How to Make Living on a Budget Painless

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Living on a budget isn’t hard. 

It isn’t meant to be difficult. Or painful. Or mean.

Living on a budget is the conscious effort to actually spend less than you make and know that your bills, savings, and giving are covered.

But, what is the fun of that?

Seriously… why should you be prudent with your money when the neighbor next door has a ton of fun and toys then files for bankruptcy? And their slate is wiped clean.

The simple reason is we are called to be mindful of our money. To be stewards of our money.

For me personally, the biggest benefit of living on a budget is security. I know that all of my bills will be paid. Money is set aside for savings. Then, we are able to give money when and where needed. Then, whatever is leftover we can spend or save.

The end goal is to learn how to make living a budget as painless as possible.

I promise…living on a budget provides security and a piece of mind. Gone are the days of worry and stress relating to money.

Living on a Budget Mindset

Money mindset is the biggest obstacle to overcome with money.

If you hate the word budget like 90% of people do, that is why Money Bliss calls it a Cents Plan.

Put your cents with your (mind) sense and make a plan that works for you and the lifestyle you want. There is enough flexibility to enjoy the life you want to live.

You need to get in the right your mindset first. In all honesty, it is the biggest money mistake for too many people. 

First, you must be willing to accept living on less than you make. That means debt is a no-no. Overspending can’t happen.

You must accept that living on a budget will bring your peace. Then, all of the stress, worry, and anxiety with money will go away.

Most importantly, believe that you can live happily when knowing how to budget money and still enjoy your life.

Living on a budget isn't hard. Learn how budgeting can help your life. Use this simple and easy tips to live on a budget and thrive. Also, find tips for families and with kids.

Steps to Living on a Budget

Here are the basic steps to living on a budget. They aren’t meant to be complicated or complex. Just simple steps to make your budget work for you.

1. Figure out what your total income.

2. Decide how much you plan to give.

3. Decide how much you need to save.

4. Live on the rest.

Pretty simple, right? Okay, I know that #4 – live on the rest is the hardest.

Don’t worry! There will be living on a budget tips that will focus primarily on this.

Too many times a budget is made by laying out all of our bills, spending throughout the month. Then, at the end of the month, we save what is left and maybe give if there is anything left.

This method of budgeting will leave you high and dry. Living paycheck to paycheck forever. A vicious cycle that you just cannot break through. A hamster wheel that you can never find the exit. Striving to dig yourself out of this situation. Now, is the time to finally leave.

So, here are the best methods of budgeting you need to know.

Enough is enough! If you are ready to live with less stress about money, then do the simple steps to living on a budget. I guarantee you that the benefits of living on a budget will outweigh the life you lived before.

Further Budgeting Resources:

Living on a Budget Tips

As promised, here are living on a budget tips for the hardest part – #4 Live on the rest.

1. Find Gratitude

This one hit me hard the first time I was told what I am going to tell you next.

Be thankful for the numbers you see on your paycheck. Every last cent. Show thanks.

In all honestly, I would look at the numbers and always think that they weren’t enough. It wasn’t enough for how I wanted to spend money – most of it was discretionary spending anyway. So, it wasn’t anything important to show for it after the short-lived fun wore off.

Once, I begin to truly understand that gratitude piece, it changed my attitude. I was thankful for the numbers I was looking at. I was grateful those numbers could cover my most basic needs and expenses.

You need to have the same experience will your paycheck.

Find gratitude.

2. Be Positive

Nobody likes a negative Nancy, but what always get the attention… the negative Nancy. It is way easier to be negative and find all of the negative things wrong than it is to be positive.

Plus it is a hard habit to break.

After working on changing my negative mindset to a positive mindset, when I hear negativity, it is like fingernails scratching a chalkboard. It is painful to hear. It is sad. Yet, that is our society’s reality.

Here is the deal… There is something to be positive about. It may not be what you truly want. But, find the positive side to everything first.

Overtime, your perspective will change. And my friend, living on a budget is much easier with a positive and upbeat attitude.

3. Start Somewhere

No one likes to be average. We are told that we should be the best. That is what is ingrained in us. However, I am going to quote another person who told me this recently.

Practice makes progress.

Your first attempt at a budget will likely be a fail. Mine was. And then the one after that. And the one after that. Then, I quit using a budget. And then, I tried budgeting again. Slowly, I refined how to budget money that worked for me. That was the game changer. 

You have to start somewhere.

