How to Balance Living Needs with Investment Strategies
You know the scenario. You get a raise. You are elated. The amount is not huge, but it is substantial enough that with the first paycheck you can envision the benefits of more money — a special dinner out, perhaps a couple of new books that you’ve been wanting to read, a manicure, and maybe even a new pair of shoes.
It will be so much easier to live comfortably without having to worry about budgeting every penny.
Unfortunately, reality sets in at some point; maybe not with that first larger paycheck, but before long you find that the raise does not go as far as you thought it would. You still count the days until the next payday and live in fear of the major bill that you know will come when you have to buy new tires, or pay the dentist, or make another payment on that long weekend resort trip you took “just for the fun of it.”
The “B” Word
It’s time to get serious about budgeting. Living within your means is possible, desirable and can even be fun. Living within your means means making provision for savings, entertainment, whims and emergencies as well as necessities.
That may be the hardest lesson to learn.
Laura Shin writes about the 50-30-20 rule on learnvest.com, and talks about:
Lifestyle Choices She makes it sound easy and provides details that make the concept applicable to differing individual circumstances. It is a sensible, common sense approach to budgeting, and should be required reading for anyone struggling with allocation of income issues.
Keeping Expenses in Line
There is no magic formula for setting limits on spending, just as wishing for a better job never makes it so. Hard work gains results, in the job market and on the home front. We all should have learned, as children, the value of waiting for rewards. However, for many of us, no matter what our chronological age, the concept of instant gratification is awfully hard to resist.
One thing you might cultivate to save money is your sense of creativity. A well-developed spirit of adventure is also an asset; and a determination to find free events, healthy activities and congenial friends who enjoy similar lifestyles. Plan a picnic in the park, a day at the library, or an afternoon mentoring children at a neighborhood recreational center. If all else fails, clean your house and then settle in with a bowl of popcorn to watch a movie on television.