Friday, October 9th, 2015

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How to Live on a Budget and Still Have a Life

Is it possible to live on a budget and still have fun? Yes! In fact, having a budget can allow you to have more of a life. I have a friend who is so bad at saving money that she gets paid and within a week all of her money is gone. She is a free spirit who loves to go out and have fun. She goes crazy for the first few nights after payday and then she’s forced to sit at home for the rest of the month because she has no extra money to spend on anything besides rent and food. She hates it and is always complaining. Finally, I sat her down and told her that there was an easy way for her to have fun all month—all she had to do was make a budget.

She groaned and rolled her eyes. “I don’t want to live my life pinching every penny,” she complained. “That doesn’t sound like fun.”

I assured her that she didn’t have to live like that, that once she had set up this plan it would actually enable her to do everything she wanted and more.

To begin, I had her write down what she usually did each month and how much she spent. I bought her a small notebook and a pen and told her to take it with her wherever she went. She started writing down lists—every time she bought a drink and how much it cost, each appetizer, each cab. Then she discovered the moneyStrands app on her iPhone and realized she didn’t have to input anything. If she used her debit card, it showed up automatically. moneyStrands ended up saving us a lot of time later on when we had to organize her expenses into categories. Plus, it was easy for her to keep track of everything on her phone.

The next week we sat down together with her moneyStrands application. She was definitely surprised at how much she was spending and how fast her money went. Six beers at $6 a beer was $42 a night. She spent an average of $30 on cab rides each night she went out. Not to mention the snacks she was buying. She decided to give herself a “limit” that she could spend each night. It sounds easy and it is; but it changed her life. Now she has enough money to go out whenever she wants and she’s not forced to stay at home and watch reruns.

She has shown her other friends her new spending plan. They have decided to stay in and have fun together. Each of them takes turns hosting one night a month. They have dinner parties, watch movies, and play games. They have fun and save money.

However, because going out is so important to my friend she has decided to cut back other places. She brings her lunch to work, makes her own coffee, and has started shopping at thrift stores. Not only is she saving money but she’s also dressing more interestingly.

Living on a budget can open up your future as well. If you spend wisely and stay out of debt you can maintain a good credit score. With a good credit score you will be able to borrow money. This will allow you to go to school, go on trips, buy a house, and basically to do whatever you want.

Having a budget may sound boring. For a free spirit, .like my friend, it may seem like just one more rule that must be followed, one more thing to adhere too. Instead, it opened her up to a world of possibilities. In truth, living on a budget will allow you to have more of a life.

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