There are lots of luxuries you can't afford when you're on a budget. We've become so used to instant gratification; saving up until you can afford something is almost frowned upon in this age of easy credit. But spending money you can't afford could leave you in serious financial difficulties, so it's very important to cut out the luxuries that your income won't allow. Here are some of the luxuries you can't afford on a budget …
1. The Latest Gadgets
One of the luxuries you can't afford when you're living on a budget are the latest gadgets. We don't actually need the latest smart phones, tablets and the myriad devices that suck up our cash. In fact, we don't really need them at all - but we've convinced ourselves that we can't manage without them. Well, not so long ago we managed just fine! If a device is important to you, buy only what you can comfortably afford.
2. Daily Lunches out
Buying a sandwich and a coffee might not seem like much money, but when you buy lunch every day the expenditure soon adds up. Unless your work has a subsidised cafeteria, it doesn't make economic sense to buy lunch out every day. Don't kid yourself that you don't have time to prepare lunch at home to take to work or college - it's really not that time-consuming to make a sandwich, is it?
3. Expensive Clothes
Total up what you've spent on clothes in the past year. Do you have expensive labels in your wardrobe? Are there things you haven't even worn yet, or bought just because it was in the sale? There's only really one way to get good labels on a budget, and that's to buy secondhand. The designer brands are still likely to be out of your reach.
4. School Trips
Not so long ago, school trips involved a weekend camping or a language exchange. They always had an educational value and were generally pretty cheap. Now your child's school may be organising expensive skiing trips and overseas vacations. Your child may well want to join in, but if the family budget doesn't permit, then they'll have to do without.
5. Attending Weddings Overseas
Another increasingly popular trend is for weddings in exotic destinations. This makes attending very expensive for guests. If you can't afford it, it's perfectly reasonable to decline the invitation. The same goes for bachelorette parties overseas.
6. Gifts for Everyone
Is your list of people to buy gifts for growing all the time? When you're on a budget, learn to cut that list down to the people who matter most. You just can't afford to buy for everyone you'd like to or feel that you should buy for. Buy for kids instead of adults, or impose a maximum amount for each person.
7. New Furniture
Have you just moved into your first apartment? Maybe you need new furniture? If you're left with a limited budget, you'll have to scale down your expectations. Most people have to manage with secondhand and inherited furniture until they can afford new ones.
Many of us are living on pretty low budgets. It would be nice if we could afford all the luxuries we want, but the fact is that this is impossible. Allow yourself little luxuries instead, such as an occasional coffee or a new book; this can give a lot of pleasure. What would your dream luxury item be?