Small budget living is not uncommon! When you have financial goals like paying off debts or saving for a big purchase, living on a tight budget until your goal is reached is a necessity. The hard part isn’t figuring out that you need to live on a small budget, but actually being disciplined enough to do so.
The CGS Team is sharing a few tips to help you actually adjust to life on a tight budget, so that you can make some good financial traction!
Alternatives to Spending For Fun
Entertainment, dining out, shopping, beauty appointments, and other non-essential spending areas can quickly derail your budget. If you haven’t budgeted for any of these items, then cutting back or cutting them out completely can seem like an impossible task. You don’t want to deprive yourself, right?
Your best bet is to set a realistic spending amount for non-essential fun spending and do your best to stay within the budgeted amount. Start thinking outside of the box to have some fun without the extra cost. Here are some ideas:
- Check out local museums, libraries, and art galleries
- Host a movie night at home for you and your friends
- Visit your city’s entertainment guide for any local, one-time events
Check out the article 25 Things to Do Instead of Spending Money for a list of things that don’t require spending!
The Need vs. Want Game
Even if you have budgeted for fun spending, start forming the habit of asking yourself if the item you are purchasing is a need or a want. This can also work at the grocery store. Whatever item you have picked out, let’s say a shirt for work, ask yourself: do you really need it, or do you just want it?
When you can genuinely answer the question by indicating it’s a want-only item, it may be easier for you to keep that money in your wallet. Identifying a need over a want also makes curbing impulse purchases much easier. Check out our tips for curbing the impulse to splurge in 6 Ways to Curb Impulse Buys.
Bring in Some Extra Cash
When living on a tight budget, the best thing you can do is bring in some extra income and don’t spend it! You have already adjusted to a life of less spending, so if more money starts coming in, you won’t need to spend it and can put it towards debt or other financial goals.
Consider house or pet sitting, selling clothes to a local consignment store, completing online surveys, or running errands for people.
Any way you can bring in extra cash will help you reach your goals that much faster. A second job is always an option! Get creative with how you can go about making more money! Read 8 Easy Ways to Make Extra Money for a few more ideas.
When you are first starting out with the tight budget, it’s extremely easy to feel deprived, like you can’t travel or go out and have a good time, like you aren’t able to buy that new shirt. When you put yourself in a situation where you feel deprived, it can cause you to cave.
When living on a tight budget, skip the malls, restaurants, and other places you have been known to spend money in the past.
Avoid the temptation that those places create. You’re likely not going to feel as deprived cooking your meal at home versus stepping into your local Thai place! Learn to identify your spending triggers. Understanding what causes you to spend will allow you to think through purchases before giving in to the impulse.
Reward Yourself for a Job Well Done
If you have been following your budget to the “T,” reward yourself for being strong and disciplined! Even if you don’t have any money budgeted for a treat, buy $5 less of groceries this week and treat yourself to a Starbucks latte. Accomplishing small goals will ultimately lead you to accomplish your big goals, so a little props for yourself is in order!
Related: 10 Ways to Find More Money in Your Budget
Living life on a small budget doesn’t have to be a mood killer. In fact, use it as motivation! Picture yourself buying that new car or paying off the last of your credit card debt. Imagine how happy and accomplished you will feel. Living on the tight budget now will make those visions a reality!
What keeps you motivated to live on a tight budget? What temptations do you come across? We want to hear what works for you, so leave a comment below and let’s discuss!
2 thoughts on “How to Live Life on a Small Budget”
When living within your means (especially a tight budget), a little outside-of-the-box thinking is in order! Great read.
It is so hard not to feel deprived or not caving in to peer pressure to go do that one thing that is definitely not in your budget… I found that building up a side hustle is a good way to prepare for that without totally breaking your budget. Babysitting has been my go to. I know I’m a bit old (27), but moms seem to be even more trusting and willing to leave their kids with someone who isn’t 15. Try tapping into that!