Have you fallen on hard times? Are the costs of living running away from the amount of your income? Have you even lost your job? Whatever the reason for having to make do on a tight budget, you can still live and look like a queen.
All that’s needed is a close look at expenses, a change of attitude and some inventive thinking. Even if you don’t have a tight budget at the moment, it’s always a good idea to be prepared, should this unfortunate situation ever arise. Pretend you have to be parsimonious for a few weeks and you’ll never be caught unawares.
Take a close look at the most expensive items. They are: gas, electricity and food. Prices are sky rocketing, so the first priority is to save on those.
It’s not necessary to take your car everywhere. Whatever is within walking distance should be walked to. Apart from saving substantial amounts of gas, consider this activity as a part of your exercise routine which not only benefits your wallet but also your health.
Next is electricity. The main culprit of expenditure is air conditioning. Just consider, how often AC is left on, when it’s not really necessary. AC is an acquired habit. To reduce the use of air condition takes a bit of re-thinking and change of attitude and habit, but it’s well worth while the effort.
Economise at cooking. Vegetables and pasta for instance can easily be boiled together in the same pot, as the cooking time is similar. The same applies to other items. Don’t use the dish washer for three plates and two glasses. Don’t let the TV run all day without anybody watching and switch off your lights when they are not needed.
When food shopping, watch out for bargains and use the coupons the supermarkets distribute so freely. Steer clear of pre-washed and pre-cut fruit and vegetables. They are substantially more expensive than the uncut variety. What’s the problem cutting and washing them yourself?
Have a close look at your wardrobe. Be imaginative and inventive. You will be surprised which glamorous combinations you can achieve with a bit of fashion sense. New buttons, a piece of costume jewellery and – hi presto – you have a new outfit without the need to spend money on clothes. Keep them clean, well pressed and tidy and you’ll look like a million dollars. Never underestimate the “glam factor” of a simple, snow white shirt.
If your finances are really tight, avoid window shopping. That’s a very dangerous activity if you have little money, because it can lead to a vicious circle. You see items you didn’t know you want, then realise you can’t afford them. Then you become depressed because you can’t afford them, which in turn might lead to buying them anyway to fight depression. The result are feelings of guilt and regret, not to mention the hole in your wallet. Why put yourself to such misery? Go for a run or a walk in the park or along the beach instead. It’s absolutely free, healthy and makes you feel good.
Consider your tight budget a challenge instead of a misfortune, juggle your clothes around, square your shoulders and you’ll look like a queen and nobody will ever notice, that you have to count the pennies.