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5 Tips For Living Like Royalty on a Tight Budget

5 Tips For Living Like Royalty on a Tight Budget

“Cash rules everything around me, cream get the money, dollar dollar bills ya’ll”, are famous lyrics rapped by none other than the infamous hip hop group the Wu-Tang Clan. Albeit, not overly eloquent in its execution, the sentiment is undeniably true. Pretty much every step in our life is governed by our monetary circumstances, meaning that balancing the books is a fine art.

So, if you’re not one of the lucky few who was born into an oil baron’s family or you didn’t invent a social media page that went bonkers, you’re probably apart of huge crop of individuals experiencing the challenge of getting on top of payments and struggling to save.

When looking at the old bank account, the knot in your throat might be suggesting a visit to a public library or prompt you to Google, “free things to do in my city this weekend” as a few tears pour out, (but only a few, the lack of sustenance you can afford will only produce so much!) Don’t fear, unless you live in Mogadishu or Kabul, there are plenty of ways to live like the Wolf of Wall Street and still fulfil your cash money goals.

So, where to? It all starts with budget and planning. Yes, the old ‘budgeting’, approach. No doubt we’ve all heard this method a hundred times from parents or that annoying accounting student we all know. It’s constantly mentioned for a reason; it works. It doesn’t matter if you’re earning mega benjamins or only a few, you have to look at what is coming in versus what is going out.

This helps you work out where you money is going and can then help you develop a strategy to start racking up pennies. Once you got a budget, you can then plan expenses by planning your life. You can plan a week of meals, transport, social hangs, whatever, meaning there will be no surprise costs that strike up like a jack in the box leading you to sing for extra coins at the train station.

We all have essentials and desirables. One obviously takes a bigger priority for quality of living, but here a few tips to merge those wants into your everyday hustle.

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1. Eats

Food on a table

    We all gotta eat. For your everyday life though, buy in bulk. With your grocery expenses buy for most meals of the week. Leave a few meals spare for eating out with mates and/or romantic mates. Yes, I feel ya, you’re probably thinking,”Eating out?! Isn’t that the worst? So expensive”. You’re not wrong, however don’t worry, I got you. As long as you’re not dining out everyday, there are plenty of ways to eat out on a budget.

    First move, get on social media, no not to perve on hot people or watch funny cat videos, get on there and follow any local restaurants, bistros, diners, bars, if it serves food, follow it. Food businesses and eateries are always posting deals, ranging from 2 for 1’s, discount hours, special offers, events, it’s how they market and build customers, why not take advantage?

    For budgeting purposes you can save bulk dimes and still enjoy the luxury of someone else cooking you up a feast.

    2. Stay Fashion Relevant

    A woman in various outfits showcasing fashion

      You might remember that moment at school when you’re sported new sneakers or mad clothes and the whole class was like “Damnnnn!!!!”. Contrarily, you also might remember that moment where you got picked on for wearing daggy threads or looking like a Kmart mannequin. Fearing that the latter may come again due to budget constraints? Stay calm, a world of affordable and trending fashion is out there.

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      Companies like Asos, H&M, Zara, the Iconic, present magic and freaking awesome options for styling up a storm. Forget about the last catalogue of Abercrombie and Fitch and Ralph Lauren, you can pick up quality plain tops, sweaters, shirts, pants, jackets, shoes for anywhere between $10 to $40 and look fit for anything from a fashion show to an ivy league party.

      The rise of the hipster and serious gentrification has meant picking up second hand apparel is also a cheap and stylish option. Fortunately, op shops are everywhere so get rummaging. The world of fashion is no longer all about labels, it’s about style and there a plenty of sources available to maintain yours on a budget.

      3. Date Nights

      Wine and Candles

        Candlelight: the perfect real-life Instagram filter.

        You don’t have to hire Hitch to spark romance or maintain it. Staying in with your significant or attractive other provides great ways to inspire love, cuddles, romance and even savings on the finance scene. Ever heard of “Netflix and Chill?” Yes, while the term has its dubious associations, it is a darn impressive service full of great, versatile content for just over $10 a month. There’s something for everyone and every mood.

