Oh, the dreaded B word…Budget. For some people, when they hear that word, they immediately think of living a very limited life. You know, living off rice and beans and having no social life. For some people Budget = Restriction. Contrary to popular belief, budgets are actually very freeing! When you are in control of your money, you can live your best life!

It’s all about planning ahead!

Social Life

  • Schedule a monthly night out with friends! By planning ahead, you can budget for this and enjoy the night without the guilt. Consider brown bagging your lunch a few times a week in preparation for this.

  • Is there a summer music festival you really want to attend? Plan now for next year and save monthly. It is a lot easier to put away $20 a paycheck now rather than trying to find $500 on short notice!

  • Yes, you can still travel! Plan ahead, save monthly, and strike when the iron is hot! Take advantage of sites like Groupon, Orbitz, and Trivago. Search out those last minute deals and Go! Don’t want to travel alone? Partner with a travel buddy and set goals with them. My bestie and I plan to each save $700 by summer for our annual girls’ trip. That’s less than $14 a week!

Health

  • Skip the gym membership and invest in a few key pieces of equipment for your home. Fitness equipment is always on sale in January for New Year’s fitness resolutions!

  • Eat healthy – Create a meal plan with healthy food you make at home and save money!

Education

  • Visit one of my favorite places – the library. Seriously, one of the most underrated resources! Want to learn a new skill? Most libraries offer free classes! Topics range from practical money saving skills like simple car repairs, to resume boosting skills like learning a new language. You can even learn software development. Talk about a nice paying side gig that can increase your income and help you crush your debt even faster! Thinking about starting a new business? There is a free class for that, too.

  • Don’t have time to read? Check out audiobooks! It’s my personal favorite way to learn on the go. If you have to sit in traffic for your 20-minute commute, why not “read”? Did you know that the average millionaire reads 1-2 non-fiction books a month?

  • Are you interested in seeing a new movie, but it’s not in your monthly budget? If it’s not yet available on Netflix or you don’t want to spend money on a Redbox rental, the library can help! Many libraries lend movies for free!

Whatever your reservations about living on a budget may be, just know budgeting really can help you live your best life.