Treading The Bank/Life Balance: Living A Happy Existence When You Have No Money*

Do you feel you live a stressful life? If you do, you’re not alone; there are so many that feel the pinch now, and it’s not down to one defining factor. We could say that life is just stressful, but when we drill deeper into it, can tend to find there are a few common threads. Money is one of the major ones. It seems that with the rising costs of living, we can all struggle to keep afloat on occasion. As such, we start to borrow more in terms of loans or credit cards, and this means that we end up in a cycle of debt. But also, feeling that we have no money to buy the nice things in life is, frankly, depressing. We all like the idea of being financially comfortable, but in terms of living a good life, especially when you struggled to make ends meet, is this even feasible? Let’s provide you with a plan to live the good life when money is nowhere to be found.

Having An Eye For Bargains

For a lot of us, this can seem like a lot of work. We might have an aunt or uncle that is forever looking for bargains, and we can roll our eyes at them, but if they’re able to get good stuff at a discount, why don’t we learn from this? Sure, it can seem like a lot of work at the outset to find the right bargains, but this is why many websites make a killing because they can provide you with all the deals under the sun, ensuring that you are getting good bang for your buck. Whether it’s through hotel deals, or just standard supermarket coupons if you can find ways to save a decent chunk of money, why don’t you? The big problem that we all have is in going down this route; it’s almost like we admit that we are poor. A bargain seems to be something that’s only for people who really have financial troubles. But whether you struggle to make ends meet or not, it’s always worth having some semblance of common sense, and looking for bargains is one of the great ways to do this. But this is not the only thing…

Looking At Your Spending Habits

We’ve got to turn the spotlight on to ourselves if we want to live a better life. You can see stories online of numerous couples that have managed to get out of debt in the space of a year. And this seems like one of the most challenging things in the world, but let’s make no bones about it, it’s arduous. It shows that if you are to live a good life, you’ve got to make some sacrifices somewhere. It’s worth looking at your financial situation and seeing what you can do to get out of the hole. In terms of credit card debt, you can always go to the Citizens Advice Bureau and see what they can do for you, but also, think about formulating a plan to pay off your debt. 

There are plenty of practices out there to ensure that you are paying off your debt. The debt snowball method is a very commonly used approach, but it works. If you have a goal in mind, this will keep you going, but you have to ensure that your spending habits are appropriate. This can be all about looking at your bank balance and understanding how much money is going out in comparison to your income, and sometimes this is shock enough to do something about it.

Looking After Yourself

It seems that we need to have money to have a good time, but when we are feeling the stress that we need to scramble together as many pennies as possible, we’ve got to find some sort of practice, like self-care, so we are not feeling the repercussions of this further down the line. It can feel like we’re trapped under a cloud of debt. And if you think that this is what life will be like from now on, it’s time to change your perspective. There are plenty of ways to do this. Many friends, no doubt, have financial issues, and it’s worth finding like-minded people, either so you can ride it out together, but also get inspired by them. What did you do when you were a poor student? You found ways to entertain yourself without money!

You don’t need to go out and have dinner, go to the movies, and do all those expensive things that cost a lot at the end of the night. Instead, think about the people in your life that you can bring over for dinner, or have board game nights, and all the little things that may seem a little corny on the surface, but it’s the perfect way for you to save a lot of money and to have a good time. You need to blow off steam, especially under stressful situations, and you may feel that a financial blowout is something that can alleviate the stress, but before you know it, you’re back in the hole, and the whole cycle begins to repeat itself.

Think About Experiences Instead Of Worldly Possessions

Take inspiration from the nomads of the world, or look at the people who live a minimalist lifestyle, they have a handful of items, and that is it! If you’re someone who likes the idea of “stuff,” and you only feel you can survive if you have a certain amount of things, then this might be the turning point. Instead of thinking about the items you have, get rid of a lot of these and live on the things you can deem essential. You can see one hell of a difference in your bank balance, but also your whole attitude to life. If you like experiences, like going to restaurants, cooking at home or going to friends’ houses for a meal can help save you money. 

On the other hand, if you want your fill of culture, museums or bargain cinema tickets are all things that can help to create that feeling without the price tag. Once you start to look for experiences, rather than the items that signify them, you will realise how much better these things are. You need to look at the times in your life when you are happy, it might not be when you have “things,” but it could be when you are reading a good book, hiking up a mountain, or just being with the people you love. When you look at your budget and see how these quality moments seldom impacts your outgoings, begin to create a calendar around this.

When people try to get out of debt, they feel that they’ve worked so hard that they’ve learnt their lesson. Others, not so much. Some people automatically get back into debt, and it becomes a cycle that they struggle to break throughout their lives. If you want to live a good life, and you have no money, it’s a combination of factors. You can work at reducing your debt, but also change your perspective, in conjunction with looking after yourself, and just being a little bit savvy with your outgoings. These things, in total, will result in a more satisfying life. It’s a cliche, but you don’t need money to be happy. So, being comfortable is all well and good, but it’s far easier to become comfortable than it is to become rich. And when it comes to comfort, it’s not necessarily about earning a certain threshold either.

This post is a collaboration where money or goods were exchanged for it to be published, however, all opinions are my own.

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