Can you survive on $250 a week?

Financial freedom is more about what goes out the door than what you earn. Yup, if you want a happier, freer, more abundant life, don’t wait for a pay rise, a tax rebate, or a bonus. Instead, review and revise what you spend on a day-to-day basis instead. 

And if you want to put a figure on it, join the #250Club! 

Could you survive on $250 a week? I do – and so do many of our members.

Most of our members set their personal spending between $200 and $400 a week. And if you keep reading, you’ll discover it’s not as difficult or as painful as you might think. 

What is personal spending? 

Personal spending is the money you have to live on. This allocation covers weekly outgoings such as groceries, transport or fuel as well as ‘fun stuff’ such as eating out, having drinks with mates, or going to the spa. Your weekly personal spending doesn’t include your monthly expenses such as your mortgage, rent, utilities, and insurances etc. Instead, your personal spending budget is there to fund your everyday living essentials and luxuries. 

And that’s why it holds such huge opportunities and potential for wealth-creation. 

The reality is, we’re not very intentional with our personal spending! Thanks to credit cards, it’s just so easy to overspend on things you don’t really want or need! Worst still, because this is weekly spending, you don’t notice it at the moment – especially when you’re talking about a $20 charge here and $35 charge there. 

But over time, these little payments accumulate into significant chunks of money – money you could invest or allocate elsewhere to create a better quality of life. That’s why I made a conscious decision to give myself a budget of $250 a week for my personal spending

How much should you allocate for personal spending?

Everyone’s wealth-creation tactics are different. But the strategy is ALWAYS the same – spend less than you earn and invest the rest. 

So what’s the benefit of increasing [or more tightly managing] your personal spending? Simply put, if you spend less, you’ll free up money to allocate elsewhere. This is money you could use to pay down debt, travel more, buy an investment property, or work fewer hours. People often worry a cut in personal spending will compromise their quality of life, but this isn’t necessarily the truth. Instead, this ‘positive constraint’ can give you more freedom and control.  

This is what we help our members achieve as part of our advice and ongoing coaching service. We help you automate your cash flow – so everything is segregated and all your savings, investments, bills and debt repayments are taken care of. And to ensure you stay on track, we’ll help you cut up your credit card and create a system where you stick to your weekly personal spending amount too.

True, this intentional system takes some getting used to, but once you’re in the flow of working with your weekly budget, you’ll feel a huge sense of achievement and far greater control over your life.

You may even find that intentional spending is more fun. or example, my friends and I are obsessed with having the largest amount left at the end of the week. 

Tips for sticking to your personal spending budget

  1. Know your values

Money CAN buy you happiness – if you spend your cash on the things that matter to you. Your values should underpin your wealth-creation plan. Otherwise, you may have money, but you won’t feel good about the things your income becomes. 

If you want more clarity on turning money into happiness, freedom, and abundance, book a Financial Happiness Conversation – free! 

  1. Share your budget

Share your weekly spending intentions with friends and family. This helps people understand what you’re doing, and gives them a chance to offer support and accountability too. They may even jump onboard themselves.

  1. Cut out the crap and spend intentionally

There’s so much you could spend money on, but does it add real value to your life? Aim to cut out unnecessary spending wherever you can. Before you hand over cash, ask yourself if you really want it. If you don’t, put it back on the shelf and fist bump your savings. Alternatively, opt for a less expensive version of your original plan. You can still have the same experience, but for less cost. For example: 

  • Have a coffee catch-up instead of breakfast
  • Meet with friends over a home-cooked meal instead of going out
  • Limit alcohol when eating out (at $14-$15 for a glass of wine, it quickly adds up)
  • You get the picture 🙂

Practice intentional spending, and you’ll have more money for the things you currently say you can’t do. 

  1. Shop Smart

Work out a weekly grocery budget and stick to it. Meal prep and menu planning is a great way to stretch your budget. Buy what you need, and create less waste [and less cost]. 

When it comes to picking up ingredients, a single trip to the supermarket each week is a lot better than popping in on the way home each day. You’ll buy a lot less spontaneously! 

Alternatively, find an online grocery box delivery that gives you everything you need. This way, you’ll stick to the same cost each week. 

Oh, and NEVER do your supermarket shopping when you’re hungry, you’ll buy waaaaay more!

  1. Gamify it

The tech nerds and marketing geeks know it: gamifying improves motivation, participation and accomplishment of goals. 

Turn your weekly spending into a challenge you’ve got to win. Compete with your friends, or against yourself. There are stacks of apps to track spending (we use Xero for our members), or go the old fashioned way and keep a notepad. It’s geeky, but fun – and it ensures you stay on track too. 

  1. Shift your perspective

The reality is, plenty of people in this country who have to survive on less than $250 a week. Entire families send their kids to school and feed four or five mouths a week on the amount we splash around on (mostly) wants rather than needs! There are also a huge number of people on this planet living on less than a dollar a day. 

Thinking of less fortunate people soon shifts my perspective when I get grouchy because I can’t have what I want now. (Let’s face it, we all get like that from time to time!)

$250 today, and who knows what in the future?

A lot of members start their Wealth Enhancers journey when they get real with the truth that they’re NOT moving forward financially. 

  • They may be earning six-figures a year. 
  • They’ve earned a number of promotions.
  • They’ve achieved sizeable bonus checks. 

BUT it’s not clear from their financial situation where this money has gone. 

It’s painful – especially when you’ve worked hard and sacrificed a lot to earn the income that you do. You deserve more security and freedom as a result. 

Taking control of your personal spending is an empowering step in the right direction. 

You can choose to budget more than $250 – or less – it depends on your personal circumstances. The key is to pick a budget and stick to it. 

Then see how this small behavioural shift helps to drive a significant transformation in your net wealth. 

Best of all, you DON’T have to do this alone. We’re here to help. Book your FREE Financial Happiness Conversation to kick-start this. 

This article was updated and republished in October 2019.

Disclaimer: All information contained within this article is of a general nature. Do not rely upon it when making financial decisions. Please consult a professional financial advisor or planner (like us!) before acting.