11 Ways to Feel Rich (Even on a Budget)

11 ways to welcome luxury in your life without guilt

Agatha from The Wealth Tribe
8 min readSep 10, 2020

I have often told stories about poverty from childhood. That as a child I’d go for days without eating. My clothes were often hand-me-downs from strangers. In school, I would be sent out of class multiple times for always having fees arrears. My parents fought about money on a daily basis. I could go on…

It gets worse if you actually know that you’re poor, especially as a teenager and young woman. Most of your relaxation time automatically becomes worry time because, bills, food, debt…

Money is a concept — what gives money value is that it can buy an abundance of time, supplies, and space, and options. With this in mind, the feeling of richness doesn’t come from money itself, but from those things money can buy. This means you can feel “rich,” even on a tight budget, if you feel like you have those options. — Emma Schwarz

Fast forward to 2020, I’m a woman in my 20s. Still not wealthy, but definitely not poor. One of the things that I’m grateful for on a daily basis is that I no longer have to worry about food, toilet paper and good, clean underwear. Yes, never having a set of pretty and comfy underwear is one of those things that makes me never wish to be younger.

I’m also grateful that I’m at a financial stage in my life where I can meet small financial emergencies, I feel safer than I did as a child, and my financial habits and discipline give me a feeling of control over my future.

You don’t have to wait until you have millions in the account for you to start enjoying life’s joys and pleasures.

Some people actually have an exact amount in mind that they’re waiting for in order to feel rich.

I’ve heard people say ‘when I have an x amount of money in my bank account, I’ll start enjoying life.’ ‘When I’m a billionaire, I’ll be happy.’ I’m not pissing on your dreams but what if you never become a billionaire? What percentage of the world are billionaires? Less than 1%! And research has shown that “increase in income does not necessarily correlate with an increase of fulfilment and happiness.”

Feeling rich is about feeling like you’re in control of your time and your money. It’s about being in control of the uncertainty of life, for the most part anyway.

Feeling rich is about feeling like you’re in control of your time and your money. It’s about being in control of the uncertainty of life, for the most part anyway.

If you want to feel rich, work towards creating a life where you feel safe, secure, calm and contented.

How to feel rich even when you’re on a budget

1. Control your debt

One of the downsides of being an adult is having to graduate from college or university with student loan debt. It’s your introduction to adulthood.

The same system that makes sure you’re deep in debt way before you have a job, also makes sure not to give you financial literacy lessons.

Since it seems it’s almost impossible to escape the debt trap, to feel rich, you need to be in control of your debt.

I control my debt through including it in my budget. Every month, I make a payment towards my student loan debt and update my net worth spreadsheet by subtracting the amount paid. This makes me fear debt less because as opposed to ignoring it and letting it accumulate interest, I’m in charge of it.

Do the same with your debt. Come up with a plan. Make consistent payments. Figure out when you’ll finish paying the debt so that you can throw a party for yourself for being a responsible adult and beating the monster!

This approach makes you feel calm and collected which is what feeling rich is all about. No anxiety attacks, you got this!

“Hiding from your money problems exacerbates them, but it’s impossible to stop hiding without first overcoming shame. When you start talking about money, whether that’s your bad spending decisions or growing up in poverty, only then can you get rid of the shame surrounding it.” — Ashley C.Ford

2. Have financial accountability meetings

Date your money.

Yes, schedule monthly financial accountability meetings with yourself where you audit your finances, update your net worth spreadsheet and set new financial goals for the month.

If doing it by yourself seems daunting, you can do it with a friend or your partner which is even better because cultivating a culture where we talk about money is the first step towards getting over the fear of your financial situation.

And if you need an accountability partner to guide you through the process, I’m you girl! Halla agatha@thewealthtribe.com

These meetings will leave you feeling in control of your financial future, which is a feeling we all deserve and shouldn’t be reserved for the rich.

Related reads: How to audit your finances every month

“One of the greatest forms of freedom comes from knowing what is important to you. It grants you the freedom to ignore everything else.” — James Clear

3. Live below your means

Living below your means will leave you feeling like Wonderwoman or superman!

