Does the present state of the economy have you hoping for a better future? Have you considered how detrimental it would be to your lifestyle if you were to lose your job today? Is there anything left in your budget to cut back on or are you stretched so thin that you are not sure how you will buy groceries in the upcoming weeks? Are you hoping for better luck financially next year?
You don’t need a windfall or rich uncle to live a good life. In fact, I am a firm believer that in every situation, good and bad, lays a learning experience. Through my fair of struggles and less-than-satisfactory events, I can honestly say that I have a great amount of knowledge when it comes to financial matters. I may not be the best person to give you investment advice but I can tell you which supermarkets double coupons and what websites offer legitimate money making opportunities.
With that being said, happiness is a state of mind. You can enjoy all the luxuries in life without spending a fortune on them. The following list gives you examples of ways that you can benefit from a rich life without spending horrendous amounts of money to do so. With the rising costs of living forcing everyone to tighten their budgets in one way or another, it is a relief to know that the best things in life are free, or at least deeply discounted. Here’s a few ways that you can live high on the hog without being buried under mountains of debt:
- House Swap, Couch Surf, and Care Take. Are you dying to take a vacation but can’t afford to pay for accommodations? Why not give house swapping, couch surfing, or caretaking a try? In addition to saving an armload of money, you have the opportunity to stay in one location longer than a couple of days. Websites like HomeExchange.com, CouchSurfing.org, and Caretaker.org tell you how to successfully reduce the costs of lodging. Travel to virtually any destination in the world on a shoestring budget and reap the rewards of some much needed rest and relaxation.
- Take FREE Online Classes Through Open Courseware and Increase Your Knowledge. You don’t have to be enrolled in a college or university full-time to want to know more about the world around you. Open Courseware software affords ordinary people the luxury of attending some the finest classes in the world in the comfort of their own living room. Classes range from Aeronautics to Women’s Studies and require no upfront fees. Students receive all class materials online and can optionally purchase the textbooks listed on the syllabus. No credit is given but men and women around the globe can take satisfaction in knowing they completed courses at MIT, Harvard, and Notre Dame. And if you’re looking for courses to help you learn more about money, here are 20 free online financial courses.
- Try It Before You Buy It. This philosophy applies to virtually anything you can get your hands on. Test drive several vehicles before making a commitment to one dealership. Request product samples before buying make-up, office supplies, and grocery items. Fill out forms online and mail-in money back guarantees on items that don’t fit the bill. Offer to join a Street Team or write a review for a company in exchange for their products. Check out DailyFreebies.com for a helpful index of offers and member tips.
- Host a Clothing Swap and Get Yourself Some New Duds. Grab a group of your friends, family members, and neighbors and host a clothing swap one afternoon. Each person brings a pre-determined number of items to trade with others. Items can include but are not limited to: shirts, jackets, slacks, sweaters, jeans, t-shirts, dresses, hair accessories, purses, scarves, and jewelry. The same type of party can be held for just about any item you can think of. Got last year’s bestsellers lying around? Want something new to read or watch? Throw a Book and Movie Swap. Prefer to give away the toys that your children have outgrown to someone that you know and trust? Dust off the Power Wheels and Chutes and Ladders game and bring them along with your next neighborhood swap meet.
A little bit of creativity works wonders in combating the doldrums of budget living. No matter what your current financial situation may be, having a few tricks up your sleeve will help you enjoy a long, fulfilling life without incurring large amounts of debt.
Charissa Arsaoui is a freelance writer for ChickSpeak, Buzzine, DisFUNKshion Magazine, Student Stuff, and a guest contributor for Wisebread. She loves thrift related topics and can spot a bargain a mile away.
Charissa is into frugal living and saving money.