How to Live Comfortably on a Small Income

Daniela Ramos

As incomes decline while prices rise, perhaps it is time we re-assess the meaning of living well. After all, the best things in life really are free but no one can deny that money does play a part when it comes to living a comfortable life (at least financially comfortable).

That said, though, you don’t need to be a millionaire to live a comfy life! We rounded up a few of our top tips to living comfortably regardless of the money in your bank account.

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Photo by Katie Harp/Unsplash

Create a Budget

A budget does not need to be restrictive; think of it as a map for your money. Maps give guidance from one location to another much the same way a budget sets financial goals to travel toward.

Write your annual income, occupation, and familial status at the top of a blank sheet of paper: for example, “single, artist, $15,000” or “married, two children, accountant, $40,000.” Make a list of necessities for you and your family: housing, electricity, gas, water, phone, internet, food, toiletries, and culture/entertainment with the monthly cost of each necessity listed beside its name. Study your list and take note of places you can save money.

Electricity bills are reduced easily by turning down the heat and air conditioning, keeping the lights off until it is necessary to have them on, and unplugging appliances that are not in use. Try hang-drying your laundry on a nice day and switching to energy saver bulbs.

Buying groceries and cooking your own meals saves hundreds of dollars every year. Stocking up on spices and sticking to the basics in the grocery store will prove rewarding in your kitchen and your wallet. Save water that has been used to boil vegetables or pasta, use this water to hydrate your plants or make a broth.

Throw a Party

Culture and entertainment are necessary for a full life. Throw a pot-luck party, asking friends to bring their special dish or a bottle of wine, low cost to you, and your friends. Create a participatory theme for your parties, such as old board games or poetry readings. Reciting sonnets over Candy Land can turn into a priceless moment.

Research free events in your area. Community centers, churches, schools, and parks often host free events during the fair-weather months of Spring, Summer, and Fall. Events could be dance classes, readings, music, sports, or theater, a variable smorgasbord of culture at your fingertips.

Seriously, there’s no reason why a social life should have a high cost!

Volunteer

Devote a set amount of time to your community each week. This will give you a renewed sense of purpose and help you build additional workplace skills. You may learn how to use a drill while repairing a house for an elderly widow or hone your teaching skills while tutoring a struggling child.

Schedule “me” days

Meditation doesn’t cost a dime. Finding a quiet moment during the day to breathe, smile quietly to yourself, and focus on your center is key to keeping a cool head in tough times. Investigate The Tao Te Ching and the Concept of Nothingness or indulge in some mood music.

Pampering yourself with a hot bath and a good book is the perfect Friday night. Try taking long walks, meeting new neighbors, or visiting a library – they’re a welcome respite to the bustling world with their quiet aisles, distinguished ambiance, and free access to books, films, and music.

Set aside one day a week for you. Your day is yours to do with what you please, to see the world only through your eyes.

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The journey has been full of highs and lows of all sorts – of grand adventures, heartbreak, self-discovery, screw ups, and lonely roads. I wouldn’t change any of it. While I’m no longer traveling full-time anymore and I am now based in the wonderland that is Mexico City, you’re more likely to find me in some far-off place than at home. I’m a firm believer in the law of attraction, and I hope my stories inspire you to take the leap and follow your dreams!

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