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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 September 2, 2020

            How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

            How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

            Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

            In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

            4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

            Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

            1. Be Clear About the Objectives

            Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

            It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

            Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

            2. Keep Goals Realistic

            It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

            It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

            3. Account for Inflation

            Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

            Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

            For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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            4. Short Term Vs Long Term

            Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

            As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

            By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

            How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

            Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

            • Ensuring healthy savings
            • Making smart investments

            You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

            Ensuring Healthy Savings

            Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

            This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

            1. Track Expenses

            The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

            Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

            If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

            2. Pay Yourself First

            Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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            Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

            The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

            Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

            3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

            Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

            Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

            At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

            Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

            You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

            4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

            In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

            Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

            • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
            • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
            • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

            The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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            5. Talk About It

            Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

            Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

            6. Maintain a Journal

            For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

            If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

            When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

            Making Smart Investments

            Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

            1. Consult a Financial Advisor

            Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

            Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

            2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

            Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

            Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

            As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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            3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

            Einstein once remarked about compounding:

            “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

            Use compound interest when setting financial goals

              Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

              Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

              4. Measure, Measure, Measure

              All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

              If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

              Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

              The Bottom Line

              Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

              and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

              More Tips on Financial Goals

              Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

              Reference

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