The Gerber Life Parenting Blog

Living on a Budget—Happily

June 15, 2011

Many people live a tortured existence, fearing four simple words: “Living on a budget.” However, these people can learn to live within budgetary constraints and concentrate on saving money, while enjoying life and all it has to offer. Using a few easy, universal tips are all you need to conquer the fear and cheerily move on. Try these suggestions to make you and your budget smile.

  • Start a daily log. Although the magnitude of his genius is astounding, Albert Einstein was an early proponent of the “KIS” (keep it simple) doctrine. To create a budget you can live with blissfully, first start and maintain a simple daily log of your expenditures. All you need is a small notepad, like those used by your favorite TV detectives when interviewing witnesses. You will be amazed, sometimes pleased, sometimes unhappy, often surprised, and always empowered by what you learn. Keeping this log for just a few weeks will teach you how to control your spending.
  • Stop spending yourself into choking debt. Only governments can function with “deficit spending.” Those governments who follow this plan learn that it never works for very long. Humans, however, cannot pursue this process at all. Every time you opt to hand a store associate one of your credit cards instead of using a debit card or cash, you’re taking another step toward the abyss of strangling debt. If your choice to use a credit card is really a mandate—if you lack the cash to pay—you are pursuing a deficit spending program that could devastate your budget and your quality of life. If you are already near the debt chasm, commit to a plan of patience, persistence, and discipline to structure a budget that allows you to make meaningful monthly payments to reduce your outstanding debt.
  • Embrace yard sales and eBay. Unless you have hundreds of valuable items, even a highly successful yard sale won’t eliminate your income/expense mismatch. However, your “junk,” properly displayed at yard sales and on eBay, could move you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars ahead in a week or two. You’ll add a lot of previously congested space in your home and garage, which will make you feel refreshed as you deposit your newly-created extra money.
  • Commit to living within your new budget. Once you commit to living within your budget, you’ll feel a strong sense of achievement. It won’t take long to become comfortable with the process. People usually learn that controlled or reduced spending improve, not hinder, their lifestyle and happiness.

These simple tools allow you to live happily while keeping your budget intact. You will be dazzled at how easy it becomes with a little practice. Over time, you’ll even be more pleased, as you continue to reduce your outstanding debt, while actually saving money.

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Categories: Saving Money
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