Is there anything pleasant about living life on a strict budget? It’s a weighty task that requires sacrifice, frugality, self-knowledge and discipline to make it work. People on budgets can sometimes feel deprived, annoyed, unfulfilled and unsuccessful; especially when it seems like the entire world is spending money.
If you are struggling with a tight budget, there’s no doubt you understand that bleak feeling that comes with another quiet night in, or another brown bag lunch. However, when you take into account the benefits that accompany living within your means, you may be surprised to see how easy it can actually be. The key is to remind yourself to stop spending money that you simply don’t have.
Can You Live Without It? Chances Are You Most Certainly Can
One of the most difficult concepts to grasp is the difference between what you need and what you want. Picture a baby who has had his toy taken away: he screams, he cries, he kicks and he fusses as if his life depended on getting that object back. However, obviously it’s not. The baby doesn’t need that toy to survive any more than you need the largest television in the shop. If you want your budget to succeed, you need to fully understand the difference between what is necessary for your survival and what isn’t. When you stop spending unnecessarily, you free up a great deal of money that might have otherwise been wasted. This money can then be used to pay back debt, or put into savings to be used wisely at a later date.
Be Perfectly Honest With Yourself
There is no worse time to bury your head under the sand than when it comes to your finances. No matter how stressed it makes you feel and no matter how much your palms sweat, you must know exactly how much money you have in your account at all times. Your first goal should be to create a workable budget that accurately details your income and expenditures month to month. Once that task is accomplished, you should immediately download one of the indispensible personal budgeting apps onto you smartphone or compatible device. Using these apps every time you make a purchase is an excellent way of reminding yourself how much you are spending and whether your monthly budget is on track. These tools can also help you to analyze where your money is going; you can look back on the purchases you’ve made.
Keeping Up With the Joneses Can Be Harmful
It’s a cliché but it’s absolutely true: money does not buy happiness. It can buy a lot of distractions and amusements, but if you are going into debt to fill a hole in your life, you are setting yourself up for a future of misery. Overspending today means uncontrollable debt tomorrow; it’s a vicious cycle. If your friends, neighbors or acquaintances always seem to have the latest products, chances are you’ll feel a little envious. This is a dangerous emotion and a catalyst for unnecessary spending. Many consumers even hit up numerous payday loans UK offices like those of Faster Payday just to compete in a race that only benefits the companies profiting off of insecurity and need. What happens when the next generation of phone or television comes out? What happens when your neighbor buys a brand new SUV even though they barely leave their house? Unless you’ve tackled the notion that material things won’t fully satisfy you, chances are you’ll fall deeper into debt. Stop the cycle and stop comparing yourself to family members, neighbors and friends.
If All Else Fails Seek Help
If you’ve determined the difference between what you want and what you need, you’ve made a working budget, and you’ve redefined happiness, but still have difficulty controlling your spending then you may want to consider whether you have an emotional addiction to shopping. It’s a rush that can’t be denied. You see something you want and you make it your own. The sad part is that like most instant, emotional rushes, only bad things can come of it. If your spending habits are putting stress on your relationships and they are getting in the way of your life, you must step back. You need to determine whether you are a ‘shopaholic’ or whether you have problematic spending habits. People who spend compulsively feel little joy in their purchases, and have a high level of guilt and emotional turmoil due to their lack of control. If you feel your spending habits are bordering on an obsession, you need to seek help in the form of counseling. These well-trained professionals can help you get to the root of your issue and teach you different ways to soothe, nurture and comfort yourself without pushing a credit card into another cash terminal.
A badly planned financial future is a grim one. Nothing keeps people awake at night more than unpaid bills and the possibility of financial ruin. Spending money you don’t have to spend is the quickest way to make this miserable future entirely possible. The key to avoiding this is to be as honest with yourself about your spending as possible. Get all the help you need to stay on track so you can set the groundwork for a financially healthy future, and not one spent hiding unopened credit card bills or screening calls from collections agencies.