Is it really possible to live on a budget and still buy things you want?
I won’t sugar coat it. Living on a budget can be tough! But what if there was a way to live on a budget, save money or pay off debts and still buy the things you really want?
Well, allow me to assist you with that very thing.
If it’s a Chanel handbag or a Rolex watch you’ve set your sights on, I’m not so sure I can help you. But if the object of your desire is a little more realistic, there is an art to living a budget lifestyle and still spoiling yourself now and again.
I know, I know the best things in life are free … but sometimes you just want things. Beautiful, expensive, wonderful things! Instagram fabulous things, OK?!
And it is ok, so long as you’re prepared to put in a little effort to get those things.
So without further ado I present (insert tuneful fanfare if you like):
How to live on a budget and still buy the things you want
Before we leap right into the nitty-gritty, I have a little tip. It might be a good idea to set up a fun money account, so that you can easily keep track of what you’ve saved specifically for treats and you won’t feel guilty about spending it.
Also, start making a wish list of all the lovely things you’d like to buy. I’ve designed one that you can download free by signing up here.
1# Identify areas you can cutback in
First you need to look at your finances, I mean really look. What do you spend your money on mostly. Where can you cut back? Print out bank statements from the past couple of months work out per month what you spend on essentials like utility bills, transport and grocery shopping and all the non-essentials like going out, clothes etc.
For the essentials check whether you could switch to a cheaper provider using a comparison website, we’ve saved hundreds by using www.comparethemarket.com (not sponsored by the way, just a genuine recommendation although I’m sure that similar sites are just as good but I just prefer meerkats to large annoying opera signing men with moustaches).
For food shopping, are you writing a weekly menu plan and sticking to it? If you’re visiting the shops daily you are much more likely to pop extra items in your basket, shopping once or twice per week will give you much less opportunity to spend extra cash.
While we’re on the subject of food shopping, if you haven’t already tried getting you weekly shop from Aldi, give it a go. You will be so surprised at how far your money stretches and the quality.
For other areas I’m going to assume, as you’re living on a budget, you aren’t spending that much on the fun stuff but if you could cut back by just £10, that’s something to put towards the things you really want..
2# Buy the dupe
Sometimes there can be no imitation, you need the real deal and that’s all that will do. However, sometimes there will be a much more affordable version that’s just as good, if not better. Have a good old google search to see if you can find a high street alternative. I’ve talked before in this post about the White Company bed I was desperate for, but I found a similar alternative that saved me over £2000.
3# Find a side hustle
There are so many ways to make extra cash! From selling your photos or craft items to taking online surveys, if you could use a little side income there are some great opportunities out there. I won’t go into them in detail today otherwise this will become a novel, but there are some great personal finance blogs out there with lots of ideas.
4# Buy in sale or second-hand
Sit tight and see if the item you’re after goes in the sale or is discounted. How important is it that the item is brand spanking new? Take a little look on eBay, pre-loved or even your local Facebook selling site because you might find exactly the thing you want in good condition for a fraction of the price.
5# Ask for Birthday/Christmas money
If you have relatives that usually buy you a Christmas or birthday present, ask for money towards the item you want. My family tried camping this year and I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy it (I was kinda dreading it). Turns out I can toast marshmallows around the campfire with the best of them, because I bloody loved it.
It did help that our lovely friends and their kids came too, oh and wine – wine helped ; ) So much so, that we decided to buy a rather fancy tent, except we couldn’t afford the one we wanted. So this years’ Christmas and Birthday pressies were all money towards the swanky tent. Wahoo, bring on the marshmallows and wine.
6# DIY it and make your own
Is there a way to make your own version? For the longest time I really wanted a barcart. I kept seeing these perfectly styled barcarts popping up everywhere and then one day, whilst moseying around Ikea I spotted a bathroom trolley and had a brain wave. I gave it a bit of a makeover and hey presto! Instead of paying a few hundred I paid £25, plus a bit of elbow grease.
If you like a bit of DIY you can check out my copper and marble barcart tutorial here.
7# Save your £2 coins
It really is as simple as that. Have a jar and pop every single £2 coin that crosses your path into the jar. Don’t touch it until the end of the year and then add the total into your fun account. You’ll be amazed.
8# Buy quality not quantity
If you’re a fashionista desperate to add a splash of designer to your wardrobe, consider a capsule wardrobe. Less is more, so quit the monthly Primark hauls and buying a ton of clothes that will only see you through the season and buy quality classic investment pieces that will last. For more on creating a capsule wardrobe check out Caroline’s blog Unfancy. I really need to take my own advice on this one.
9# Stop impulse purchasing
This is such a hard one. We are constantly surrounded by media compelling us to buy things. Think more deeply about the purchases you’re making, is it something you really need or do you just want it? For more expensive items add them to your wish list and see if you still want it in a months’ time.
I really hope these tips help, living on a budget is a positive, sensible (and really difficult) thing to do and you definitely deserve a reward now and again.
Of course I’m no financial advisor, I’m just a regular gal who happens to have first hand experience of liking really nice stuff and living on a budget.
Tell me in the comments below, what’s number one on your wish list?