Can you have a lifestyle of prosperity even if you’re not wealthy? Yes, it’s possible to have great experiences and live rich even if you’re on a small budget. With some good old-fashioned creativity and ingenuity, you can make it happen. It all comes down to being smart with the resources you already have to help you stretch your dollar. Want to find out how? Keep reading for six tips to live a rich life on a budget.
1. Create an Actual Budget
The most important thing to do (if you haven’t already) is to create a budget. It needs to be something that works for you and your family and something you can stick with; otherwise, what’s the point?
When you have a budget, you know exactly what you have to work with, and you can hone in on any areas of improvement, as well as those you might be able to be more lenient with. A budget does not need to be some dreaded chore. Instead, think of it as a game plan with which you can organize your life for maximum enjoyment.
There are plenty of budgeting resources online, so don’t feel like you have to be pigeonholed into someone else’s system. You could go with a complex budgeting system or create a simple excel spreadsheet to record income and expenses. There are also plenty of fun and free budgeting apps available to download to your smartphone.
2. Consider Moving to a More Affordable Location
This is perhaps the most drastic tip we have listed, but it deserves consideration. The cost of living varies tremendously from state to state and even in areas within a state. Because of the COVID pandemic, many people have now integrated remote working into their lives. If you are one of them, this idea may be especially appealing to you.
If you are living in an area where housing is expensive, ask yourself why. Is it simply because that is where you ended up? Do you have family nearby that you need to stay close to? If your reasons for staying in a place where the cost of your rent or property taxes is through the roof don’t make sense, it might be time to pull up roots.
Many people are surprised to find that the amount of money they currently make could potentially go much further simply by moving to another area. If your rent is costing you $2000 a month and you move to a place where you only need to pay $1000 a month, that’s a savings of $12,000 a year—not chump change.
3. Buy Gently Used High-End Luxury Clothes and Accessories
If you want to dress like the rich and famous, but you’re on a shoestring budget, consider this: Every time you purchase a new item of clothing, it becomes used the first time you wear it. With sites like Thredup, Tradesy, and eBay, you can find clothes, accessories, and other items at far less than their retail price tags.
Designer purses are just one example. It is not uncommon to find handbags that typically go for hundreds of dollars for a fraction of the cost. The same applies to shoes, jewelry, watches, sunglasses, and other items. And don’t forget to check your local thrift stores, too. Even yard sales can yield some terrific finds.
Buying items used has another benefit as well—it’s better for the environment. Purchasing used conserves natural resources and keeps these goods out of the landfill.
4. Rethink Dining Out
If you are a pretty great cook, you already know that dining out can often be a massive disappointment in addition to being expensive. More often than not, the meals you get at a restaurant just aren’t up to snuff when it comes to freshness, flavor, or portions.
Planning and preparing meals at home can be one of the great joys of life and one where you have much more control over quality and quantity. You can splurge on lobster or prime rib at home and save yourself a bundle.
If your cooking skills are a bit lackluster, there are many instructional videos to help you take your culinary expertise to the next level. If you really enjoy it, you could even turn your passion into a side gig and cook for others.
If you absolutely must dine out, consider visiting your favorite eateries for a lunchtime meal rather than dinner since the lunch menu is often cheaper than the evening selections.
5. Take Advantage of coupons
This tip might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how many people don’t take advantage of the money-saving opportunities right at their fingertips—literally. If you have a smartphone, you can find a coupon for just about anything you are about to purchase.
Before you walk into any store, hotel, movie theater, or other business, search the web for savings. You might be surprised at the number of promo codes that pop up. Sometimes, you will get additional savings for downloading the store’s app, and you can almost always pull up a barcode to use for a percentage off of your purchase.
This tip takes less than a minute and can put a significant chunk of change back in your pocket to be used for other things.
6. Travel Smarter
One of the most compelling activities of those with money to spare is travel. If you long to venture off to parts unknown but your shoestring budget is holding you back, consider getting paid for surveys or try these things to satisfy your wanderlust cheaply:
Be a Tourist in Your Own Region
You don’t have to leave the country—or even your state—to rejuvenate your senses. Consider a weekend getaway (or even a weekday getaway, which would likely be cheaper) in your own city. Experience all your area has to offer as a tourist rather than a resident.
Consider Alternate Accommodations
Do you always stay in the best chain hotels? Shop around a little bit. Some privately owned motels and lodges offer a unique and affordable experience you may even enjoy more than your typical stay at the Marriott. If you plan to visit a notoriously expensive area, you might even think about getting a tent and camping to save money on higher priority activities during your vacation.
Go Someplace Where Your Dollar Is Worth More
If you absolutely need to get away to parts unknown, choose a place where you can get the best bang for your buck and where your currency will go further. You can visit Thailand, for example, for about $60 a day, and that includes your airfare, accommodations, and food. Not bad! By remaining open-minded about your travels, you can truly live rich on a budget.