Living Well On A Budget

living well on a budget


i struggle with money. growing up i never learned what money meant. how it worked. where it goes. i remember getting home from a shopping trip with my mom and running upstairs to hide our bags from my stepdad. i never heard the word 'budget' until i had been married for a few years and brad brought it up. 

'we need a budget'

what? what do you mean? money doesn't just come and go magically? i know. i was completely clueless, carefree and just plain stupid. but i didn't have the faculties or the experience to understand how or why to budget. until we bought our first home and had to deal with things like a mortgage and upkeep and everything in between did the importance of a budget really start to sink in.

a lot of people (including myself) hear the word 'budget' and think of ramen noodles for dinner, cutting up credit cards, and turning down the heat to a chilly 55 degrees during the winter. and yes, that's how some people do it. i prefer to look at budgeting from a more positive point-of-view:

quality over quantity.

living well on a budget

living well on a budget is possible as long as you're very careful and choosey with where your money goes. i've learned the hard way a few good lessons about how and when to spend our hard earned money.

shop wisely | this means have rules about where and when you can buy things. only shop local, or stop going to starbucks, shopping wholesale at places like bj's wholesale club. whatever your rules are pick a couple and stick with them. you'll be amazed at how much you save just by placing some restrictions on your shopping habits.

give every dollar a job | taking the time to make a budget and really think hard about where you want your money to go and what you want it to do for you pays off big time. give every dollar of your income a specific job. have nothing leftover. you'll quickly see your spending habits and where you can give a little more or a little less.

quality quality quality | always choose quality. stop buying crappy t-shirts from big box stores and instead choose one or two staples that you know will last. consider making a capsule wardrobe. only have and purchase things you love and that are useful (bonus if it's both!). before long, your mindset will change. you'll go from thinking 'i really want this xx' to 'i don't really need this. i have enough.'

there's always something out there that catches your eye. but taking the time to ask yourself if (1) you really need it, and (2) is it a quality item, makes all the difference when trying to live well on a budget. it's not easy, and it's not perfect, but the more you work on it, the better you'll be. and then you can splurge every once and a while on a new pair of really nice jeans or a latte or that stroller you've been eyeing. because you now understand what quality purchases are and since you've cut out the crap you have more to spend on the quality items that will really bring you joy.