Living Below Your Means
Living below your means is an essential idea when it comes to saving money. While I will post about other money saving strategies, for me, if you are not willing to live below your means, you likely will struggle financially. Struggling financially doesn’t put you on a path to financial independence anytime soon. Let’s take a closer look at what living below your means actually entails.
If you haven’t heard the term living below your means before, it’s really just a fancier way of saying spending less than you make. The world seems to struggle with this concept. With credit and credit cards relatively easy to come by, building the habit of spending before (and more) than you make is easy. If you don’t have the cash today, you can put it on the credit card and worry about it tomorrow. That becomes a recipe for disaster (financially speaking).
the psychology behind why people feel the need to live beyond their means (spending more than they make) is beyond the scope of this post, a key concept here is that material things don’t necessarily lead to long-term happiness. Yes, for a few minutes, hours, or maybe days, that extravagant purchase will make you happy but longer term, it doesn’t. The new effect wears off and then you’re left with the credit card bill that never seems to go down. For so many people, this is the reality of their financial life.
your means doesn’t mean suffering through life without any positive experiences. It may show up more along the lines of driving a Honda Accord vs. the Infiniti Q50. Or maybe it is buying the Amazon Basics t-shirt vs. the name brand t-shirt that costs $10 more. In any case, what it really means is that you understand and are willing to make the choices to spend less than you make – regardless of brand name or your internal wants and desires. You use logic and reason to decide whether a purchase makes sense, not emotion.
If you are not currently living below your means, you may want to consider making adjustments to at least live at your means (you spend everything you make – but you don’t use debt (credit cards) to buy unnecessary items). From there, you can work your way to living below your means. For many people, this change is a mindset. It is a conscious choice to not “splurge” or buy the things you want vs. the things you need. If you are not willing to shift your mindset to living below your means, it doesn’t matter how many money saving tips you read about…because they won’t work in the long run.
So, are you living below your means? If not, what can you do starting today to work your way there? While it might be difficult at first, over time, you’ll find the choice to not spend on certain items easier. You may also notice that your financial life comes into more of a balance!
Be sure to check out my posts on how to make more money as well!