A lot of the good things in life cost money. Good food, quality entertainment, and personal wellness can all be considered part of a more expanded budget. But when money is tight, some of these items are thrown out the window in an effort to save.
In reality, sticking to a tight budget doesn’t mean you have to cut out all of the fun. There are plenty of ways that you can still enjoy yourself without breaking the bank. If you’re out of ideas, the following tips should be of assistance:
Passive savings can really come in handy when living on a tight budget. To do this, all you need to do is set up some form of automated savings. Make this a part of your budget, and you’ll have some financial wiggle room when it comes to those nonessential purchases.
Getting a debit card with a round-up feature is one way this can be done. Every time you make a purchase, the transaction amount is rounded up to the nearest dollar. Those pennies are placed into a savings account that you can access at any time. You can set aside money to splurge on a trip, movie night, or other luxuries that don’t normally fit within your budget.
Some bank accounts allow you to set a recurring amount to be diverted into savings. This could be a percentage of your paycheck or a set amount every month. These savings can come in handy for a number of scenarios that a tight budget puts you in.
Become a Couponer
The customer at the grocery store checkout with an entire booklet of coupons has the right idea. While couponing might not always be convenient, it’s a great way to save money on purchases you’re already planning to make.
Couponing can be taken a step further to include online shopping. By downloading a browser extension, you can apply coupon codes to your online shopping cart from all across the internet. For example, as you’re buying a birthday present for your mom online you might be surprised with a $5 off coupon.
On top of coupons, you should consider changing up your shopping habits as well. Purchasing off-brand products will help you meet your basic needs at a lower cost. Seeing which stores have the cheapest products can be just as effective as using a coupon code.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Sometimes a simple habit change is all you need to enjoy life while on a tighter budget. When your cash flow is strong, it’s much easier to justify more frivolous spending. When money is tight, you’ll have to think outside the box to enjoy yourself on a smaller budget. Luckily this is more than possible.
You could try a new restaurant for date night rather than your usual joint where the prices are higher. Finding a less-expensive option can help you save money and try new things. Making small sacrifices such as this might be necessary while you get your finances back in order. Need to save even more on date night? Instead of a movie, try a romantic stroll, do a puzzle together, or just enjoy talking over a glass of wine.
Other ways to get out of your comfort zone could be meal planning instead of going out to eat. Canceling some of your recurring subscriptions won’t be easy, but you can fill that time with more outdoor activities. Opting for public transportation will make your commute a little longer, but with the way gas prices have been, it’s worth looking into.
Collaborate With Others
You can get by with a little help from your friends. Collaborating with others can help you cut costs and have fun while doing it. Splitting costs helps the group as a whole to save money on outings and shared expenses.
For example, carpooling to work can help you and your coworkers save a few bucks. You can even share a Netflix account with your best friend, which isn’t a bad idea in the first place.
Other collaboration methods you can consider include getting a roommate or joining your family’s phone plan. This might bring you closer to the people in your life while also cutting down on common costs.
Learn to Negotiate
You’ll be surprised by how much success you can have negotiating some of your payments. If you always pay your bills on time, you can talk with your landlord or lender about lowering your rates.
You can negotiate your car loan, rent, and even your phone bill. You won’t always be successful, but you’ll never know until you ask. By speaking with one of the companies associated with a recurring payment you might be able to net some great monthly savings.
With interest rates and bill payments cut down, that extra money can be used elsewhere. It can help you get out of debt faster or take care of your monthly grocery trips. This opens up your budget just a little more, which can go a long way.
Just because you’re on a tight budget doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy life just as much. It will take some extra discipline and resilience. But you can lead a fulfilling life no matter what your financial situation looks like.