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Financial Wellness: Be Healthy and Happy on a Shoestring Budget

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Financial Wellness: You Can Be Healthy and Happy on a Shoestring Boggy/Fotolia

For many families, living with a tight budget isn't a lifestyle choice, it's a matter of necessity. Things that some people take for granted are very difficult for these families, who simply don't have the money to live the way everyone else does.

If you find yourself in this situation and need to stick to a tight budget, follow these tips:

1) Don't Try to Keep Up

If your attention is focused on keeping up with your neighbors, you'll have trouble being happy with what you've got and you'll constantly be at the end of your resources.

If you are going down this road, it will feel like that you never have enough. It is a dangerous way to live, when it comes to your finances.

You may always want what you don’t have, but it will be better for you to have some self-control in regards to how you are spending your money. If you can learn to live within your budget, you'll be much happier in the long run.

2) Cut Nonessential Expenses

Ask yourself this: do you really need that expensive cable package? More and more families are discovering that they can easily live life without paying a hundred dollars a month for television.

Check out Amazon Prime or Netflix to maximize your television watching experience. You might be surprised to realize just how little you watch that cable package.

If your finances are really tight, you might consider cutting out the Netflix and Amazon Prime accounts, too. In other words, do not be afraid to make some spending cuts, if it is needed. You can always bring these things back later when you can afford them again.

3) Coupon Regularly

When you take advantage of coupons, you're able to keep money in your pockets. Discounts and coupon codes for sears.com can help you save money on appliances, clothing and car parts.

4) Save for Major Purchases

Every time you use a credit card or go into debt in order to make a major purchase, you increase the price that you're paying for that item. Instead, save up for major purchases whenever possible.

This also gives you time to fully research all of your options and make sure you're making the best decision, given your available resources.

Avoid Expensive Waste

Do you really need that expensive coffee every morning? What about that gym membership that you use a couple of times a month at most?

If you're contributing money to things that you don't really need or even want, you're basically throwing money away. Instead, cut back on these expenses, and put the money toward something that you really need.

Track Your Spending

If you really want to save money on your family budget, the first thing you have to learn is where your money is actually going. If your actual expenses don't reflect your priorities, you're not managing your money efficiently.

Take a month and write down every purchase, no matter how small. At the end of the month, add it all up to discover where your money is really going — and what "minor expenses" have turned into major ones without your consent.

Maintaining a family on a shoestring budget can be a challenge, but with a little bit of effort, you can live a high-quality life with relatively low expense. Instead of letting your budget rule you, take your budget under control and choose to rule it, instead. You might be surprised by the things that you really don't miss.

Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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