Living a Great Lifestyle On a Tight Budget
Everyone has their own perception as to what type of lifestyle they want to live. Most of us set the priorities for these as having lots of money to do what we like and plenty of time to do it in. This is not a category that I fit into, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t live a great lifestyle. What it does mean is that I have learned to become frugal with my money but not to the point where I am depriving myself or my family of the important things in life.
I discovered that a lot of what makes me happy with my lifestyle came about as a result of my setting of some priorities. Of course, I want a worry-free lifestyle, but there are not too many that can say they have achieved this. My first priority was to really study the things that concerned me or caused me to worry and then determine what I could do about them. Some of what I learned was:
- Paying the bills: My biggest concern was having enough money coming in to pay the bills. This meant sitting down and making a list of what these were. Then comparing these with the income I had coming in. Ultimately, I was relieved to learn that I was able to handle these responsibilities. What was left over was going to be what I could plan my lifestyle around. It certainly was not enough to live the lifestyle that I thought I wanted. That would have included extra money to buy the things I wanted (not what I really needed). Then plenty of leisure time. My outcome from this lesson was that I learned that I was on a tight budget when it came to my lifestyle.
- Providing for the family: My next priority and just as necessary as the first one was providing for the family. The necessities were being looked after as the bills incurred contributed to this. But what about beyond the essentials. Like being able to give them some of the things they wanted. Or to take them on trips. My goal was to provide them with a lifestyle that would keep them safe and happy. The latter would have to be addressed with what money was left over in the budget. Although this was a tight budget, instead of looking at it as a negative, I looked at it as a challenge.
As a result of setting my priorities, I learned what I did have was time. I was making enough income that I did not have to take on extra work. It was time that I was going to use to my best advantage for creating a great lifestyle. I developed a strategy where time was more important than money. The outcome was rewarding and something that my family adapted to quickly and became their lifestyle. Some examples of this are as follows:
- Time to Cook: We don’t have the luxury of being able to eat out on a regular basis. Even ordering in pizza for our family can be costly. This is because each of us like different pizzas. To turn this around, we cook our own pizzas. We pre-plan pizza night to coincide with the sales that are on for the ingredients we want to buy. Then we all shop together. We can make personal pizzas, so everyone gets their favorite. The cooking of these is a family affair. It has become one of the most frugal meals and one of the favorites of the entire family. This is because everyone helps to make and cook the pizzas.
- The follow up: Then we follow up our pizza night with a family movie night. We cut cable costs by only paying for the basic package. But instead, we invested in one of the movie packages that has a full selection of all types of movies. That way, when we have movie nights with the kids, there is a good choice of family movies. Then when my husband and I are spending time together, we can choose movies for us.
What it comes down to for us is to at least create a great lifestyle in recognition of how valuable time is. When we use this to its fullest extent, the entire family is happy and well-grounded.