Is it really possible to spend less and live more?
Learning how to spend less and live more is a major adjustment. It takes a mental shift and the ability to hold yourself accountable for every penny you spend. There are more than enough tools to help you, but if you can’t stay committed to your ultimate goal, your habits will be your biggest obstacle.
Spend less and live more today by using the following tips:
Save money when you find your passion.
What thrills you? What motivates you? What makes you want to get up in the morning? What memories do you hold most dear? These are the keys to setting your financial priorities.
Some people face these questions with a blank slate. They have no idea what’s motivating them beyond habit. They get up every day, get dressed, go to work, come home, cook, watch some TV and fall asleep. Snooze and repeat. These are the same people who feel listless and frustrated and the same people who are angry they don’t get more out of life. Well, the answer why is simple. They’re not living. They’re existing.
This is akin to getting in the car and just driving, turning whichever way seems most convenient, and hoping to reach a particular place without knowing the address. What are the chances you’ll just stumble on to a life you enjoy without some direction? They’re very slim.
The first step to living the life you want is accepting the need for a plan. To do it, you’ll need to identify experiences you value and ways to generate more of them. Find your passion, and go from there.
Spend wisely by taking small steps to success.
Many of us don’t have much money to spare because we have responsibilities. We have rent bills and phone bills and cable bills and daycare. We have parents or relatives who need help, but we also have habits. In 2015, people still smoke, they still go drinking, they get coffees and more people are doing drugs. Unless these habits are tied into your passions, you’re wasting all the money you spend on them.
Unfortunately, cutting them all out of your life at once can be tough. People often do better making slow adjustments toward better habits. You replace the Starbucks coffee on the way to work with a cappuccino mix you make in your own microwave. You stop smoking and start eating suckers instead. (Did you know you can get 1000 Dum Dums for less than a carton of cigarettes? You can also use the wrappers to buy other things too, adding a competitive element to your quitting plans.)
Invest your savings into new experiences.
The $4 a day you spend on coffee, the $20 a week you save on new clothes and all of the money you’re saving by changing your spending habits can be saved at this point or it can be spent on the life you really want. Obviously, if you splurge you could wind up deep in debt and even less satisfied than you were to begin with. However, if you carefully consider which opportunities to invest in, you can start enjoying a satisfying new life overnight. Once you are enjoying yourself, you won’t feel such a need to fill your days with needless frills and expenses. Create and support meaningful goals for your life, and you won’t feel stressed by your little sacrifices.
Find more money for having fun.
You may be thinking, “That sounds great, but after my bills, I have zero dollars.” How you spend your money is always a choice. It’s important to pay off your bills, but it’s also important to create those bills wisely. Utilities are one of the easiest budget items to change by changing your habits. Cable, Internet and phone bills are adjustable too. Sometimes we tell ourselves that bills are out of our control, but it’s really not true. Commit yourself to higher quality living, and you’ll find yourself motivated to change these bills too.