How To Start Living On A Budget Without Feeling Wretched

Lot of families dream about living on a budget or living in a budget

It ends up they learn how to start budgeting but fail to stick to it

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I spoke before about common budgeting mistakes for those who tried budgeting

Let me show you here how to live on a budget and get used to it

living on a budget

1- Pay yourself first

Best way on how to live on a tight budget is to save money before you spend it

It is called Pay yourself first because you pay yourself before you pay your expenses

If you pay yourself at last then all expenses will eat your income

But with what you have you will definitely adapt yourself to pay for groceries and flexible expenses according to what you have left

2- Get out of debt

Nothing worse than being in debt

I am not talking about mortgage

But any other loans or accumulated credit cards amounts

Think about it every month you pay money for nothing in return just to pay loans

When you get out of debt you have a high chance of staying within your budget

I recommend to build an emergency fund to protect you from falling in debt again

3- Sharing your budget with your family

I like Dave Ramsey‘s expression in his Total Money Makeover book

He talks about a nerd partner while the other one is a free spirit

You have to bring your spouse together on your budget and agree on numbers

It is very frustrating to build while your partner destroy or vice versa

4- Track your daily spending

One of the proper steps to start living on a tight budget is to track your daily spending

If you find yourself spending extra one day then you can tie your hand next days

Nothing is better than having all the amounts in front of you

Good news you can download this weekly spending for free from my products page

download weekly spending sheet to keep track of your spending
Weekly spending tracker

5- Write down clear financial goals

You are creating a budget for a reason

That reason is not to make sure your income covers your expenses

It is to save for retirement and invest the money you save

That's why I encourage everyone to write their financial goals

You can buy this financial goals roadmap with a bundle of all what you would need for managing your budget from my download page

Financial Goals Roadmap
writing down your financial goals

6- Make a room for entertainment

Living within a budget doesn't mean cutting all fun from your life

You have to consider a room for entertainment like dinning out and going to theater

Also local travel is good use of the money allocated for entertainment

Be flexible and make extra room in summer for fun

7- Skipping seasonal expenses and tax income

Don't do the mistake of missing seasonal expenses and never plan for it

That's why I created a sheet with prerecorded expenses in my budget bundle

seasonal expenses sheet

8- Estimate monthly expenses accurately

Part of your success on how to start living on a budget is to estimate the monthly expenses accurately

How? to estimate your expenses you have to collect 3 to 6 months of existing credit card statements and debit transactions

If you are using cash then your best option is to get all of your receipts

Look at your spending then sum all of your expenses for specific item then divide them by the number of months

For example if you sum all groceries totals for the last 6 months

$485 + $535 + $405 + $565 + $505 + $360 = $2855 / 6 ~ $475

You can use $475 as your grocery budget


Michael launched Wealth of Geeks to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.