Living within your means is one of those topics categorized as something easier said than done. And there is truth to that. The reality is if it were an easy task to live within your means we as a complete nation would not be crippled with a personal debt problem robbing us from financial freedom.
The problem needs to be addressed. Unsecured debt as a share of household income has now reached an ultimate high sitting as 30%.
There are many households that live without debt at all. It seems crazy but it is possible. But really what it means is there are many many households out there with mountains of large debt. It is scary to read never mind comprehend.
That being said though, it really comes down to a personal choice. Either choose to stand among a minority who are successfully ruling their finances as opposed to standing with the majority who are drowning financially.
The choice is yours. Put in the hard work and effort it takes to succeed or fall into the detrimental financial path that has you wishing you would have prevented in the first place when you had the chance.
The fact of the matter is IF you have debt you are technically and literally living beyond your means. The reason doesn’t matter.
Do You Know What Living Below Your Means Really Means?
What does living below your means even mean though? For so many people out there this is a legit question with merit.
The simplest way I can explain this to you is, spend less money than what you earn.
But there is a choice for you. We have access to extra money often by simply swiping a card or by the click of a button, but the reality is not so simple.
Prior generations in a sense had it harder in some ways but easier in others.
Their lives were harder because they did back-breaking work without technology help. This meant getting their hands dirty and doing a task in a labor-intense way.
But there we also aspects of their lives that were easier than ours today. This was because some things simply were not available to them as resources back then.
We now have easy access to fast online loans that come at the cost of high APRs. (I beg you don’t even think about it), overdraft bank accounts (for instance I haven’t know adult life without one), personals loans, re-mortgages, car loans (had one since I was 18), etc.
The point is, all of the above gives you the ability to live beyond your means sometimes very easily. You get what you want before you can pay for it or afford it.
This means, in the end, you pay way more on the item you have purchased due to being charge high-interest rates.
Prior generations didn’t have car loans, overdrafts, or credit cards.
They had no option but to live well within their means. This oftentimes meant living on less money, for the frills in life, such as a family vacation, or a new vehicle.
They learned valuable money lessons and internalized them giving them the tools they needed to succeed financially by living only within their means.
Here are some frugal living books you can consider reading to help you take control of your finances by living within your means.
Why Don’t We Live Within Our Means
We’re human we make mistakes and that means we don’t always follow the rules, even when we know that we should.
We are anything but robots! We make our own choices. And those choices aren’t always the right ones.
We ALL have baggage that tends to affect our money management skills. This baggage also determines how we take any money advice we get.
It is especially difficult when you are young and impressionable.
Often we tend to struggle with being told money tips, and doing what we are told to do. Not that we don’t know that it is best. It very well could be, but, just because we know it could be good for us doesn’t mean we will do it.
A great example of this is millions of people still do drugs and smoke but yet young people still try it for the first time every day. This is an example of knowing what is bad for you but continuing anyway.
How you view money is different from how others view money and you must be aware of that. Money simply means many different things to a wide variety of people.
Maybe you are loving the idea of learning how you can be more frugal, meanwhile, someone else may see living cheaply as an absolute no.
Both people are motivated by different things and in different ways. But that is okay, what works for one person may not work for another. We have to navigate our own way.
It should be a priority for you to make your own path and understand specifically what motivates YOU to succeed financially.
How You Can Successfully Live Within Your Means And Love it
So how can you take steps to gain the most enjoyment when you decide to live within your means?
The first thing to do is BE DELIBERATE with your life and your money. Be determined not to go through life oblivious of what is happening and your reality.
When you are deliberate you carefully think things through, you do not make rash decisions.
If you want to make conscious and very well thought out decisions then you have to make the choice to be deliberate.
Stay determined and focused on each day and every minute. And remember to enjoy yourself in the moment.
Be grateful for what you have! You may not have all that you desire but you should still be thankful for the beautiful things you do have in your life. This important step will drive you a long way to enjoying life with less.
I don’t have to tell you that there are many different ways to show gratitude.
Why not consider keeping a gratitude journal? Write down the things you are grateful for on a daily basis. Reflect on the great things in your life. Love your life the way it is.
Why not go a step further and talk about the things you are specifically grateful for. Tell your spouse or your friend, you can even make it a discussion of what you’re grateful for and why you are grateful for it.
You could also try saying your feelings out loud even just to yourself. Everyone knows the power of a spoken word. So say it out loud, don’t stay silent.
I have only recently adopted the way of being mindful.
It comes in many different forms. From practicing breathing exercises to simply just being focused on living in the moment. Even if that means staying focused on one small part of your life at a time.
