Learning To Love Stability: Budgeting Tips For An Adjusted Lifestyle

Friday, January 12, 2018

Living on a budget often causes dread for those well-accustomed to their lifestyle. The thought of having to give up creature comforts. But, when the tell-tale signs begin to show that you’re living outside your means – it’s time to reassess the budget position.
Yes, budgeted living does place restrictions on what you can and cannot do.
However, those willing to make temporary sacrifices will gain long-term stability. They may even find this new lifestyle more enjoyable due to less stress and societal pressure!

One Slip Toward Financial Ruin – A Wakeup Call for Finances
There were nearly 800,000 bankruptcy filings in 2016 (most being Chapter 7). Much of this is caused by unexpected, financial downturns caused by loss of work and emergencies. We’re sure quite a few were also due to poor planning.
The problem: Most American families are one paycheck away from financial ruin.
Predatory businesses, stagnating wages, and poor healthcare exacerbate these issues. No family goes through bankruptcy for enjoyment. Though, we wonder how many families could have avoided these problems if they were budgeting properly.
How to Get on Track with Your Financial Future
There are hundreds of small items you could sacrifice to reach financial goals – these have been discussed ad nauseam. Items like saving on utilities with programmable thermostats or making coffee at home versus buying one during your morning commute.
Let’s look at the bigger picture.
  • Make health a priority. By learning to cook healthy meals and becoming active. Avoid dangerous situations. Learn to remain calm in tense moments. Many health problems (and their associated costs) are the result of poor diets.
  • Make insurance and meds #2. Americans spend $3.4 trillion (a year) on medical services and care. One can lower these costs through committed comparison shopping. It’s the act of spending a couple extra hours learning health plans. Or, comparing the generic Adderall cost, Zantac alternatives, or natural Lasix replacements.
  • Make haggling the norm. Don’t feel complacent when costs rise year-over-year. Some services are impossible to avoid because of the (virtual) monopoly companies have on an area. Haggle with companies – threaten to switch or simply as “can you change this?” – to see them fall over themselves to retain your customer patronage especially with items like your banking.
Begin funneling these big wins toward micro goals.
Create a user-friendly budget that rewards participation. Small savings (even $5-$10 a week) with small rewards (monthly dinner date or buying a wishlist item) reinforces the good behavior.
Likewise, find cheaper entertainment (almost 5.6% of American spend) through older media, local events, hobbies, or activities like reading or gaming.
The longer you “do without” the more you realize you didn’t need those things. It brings it back to the basics. A lifestyle that becomes less dominated (and stressed) from riding too close to financial ruin on a week-to-week basis.
With Financial Control comes Great Lifestyle Stability
It’s sometimes hard seeing others enjoying themselves through their posting on social media. A fear of missing out because you’re confined to your budget-friendly lifestyle.
Ponder: Do these people live like this 24/7?
People put on a show to appeal to others – social media has doubled this practice – but, they’re leading everyday lives. They go through similar troubles. In fact, their social lifestyle may not mirror what’s going on behind-the-scenes.
Where will they be in 5 years? 10? 25?
Learn to love the stability budgeting creates in your lifestyle.
Do this and you’ll have the finances (and lack of stress) that’ll allow you to create sustained enjoyment from activities instead of sharp spikes and horrible bottoms. A lifestyle that’ll snowball equity and comfort – all started with what you’ll find to be minor sacrifices when looking back years from now.

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