Our Family Budget

How living life on a budget didn’t deter us

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piggy-bank-budgetNO ONE SAID LIFE WOULD BE EASY

 

If you truly knuckle down and want to succeed, living life on a budget doesn’t necessarily mean you have to miss out, be unfit and eat unhealthy.

It just means you have to adjust your brains wants and needs by thinking of alternative and creative ways to live the good life.

We’re going to go back to the basics.

 

Back to budget basics

 

The other days post took everything back to basics so I thought going back to the basics would be a theme for this post too.

I’ve always talked about how to budget, research ideas and products, pay for things with cash, avoid debt, invest your money and save for the future.
 
You’ve probably taken some things away with you and applied them to your life. Not all people can live on a budget for a long time, the problem is, they assume you have to go without and that’s boring.

You may not be able to do absolutely everything you want but you don’t have to live in a cardboard box either, just be prepared to combine all the budgeting techniques and financial tools you’ve learned and apply them on a regular basis.
 
Sure, we’d all like the best of everything, but that lifestyle is simply unsustainable on most people’s income. I certainly don’t think it helps these days when you get those glossy house and home magazines printing images of luxurious interiors in large houses and then promptly telling you they did it all on a budget. The problem is one persons monthly budget is probably going to be very different for the next person, due to income and spending habits.
 
After we purchased our house and moved in with a minimal amount of boxes and basically zero furniture, decorating and furnishing our house was a priority. We didn’t buy all the stuff at once, just trolled second-hand favourites like www.Kijiji.ca for pieces that were our taste.
 
Sure, we saw some real bad examples of furniture, chests of drawers that would make you cry and beds that would make you itch. We eventually outfitted our home with some very expensive items, with no damage on them and at minimal damage to the budget.
 
Those air brushed images of sleek-looking models that are completely flawless, no matter if they’re female or male. It would take a lot of gym time and careful dedication towards your diet to even come close.
 
Take time out of day for an hour and set a target for yourself. Exercising is free after all, it’s also beneficial to your general health and well-being.
 
You can find perfectly good home gym equipment for free or at ridiculously low prices online or sat on the front of someone’s lawn with a “FREE” notice attached to it.

Increased heart rate and burning of calories won’t instantly turn you into a super model but looking good helps you feel better personally.

Changing your thoughts change your life

 

What I’m getting at is you can still have a charming well decorated home and be healthy and fit even on a budget. In fact you can have most things in life just on a scaled down version.

Living life on a budget doesn’t mean you have to go without, it just means you have to prioritize what’s important to you and how you go about achieving those goals.

You, my audience, can see my budget on a regular basis and you can see where things went wrong for the month and where things were better than expected. I’m not perfect with the budget as even things I didn’t foresee can crop up from time to time.

Living life on budgeting constraints doesn’t mean you have to be plain cheap either. There’s a big difference between being cheap and being sensible with your money and spending it wisely.

Always research products or services before you had over the cash. Just because it’s the cheapest to buy doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be the cheapest in the long run. Is the product going to last as long as the medium quality? There is a saying that covers most products; “You get what you pay for“.

 

Learning the hard way

Don’t enter into contracts you may regret. There’s a couple of people close to where we live that get their driveways plowed during the winter months. They are not big drives and the people who live there are not old. Usually a snow removal contract is entered into for “x” amount of time in which you pay “x” amount per month.

The problem is, if it doesn’t snow enough to meet the minimum amount required they don’t plow your drive. Now your shoveling it yourself, which you could have done in the first place for free. But your actually paying someone else so you can shovel your own drive. Call me strange but that just seems a bit bonkers.
 
Maintaining items like my father and grandfather did seems to be a long lost art form which would explain the reason as to why I can find a perfectly good lawn mower for free at the end of someone’s property. I got the mower running by spending less than $15 but it will cost the person who got rid of it $350 to replace it.

Learn to do without, not everything in life is a need, so prioritize your wants and needs. For the longest time we had an old (CRT) Cathode Ray Tube TV that we picked up for free until I had saved up enough cash to purchase a large flat screen that I also got at a bargain price by combining price matching during Cyber Monday deals.
 
Think where you money is going, looking after your possessions and maintaining what you have is a key part of your budgeting life style. Paying someone else to come and do it for you is always the easy option. Why not take the time to learn and do it yourself?

A simple job like re-sealing the drive way (if it’s asphalt), you can do it yourself and save money compared to getting someone in to do it for you. Living on a budget means you find yourself doing a lot more jobs yourself even if you have to learn about it beforehand.
 
There are still plenty of things I have yet to encounter and learn from and being part of an online community with you gives me more insight into things I haven’t yet thought about or come across. Learning new things is an ongoing process, never give up learning.

Eating healthy cheap

 

Be proactive and creative by producing your own fruits and vegetables in whatever available space you have, even get the kids involved. I was always outside when I was a child getting covered in muck.

Don’t eat that TV dinner full of salt, sugars, fats and carbohydrates, take time out to eat healthy. I can remember a survey from years ago in the UK about how food affects kids behaviour.

The eventual findings were that kids who had a healthier diet were calmer and more studious as opposed to kids who ate hotdogs, sweets and pop. I’m not saying don’t treat the kids, just that you can all eat healthy even on a budget. You can even treat the kids to healthy snacks.

Start using natures flavours more like garlic, ginger, cumin etc. They’re far healthier for you than chemicals and preservatives. Not only can natural herbs and spices give you fantastic flavours, they also have health benefits.

Such spices include, turmeric which is good for joint health, garlic is supposedly good for the heart and thins out the blood. The rhubarb plant is high in Iron and is expensive to buy in the supermarket, however we grow it in our own garden.

What things do you currently do to stay on budget and what should you change to continue on your path of frugality?

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