5 Ways To Live Intentionally (On a Budget)

Generally, New Year’s resolutions focus on areas we want to improve like losing weight or paying off debt. However, we often overlook a more important resolution – to live intentionally. Phrases like carpe diem, YOLO (you only live once), and "be in the moment" capture the spirit of living intentionally, yet the years have a way of passing us by. So how do you live intentionally when funds are tight?

Here are 5 ways to live your best life this year – on a budget.

1. Enjoy the Outdoors Intentionally

It will get warmer. Days will last longer. Spring is coming and flowers will bloom. Take advantage of sunnier days and spend an afternoon at the park during the first warm weekend. Bring along a friend, spouse, cousin, neighbor, child, or your dog. Pack your picnic, feel the sun and enjoy the day.

Estimated cost: $0–25
Time: 3 hours

2. Play Intentionally

Enjoy some of your favorite board games. Games like Monopoly, Sequence, and Scrabble bring friends and family physically together. Online games, such as Words with Friends and Minecraft allow you to connect virtually. Games like chess allow you to play over time. And puzzles allow you to build together. If your first idea doesn’t work, try another game. Play intentionally and others will join.

Expected cost: $30
Time: 1–3 hours

3. Build Community Intentionally

Organize a neighborhood potluck. Find one or two neighbors to help with the planning. Use evite, Nextdoor, or simple word of mouth to send invites and get people involved. Distribute flyers a few days before. Be the first person there. Recruit a few teens to clean up afterwards. Be deliberate about meeting as many people as you can. Sharing food helps build friendship.

Expected cost: $30
Time: 4–8 hours (including planning)

4. Travel Intentionally

You can do this on a $200 budget for a staycation or under $1,000 for places within a drive. First, make your budget. Then, make tradeoffs on the three areas that make up 80% of travel expenses: transportation, lodging, and food. Find all the places within a 6 hour drive. If you must fly, use Kayak, Southwest, and Google Flights to compare options and save. For lodging, consider naming your price on Priceline or finding an Airbnb with a kitchen. Go for three days instead of four. Pack snacks throughout the day. The trip does not need to be your dream trip. Traveling intentionally is taking time for the smaller excursions as you build to larger adventures.

Estimated cost: $200–1,000
Time: 1–4 days

5. Love Intentionally

Spend time with an elder in your life. It could be a parent, uncle, aunt, or simply a friend in your community. Pick them up, grab coffee, take a walk, and listen. Be intentional about how you make them feel. We rarely say “I spent too much time with them” when a loved one passes. Instead, it’s the opposite. We wish we had one more day. We wish we could have one more conversation. Often, elders battle social isolation and lack of meaning. You can help by loving intentionally. Make it happen.

Expected cost: $0–20
Time: 2–4 hours

Living intentionally is less about what you do and more about simply doing. All of these activiites have different costs. Some will work for you and some won’t. Remember, your financial situation is temporary. Live intentionally given what you have today. You'll graduate to more options in the future.  

This year take time to live, breathe and be present.