7 Ways to Survive a Tight Budget

April 29th, 2013 - Posted by in Blog, Saving Money


Many people hate living on a tight budget. It’s sort of living with shackles around the wrists for some. Every time you step outside of your limits, they dig into you a little – making you hate that life and having to live it in sacrifice mode.

And when you resent where you are, you’re not likely to stick to it – causing a further spiral downward – financially.

So how can you survive on a tight budget and still be happier?

This is how to be happier living on a tight budget

1) Change your mind. The first step in any transformation is changing the underlying thoughts and behaviors. Address why you hate your budget. And make the necessary adjustments. Warning: This isn’t easy. It takes some serious soul-searching and often painful answers. And on top of that, it takes a while to dig in and change.

Try this now:

  • Sit with yourself and your thoughts and think about the feelings and emotions that arise when you think about your budget and “not spending”.
  • Jot down the things that you say to yourself.
  • Look into the type of tools you can use to help your budgeting such as Quicken.
  • Think about where they’ve come from and try to put a new angle on them.

For example: If you hate your budget because you feel like it renders you powerless. Change that around to “I am empowered because I choose to save instead of throw away.” Change all negative self-talk into positive affirmations and record them. Practice repeating them over and over to yourself.

2) Teach Finance 101. In order to teach, you must first master. And when you master a subject that you’re teaching to others (your own little ones or students), you feel an ethical pull to fulfill your teachings.

Try this now:

  • Start a Youtube channel where you tutor on Personal Budgets 101.
  • Volunteer at senior citizen facilities or community centers to help people overcome the stigma that you are overcoming around living on a tight budget.
  • Take a side gig with a tutor service where you help students master “Living on a Budget” during your sessions.
  • Become a self-employed tutor.

The best part about the latter options is you can even earn a side income from your tutoring.

3) Pare down. Take the term “minimalist” to a new level in your life. Getting rid of your stuff doesn’t just clean up your place, and possibly earn you a little something on the side, but it frees your mind. When you have less stuff and need less, you don’t find yourself buying just to buy. It’s a liberating experience that liberates your mind and your checking account.

Try this now: 

  • Choose a room in your home to go through a little each week. Doing a room at a time, a little each day, makes an overwhelming task more digestible and lets you hack away at the mountain in front of you.
  • Separate the things you need from the things you want. If you haven’t used it in 6 months or more, then get rid of it.
  • Keep a side a box for sentimental stuff and tell yourself once the box is full, you can’t keep more.

4) Make Ebay your best friend. All that stuff you’re going through? Separate out the stuff that’s in good enough condition to sell (because if your t-shirts have holes in them and you try to sell them…um…you won’t be able to get rid of the rest of your stuff.

Try this now: 

  • Set up a store on Ebay.
  • Take naturally lit and attractive pictures of your individual items.
  • Post them.
  • Advertise your virtual yard sale online with a link to your Ebay store.
  • Post the link on your social networks.
  • Start becoming an active member of forums and add your link to your signature, so when you post your link is out there with every response.

5) Layer it on. If you’re used to walking around the house in shorts and a tee – even in 20 degree weather, chances are lots of your budget is eaten up by your power bill, especially if you spend more than the US average of $163 per month.

Try this now: 

  • Lower your thermostat temperature by 1 – 2 degrees to save 1% for every 8 hour period that your thermostat is lowered.
  • Try it 4 degrees cooler to make a significant impact on your budget.
  • Add another layer of clothing to stay as warm as you were with little on.

6) Become a Power Ninja. Don’t ignore lights and laptops that are left on, but not being used. And there are a multitude of gadgets that you probably have plugged in when they’re not in use. Some power suckers raise your power bill by 5 – 10% each year – even if they are off, but plugged in.

Try this now: 

  • Try unplugging entertainment hubs like Wi-Fi, Wii’s and the like, your laptop, cell phone chargers, modems, cable boxes, stereos and radios, coffee makers, toasters, and gadgets like iPads, etc. to save that 5 – 10% on your power bill.

7) Eat on the Cheap. While it isn’t always possible or desirable to eat at home for every meal, it’s still possible to eat out and not go broke. If you know where your money goes when you eat out, it’s easier to cut out the expensive costs and still get what you want – an enjoyable dining experience that you don’t have to orchestrate yourself.

Try this now: 

  • Eat out during lunch and order the specials. The portion won’t be a big as your dinner meal, but you’re not just going out to eat, you’re going out to be seated and treated. It’s the experience, not the size of the meal that counts.
  • Skip the drinks. Order water with lemon instead.
  • Check out apps like Groupon that let you download coupons for restaurants in your area.
  • Check your weekly circular for specials and coupons, too.

Living on a tight budget may feel like you’re living in survival mode, but with a shift in mindset and taking a proactive stance to the active drains in your current budget, you can live a savvier, happier life – even on a tight budget.

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