looming bills off with a little debt recovery. Nothing feels quite as freeing compared to being debt free, and all of these recently freed-up funds can tackle even the thickest of credit card or student debts.
Once you’ve paid off the last of it, each and every dollar saved on your extravagant budget lifestyle is yours to spend however your heart desires. What will you do with your newly found financial freedom? Will you head to an art gala, take a vacation, or invest in the stock market?
The choice is yours, and the options are limitless all thanks to your limited budget.