How to Reward Yourself While Living on a Budget

One of those universal truths about budgeting and saving money is this:

Some of life’s greatest rewards are free.

Rewards and fun activities don’t have to cost tons of money. Your idea of a cheap thrill may be spending some time reading a book in the park near where you live, sitting in front of a fireplace with a loved one, or having a late-night session of Monopoly (or my recent favorite Apples to Apples) with friends.

This means you watch your money grow and still have fun doing it – what a concept! Seriously though, you may end up finding out that the things in life that really do make you happy aren’t found by maxing out your PayPal account on eBay or in your local shopping mall. By changing your spending habits, not only will you be getting your bills paid off but you’ll break that horrible habit of running up those bills in the first place!

A lot of people mistakenly believe that only middle-class and poor people have to budget and save money, rich people just spend and spend and don’t have to worry about that sort of thing. It actually couldn’t be further from the truth. The rich actually tend to save money much more often than other income levels – which is a major key to their financial success. This means that if you want to be taken for a rich person, make deposits more often in your savings account and other investments and less on luxury items.

I’ve noticed there seems to be two types of spenders: big-time spenders and those that waste their money away a dollar at a time. We all know how big spenders waste their savings away. That huge SUV, that enormous plasma television, etc. The other type of spender spends their money consistently a little bit at a time on relatively meaningless items. Let’s say you’re rushing out late to work, so instead of making your own coffee, you buy a $5 frappuccino at Starbucks. Then at lunch you’re bored, so you buy a $4 Sports Illustrated magazine. Then at night, you head out to the local nightclub and spend $22 on a couple of drinks plus $20 cover charge because you forgot to get on the guestlist. You add up these little expenses – that seem like nothing at the time you’re spending it – and it can make the difference between having more money at the end of the month or more month at the end of the money. One of those ways you can counteract this tendency is to write down all your expenditures – this allows you to see where your money is really going.

By taking the steps to live on a budget, you’ll be living a higher quality of life. I know most people think that spending money on frivolous luxury items equals a better life, but a lot of times it actually may mean the opposite. You’ll have pride in knowing you can handle your personal and family finances and never feel afraid you may be revealed to be financially incompetent. You’ll be able to watch the server at the restaurant run your credit card through the machine without having to be worried it’s going to get rejected. You can sleep great at night without being worried about how you’re going to pay that impossible bill. You can live in a home where money isn’t issue because you’ve compromised on a budget with your partner. You can feel secure that if a financial emergency comes up you’ll have the reserves to deal with it. You can give yourself little and big treats once in a while, without feeling any of the guilt of thinking you really can’t afford that item. You can feel comfortable in knowing you can look forward to a peaceful retirement.

The bottom-line is that getting a budget together and living according to what you’ve outlined in it can give you a peaceful night’s sleep and a positive view of the future. Don’t feel like budgeting and living on a budget means you’re depriving yourself! By living within your means and having money left over at the end of the month you can afford those little treats and not feel like you have to deprive yourself. Most marriages end due to husbands and wives fighting about money – so get started now to live on a reasonable budget. Do it not just for your sake, but for the sake of your loved ones, and for the sake of your future.


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