Change your perceptions, not your lifestyle

Wed, Apr 11, 2012

Budgeting, Financial Advice

The economic recession, resolved or not, is still playing havoc with the financial stability of most households. And unless you are one of the very lucky (and incredibly few) people that managed to escape the strain of tough economic times, you have probably been forced to come back in a number of ways. Depression, stress, and even suicide have increased as a result, as people become disillusioned with the lives that they think they have been forced to live. But there are a number of ways in which you can enrich your life, despite your depleted funds. Here are a few ideas for ways in which you can stretch your funds without sacrificing the life that you lead at the moment.

Home is where the heart is, remember?

Too many of us seek fulfilment outside of the home. While it is always important to get out every now and then, spending more time at home can be a blessing in disguise, and it is bound to save you a heap. Think about ways in which you could save – watching DVDs or films at home is a lot cheaper than going to the movies every weekend. Eating in will help you bond, and you can make big savings on fine dining. And take out is a lot worse for you, so you will be encouraging a more active and healthy eating plan.

Home is also the core of your family life, so instead of shipping your kids off to the mall, keeping them in may actually help you to rebuild your relationships. Again, more money saved.

Try something new

One of the biggest complaints that people have about having to cut back is that their leisure time is sacrificed. I cannot tell you how many people I have heard complaining that they cannot afford their annual shopping spree in London, or their weekend breaks to New York. Now, even if you are not in that kind of financial situation, you need to get away. But getting away, be it alone or with your family, doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Do some research and find out about holiday opportunities in your area. Camping in a nearby nature reserve is probably a more unusual and fulfilling experience anyway. Try to use your money creatively – visiting relatives instead of staying in a hotel could ease the financial burden more than you would think.

Keep the romance alive

One other area that people have cut drastically in is romance with their spouses. Dinners, events, weekend breaks and expensive gifts are always nice, and may indeed keep your relationship fresh. But now that you are trying to work more cleverly with your money, you will have to improvise. Remember the song you danced with at your wedding? Surprise her after work with a bouquet of flowers (pick them yourself) and a dance to that song. It will work, and your situation won’t seem so dire.

Victoria Heckstall writes about a variety of topics such as the top investment banks and BMO Nesbitt Burns.

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