Related reads: How to create a budget that works

You’ll always have so much more money to save and invest regardless of your income. Isn’t this the life we always imagine the rich have?

People who live far below their means enjoy a freedom that people busy upgrading their lifestyles cant fathom. — Naval

4. Pay your bills on time

Is there a better feeling than knowing that all your basic expenses are covered? Makes you want to lie on your couch and binge your favourite show as you sip your favourite drink like a boss!

Before you go out splurging on any luxuries, make sure the basics of life are covered. Rent, food, transport and utility bills should be the first thing you settle as soon as you get paid.

If you can get your life to a point where you pay your bills even before they’re due, then you darling, will already be living a rich life.

5. Build an emergency fund

For someone who was once stuck in debt, I can’t believe there’s cash money just sitting in my account, idle money, maybe having a party in my checking account (it had better not cost a dime!). To me, that’s a wild thing!

Related read: How to build an emergency fund

An emergency fund is a source of confidence, you sleep better at night knowing that you can cover any emergencies and your bills for a whopping six months if you lost your job.

I also realized that so many of us work in companies that provide health insurance but it doesn’t cover dental, optical and even essential stuff such as routine checks with your gynae or urologist. This should be motivation enough to get you started on this life-saving fund!

A fit body, a calm mind, a house full of love. These things cannot be bought. They must be earned. — Naval

6. Always have house supplies

What’s a better way of adulting than always having what you need before you need it? This could be groceries, paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning materials, or your favourite shower gel.

Having all the necessities before you need them feels bougie. Knowing that I don’t have to run to the shop every time I run out of tissue paper is a 5-star treatment for me.

Having a budget and sticking to it will give you this luxury.

A friend taught me to always stock up before travelling. If you’re planning for a trip and you’re worried that you might overspend, shop for your house supplies and groceries (the stuff you can freeze) before you leave for the trip. You’ll definitely feel rich when you come back to enough food and all house supplies!

7. Talk about money with your partner

Since we established that feeling calm and in control is what we’re aiming for, have that money conversation.

It feels great to be on the same page and to have a support system that’s also steering your financial boat in the same direction as you!

Over the past few years, I’ve learned that to be good with money is like a good long term relationship. Instead of everything being chaotic peaks of highs and lows, there is a more quiet, sustained happiness that allows you to plan for the future, feel safe and comfortable and really figure out what you want in life. — The Financial Diet

8. Treat yourself without feeling guilty

The reason a lot of people are afraid and get defensive when they hear the word budget is because they think that a budget is restrictive.

And what’s a better way to feel rich than being able to afford luxuries?

“Budgeting isn’t about limiting yourself-it’s about making the things that excite you possible.” The Financial Diet

9. Having a clean house…without clutter

Your environment determines how calm you feel throughout the day. Living in chaos is catastrophic to your mental health.

Before going to bed I clean the dishes, clean the house and keep everything in its place. This greatly contributes to how productive I am which is important to me as I have a 9 to 5 job and a side hustle.

Show your living space some love by having it always looking like you always afford cleaning services.

10. Make time for hobbies

Having money is supposed to afford you free time. You don’t have to wait until you retire to enjoy your favourite hobby, life is too short!

Be intentional about how you spend your free time. You don’t have to spend it all looking beat up on your couch staring at the TV.

Get active. Join a book club, learn how to play a musical instrument, take an online course, play a sport that you love.

Know that you will have a million different passions and desires and dreams in life and that being savvy with money will be the difference between never giving yourself permission to pursue them and being able to live without them. — The Financial Diet

11. Practice gratitude

Be grateful for how much money you have now as you work towards being the wealthy you that you always fantasize about.

Trust the process. Don’t be like a hamster wheel on a wheel, always looking for next big thing that you forget that you can actually enjoy the here and now.

Life is for the living! Cheers to luxury.

Originally published at https://www.thewealthtribe.com on September 10, 2020.