Cutting back is never easy, but sometimes it’s necessary. Maybe you’ve found yourself in a tough financial spot, or perhaps you’re trying to save money to achieve a financial goal of yours. Whatever the case may be, you can certainly live a fun and fulfilling life without spending a lot of money. Here are just a few ways you can live a more frugal lifestyle without giving up too much.
Create a Budget
Creating and sticking to a budget is the cornerstone of any effective personal finance strategy. By keeping track of how every one of your dollars is being spent, you can prevent wasteful spending and more easily find places where you can cut back and save.
While everyone’s budget is going to be different depending on their income, lifestyle, and personal preferences, there are a few different ways you can go about creating your budget. If you’ve never come up with a budget before, then abiding by the “50/30/20” rule may be a good starting point. According to this budgeting method, you split up your monthly take-home income as follows:
- 50% goes towards necessities such as food, housing, utilities, insurance payments, and healthcare. These are all things that you absolutely cannot live without.
- 30% goes towards the things you want but don’t necessarily need, such as going out to restaurants, vacations, entertainment, and luxury items.
- 20% goes towards savings and investments. Use this money to build up an emergency fund or contribute it to a retirement account such as a Roth IRA in order to ensure future financial security.
Don’t think that you have to take this rule as gospel. You can just use it as a guideline if you choose, and change around the amounts as you see fit. For instance, if you live in a city with expensive housing then it may be necessary to spend more than 50% of your income on necessities. In any case, just make sure that when you come up with a budget, you stay disciplined and stick to it.
Entertain Yourself at Home
Going out can end up being expensive, especially if you’re doing it on a regular basis. Whether you’re hitting the bars to have cocktails with friends, buying tickets to live shows, or seeing drive-in movies, all of these things can add up in the long run and prevent you from achieving your financial goals. Entertaining yourself at home can be a great way to save money and have fun while doing it.
Rather than going out for drinks with friends, get cocktail ingredients on your own, invite your friends over, and spend the night playing games or just chatting. Instead of going to see a live show, get nice and cozy on your couch, take some CBD capsules to help you relax, and spend the night in watching a movie, binging your favorite TV show, or playing video games. You could even try to bring out your inner artist by taking part in a virtual painting night where you can hone your creative skills while still connecting with other people.
Limit How Often You Go Out to Eat
One of the easiest and most effective ways to save money over time is to limit how often you go out to eat. Going out to restaurants, and even getting takeout, can be a huge drain on your bank account. Think about how much you usually spend when you eat at a restaurant—when you take the food, drinks, and tip into account, you’ll most likely end up paying a minimum of $20 and that amount can be a lot higher depending on which restaurant you go to. Shopping for your own food at the grocery store and preparing it at home is a much more affordable alternative to going out to eat all the time. Plus, when you cook your own food it allows you to make healthier food choices, you can customize each dish to perfectly fit your tastes, and you know exactly what’s going into every meal.
Cut Down on Subscriptions
Having too many subscriptions—whether they’re for streaming services, magazines, or something else—can really cut into your finances. Take some time to evaluate whether there are any subscriptions you can get rid of. After all, it doesn’t make sense to keep paying a fixed monthly cost for something you barely use. See if you can chisel your subscriptions down to just one or two in total, as this will provide you with extra money each month that you can put to use in other ways.
While it’s true that cutting down on your spending may take some hard work and self-discipline at first, you’ll most likely get accustomed to your new lifestyle after a while and find more joy in the little things.