Living on a budget isn’t going to happen overnight. It will be a process that the end result will be powerful.

3. Modest Lifestyle

Oh, the comparison trap is real!

The harder part to compare is the money aspect. You have no idea how (or if) someone can actually afford something.

You have to be okay with living a lifestyle that you can actually afford. A life with the current income you make. Remember from above, we are grateful for what we have now. Not what we are wishing or longing for.

To be honest, when we paid off $53K in debt, most people didn’t know we were working to pay off a massive amount of debt in one year. The simple reason why is we made lifestyle changes that only we could see. Yes, we said NO A LOT. We turned down happy hours, dinners out, and other fun things. But, in the end, a modest and frugal lifestyle made the difference in paying off our debt.

And we never went back to our spending ways.

The goal for a modest lifestyle is spending, saving, and giving less than you make. Period. 

You can do this!

Related Readings:

4. Season of Life

To be honest, the season of life you are in will dictate the amount of money you have to save, give, and spend.

If you are paying off debt, then it will be harder to live on a budget because your cash flow is taken up by debt payments. (Do you know your debt free date?)

However, when you are debt free, you have more freedom with cash flow back in your life.

If you recently lost your job, things are tight until you land another job. This will (hopefully) be a short season of life.

Just remember from above, be grateful and thankful that this is just a season of life. That positive outlook will help you when money you are living on a tight budget.

Sometimes there are seasons in life where a money order may be helpful.

5. Be Okay with a Budget

The last tip is to accept living on a budget.

The more your fight it, then things won’t change. The sooner you accept it, then faster you are on the steps to financial freedom.

Truly, the advantages of budgeting outweigh any of the downsides. Once you willingly accept that fact, then your perspective on money will shift. 

When living on a budget, you have to know the reason for doing it. So make sure your money goals line up with how you plan to save and spend money. 

Then, in the end, it isn’t about living on a budget; it is about choosing a lifestyle. Specifically, a lifestyle that you truly want and can afford on your income.

How to Live on a Budget with a Family

Oh kids! We love them so much!

But man, do they come at a cost! The average cost to raise a child from birth to age 17 is $233,610 (and the most recent numbers are from 2015). And that doesn’t include the costly senior year and college. Here are my thoughts on if parents should pay for college.

Don’t worry! I wouldn’t trade my kids for money because parenting has been a priceless experience.

However, you must create boundaries with kid’s activities, sports, and extracurricular activities.

Their true basic needs in life are shelter, food, clothing, education, attention, and love. Anything above and beyond is a bonus.

So, how to make living on a budget with kids and a family possible?

All of the extras – kid’s activities, sports, and extracurricular activities come out of the “leftover money” portion. You have paid your mandatory bills, you have put your savings first, and you are contributing at least 15% of your income to retirement.

That is why you must figure out how much can be spent on kids and the extras.

I can hear the rumblings now… But, wait. I was given XYZ opportunity. Here is the thing… Are you willing to sacrifice the stress of debt or the ability to retire for little Billy’s music program at the age of 3 or Sally’s cheerleading fees and travel costs at over $10K per year?

That is the choice you must figure out to living on a budget with kids. What you will and won’t sacrifice for…

Ways to be creative and stretch your budget…

  • Maybe if you help out the program, then you can get a discount on tuition and fees.
  • Pick one sport or activity per season.
  • Figure out what you can truly afford.
  • Decide how much you are actually willing to spend.
  • Trade services. Maybe you played soccer in college, but your kid wants to learn dance. Find someone who danced and has a kid that wants to learn soccer.

In the end, living on a budget with kids is possible. Plus it is a great opportunity for your kids to learn how to handle money from their parents – BY WATCHING. We know they don’t listen.

So, teach them what you wished you would have known.

Recap – Living on a Budget

Living on a budget isn’t meant to be painful or mean. The ultimate goal is take the stress and worry about of your money situation.

By living on a budget, you are able to withstand the pressures on your finances because you are living within your means.

More importantly, you can work through the Money Bliss Steps to Financial Freedom.

Don’t delay! Start with the four living on a budget steps from above.

1. Figure out what your total income.

2. Decide how much you plan to give.

3. Decide how much you need to save.

4. Live on the rest.

We all know that #4 – live on the rest is the hardest, but you know have the full arsenal of how to handle the pressures of living a budget.

Stick around… we have plenty of tips to help you succeed!

Know someone else that needs this, too? Then, please share!!

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