When you’re living on a tight budget, these can seem really hard. Changing your outlook can make the situation much more bearable! Living on an extremely tight budget is often a temporary situation, such as during a job loss or period of health issues. Remember that although times are tough right now, you’ll make it through. As the saying goes, tough times don’t last, but tough people do.
Track your spending.
When money is tight, it’s especially important to track your spending because every penny counts. You may realize that through careful budgeting, you can reduce expenses in an area (oftentimes in eating out or entertainment) which will hopefully reduce some of the money strain. However if you are in need to pay a bill immediately, you can use some consumer finance company to make it through the hard times.
Look for free or cheap entertainment.
Even when money is tight, you don’t always have to sit at home bored all of the time; it will just make you feel unhappy. You could check out books or movies from the library. Instead of going out to dinner with friends, invite them over for a simple home-cooked meal and play board games afterwards. Also, many communities offer free events for their residents, such as live bands and festivals. With Christmas coming up, you could drive around town and look at the Christmas lights or go caroling. If you want to spend a small amount of money, you could visit the movie theater during the matinee (and skip the snacks and sodas!) or visit a drive-in theater (which allows you to bring your own food.) If you’re in the military like my boyfriend is, you could also visit places that offer military discounts.
Exercise and eat healthy.
One of my friends struggles with depression and she can tell a difference in her mood and feelings when she exercises and eats healthy foods versus when she doesn’t. It’s a great tip for anyone!
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Celebrate the baby steps.
If you’re living on a tight budget because of your commitment to paying off debt, you’ll eventually hit “the plateau” that all debt snowballers experience– when you feel like you’re making no progress and just want to give up. One of the ways to keep sight of your goal is to celebrate the baby steps. I blog about my debt repayment on my blog, which keeps me motivated because I can see the change as the months go by. I also like to go out to eat when each debt is repaid to celebrate being one step closer to debt freedom.
Surround yourself with positive thoughts and people.
Negativity breeds negativity. When you give into the negative thoughts in your mind, they will continue and soon you will be stuck in an endless cycle of negativity. For me, one of the biggest ways to stop that cycle is to cut the “Negative Nancies” out of my life and surround myself with more positive people. If you are a religious person, seeking out your religion can uplift you as well.
I’ve seen many bloggers reviewing the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, and although I don’t agree with all of the principles taught in the book, I do believe that decluttering can be helpful in tough financial times. It allows you focus on the belongings that bring you joy and reminds you to appreciate what you do have. Also, you can sell the belongings you don’t want and make some extra money!