You’ve heard time and time again: “It’s not about how much you make, but how you spend it.” While there is some truth to this statement, the sad reality is that there are scores of individuals out there who cut as much as they can each month, but still struggle to make ends meet.
To be honest, I don’t believe that living from check to check is a scenario we should accept. Instead, making moves, whether it be in your career or business, to escape this trap and build wealth is more feasible. But until you get there, you don’t have to settle for a life of mediocrity.
Here are some ways to truly experience life, even if money’s tight:
1. Dine In
Put your culinary talents to good use by dining at home. That way, you can stack up your hard-earned cash, otherwise spent on tips, booze and overpriced menu items. Once you’ve saved a hefty sum, you can really splurge at the fining dining establishment of your choice; alcohol and appetizer included.
(And you can even set the mood in the dining area to give it a luxurious ambiance).
2. Daily Deal Websites
While these websites can be financially fatal if you lack discipline, they also have the ability to be a godsend if used responsibly/wisely. Sites like LivingSocial and Groupon are chock full of deals on everything from entertainment and fine dining to cruises and all-inclusive vacation packages. A few years ago, my favorite local sandwich shop was offering a Groupon deal for half off any purchase. I definitely took advantage!
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3. Buy Second-hand
If I revealed how much money I’ve saved over the years by shopping on Craigslist, at consignment shops and garage sales, you probably wouldn’t believe me. In fact, I purchased a car several years ago that I found on Craigslist and it’s still in stellar condition. Best of all, I saved $3,000 off of the local dealer’s asking price.
Also, don’t forget about the steals you can find on clothing from local thrift stores.
4. Credit Card Rewards
Listen up: if you are terrible with credit cards, don’t even bother to keep reading/consider the advice I’m about to share. Now, that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m a big fan of credit card rewards programs. As long as the fees are low and the card is devoid of gotchas, you really can’t go wrong. My family and I have taken several all-expense paid trips, both nationally and internationally, thanks to credit card rewards. And I didn’t go into debt making it happen. Instead, I rapidly accrued points by charging routine monthly obligations and quickly paying them off/eradicating the balance by making frequent payments.
5. An Attitude of Gratitude
I could ramble on and on about ways to save, but instead I’ve chosen to point out a few simple suggestions and address the largest underlying issue that may be hindering you: ungratefulness. Even if your finances are in shambles, not appreciating what you have because you “deserve” more or continuing to believe you’ll never get unstuck will keep you right where you are.
A final thought: if you’ve gotten down on yourself or fallen into the trap of keep up with others, let me be the first to warn you that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. You never know what’s going on behind closed doors or what price those who appear to be well off are paying to keep up with their luxurious appearance.