Why is it so challenging to afford a comfortable living? While everyone has a different idea of the ideal lifestyle, living it costs a lot more than it used to. Believe it or not, the average annual salary required to live a decent life in the United States is well over $60,000. That requirement increases if you have a spouse, children, or other dependents. Unfortunately, most people don’t earn enough to keep up with living expenses.
So, what do you do when your living expenses are higher than your salary? Ultimately, you must learn how to live within your means. Below are some suggestions on how to make affording the cost of living more manageable.
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While moving comes with its own expenses, it may be worth the investment. The living wage and cost of living vary by state. While some states are expensive to live in, others have affordable options that are more accommodating to your budget. For instance, moving from New York City to Salt Lake City could reduce your living expenses, making it easier to afford the lifestyle you desire.
If you’ve tried traditional methods to save on household and everyday expenses with little to no results, perhaps you should consider downsizing. Although it sounds like something negative, it can benefit your physical, emotional, and financial well-being. When you relocate to a more affordable residence, you free up your income to invest in things you truly want.
Let’s say you brought a 4-bedroom house to raise your children. However, they’ve grown up and moved out. Downsizing to a smaller residence for you and your spouse will make living more comfortable and affordable.
Not everyone can afford a mortgage or rent and still cover their other financial obligations. If that’s the case, moving into a communal living space could resolve your problem. Communal living is an arrangement in which residents share living spaces and amenities.
While you’ll likely have your own room, you and the other tenants will share the kitchen, bathroom, living room, and other spaces within the property. The best part is that you’ll also split the costs of living. Communal living may not be ideal for families but can be the perfect fit for a college student or young adult.
Rent Out Your House
If you’re the proud owner of a multi-family dwelling or have an isolated area like a basement or garage that can be transformed into an apartment, renting your house could help you afford living expenses. Once the space is up-to-code, you can advertise the area to potential renters and receive several hundred or thousand dollars every month.
You can use this money to pay for other expenses like the mortgage, homeowner’s insurance, utilities, maintenance, or repairs. Then, your income can go towards groceries, extracurricular activities, and future achievements (i.e., college or retirement). Of course, if you select this option, be sure to do your homework on applicants to ensure you’re renting your living space to someone safe and financially responsible.
Move-In With Loved Ones
While living with your parents or relatives seems inappropriate for older adults, it’s becoming an increasingly popular option. When you share a living space, you split the financial load, making your lifestyle more comfortable. If the property is large enough, you can complete renovations to turn it into your own sanctuary for peace and privacy. However, you’re close enough to the ones you love most, which is always a plus.
How can you expect to live a fulfilling life when you can barely afford to keep a roof over your head? While getting a better job, second career, or side hustle, can help you bring in more money, it also takes away the time you have to enjoy your life. Sometimes, the most effective way to afford a better quality of life is to consider living arrangements like those listed above. Each option dramatically reduces your living expenses, which gives you the money you need to live comfortably.