Mindfulness I believe can help you to.
One way could be as little as just reconnecting with yourself and your surroundings. Take the plunge and choose to see the positive in your life right now.
It does not matter where you are currently in life there are always positive things to look at. So enjoy them, by slowing down and recognizing them.
The more mentality of this word is overwhelming. An example of this is larger portions (I’ll take a supersize), buy one get one free, and always wanting the biggest and greatest.
All of the above encourage you to have more, more frequently.
It is an art. The art of moderation to be exact. It is all about having a good life with a little of what you want but not living an excessive life.
There many many ways to have what you desire without having it cost you a fortune. After all, you are technically striving to live a simple life.
Some suggestions for you:
- have smaller portions
- save up for large portions
- save for your vacation (don’t use credit cards)
- buy quality not quantity
Moderation basically means avoiding a life of excess. Don’t live a showy life you can’t afford just to impress people you may not like or aren’t even close to. Show self-control and restraint. Both are great ways to show how you can live within your means successfully.
The Ins And Outs Of Living On Less Money
If you want to love your life while living on less there are certain things you must have in place. For example:
- Know what your income is
- You know how much your expenses are
- You have a plan for your financial future. And know how to manage your money
If you really want to achieve the above you have to sit down. Take a good hard look at your bill, see your income, and set a powerful budget that is realistic.
Be warned if you are like me your first budget, your third budget and possibly even your eighth budget won’t be successful. But you will gain experience and learn from your prior mistakes. This WILL give you the ability to create a budget that sticks and works for you.
Set Yourself Goal
It has been proven that we all work better when we have goals to work towards. Whatever it is you want to strive for you will need a goal.
They help us hone in and focus on what we want so we can eventually achieve what we are aiming for.
This doesn’t even always mean financial goals, even though they are very important. But these can even be life goals.
For instance, do you have goals for where you want to be in a year, or 5, possibly even 10?
To figure your goals out and make them you must first find out what the most important things in your life are. And see if you are spending enough time on them.
For me, one of my priorities is growing this blog. I have quit my job and am solely focusing on making an income from home by blogging.
Start your own money-making blog from home for only $3.95 a month. Say good-bye and good riddance to your soul-sucking job that is only making the rich richer. Give yourself the opportunity to be your own boss. Believe in yourself.
Don’t know how to blog? That’s not a problem! Honestly, I didn’t either a few months ago, and if I’m being even more honest I still don’t feel like I know tons. But I’m learning every day, and I know I will be successful at it.
I am determined to change our life through blogging. This means paying off debt and quitting our jobs to blog at home together and travel.
Here you can sign up for my blogging email course so you can succeed and be successful. I believe in you!
Start small sit down and think about what you want your life to look like in the next 3-6 months. Then you will know where you should be focusing your efforts so you can make them a reality.
Figuring that that is literally half the battle so don’t wait. Work hard towards the life you want.
Take some time, categorize your goals by month, this quarter, this year.
And when you are setting yourself goals make sure you are still going to have a life that is enjoyable while still living within your means.
Blogging can make you real money. Here are some examples:
- Redefining [Mom] – made $1,135 her first month blogging
- Smart Cents For Life – made $1,989.18 her third-month blogging
Review Your Goals Regularly
If you want to succeed with your goals then you must review your goals regularly. This will allow you to tweak them as you need to.
This goes for your budget as well. You should be reviewing it at least every month if not every week. The closer of an eye you keep on your goals or budget the more in control you will be.
Here are some questions you could perhaps ask yourself to see if you are on track with your goal:
- Did you focus on your goal this week/month?
- Am I content with how I am progressing towards my goal?
- How can I improve next month?
If you aren’t asking yourself these questions then are you really making your goal a priority?
This will directly show how determined you are at achieving your goal so you can make it a success.
Talk About Your Goals
Share your goals. Talk about your goals. Make them your reality.
When you choose to share your goals with someone it helps you to remain accountable to achieve your goal.
It can be explained similarly to a diet, if you share with your friends that you are losing weight they will automatically check in with you to see how you are progressing
If you keep it a secret then nobody will know if you fail. Making giving up that much easier.
Honestly having to be accountable to someone will drastically help you achieve your goals.
You know your friends will be asking how you are doing to check-in, and you don’t want to be a disappointment or have them know that you failed so it will push you to do the best you can.
And ultimately reach your goal successfully.
Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest so you can get more money-saving tips and tricks so you can manage your personal finances with success.
Pin this Pin on Pinterest so you can refer back to it in the future and throughout your money management journey.