I am intentional about living well on a budget. This means that I ensure all my basic needs are taken care of and some of my wants as well. I prioritise my wants after taking care of my needs, line them up and address them bit by bit over a period of time. Balance is a big part of my life and this helps me to stay on budget, live well and enjoy a debt free lifestyle.
To some, just the sound of the word budgeting is akin to being put into a straight jacket. Budgeting is personal and when we share about this topic we have to be careful not to come off as know it all. That is never my intention. I hope these tips will help someone who, doesn’t see how he or she can live well on a budget, to envision this.
I Make Room in my Budget for my Wants
I sure do. I like certain things that are not necessities. Things like eating out, travelling, shopping and so on fall in this category. You get my point. I put aside money in my miscellaneous category to sate my cravings from time to time. I know if I do not do this, then it will all crumble at some point. I shop a few times a year to add pieces to my wardrobe and such. I also like knowing that I can eat out when I feel the calling. I know that this is something that I enjoy so I cater to this want.
Travelling is a major want that I cater to in my life. Since, I am fortunate enough to have funds to dedicate to this, I put money away bit by bit over time, so I can travel. I, however, do not stay in high end accommodations and do expensive tours and such, which I am not interested in. This means I spend less while doing something I enjoy – win win. This helps me to live my life well and be debt free, which is a big priority.
How do you cater to your wants and stay on budget? Please share.
I Practice Being Content with what I Have
This sounds simple but it is not very easy for everyone. I have had my moments where I was so busy focusing on others that I lost my joy. There is nothing that will blow a budget like trying to do everything to please others. I commit to the things I can afford and try not to surround myself with people who try to pressure me to do things.
For example, I have an Ipod classic that works well as is the case with this 10 year old MacBook I am typing this post on. I do not feel the need to upgrade to a new model, no, if it ain’t broke I ain’t buying another. I am saving up for when that happens, until then I am content and living well with these things.
I am a budding blogger, do I need a bunch of fancy stuff to get great pictures and such? I probably do but I have two cameras that serve me well and I am fine with what they produce. I love my 9-5 so feel no pressure to do any and everything to make this blog a ‘success’. I am content, debt free, living life on a budget and loving it.
I Make Sound Financial Decisions
What do I mean by this? I am not a financial guru or anything of the sort. I am just a person who grew up with a father, who practiced good financial planning habits, to care for his family on a small salary. This is not about investing. It is about something we can control.
For example, I choose to rent a small apartment that is way below what I can afford so I can have more money for my savings and travelling. This is something I can control unlike something like how much I pay for tax. I can live within walking distance of work and pay 300-400 dollars more or commute for 40 minutes to an hour and save that amount. This works for me because work covers the commute.
I live in Tokyo which has a great transportation system. A car would be nice for road trips but that would add 200 dollars in parking fees to my rent each month plus taxes associated with the car. Thus, I have no interest. If I did need a car, I would buy a used one in good condition and pay cash.
I use a debit credit card. I am not sure if these are available worldwide but they are awesome. I can only use it when I put the money I need on it. It is great at giving me access to things I need a credit card for and it helps me to be debt free. It is easy to get sucked into credit card debt as we all know.
It does not take a mastermind to live well on a budget. It requires a few good habits and acknowledging what our wants are. We often forget that it is ok to want things and totally mess up by ignoring these. I think budgeting well includes planning for these as well.
Here’s to living well on a budget, staying debt free and being content.