Woman Who Lives On A $50 A Month Budget Explains The Most Important Mindset When It Comes To Saving Money

She had to give up taking Ubers and nail salons, but she gained more positive aspects.

woman, money, budget @financiallybrave / TikTok 

After a long week of work, many of us like to unwind by spending time with friends, treating ourselves to some online shopping, and ordering takeout to take a break from cooking dinner. While we know these popular leisure activities cost money, what can be more difficult to take in is just how much those things add up over time and before we know it, we are scraping our savings account just to pay off the rent. 


One woman is sharing her tips for smart budgeting by limiting herself to a small chunk of cash to spend each month. 

The woman only allows herself to spend $50 a month. 

28-year-old Alexis Howard, a wealth advisor living in Francisco, decided to challenge herself by not spending more than $50 per month on non-essential items so that she could save more money for necessities. 

In a TikTok video, Howard documented what a day in the life living on a $50 budget looks like. By mid-July, she only had $17.34 left to spend for the remainder of the month. 

Something that encourages Howard to stick to her budget is her own “two-reality rule,” where she acknowledges both the negatives and the positives of living on a $50-a-month budget, but solely focuses on the positives of it, which she claims is an important mindset while budgeting. 


However, on the particular day Howard decided to document, she admits that she was “really put the the test” by her two-reality rule. 



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As Howard was leaving her apartment building in the morning to go to work, she missed the bus. Since she could not afford to grab an Uber to the office, she had to wait for the next bus. 


“The negative was that I couldn’t order an Uber because I’m on this challenge,” she says. “But the positive is that I had an extra 10 minutes to enjoy to myself before starting my work day.” 

Since Howard’s work day was busy with meetings and presentations, she was ready to go home and enjoy some much-needed downtime. However, she could not treat herself to takeout due to her budget, so she instead took the opportunity to partake in a “healthier alternative” by going on a walk with her dog. 

After going to a study lounge to get some more work done, Howard went home to enjoy a pre-packaged salad for dinner. “Nothing and I mean truly nothing, has saved me more from ordering food than having ready-to-go meals on busy days like these,” she says. “I cannot stress enough how easy accessibility to food is and it’s so helpful when trying to end a takeout habit.” 

This doesn’t mean that Howard could not treat herself to some dessert. After dinner, she made herself some cinnamon rolls that she already had in the house. 


“And that was a day in the life of a girl on a budget!” 

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In order to stick to her $50-a-month budget, Howard has had to give up many of the leisurely activities she used to enjoy.

She explained the challenges of disciplining herself to stick to her budget to Newsweek. 

"While this challenge has been refreshing, it is also very limiting. Hair maintenance and trips to the nail salon are not included in my budget and I do miss the convenience of having access to these services," she said. 

For those who want to budget like Howard, she advises them to have a focused and committed mindset. "It's your mindset that will determine your success and level of discipline," she adds. 


It's easy to lose track of how much we actually spend on non-essentials. 

Income, lifestyle, and location are all factors that will affect one’s spending.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends roughly $164 a day (over three times Howard’s monthly budget!) A survey conducted by Ladder and OnePoll found that Americans spend an average of $18,000 a year on non-essential items such as streaming services, Starbucks lattes, and random Amazon finds. 

It is human nature to want to treat ourselves and buy lavish items every once in a while, and it is easy to forget how much money we spend on these things. We may believe that there is no harm in grabbing a $4 coffee in the morning before work instead of taking the time to make it ourselves, however, it can quickly add up and eat through our budget sooner than we may think. 


Like Howard, it is wise to be mindful of how much we spend per month on non-essential items and how we can smartly budget our money by considering all of the positives and negatives. 

According to NerdWallet, a few simple and easy ways we can budget our money are by mapping out major purposes, restricting online shopping, canceling unnecessary subscriptions, prepping meals to avoid ordering meals and setting specific savings goals. 

Although there will be times when it will be difficult, just remember Howard’s two-reality rule and focus solely on the positives of smart spending! 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.