        Cosy up on the couch and watch classics or discover new favourites. Don’t hesitate to follow your local cinema on social media if you prefer a bigger screen, just like restaurants, they’ll be promoting hot deals too. Or, If you happen to be a Masterchef, cooking in at home can serve up a dish of good times and speaks for itself when saving cash.

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        If you’re going to, make something edgy like burritos, arancini balls, something that is fun. Pair this with a bottle of wine or drink of preference, light a few cheap candles, dim the lights and voila, you’re on your way to recreating a scene from The Notebook. To throwback a few paragraphs, pair your date/s with a local dinner deal, even better!

        4. Bulk Gains, For Less Cash

        A woman stretching on the beach

          Provided you’re not living under a rock or militantly disbelieve basic science, exercise is pretty important when it comes to your health. Luckily, we live in a time of #fitspiration. In a nutshell, you don’t have to fork out bags of cash to stay fit and healthy, nor have you ever had to. There are plenty of cheap, small 24 hour gyms that offer more than enough for your everyday sweat and shred production.

          If budget doesn’t permit, your heartbeat can still be increased by more than just your financial anxieties. The internet is a great place to resource intel on exercise. Take notes, then hit your local park or lounge room floor and get sweating. Remember that push-ups, sit-ups, squats, running are all free and still widely used in military and professional sporting team programs. Last I checked, those guys are pretty cut.

          If you’re chasing zen, check your local council or shire as many throw free Yoga and Tai Chi classes. For more #healthyliving tips on the cheap, follow fitness fanatics or athletes on social media outlets to get even more daily workout and exercise tips. Do you even lift? No excuses.

          5. Grind and Hustle

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          A woman walking 4 dogs

            “I need a dollar, dollar, dollar man what I need,” Aloe Blacc isn’t wrong. Having an actual income when assessing finances and budget is a pretty good start, (obviously). But if you’re unlucky enough to be working hard for less, or just need more capital on top of your paycheck, the world is your oyster to make a few extra scraps.

            With a global service like Uber, you can drive up the figures displayed in your bank account. All you need is a car that meets the required specs imposed by Uber, and then let the extra cash floodgates open. If you’re not riding dirty in the vehicle game, there are plenty of creative alternatives.

            For example, roll deep with a couple of canines providing your own dog walking business. Not only does it give you great company, it’s also a method to integrate fitness while earning dosh. If you’re one of those weird people allergic or just don’t happen to like pooches, look to jobs posted on things like Gumtree or Craigslist. House-sitting, cleaning or even selling some of your possessions are easy and generally stress free ways to generate remuneration.

            Failing these options, pick up a part-time job at a bar or restaurant, a fantastic place to earn wages, get cash tips, and socialise. Eat, sleep, earn, repeat

            Alright, we may have overstepped the mark when saying live like royalty. Unfortunately that privilege is only destined for a select crop of lucky individuals. So if you’re eating rice in the dark in your apartment, with bills coming in while seeing your friends tagged in photos out and about, turn that frown upside down.

            There are countless methods to live a stimulating and adventurous life on a budget. Need help budgeting? Why not seek out a professional wealth advisor, the pay-off from an investment like this could be the ticket you need to your financial success. At the end of the day, it’s your life, your money, your budget, your goals, treat yourself where you can and know full well the world offers more than just paying the man.

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            Last Updated on June 6, 2019

            The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

            The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

            Are you on track for retirement?

            If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

            Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

            But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

            If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

            What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

            Saving for retirement is tricky.

            Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

            Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

            Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

            Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

            20’s – $16,000

            During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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            Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

            30’s – $45,000

            At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

            Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

            40’s – $63,000

            This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

            50’s – $115,000

            During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

            60’s – $172,000

            By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

            Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

            The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

            Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

            First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

            Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

            Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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            How to Save Money Each Month

            By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

            But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

            Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

            Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

            Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

            Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

            Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

            To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

            How?

            By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

            Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

            If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

            Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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            Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

            Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

            When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

            Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

            Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

            If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

            Why?

            You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

            Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

            Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

            Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

            After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

            You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

            By starting a side-business.

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            This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

            The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

            So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

            Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

            Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

            What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

            My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

            Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

            For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

            If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

            Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

            Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

            Reference

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