Whoever said budgeting means you can’t enjoy life? Living the good life doesn’t have to come with an expensive price tag. Budgeting is about making smart financial decisions and spending where it counts.
With the right tools and knowledge, anyone can learn how to save money while still living life to its fullest.
Follow these 10 steps to learn how to enjoy life’s simple pleasures without breaking the bank:
1. Create a Plan for Your Expenses and Set a Budget Limit
A good budget starts with a good plan. Knowing your expenses ahead of time helps you know exactly how much money you have to spend every month without getting into debt.
You don’t need to get lost in complicated spreadsheets to keep track of your daily spending and meet your financial goals. Finding the best online budgeting tools can help you create a plan with minimal effort and make it easier to stick to.
2. Look for Free or Inexpensive Things to Do
There are plenty of free things to do around town, especially if you live in a major urban or suburban area of the country. Some free activities include:
- Playing Sports
- Block Parties
- Community Events
To find specific events as well as local communities that will let you know about free or inexpensive activities, use online resources like Meetup.com. This site connects you with local groups who share your interests and help you find activities with great savings.
Living in the Las Vegas area? Here are 7 free & fun things you can do in Sin City.
3. Use Credit Cards with Rewards
Using credit cards with rewards can come in handy when you need to make purchases. Reward points can be redeemed for free travel, discounted hotel stays, store credits, and more. If you want to keep things simple, you can opt for a percentage of cash back on each purchase.
The golden rule of using credit cards for savings and rewards is that you must pay off your credit card in full every month to avoid interest and credit card debt. Automate this process by opting into automatic monthly payments.
4. Find Ways to Save on Groceries
Utilizing coupon websites, apps, and flyers can help you save money on your favorite products at the grocery store. Whenever possible, take advantage of special offers like coupons for free items with the purchase or discounted items when you buy in bulk.
Choose generic brand products when possible, which save an average of 25-30% on grocery expenses. Food items that are nearing expiration are often marked down for quick sale. Stock up on these discounted items and freeze them for later use.
5. Plan a Staycation in Your City Vs. a Long-Distance Vacation
Everybody needs some time off, but you don’t need to travel to far and exotic lands to save money on a vacation. In fact, there are likely several things you haven’t done in your own city or just a few hours away from your home.
Planning a staycation gives you the opportunity to explore new places without having to worry about expensive tickets, accommodations, transportation, and other unexpected expenses.
With proper research, you can find great activities in your city that will still feel like a real vacation.
6. Eat Out During Lunch Instead of Dinner
When you go out to eat, lunch is usually cheaper than dinner. This is because restaurants offer lunch specials to get more people in the door during less popular times of the day. You’ll usually be offered the same menu items but at a fraction of the cost.
7. Automate Your Savings
There are plenty of bank accounts that will allow you to deposit a small amount of money each month without having to think about it. This automated approach is a great way to set aside money for emergencies and ensure you are always covered in case something unexpected happens.
You can save for small luxuries such as new clothing or build an emergency fund. Whatever you fund on a regular budget will eventually grow into a sizable nest egg, even if you’re on a tight budget.
8. Buy Used Instead of New
If you need to buy something that could get expensive, such as furniture or an appliance, consider purchasing the item used. You can often find excellent condition items for up to 70% off retail prices on sites like Craigslist or OfferUp. Even Amazon offers many of its items used or refurbished online — and they may even come with free shipping!
9. Utilize Online Opportunities to Make Extra Cash
There are plenty of online opportunities to make extra money, such as taking surveys, completing tasks on sites like TaskRabbit and Fiverr, selling items or services on eBay or Etsy, and more.
These options can help you generate additional income that can be used towards savings or paying off debt. They also give you something to do in your free time besides spending money, which can help you stay on budget in the long term.
10. Test Products or Services for Free
Did you know that there are dozens of companies that offer free products or services if you’re willing to give them your opinion? You can get anything from makeup and beauty products to groceries and meals in exchange for your honest feedback on the product or service.
Sites like Influenster, Pinecone Research, and Swagbucks are great resources for finding these offers. With a bit of effort and research, you can easily get hundreds of dollars worth of items without having to spend a dime.
Final Thoughts: How to Budget While Living the Good Life
With proper planning and a little creativity, you can stretch your dollars without sacrificing the good life! While living frugally is part of a healthy financial plan, it shouldn’t mean missing out on enjoying yourself.
If you feel that your debt has gone beyond your control, it may be time to discuss your options with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, a Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney can help you determine whether it’s best for you to file for Ch 7 or 13 bankruptcy.
While Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates all eligible unsecured debt, Chapter 13 bankruptcy helps you create a plan to pay back creditors over a period of time.
To learn more about bankruptcy in Las Vegas, contact DeLuca & Associates online or at (702) 935-4659 to request a free consultation and a price match guarantee.