Atlas corps fellowship teaches you a lot, but one of the key aspects of this program is to know how to manage your budget on a limited stipend. (To be honest, the stipend is really sufficient for a single person)
When the going gets tough, you need to tighten your budget and make it work. This is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of trying to make ends meet.
I know many will say that it’s impossible to live comfortably on a tight budget. My answer is that it is doable but not impossible.
In general, when you want to do something, one of the first things you need to do is set a goal.
Set A goal
You need to answer the question of why you are squeezing your budget? Is it because you want to save money to send back home or spend money shopping while you are in the US? Or you want to travel and explore while you are here and that’s why you want to go on a budget? Or something else?
These questions will lead you to your goal.
It will feel easier to tighten your budget when you know you are aiming for something. When you exactly know why you are squeezing money here and there, you will feel better doing it.
For me, being flexible is one of the ways to living comfortably on a tight budget.
Having a tight budget and living through it, at times, is hard but doable. I remember during the first few months into the fellowship we had to cut some corners because of initial payments on the lease, we kept going over the budget or, when we tried to stick with it, we failed to keep our necessities fulfilled.
But time taught me to be flexible.
I think flexibility is key to living in comfort and that’s exactly what we did. We became flexible enough to change our lifestyle and to find alternative ways to satisfy our necessities without denting our budget.
We learned to go back to the bare minimum to ensure that we satisfy our fun requirements and exploring NY.
An example here is that instead of having food from takeout, my housemate and I decided to cook food and have one outing per week to grab something delicious which NY has to offer.
Sometimes, effectively executing budgets and living comfortably, at the same time, is more about attitude. There really are countless ways to living comfortably on a tight budget.