Every now and then our budget shrinks, and we realize that it is impossible to maintain the same level of freedom and lifestyle we are used to without getting into some serious debt. If you have already realized that you are in danger, you’ve already taken the first step. Therefore, you will be able to do something about your budget and your financial future and avoid being pulled down by debt. Below you will find a few tips on how to maintain a comfortable budget even if your budget is much smaller than it used to be. No matter if you lost your job or have suffered an accident, you can make it work if you try.

How to Make the Most Out of Your Shoestring Budget

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Create a Short Term Budget

You should focus on the short term budget and keep your expenses low. In case you have been planning to get away on a vacation you might need to cancel your trip and work through the week instead, so you can maximize your earnings. Work out how much you can save and how much extra money you can earn. Alternatively, if you need a break anyway, you can opt for a staycation that will cost you much less and still give you the energy you need to go on. Work out your weekly spendings and try to cut the expenses that are not absolutely necessary.

Make a Financial Plan

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It is also important that you focus on the long term finances of your family. If you don’t have something to look forward to, it is hard to stick with a plan or budget. Imagine where you would like to be a couple of years from now and work out what you need to do today and tomorrow to get there. You might want to save up for a deposit so you can buy your first home, which will reduce your spending budget significantly, or go back to college and pay your fees.

Choose the Right Contracts

You will also have to look through your current contracts and bills to see if there’s a way to reduce them. If you are paying for electricity and gas on a prepayment card, you might be getting charged too much. Review and compare the different gas cards if you feel like you are paying too much for filling up your car for your daily journeys for work, and see if you can cut the cost of motoring. Get your cable TV and cell phone contract out and find out if you can get a better deal for your circumstances.

Cut Back on Going Out

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There are so many great alternatives to going out and spending hundreds of dollars on drinks and food every day. You can hold house parties instead and ask your friends to bring some items so you can share the cost. Instead of visiting paid attractions, try free parks and programs that will help you and your family spend some quality time together without having to splash out. You might even cancel your gym membership and take on jogging, which is free, or exercise in the park instead.

Learn DIY

In case you are a homeowner, you might already know that keeping on top of the jobs around the house can get expensive. If you would like to manage your money better in the future and still maintain the value of your home long term, you can get learning. Chances are that you will find a local college course that will give you basic knowledge on how to decorate, paint, hang wallpaper, or even tile a bathroom. If you don’t have to pay professionals for the labor, you can afford to live in a lovely home on a shoestring budget.

Choose Free Alternatives

There are always free alternatives, it only takes a bit of effort to find them. You can walk to work if you live close enough, or cycle. This will not only keep you fit, but also improve your mental health and help you deal with the financial troubles ahead. Instead of going to a local swimming pool, you can find a free beach where you and your kids can have some all-day fun. You might even get food from your neighbors and swap with strangers.

Giveaway Apps

In case you haven’t yet discovered the free giveaway apps it might be time to get started. You can pick up furniture, TV, and other items people simply don’t want to pay to get rid of. If you have a car, you can get some free items and upcycle them to decorate your room. In some cases, mothers will put their unused half box of baby milk or diapers on the app, so you can save money on things you would buy otherwise.

Improve Your Financial Literacy

If you are determined to manage your money better, it is important that you improve your financial literacy and learn the basics of accounts, budgeting, and different types of credit. This will not only help you stretch your money further, but also avoid some of the financial risks and credit traps that could jeopardize your financial future. If you know how much you would need to pay back on a loan, you are more likely to think through your decisions.

Learn to Cook

It is a good idea to learn how to cook, too, so you can not only get healthier but also save on your food shopping. Prepared and chilled food items are usually more expensive, and you can actually put a dinner together in less than half an hour, provided that you know the basics. You might even halve your food and grocery bills, so you can spend the money on debt consolidation and building your financial future.

In case you are feeling less than comfortable about your budget and would like to improve your lifestyle without getting into debt, it is important that you make a long term plan and stick to it. Learn the basics of budgeting and financial products, pick up new skills, and you will be ready to change your life.

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