As a child I thought that being wealthy meant living large. I believed that in order to enjoy life you had to have money. I was sorely mistaken. Money doesn't make the world go round. Although everyone needs money to survive, I found I didn't need money to be happy. I found some great ways to stretch my $1500 a month check and live large on a shoestring budget.
Set A Budget
Living on $1500 means I have to keep to a strict budget. I prioritize all of my bills in the order that they need to be paid. I start with the rent and utilities and then my cell phone and internet charges are included. I've scaled way back on my cell phone usage but I have kept my internet at high speed for the time being as I use it as my main source of income.
Great Resources for Clothing and Essentials
Having gone from a much larger budget and needing to have "work clothes" I found that by working at home I could scale back form $300 per month on these "essentials" to about $30 per month. I now shop for all clothing (except underwear) at yard sales, rummage sales, consignment shops and thrift stores. Often I don't even use all of the $30 in a month so I will roll that over into the next month in case I need something else.
Investing and Saving
I have continued to put ten percent of my income into savings. I also have maintained my retirement fund which invests another ten percent of my monthly income. Now that I've learned to live on less I don't need as much to retire as I once thought I did so this is working for me.
Pay Down Debt
There is nothing worse than being saddled with heavy debt. I have debt snowballed my credit cards by paying off the largest to the smallest. I've gone from owing $20,000 in debt to only owing $1500 in debt by following this method.
Giving To Charity
I've often heard it said that the greatest gift of all is the gift of giving. I've found that by giving away another ten percent of my income not only makes me feel great, it also helps out those in need. I would've just spent the money on myself anyway for things I didn't need.
Although living on a shoestring budget is difficult at times, it's not impossible. Following my budget plan and not allowing myself to deviate from my shopping lists has given me far more freedom than I ever thought possible and I'm enjoying all that life has to offer.
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More from this contributor:
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