Wanting nice things is part of human nature. You work hard to earn an income and deserve to spend it on what you’d like! However, treating yourself can quickly drain your savings. If you’re not careful, you can easily spend all your money on things you don’t necessarily need.
Fortunately, there are ways to invest in your lifestyle while still having enough to pay your bills. While you shouldn’t splurge all the time, an occasional or well-planned splurge can bring joy to your life. In this article, we’ll discuss how to improve your lifestyle without breaking the bank.
1. Budget Better
Budgeting, or having a plan of how you are going to spend and save your money each month, is key. A common misconception about budgeting is that you must save most of your income. That simply isn’t true. Budgeting takes into account how much you want to save and what you want to spend your money on.
For example, a budget would take into consideration your monthly rent in addition to the weekend getaway you have planned next month. With a budget, you can spend with ease and confidence knowing you still have enough in your account for necessities.
Using a debit card is one of the easiest ways to start a budget. Why use a debit card? Credit card companies can be deceiving and misleading. The incentives they use to entice new cardholders can lead to high fees and commitments. You can also end up with loads of debt and high interest rates.
Debit cards create better long-term budgeting habits. They limit use to the funds you currently have available, so it’s impossible to overspend. Additionally, they allow you to easily see what your money is going toward. Lastly, debit cards don’t require extensive application processes. You can get a debit card with minimal effort as long as you have a checking account.
2. Eliminate Unnecessary Spending
Take a look at how many subscription services you currently pay for. If you’re like most Americans, you’re spending around $273 per month! These services include everything from apps and TV/movie services to meal prep and monthly lifestyle boxes. While you don’t need to stop binge-watching your favorite show, it is worth looking at what you are paying for. Canceling unused or underutilized services could save you hundreds of dollars per month.
Another way to eliminate unnecessary spending is to cook more. Although grocery prices are increasing due to supply issues, buying ingredients and cooking them yourself is still more cost-efficient than restaurant dining or takeout. Not to mention, cooking a meal with a partner or friend can also be a fun experience!
If you do end up sourcing dinner from your favorite restaurant, consider calling in your order and picking it up yourself. While ordering delivery sounds enticing, apps typically increase food prices and also include service and delivery fees. These services take a cut of the profits, charging you more for the same food if you were to order from the restaurant directly.
You can also eliminate unnecessary spending by paying your bills on time. Fees from interest rates on accounts like credit cards can add up quickly, taking a toll on your budget. First, focus on paying off your bills with the highest interest rate. It’s also worth talking with your account representatives to see whether they can help lower the interest rate. Just make sure you do some research beforehand so you know exactly what you’re asking for.
3. Visualize and Prioritize
If you had all the money in the world, what would you buy first? No matter whether it’s a new car or a new pair of shoes, visualizing your goals can help you achieve them sooner. Visualizing is simply the process of defining a goal and then imagining yourself achieving it. It’s you picturing yourself driving away from the car lot in a new sports car or wearing red-soled heels out on date night. Visualizing can help make your financial goals more realistic.
Of course, visualizing also means prioritizing what you want to spend your hard-earned money on. You are deciding what is worth saving for and what isn’t. And we all know that prioritizing helps keep your spending on track, too. You can’t buy that new car if your monthly rent isn’t paid yet, for instance.
Visualizing and prioritizing can look different for everyone. It can be helpful to have a visual example of what you want, such as a photo of your goal hung on your fridge or tucked into your wallet. You may also want to consider enlisting your family members for help. Share your goals with your family, telling them what you are saving for and how you are going to achieve it. The end result will be even sweeter when you can celebrate it together.
Improving your lifestyle doesn’t need to drain your bank account. Budgeting, eliminating unnecessary spending, and visualizing your goals are all practical tactics you can start today. Remember, you work hard to earn your income, and you hold the power to choose what to spend it on. Do so thoughtfully, and you’ll be loving the life you’ve created for yourself.