Join me for a new series called “Conversations & Coffee” where I answer a view or reader question and dive a little deeper into a topic. Today I share my story along with Budgeting Tips for a Simple Life.
Enjoy The Video Version
Over the last year, I have been asked the question of how I budget to live a slower-paced lifestyle and have so much free time. I think people often see my YouTube videos and equate that to not having an actual job and just being home all of the time.
Though I am home most days, I do work. I run two businesses out of my home. One as a content creator and the other as a real estate agent. Simplifying life doesn’t necessarily mean you will work less or need to cut back on work. This lifestyle is truly about appreciating the small joys of each day and living at a slower pace.
Although truly slowing down and embracing a slower-paced lifestyle will at times lead to living a more frugal lifestyle. This is simply because you are doing less not necessarily working less. However, I can say that for me one of my major goals in all of this was to be more of a “stay-at-home” mom. Rather than a working mom. As you may have realized by now that for me, taking care of my home and my daughter is what brings me real joy.
What I feel I was called to do. Cutting back on work was something that did need to happen for me to live in such a way. A way that I could make that my top priority every day. Many readers might not realize that I am a single mom (you can learn more about my personal story in the video if you are interested) and the idea of living like I am a “stay-at-home” mom as a single mom might sound incredibly nonsensical.
Finding a Way
Well for me that meant I would need to budget our funds. To create a means of income that would allow me to decide when I work. And even more important, how much I would work. Something easier said than done. But whatever your goals are. Whether that is to have more free time for your family or be able to slow down the pace of your life. Having a budget and getting our finances under control can be a big help toward any goal we might have. Especially when it comes to creating a simpler lifestyle.
Write down ALL of your expenses. Everything. Include yearly memberships, insurance for the year, and even your Netflix bill. Absolutely everything. If you are getting your nails done every other week. Make sure to include that as that is a bill when done regularly. Now add it up and on the paper include your income to see how much leftover you have each month. From here draw a line down the center of the paper.
Then write what is absolutely necessary and fixed amounts that need to be paid each month. Rent, mortgage, car payment, and cell phone bill. Write another list of things that fluctuate and lastly a list of wants that you are paying for. I speak of wants in this because we often tell ourselves that we need certain things that are not actual needs. Thereby justifying their expense.
Taking a hard look at our spending habits is not an easy thing to do and often it can be ugly. But it is necessary if we want to get better at using our funds. And definitely necessary if you have goals you are trying to reach. Like simplifying your lifestyle.
This can mean working less, getting rid of a side job, or being able to spend more time with our kids. Whatever the reason is for wanting to budget for a simple life, it does take intentionality. It starts with becoming aware of our spending habits and knowing how much money we need every month to live.
A great resource for digging even deeper is Dave Ramsey. I began watching his YouTube videos and after the first few, I found myself questioning every single purchase I ever made. That may sound like a bad thing but honestly, it snapped into shape pretty quickly.
My second tip is to look at those larger fixed bills. Like your car payment, auto insurance for the year, and rent or mortgage payments. I know logistically not everyone is in a position to move. Yet, in my own experience, it had a big impact on my monthly overall expenses. I moved my daughter and myself an hour away from our first home.
Which led to being able to purchase a home for half the cost of what the homes were going for in that area. You would be amazed at the changes in the location due to the housing prices. But even if you are not in the position to sell or find another rental for a lower monthly house bill. You can trade in your vehicle for a more economical choice. Shop around for more affordable auto insurance or homeowners insurance.
Redefine what entertainment means to you. In this day in age, we are consistently eating out whether that be fast food, on-the-go coffees, or doing the whole sit-down restaurant scene. This often comes in the form of entertainment. Step back into time if you will and recall the days of your childhood.
Now this varies with all of our ages. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if your parents weren’t taking you out to eat several times a week. Or buying you snacks through a drive-through instead of making one at home. I would bet that you weren’t constantly being entertained.
Taken out for outings and whisked away for vacations whenever the mood would strike. I am sure there were many ordinary days. Days spent entertaining yourself while mom washed the laundry. And worked to keep the home going however that looked to your family.
We need to remember this as parents and we need to remember this as adults functioning in this world. We can get caught up in the outings and neglect the true comforts of home. Find it a mess that we simply can’t enjoy. Because we haven’t taken the time to cultivate an environment worth being in.
Around The Table
In my videos and on this blog, I try my best to share ways and reasons to create an environment around daily meals.
Dressing up the table, lighting a candle, making a theme-style meal, or playing soft music. These are all things that can add to a beautiful ambiance in your home during mealtime. There is no reason why meals have to be boring or can’t be made special at home. It is the effort we put into these things that will create a difference.
Setting a table outside with a crisp white tablecloth, soft guitar music, and some seafood; sets a tone for an ocean-side meal done in your backyard. It might seem to be a bit extreme at first to take these extra steps. But I promise you when you decide to change your perspective on this.
To start making your everyday meals into an experience. Which certainly doesn’t have to be done to this extent each day. But on those special days when you feel like a meal out but are looking to save money.
You will find yourself enjoying and creating memories around your table at home. You will see that hosting a brunch for friends can be made even more special. And at the same time affordable by hosting it in your home.
Other Budget Friendly Ideas
- Aside from meals, you can make movie nights in the backyard or create a movie atmosphere in the living room. Just by turning off all the lights and pouring snacks into small bowls for everyone to enjoy. Play games around the table.
- Grab library books from the local library for the whole family. Have a small garden to tend to as a way to relax and escape. Invite friends over for a cocktail hour. If you have children, backyard camping or star gazing on a weekend can be quite fun. I love doing picnics in our backyard along with afternoon teas.
- Learn a new skill like sewing or making handmade items for your home. The point of all of these suggestions is to be creative. This will allow you to make those beautiful memories we all enjoy while sticking to a budget.
I hope you find value in these budgeting tips and that they help you in your quest to lead a more simplified life. I know it can be overwhelming to begin this process but the key is to keep reminding yourself of the life you wish to create through it.
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