We’ve all been there. A pair of shoes just waiting for you to buy them. A vacation on a deal site that you just can’t pass up. A new gadget that everyone has. We are surrounded by temptation everywhere we turn, and we are taught that consumerism is a natural part of life, and that money makes the world go round. But what if I told you that you could still enjoy life, and still have money saved for a rainy day?
Balancing Life Without Feeling Broke
Balancing life without feeling broke may seem like a myth to you, but it is possible. I have learned to implement certain rules for myself that are easy to follow, and don’t make me feel like I am missing out on life in my twenties.
When you’re young, it may seem hard to save over half of your paycheck when you can barely afford to pay all of your bills. That’s why you should start small.
Try saving $10 every paycheck if you are paid weekly, and you can adjust this if you are paid bi-weekly or monthly. Another way to save without feeling a hit to your checkbook is to transfer your change. If you spend $25.02 on gas, transfer .98 cents to your savings account to make it an even $26.00. Some banks and credit cards automatically do this for you, but I normally go online and do it myself at the end of the day. It may not seem like much, but again, this is all about balancing life without feeling broke. Before you know it, you’ll have a little savings fund that you didn’t even realize was growing.
Rule #2: Save Money on Things You Already Buy
So this is an addition to Rule #1, but I think it deserves its own rule. When life is busy, you may not have time to search your entire city for the best deals or extreme couponing. However, you can save money on your current purchases. For example, I frequently shop at Target. Having a debit red card is a great way to save money, even if it’s just 5%, because whether I had the card or not I would still shop at Target.
Also, I love taking a few minutes to check the Target cartwheel app. I normally do this while I am waiting in line to checkout, and sometimes I can find a coupon for an item I have in my cart. You can do this with just about any store that offers a rewards or savings program. It may seem like a hassle to take 10 minutes to fill out a form, but the savings can be well worth it if it’s a store you shop at frequently.
In addition to these tips, if you can’t do the extreme form of couponing, ALWAYS check the sales ads for the stores you go to every week. I meal plan around the sales and I will also stock up on staples when I see that they are at a really good price (my favorite face wash for $2.50 each? Yes please!). Balancing your life and needs doesn’t have to make you feel like you’re broke.
Balancing your financial life involves making compromises. One of those compromises may be that you don’t splurge on yourself as often as you want. Completely cutting out wants may seem like a good idea at first, but eventually that decision will leave you feeling moody, deprived, and maybe even a little upset.
You work hard for your money, so you deserve to treat yourself every now and then, just make sure you don’t go overboard. Remember, balancing life without feeling broke. Just repeat this to yourself until it sticks. Choose something that isn’t a necessity, but makes you feel good. For some, it may be a manicure, a night out with a significant other, or even a brand new book from the bookstore. Just make sure it’s something you truly want, and something that won’t break the bank.
The trick is to treat yourself to something that will motivate you to stick with your journey. Treating yourself after a month of good budget habits will make you realize that instead of compromises, you are doing everything in moderation.
Rule #4: Figure Out What’s Important to You
If you exercise on a regular basis, do you have a particular activity that you like to do? For some, it may be Zumba. For others their activity of choice may be running. If you hate running, you are less inclined to use that in your regimen.
The same thought process can be applied to your budget. If you love working out on a regular basis, don’t skimp on that just because you have one show on TV that you like to watch. Get rid of your cable, get Netflix or Hulu, and start investing in your exercise regimen; workout equipment, a gym that you absolutely love going to, or even a pair of really nice athletic shoes.
Figuring out what you like and want in your life will drastically change how you spend your money. You would be surprised at how much money you could add back into your budget if you only paid for what you used frequently.
Even if you are single, you need to have a budget meeting. It could be as often as you need it to be, but it needs to be a reoccurring element in your balancing and budget journey. Having a budget meeting not only keeps you focused and on top of your goals, but it also helps give you peace of mind if you think you’ve slipped a little on the money train.
For couples, sit down with your significant other and talk about your money going in and going out, and any plans or goals that you have in the upcoming month. It could be anything from a car insurance payment to planning for a wedding, but everything needs to be accounted for. If you fail to plan you plan to fail.
So while most of these rules aren’t hard, a few of them seem to be overlooked in the process of budget journeys because they seem to be common sense. Getting back to the basics when balancing life can keep you from feeling like you are broke. Always being diligent with your goals and making sure you are being true to you will help you a long way in keeping your budget, and in the end, helping you keep your sanity.
How are you balancing life without feeling broke?
This post was written by Kimberly Studdard, a regular guest writer here at Life And My Finances.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.