Tips for living well on a tight budget
When you’re a senior on a fixed income, a student on a budget, or a family with strained resources, it can be challenging to manage your money responsibly and still feel like you’re enjoying life and not missing out. A tight budget is limiting, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still live well – you just have to get a bit creative and commit to doing things a little differently.
Consider trying some of these suggestions from How Stuff Works1 for living well on a tight budget:
- Make a budget. This may seem obvious, but it’s important to know exactly where your money is going. It’s the only way to determine how much you really have leftover at the end of the month, and if you’re spending your money wisely and with your financial goals in mind. Read our article to learn 7 easy steps for building a budget.
- Prioritize. You know what it is that brings you joy, so figure out what you can adjust or do without to ensure that you are still able to do what you love. For example, if living in a large space isn’t that important to you, but being able to take art courses and buy supplies for your hobby is, consider downsizing to a smaller place or taking in a boarder to help you pay for your mortgage and utilities.
- Eat smart. You may not think you have enough money to make healthy meals for you and your family, but there are ways to ensure that you’re saving both time and money while still eating good, wholesome food. Read our article on eating well on a budget for suggestions like going meatless a few times a week, making freezer meals using bulk and sale items, and making slow cooker meals using cheaper cuts of meat.
- DIY. As often as you can, repurpose old things instead of buying new, and try repairing clothing and household items rather than tossing them out. The Internet is filled with tutorials to help you do pretty much anything, so try researching first. For example, the Internet can teach you how to hem a pair of pants without a sewing machine! Check out our articles on household tips that can save you time and money, and handy hints to keep your house in tip-top shape.
- Hunt for extra money. You may be on a fixed income, but it’s possible there are some simple ways for you to make some extra money to help pad your income and allow you to splurge every now and then. Read our article on finding gold in your own home for suggestions on how to put a little extra change in your wallet.
- Splurge. It might seem counterproductive to include “spoil yourself” on a list of ways to live well on a tight budget, but splurging every now and then is important because you want to avoid budget burnout – and everyone deserves a treat now and then! Just make sure your splurge is a small one that won’t dramatically impact your budget. In fact, your splurge could still be one you saved for, or shopped wisely for by using sales and coupons.
It’s important to have fun and enjoy life, even if money is tight. Check out our Entertainment on a budget article for 10 wonderful ways to get out and have fun without spending a fortune. And remember, our fun Foresters sponsored events allow you and your family to enjoy quality time together without the hassle of planning or the burden of high costs. Visit MyForesters.com to find out about fun family events in your area.
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