How to budget when your cost of living is too high

Step 1: Create a budget plan. 

Most people who tell me that their cost of living is getting in the way of them accomplishing their goals don’t have a written budget… that’s actually working. 

You can’t control the cost of gas or groceries… but you can control your road map to success.

You can get anything you want. The challenge is knowing what you want. 

You MUST have clearly defined goals. Or else.. what are you making your budget for? 

If you don’t know how much money you have to support your goals… does it matter how expensive the things you buy are? No. Because if you don’t have a budget.. you don’t know if you can afford the shoes. The gas. The trip. The… fill in the blank.

You don’t know how much you’re willing to sacrifice from your Starbucks budget to move to that weekend getaway budget… because there’s no budget in place for either! 


You’re probably robbing Peter to pay Paul! 

(P.S Guess what? I don’t track my spending. I don’t have time for that! My system does NOT require you to save your receipts or go through your statements every month. Yes, you have to do this as part of your fact-finding… but after you’ve done it, you’re going to start putting your money where you want it to go… rather than investigating where it’s already gone… get my drift? Get started on a budget that works here.

Step 2: Make Changes.

This is the part that not many people like to hear. If your cost of living is too high, you have some choices to make. You can increase your income, decrease your expenses, or erase your goals.  

To make changes that are within your control, you first have to determine what you CAN control.

There is no magic wand you can wave to reduce the cost of gas…. You might be able to change how you transport yourself though. Maybe you can take the bus. Park in a cheaper place. Bike once a week.

You can’t change the cost of groceries. You can meal plan, though. You can choose to buy produce that is in season (and cheaper) rather than your favourite all the time. 

Surround yourself with people that are going to HELP you reduce your costs. Don’t hang out with people who are constantly wanting the next shiny thing… who only want to sit and chat on a fancy patio while buying drinks. You gotta get some accountability partners that are aligned with your goals! 

If your spending is not the problem, then perhaps you need to increase your income. Can you get a different job? Ask for a raise? Get benefits? |

Can you start a side hustle? Can you make money doing things that you’re already doing? (If you want some ideas for how to do this, check out my blog post here!

Can you erase something? 

Get rid of that subscription? Decide to stop that financial commitment? Say no to that 2nd cousin’s wedding? Make the powerful choice to stop putting pressure on yourself to save for that goal, just for a certain amount of time? 

We might need to get creative. Sometimes the amount of money that we have just doesn’t cover all the things we need and want. So have a real hard look at what you CAN change. At what you are willing to change. 

(P.S. – Change is hard. I get it! But you know what else is hard? Being broke. Feeling like you’re not in control of your life. Change is mandatory to life.
Can you imagine if our kids didn’t make changes? They have to learn to go to the potty. They have to learn to get themselves dressed. They have to learn how to do math. 

Don’t let your inner toddler come out and dictate your budget. Make the changes that you need to.)

That’s it.

Wait, what? 

Yes, that’s it! Were you expecting more steps? 
If you were expecting a 10 step system to resolve your high cost of living challenges, you are over-complicating things. 

It’s not complicated.


If your money is not working for you… you have to get a game plan down on paper and make some changes. 

You are the boss of your dollars.

YOU create a goal for them.
YOU create a system for them. 
YOU train them to do what you want. 
YOU monitor them and keep them on track. 

If you want to make a difference in your finances… stop giving up control and blaming the cost of living. Implement new strategies and figure out where you can make changes. 

If you need help to do that, get your name on the waitlist for the Pretty Money Club so that you can join the next intake of women who will go through the 8 week Pretty Money Course together in the summertime. 

Published by theprettymoneyblog

To all you women that are working too damn hard to feel like you’re just getting by paycheque to paycheque… To all you ladies that just don’t have the freaking time for financial jargon and complicated budget systems… ​To all you women struggling to feel in control of your money, ’cause you know you can rock it if you just had a simple map… I see you. I GET you. I'm a busy mom of two boys and a wife to my business partner. I love baseball, red wine, and our family trip to Mexico every year. After more than a decade as a licensed professional in the personal finance industry, I’ve figured out strategies that are simple, but have massive impact on your wallet. I’ve left out the jargon and fine print because I know you don't have time for that. The Pretty Money Club enrolls new members twice a year for the 8 week course that will turn your ugly budget into top model pretty money... and most of our members stay in the club after class is done to keep learning and stay in touch with all the women they built community with.

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