Coping with a tight budget in sweet T&T for Sweet TnT Magazine, Culturama Publishing Company, for news in Trinidad, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, with positive how to photography.

Coping with a tight budget

Small changes can help you stick to your tight budget and allow you to have a comfortable lifestyle.

If you often say, “It’s like I got paid in front of a fan,” then you are in dire need of assistance to make changes to your life that would allow you to meet all your needs comfortably without feeling stressed out.

Many people believe that the solution to all their financial worries is to simply make more money. If so, then why do we constantly hear stories about people who have lots of money being unhappy despite having more than they need. We all imagine that we would be different if we were that fortunate. Do you really think so?

How other people do it

Maybe money is not the issue! Can you identify with people who make far less money than you do but have way more needs than you can imagine to have?

You probably know a single mother with five children working as a cleaner who goes to work every day, sends her children to school looking sharp, makes groceries, feeds her family, and still has a social life. What do you think she is doing right and you are doing wrong?

You may speculate and say she is probably earning money on the side. How about comparing her needs to what you consider yours to be?

Needs versus wants

If you make a list of all your NEEDS, the things that allow you to survive, and your WANTS, the things that you think you need but can live without, put a price next to them, and calculate the totals, what do you think would happen?

Would you see a drastic difference in the amount of money you spend on your needs in comparison to your wants? Would you get angry when you think you are being forced to let go of the things you love? Would you see this as an opportunity to fix your attitude towards spending money so that you would always be ahead of any financial situation you encounter?

Budget do’s and don’t’s

Change your attitude towards your WANTS and it will be your first step to seeing where your money goes. These are some WANTS that can be mistaken for your NEEDS:

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Popular brand name items

So what if you grew up using a particular toothpaste, powdered soap, dishwashing liquid, toilet paper, body wash, sardine, cereal, or ketchup? Your parents had their own budget to suit their incomes and you should try to make your own. You are not going to die if you use the less popular and cheaper brand.

Luxury items

Do you really need on your grocery list those pancakes, cereals, steaks, pastas, air fresheners, and separate detergents to clean your toilet, bathroom, floor, and yards? The single mom uses one bottle of disinfect to do it all!

Buying small amounts often

In order to see your money all month long you may think that it is necessary for you to hit the supermarket every week, but did you know that buying in bulk from a superstore or manufacturer can cut your spending severely?


After a hard week’s work you need to relax so you visit your favourite bar or club with friends. Without even realising it, you spend $300 in drinks, $100 in food, $100 in transportation, and $200 for entry to the club. Some people even do this every single day.

If you are guilty of spending lavishly when you are out having a good time and you find yourself struggling to pay bills every month, then you really need to rethink your lifestyle. This does not mean that you should become an “old maid” or a “pops”, it means that you can find more affordable ways to enjoy yourself with your friends.

One suggestion is to start hanging out at places with no cover charge and leave home only with the cash you intend to spend (leave the cards home) so your spending is limited by the amount of money you have on you. Assign yourself a budget for the night and stick to it.

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Future plans

You open all these savings and pension plans in order to live comfortably when you turn 65, but then you hear stories from older folks about their medical needs being far more than the money they collect, what do you do? Would you save a lot more from the little you have now to assist you in the future?

Add savings to your monthly budget

How about you fix yourself now so that your needs in the future will be covered by the smallest income you may be receiving. Two things, change your attitude towards your WANTS and take very good care of your health now so you would not be surprised with large medical bills in the future.

You do not have to drastically flip around your life. Small changes can help you stick to your tight budget and allow you to have a comfortable lifestyle.

February 2016 – Issue 20

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