How to Live on a Budget: 7 Ways to Make it Easier

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Sometimes living on a budget sucks.

You can’t buy what you want when you want it. You have to make smart decisions and be a responsible adult.

That doesn’t mean budgeting sucks.

Sure sometimes it hard to live on a budget. You might not feel like you have enough money for everything. And you might not like saying so often.

So make the most of every dollar you have. To help you do that I have found 7 ways to make living on a budget easier.

1. Don’t impulse shop

Impulse buying is a great way to make purchases you’ll regret later.

You may just be looking at something when you need to have it today. Unfortunately in most cases, once you bring the item home the appeal wears off.

Then you start thinking why did I buy this? I don’t even need this thing. Or I already have one why did I buy a second.

I don’t want that to happen to you. I want you to buy things you love and will continue to love after buying.

If you impulse shop try to wait a bit before purchasing things. Give yourself time to think before purchasing.

Bonus points use that waiting time to look for sales or see if you can buy it second hand. And if you do have to buy use E-Bates to get cash back.

 2. Have money you can blow

There is a lot that can be said about saving money.

But sometimes you just need money to blow. Money you can spend on whatever whenever. Money you can don’t have to be smart about.

This may sound weird but having some money to blow will make your whole budget more freeing.

Personally, I have a me fund in my budget which is my money to blow. Some months that ends up being spent on candy other months it’s for a hobby.

Just knowing that I can buy silly things makes me feel a lot richer

3. Be realistic about your spending

Lots of people want to save money when budgeting. Which is great. And budgeting will help you save money.

The thing you need to remember is to be realistic about your spending.

Especially when you are first starting to budget.

Because the truth is your budget will always fail if you aren’t realistic about your spending.

If you budget for $800 a month for housing expenses and your rent cost you $900 your budget is going to fail.

That also include variable expenses like food. You may read online how someone only spends $150 a month on food.

If you are used to eating out and regularly spend around $400 on food it will take time to make changes and lower that number.

Your goal might be to only spend $150 on food. That is what you’re working towards.

So this month you only budget $350 for food and every month you budget less until you reach your goal.

You need to be realistic about your spending when making a budget. It great to cut costs today but it not worth it if that means tomorrow you won’t be budgeting.

Drastic changes don’t happen overnight. They are a result of small changes made over a longer period of time.

4. Maintain your budget

This might not seem like something that will help you get better at living on a budget. And it probably doesn’t seem like something that will help you save money.

Making a budget does nothing unless you maintain it.

I try budgeting a lot before I actually stuck with it. One of my biggest problems when starting out was I wouldn’t maintain my budget.

I would go out shopping and buy lots of things. Then later after the money was gone I would put it in my budget.

That led to a few oh no’s as I realized that I spent more money than I budgeted. But by then it was too late the only thing I could do is try to cover it from another category.

The best way to keep your budget up to date is to enter every transaction as soon as you do it. This will prevent you from overspending as you will know exactly how much money you have left.

So if you want to get better at budgeting you need to maintain your budget.

5. Make shopping lists

Probably everyone can relate to going shopping for one item only to come home with ten things you didn’t need. And realize you forgot the item you went shopping for.

That why you need a shopping list.

Lists aren’t only for people who forget. They are a great way to make more thoughtful purchases. And they can remind you of things you don’t need.

I have a list for my clothes on my phone. It includes things I never had but will fit well with my wardrobe like graphic tees. The list also includes things I’m replacing like my nude heels.

Then at the bottom I have a do not buy section. Right now that includes jackets, boots and red shirts. I love those things but have enough of them that I won’t buy more until I get rid of a few.

Now when I’m out shopping and I’m unsure of an item I refer to my list. If its something on my list that I need I’ll get it otherwise probably not.

I would encourage you to make your own lists. And don’t limit it to just the groceries either. Anything you enjoy shopping for or need to get could be made into a list.

6. Limit your exposure to things that make you want to buy.

Marketers are really good at understanding why we buy things. And they are also good at getting us to buy things.

They know we buy more when we’re hungry. We’re also more likely to buy when we’ll get a free gift with our purchase.

They also like to capitalize on our FOMO when it comes to sales. Have you ever been online shopping and saw a timer counting down until the sale is over. They’re putting the pressure on you to buy and buy now.

There also the fact we get bombarded with advertising messages constantly. All of them telling us to buy and buy now.

Instead of relying on willpower to say no to all those messages. Why don’t you make it a bit easier for yourself and limit your exposure to advertising messages.

Set up a separate email address to give to stores or better yet unsubscribe. Unfollow brands, stores and promoters on social media. Install an adblocker.

It comes down to recognizing what makes you shop than try to avoid those things.

7. Take care of your stuff

Most of us already have a lot of stuff. And could probably go a long time without needing to buy new things.

Of course, at some point, things disappear or wear out. This is the point when most people go out and buy even more stuff.

Take a second and think here of all the money you could save if you could stop replacing things. Or better yet think of all the money you can spend on things that are important to you.

There an easy way to do this without depriving yourself. Take care of your stuff.

Clean things the proper way. Keep track of where they are so you don’t lose them.

It not that hard.

It not even expensive. Here are some cheap household cleaners. How to make your clothes last.

Try to make spots for things so you don’t lose them. Something I quickly lose is my phone cord. So I plugged it into one spot and if I need it somewhere else I bring it back immediately.

You will save money by taking care of your things. And it does require a little bit of work but it so worth it.

P.S. If you are reading this but don’t have a budget yet. Here how to set one up.

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How to live on a budget