This could be the worst hashtag in the world. This could also be the best hashtag in the world.
I’m all for getting the most out of life and trying to squeeze in adventure whenever possible. I’m also aware of how dreadful it can be to log in to social media when you’re having a rough day to see how much fun others are having. You don’t want to feel guilty about not having enough money for lunch while your friends are in Ibiza day drinking.
How do you live your best life when you’re always feeling broke?
So what does it even mean to live your best life? How do you know when you’re doing this?
The funniest definition that I could find was on the Urban Dictionary:
“No one really knows, since ‘best life’ is such a broad term. Generally used when having fun or relaxing. Makes depressed people cry because they are also living their best life and it sucks.”
I’ve been there. FOMO hits me hard constantly despite being aware of this damn curse. I remember posting pictures from Australia about how much fun I was having. I was living my best life. Then I saw my buddies back home also having a good time. What gives? How could they be living their best lives without me around? Could we all be living our best lives at the same time? Is such a thing even possible?
How can you live your best life (whatever that means!) when you’re always feeling broke?
Step 1: Figure out what this even means!
I honestly don’t know what it means to live your best life. I’m always feeling anxious about all of the things that I’m not doing.
We have to figure out what living a best life even means to us.
I do know that your fulfilment in life doesn’t have to come from the perfect picture after 18 attempts. You don’t need to capture yourself doing a back flip off your friend’s cottage deck to feel like you’re truly enjoying your summer. You can just, you know, sit on the deck and enjoy conversation.
I’m as guilty as anyone of this. I live for the perfect portrait mode image at the right time. I’m all for social media promotion. So I have to work on this as much as anyone.
What does your best life look like? What do you actually care about?
Here’s what to think about:
- Think about what you actually want to do.
- Where do you want to be in life?
- What are your financial goals?
- What’s next for you?
We all have unique financial goals. One person might be excited about the idea of eventually becoming self-employed while someone else just wants to make an extra $10k to move out.
Figure out what you actually want. If you want to travel more, then make it happen. If you don’t care about travel, but want to squeeze in more date nights, then go for it. It’s your life.
I personally want to be able to travel, train and go out for food once in a while. I don’t care about much else. I’ll never have the most expensive pair of shoes. I’ll never have the nicest car either.
Step 2: Never spend money that you don’t have.
No, that trip isn’t an investment. No, that wardrobe is not an investment either.
Stop spending money that you don’t have. It’s tempting to load up your credit card as you chase your best life. If there’s one thing that you try to do for the rest of your life, this is it. Don’t spend money before you have it. Don’t spend money that you don’t have.
Spending money that you don’t have will lead to debt (of course) and a life of a misery. You’re going to be stuck at a job that you hate because you’re forced to pay back all of this money that you owe. If you’re in massive debt then your best life will involve picking up extra shifts.
This leads to the next point…
Step 3: Pay attention to the numbers.
I spoke with a friend who’s more popular than ever on social media. Unfortunately, this means absolutely nothing in his situation. He’s gotten into $12,000 worth of credit card debt. He got so distracted with chasing shiny objects that he totally forgot about the personal finance basics. It’s easy to forget about the boring stuff (saving up for big purchases, putting money aside, and tracking your spending).
Now he owes more money than ever before.
This is what happens when you ignore the numbers. It’s easy to get caught up in your own hype.
How do you pay attention to the numbers?
- Look at your fixed expenses. How much is you rent? How much are you spending on insurance and your cell phone plan?
- Check out your variable expenses. How’s your daily spending?
- Focus on your income. Are you making enough money?
It’s easy to get caught up in spending money to get the most out of life. I’m all for enjoying yourself. I just don’t want you to be broke or in debt because you tried to live an unrealistic lifestyle.
The harsh reality is that nobody knows what the perfect balance is between saving money and enjoying life.
If you spend all of your money on having fun, you’re eventually going to realize that you’re broke and in terrible financial shape. If you spend all of your time on trying to work more to save more, the world could pass you by.
I’ve seen extreme examples in both cases.
I have a friend who has always worked multiple jobs to try to get ahead. He gives up all of his time to working different jobs to save more money. I respect the hustle. It just sucks to see life pass this guy by.
On the other hand, I have a friend who doesn’t care much about work. He works enough shifts to get by. He’s at every party and manages to go on multiple trips per year. He has nothing in savings and won’t be moving out anytime soon.
It’s impossible to know how to truly find the right balance to live your best life. I do know that you can’t ignore the numbers in your bank account.
Step 4: Find affordable ways to sneak in some fun.
Here’s the thing: you don’t have to go broke financing an unrealistic lifestyle to feel like you’re having fun.
What can you do instead?
- Go explore a new park.
- Try hiking.
- Approach an attractive stranger at the coffee shop.
- Do exciting stuff.
- Save up for the things that you do.
- Attend concerts, comedy clubs, and local sporting events.
- Be silly with your friends.
- Take dance lessons or try to learn something new.
You don’t have to blow your entire checking account to try to look rich. You can find simple ways to entertain yourself that won’t force you to go into debt.
Step 5: Make as much money as you can.
The main thing holding you back from living your best life (or just not feeling stressed about being broke) is that you’re not making enough money. The goal should always be to increase your income. No, you don’t need to start an online business nor do you need to create eBooks. You should make it a point to increase your income so that you can save more and reach your financial goals faster.
How can you make more money?
- Drive for Uber.
- Start a blog as a side hustle.
- Invest in passive income investments.
- Use social media to make more money.
- Get paid to be a writer.
I’ll always encourage you to make more money because I want you to have more options. With more options, you can do more and not be as stressed out about your bank account 24/7.
That’s how you can attempt to live your best life despite always feeling broke.
You never know what someone else did to earn their fun. You can’t be jealous of a friend who’s financing an unrealistic lifestyle with credit cards. You also can’t feel too bad if you’re buddy who worked an extra job on the weekends is now able to travel more. You’re in control of your finances and your decisions. Try to make decisions that your future self will be proud of.