Don’t have nearly as much money as you look? No one ever has to know! Here’s the secret to nailing affordable luxury when you’re flat broke.
It’s not as easy to stack up legitimate wealth as it once was. It used to be far more conceivable for people to work honest jobs and afford homes. Now, it’s not so easy.
Things are pricier now. There was a time when college was unnecessary to live a successful life, and it wouldn’t lead to crippling debt if you did want to go. The point being, it’s harder to find affordable luxury these days.
That does not mean, however, that we should lie down and let our lives be less than average. There are a lot of ways to find luxury on a budget, and this article is here to help you do so.
Finding Affordable Luxury
Because our dollar needs to stretch us further than it once did, we need to do a few things:
1. Be Honest With Yourself
It can be hard to grapple with the situation. Not having as much money as you’d like to can lead to a lot of frustrations and avoidant activities. You know that Instagram friend you have that boasts about their never-ending cash flow?
That person is avoiding the fact that they actually don’t have the life or cash that they want. If they so much money, why would they need to create that image on social media? It’s strange, but we often spend what little money we have in ways that make it seem like we have more.
Going out and drinking, buying random items, and spending excessively online are just a few of those activities. Fun is a necessary part of your budget, but it should not be the only thing you account for.
Here’s how you can be honest with yourself and your finances:
Analyze Your Spending
Bight the bullet and look at the messy, scary basement of your bank account. Whether you analyze it yourself, hire a financial planner, or use an application or website to do it, break down your spending into relevant categories and see how much you’re blowing on non-essentials.
Sometimes we just have to see the problem to acknowledge we have one.
Make a Budget, Stick to It
After you break down your spending, create a budget that you feel is realistic. Don’t be too ambitious and say that you’re going to spend only 10 dollars a month on alcohol or something.
If you spend 1,000 dollars on alcohol last month, you are not going to spend only 10 this month. Be honest with your approach and start small. If you make an unrealistic expectation of yourself, you won’t achieve it and you’ll get down on yourself.
When you make your budget, the first thing that should be on your mind is your debts. Make sure that you are working toward taking those down, there is nothing that will drag your finances down quicker.
Debts will hurt your credit, affect your future, and continue to get harder. There are installment loans for bad credit if you’re in need of a loan, but your options are certainly slim beyond that.
2. Plan Your Splurges
Have you ever met that person that works a normal job, doesn’t seem too ambitious or outstanding, but they go on several trips a year and drive a nice car?
Yea, that’s a person who knows how to handle their finances. The trick to affordable luxury is that you don’t need to have much money at all, you just need to manage it. You should plan to do everything you want, but make sure those plans are on a manageable timeframe.
Flesh out your plans and mark them on your calendar. Then, once you have the idea that you want to do something, make a very specific budget for that activity. You’ll know your limits this way.
Having things worth saving for will prompt you to actually save your money. That bag of french fries will cease to be the most important thing you could spend your money on.
3. Don’t Go Overboard When You Let Loose
Some of the luxurious things we do in life tend to involve alcohol. Either that, or we’re surrounded with friends who somehow have the money to take every tour, eat out every meal, and buy every ticket that they could ever expect us to pay them back for.
When it comes to those friends, it’s okay to put a foot down and say that you don’t want to do all of their expensive activities. If you do want to tag along, you just need to set limits for yourself and make it clear that you aren’t comfortable spending money that frequently.
As for those events that always end up costing more than we expect, that is a different story. That is a matter of preparing yourself for the mindset that you’ll be in towards the end of the night.
Most of us have taken out a little extra cash at the bar, only to regret it terribly the next day.
“That was supposed to pay rent,” you say. Well, that’s no fun.
Set barriers for your “party self.” Take out cash before you leave and just leave your card at home. Make plans for someone to pick you up at a reasonable hour so you can’t justify staying out and spending money all night.
These things will, over time, prevent you from taking out that final forty dollars, buying those gyro sandwiches and fries, and missing rent.
Hang On to What You Have
If there’s no reason to spend the money you have left over, throw it into savings! Either that or put it into a fund for activities that come up out of nowhere.
The point of this article is that affordable luxury comes from the development of sound financial habits. There are a million life-hacks and affordable ways to be fancy and look great, but the real trick to actually living well on a budget is to plan out your finances and discipline yourself.
When you do that, you’ll find that your decisions are a little more controlled, the times you do let loose are more fun, and you won’t be worried about scrounging money together like you used to.
As you start to embrace the affordable luxury lifestyle, you’ll find that the money you free up will be able to go toward general improvements in your life. Everything from home improvements to relationship changes will be affected by your spending habits.
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