How to Live a Life of Adventure Staying Within the Budget

Megan Walsh
San Jose State University
American Studies

May ’19 Financial Champion

It seems like everything these days costs money, and it can be challenging to budget an adventurous lifestyle! Things like traveling, eating out, going to festivals, or concerts can really add up.

I work two jobs and go to college, but I can still manage to afford a fun lifestyle. With the right amount of dedication, you can find your budget, analyze your priorities, and research your options to be able to carry out your plans!

My first step is to figure out where I stand financially and what my budget is. Figuring out your budget may seem daunting if you are opposed to math, but it is pretty easy!

Once a month, I calculate my monthly budget by determining my total income and subtract my total expenses for a month.

My income is my two paychecks from my jobs and money from any freelance work I may do on the side.

My costs are things I pay every month, like my rent, insurance, car payments, Netflix subscription, or tuition payments. My expenses also include my variable expenses or things that fluctuate per month in amount, like food, utilities, personal care, telephone bills, transportation, or private spending money.

The fluctuating amounts can be challenging to determine. Still, some banks may have a monthly spending analysis available for you online that can show you how much you have spent on different spending categories or if that’s not an option.

I make a list of everything that I buy and their cost in one month to find out a general amount I spend per month. Once I have my expenses figured out, I take my total income and subtract my total expenses, and I get my budget!

Knowing my budget will allow me to analyze what I have and what I need to do to reach my goals. That concert next week? This will let me know if it can happen or what I need to do to make it happen!

When my budget is calculated, I could now continue to my next step, which is analyzing where I am at and decide what my next steps need to be. If I get a negative value as my budget, then I need to re-evaluate what I am spending on, and maybe I can cut back on unimportant things. Perhaps I can cook at home instead of going out and save some cash!

Technology these days also offers a lot of opportunities to make some quick cash and get a side gig as well. Things like Uber, Rover, DogVacay, Postmates, Airbnb, ShiptShopper, or even Etsy are ways to make money on your own schedule! Asking around for side jobs can also work, but whatever you decide to do, be wary of scams!

If I am in the clear budget-wise, then I need to remember not to get ahead of myself and stay away from tempting wallet drainers! Limit your spending money! Stay away from things likes online shopping, and if you have cash, you can try to keep it somewhere you won’t touch it, like a savings plan or a piggy bank!

Now is the time you need to focus on planning out your expenses so then your extra money can go to savings for the future. Being aware of your budget and planning out your expenses is essential to leading an adventurous lifestyle.

Lastly, it takes a lot of research to live adventurously. Traveling is fun, but you still got to budget! If money is tight, then you have options out there!

Check for free events, concerts, and activities! Find coupons, promotions, or sales! Companies sometimes have apps or rewards programs that will get you free stuff or discounts just for signing up or paying a small fee.

Apps like Groupon can get you discounts on merchandise as well as different deals on activities. If you need a place to stay when traveling, you can stay at hotels, hostels, Airbnb, or crash at a friend’s house! Comparing prices online will help you score a deal.

If you don’t want to spend money on transportation when traveling, maybe consider going somewhere where you can walk to get around, or that has good public transportation. Whatever activities you want to do, there are smart ways to go about it that won’t break your wallet if you put a little effort into it!

If you begin with knowing where you stand, you can make your goals a reality. You don’t need to miss out on fun activities because of money. Taking advantage of how connected we are all becoming through technology can be beneficial to living on a budget.

Finding out your budget, adjusting to your needs, and researching options will help you be able to do a lot more with less.