Living on a budget can be one of the best life lessons you will experience. Whether you are on a strict budget due to financial struggles, or you simply have a budget that is in place to prevent problems doesn’t matter. There are amazing Things Living on a Budget Teaches You about your life, choices, and general living. Below I am going to share some of the things I have found most prominent in my time living on a budget.
10 Things Living on a Budget Teaches You
Before you dig into this list of things living on a budget can teach you, check out some of our other tips for budgeting. You can find our 52 Week Savings Challenge, Extreme Couponing 101, and Ways to Save Money on Groceries great places to begin your more frugal life journey.
1. Satisfaction with what you have
One of the first things I noticed when I began living on a budget was that I could be satisfied with what I already owned.
In today’s society, there is much competition for having the next best thing. Phones, TV’s, gaming systems, clothing, or even organic foods in your grocery cart can be a sign of your success or status. They can also be a sign of your lack of frugality or ability to manage your money. It all depends upon the person.
One thing I learned fast was that I can truly be happy with what I have and do not need those new things as often.
2. What are your Impulses?
When you find yourself on a strict budget, you will very quickly discover where you have impulse spending habits. Being tied to a strict limit of spending will help you see things you mindlessly splurge on throughout the month without considering the financial burden it creates.
Common examples are the coffee or candy purchases when at a gas station. Others are the times you lazily order takeout instead of getting up to prepare a meal. Your impulse spending habits become very clear very early in your budgeting journey.
3. Creativity in food choices
If you are living on a budget one of the first things you were targeting to save money is your grocery list. A prime example of this lesson learned comes from those who do “no spend” months or challenges.
If you challenge yourself to not buy anything new unless absolutely necessary, you will find unique choices showing up on your plate. This isn’t always the case when you are living on a budget, but is common in more extreme situations.
Check out our evaluation of the common grocery budget for a family of four to find out if you are in line for the normal budget.
4. Just Say No
Saying no is one of the biggest struggles we have as individuals. Moms struggle saying no to friends, family, and of course, children. As adults living on a budget, we often struggle to say no to unnecessary expenses. Especially when it brings us joy or comfort.
Living on a budget will teach you the value of saying no, and fast.
5. The value of your time
Time is money. This adage has been said millions of times before but is worth repeating. Your time is valuable, and when you are living on a budget that becomes all the more obvious. No matter how much time you are spending each day on doing things, you can find a way to do it faster or easier to save that effort. More time equates to a better option for preparing homemade meals to save money, or time to take on an odd job to add to your income sources.
6. Emergency Funds are So Imporant
When you are living on a budget, you will quickly learn that emergency situations can throw you off track and fast.
An emergency fund is a vital part of any budget, no matter how much income you currently have on hand. When something like a bad tire hits, that $100 repair can throw off everything if you don’t have a plan in place.
Check out How to Save $1000 for Your Emergency Fund Quickly for more tips and ways to get this in place.
7. How much income you truly need to survive in an emergency
Much like the last point, living on a budget can quickly teach you just how much money you need on hand to survive in an emergency situation. Those situations are things like illness or job loss where a regular income is not being made.
Learn how much you need, and start planning to save toward that goal. A year of income in savings is my personal goal, but just 2-3 months of income is a great starting place.
8. To be a better parent
One thing living on a budget teaches those with children is how to be a better parent. While schools teach our children many things, it is sadly lacking in money management education. This falls on parents and is something that we often forget to teach at home. You’ll learn to be a better parent as you take time to teach your children about how to manage money.
9. When generic or brand named items really matter
The bulk of the time I will reach for a generic product before I do brand name. However, when using coupons or in select instances, a brand name may be more beneficial. When living on a budget you will take time to figure out things like which is the better price per unit, or which lasts longer or tastes better. If you end up using twice as much soap to get something clean when you buy the generic, it often isn’t as good a deal in the long run.
One major part of living on a budget is learning to be more self-sufficient. You’ll find ways to cut back on expenses in your daily life. This may include making foods from scratch or changing the oil in your car at home instead of paying the local car dealership.
Self-sufficiency is vital to your financial health and is a great lesson learned for everyone regardless of your lifestyle.
What lesson have you learned living on a budget?
Make sure to drop a comment and let me know what lessons you have learned living on a budget