It can be difficult to live a good life without breaking the bank. It can be even harder when you’re on a tight budget. However, there are ways to live a good life on a tight budget without compromising your quality of life.
Here are a few tips on how to live a good life without breaking the bank:
1. Get creative with your living situation
There are many ways to cut costs when it comes to your living situation. If you’re willing to get creative, you can find ways to save money.
For example, you can live in a smaller space or forego some of the more luxurious creature comforts. Maybe you don’t need to live in a place that has a balcony and a sunroom. Or maybe you can find a roommate to help cut costs.
How you do this is up to you.
Now, if you are willing to get really creative you could find ways to maximize your spending on rent and utilities. For example, I spent about a year living in AirBNBs because they provided a “bigger bang for my buck”.
I was able to pay an all-inclusive rate comparable to rent costs in my area while not having to worry about utilities or furnishings. Plus, I was able to pay my “rent” with my credit card earning me a ton of rewards points that could be used on other things like groceries and travel.
Here’s an example of how I was able to make my money stretch with this creative living situation.
I spent some time living in AirBNBs during graduate school. Let’s say my AirBNB rent charge was $1,321.06. If I pay with my travel credit card that offers x2 the points that equate to 2,642.12 points.
Now, let’s say my card is offering a promotion where if I redeem it for a certain category my points are now worth 25% more.
Therefore, this makes my rent charge worth 3,302.65 points.
So, assuming a $1321.06 purchase is equal to 1,321.06 points, I would have turned those points into 3,302.65 points with one purchase. This is a 150% increase in points gained.
Let’s quickly translate this into dollars. Based on my card 1,321.06 points are worth about $13.21. Therefore 3,302.65 points are worth about $33. This is major! You are creating more money with your usual spending patterns without spending more.
Note that this is just one creative pathway. You can create a path best for you.
If you can do this, you will likely be able to save money on your rent and other bills while maximizing your dollars spent.
2. Cut back on your spending
Now you might be thinking “how can I live a good life but cut back on my spending? Well, one way to do this is to try and stick to cheaper alternatives when it comes to your shopping choices.
Instead of spending your money on things like designer clothes, you can try and save by shopping at secondhand stores or looking for deals online.
Speaking of deals, a major way to cut back on spending is by couponing. Now, you do not have to be a coupon savant but you do have to put in a little effort. Depending on how serious you want to get about couponing, you can land a lot for a little.
Remember though, that the goal is to live a good life without breaking the bank. If you find that it couponing is taking away more than it is giving then don’t coupon. It also means practicing a little minimalism as well. So don’t buy just because you can.
Also, shop at local consignment stores for things like clothes and accessories. Often these stores have top-quality clothing that is gently used for a very low or reasonable price.
They are essentially a consignment store except that they get the excess clothes from other stores instead of from people.
Shop at local consignment stores for things like clothes and accessories. Often these stores have top-quality clothing that is gently used for a very low or reasonable price.
Additionally, you could find ways to bundle services and other costs. While bundling often gets a bad rep it can actually help you save a lot of money.
One of the most common areas where bundling might be beneficial deals with insurance. If you are living in an apartment with a pet, you can bundle your renter’s insurance along with your pet insurance.
Plus, if you have a car you can likely bundle your car insurance in there too. There are a ton of cost-efficient companies out there to help avoid breaking the bank.
3. Take advantage of tax breaks and financial assistance programs
Let’s face it, handling taxes is a major part of what adulting looks like. Whether you do them yourself or hire a professional, as an adult you have to pay your taxes. What can really help you live a good life without breaking the bank though is finding a way to get tax breaks.
This is where financial literacy comes into play. You or whoever you choose to hire should be financially literate enough to help you find legal ways to lower your tax burden and keep more money in your pocket.
Since I am not a financial advisor or tax professional, I will end this section on a broad scale. Find ways to educate yourself financially. Use that financial knowledge to live a good life.
4. Live responsibly
Don’t overspend on unnecessary items. Instead, focus on saving your money for more important things. If you overspend, especially on unnecessary things, you are putting yourself at risk of getting into debt. Debt is destructive to the goal of living a good life without breaking the bank. Plus, avoiding bad debt is an important part of adulting.
So take stock of your spending. If you don’t budget, start. If you do budget, re-evaluate to see if there are ways to spend your money more efficiently.
5. Find free or cheap entertainment
There are many ways to have fun without spending a lot of money. For example, you can find free or cheap events in your area, or you can participate in activities that don’t cost a lot of money.
Personally, I enjoy going to see movies. However, movie tickets can cost upwards of $25, especially for major blockbusters. So, I found a way to go see movies more affordably.
Thank you AMC!
Whatever it is that you enjoy doing, find a way to make it free or cheap. At the least make sure that you consistently budget for it.
6. Make your own food
Eating out can be expensive. Instead, focus on cooking your own meals. This can be a great way to save money and eat healthier.
I have said it before and I will say it again – learn how to make casserole dishes. They are a very easy and hands-off way to make your own food. All you do is gather your ingredients, place them in a dish, and bake the dish in the oven. After that, you now have a home-cooked meal to enjoy.
Cooking more is something I am still trying to do more consistently. Yet, I know that whenever I do cook I am saving money that can be used to help future me enjoy a good life.
7. Use public transportation
Driving can be expensive, especially if you have a long commute. Instead, use public transportation to save money. You can also take advantage of commuter benefits to save even more money.
Have you seen these gas prices lately? I mean jeez. I can buy a Burger King meal for the price of one gallon of gas. Public transportation is a pathway to save money on getting from point A to point B.
Most public transits offer monthly passes for the fraction of the cost it would take you to keep your tank full for a month.
Now, if you live in an area that requires a car for travel try to carpool as often as you can. You can also find other ways to mitigate your cost of gas. There are several apps available that help you find the cheapest gas prices in your area.
8. Compare prices before you buy anything
Before you buy anything, make sure to compare prices. This includes everything from groceries to clothing. By comparing prices, you can make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.
Pro-tip: Earlier I mentioned local consignment stores. These are often some of the best places to find quality items at a reasonable or low price. I actually needed a new black suit jacket and found the same jacket at Ross for $100 less than at Macy’s. I mean come on, that’s real savings right there!
9. Consider debt-free living options
If you’re looking to live a good life without breaking the bank, consider debt-free living options. This includes things like living below your means, investing in yourself, and avoiding unnecessary debt.
Bad debt is the biggest trap here. A lot of adulting early on is filled with opportunities to accumulate bad debt. Please avoid that temptation!
10. Live simply
Living simply can be a great way to save money and live a good life. By focusing on your most important needs, you can reduce your expenses and live a good life.
At the end of the day if you are wondering what adulting looks like it is really just people trying to live a good life without breaking the bank. So, I hope this insight is helpful in your adulting journey.
Best of luck adulting!
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