Isn’t it funny how being unable to have something makes you want it more?
If you are broke, shopping is all you want to do. In many cases, not being able to be, do, or have something seems to cause pain and suffering. Even if it never has in the past.
In the same way, living below your means can cause fear and anxiety to well up inside you. Imagining that you are unable to have whatever you want, whenever you want feels like the ultimate denial. Like a punishment.
Living Below Your Means isn’t Stifling or Denial
Conventional wisdom says you should live within your means. It’s a very good basis, or first step. However it’s insufficient. In order to save and invest, you need to live below your means. Same applies if you’re aiming for financial independence.
You can’t just spend everything you earn. Living below your means is:
These are all amazing things to be celebrated. Living below your means isn’t about lack, it’s about freedom!
Think of this: The less debt you have combined with more income means you have more choices and more freedom to have what you want. Living below your means and saving aren’t painful if your means exceed your living expenses. Make choices now to live below your means, so you can expand your options and live bigger without debt.
It’s hard to believe that living below your means is even necessary. Anything can be bought on credit. Having a credit score is part of the North American lifestyle and one of the ways to have a higher credit score is by having and managing debt well. The opposite of living below your means.
Reduce the Need for Credit and Expand Your Means With These Tips
- Pay yourself first: when you receive your paycheck, transfer money to your savings and/or retirement accounts before paying anything else.
- Only finance your mortgage: everything else should be paid cash, including vehicles. Buying used is your best bet when it comes to cars. If you’re contemplating going back to school, aim for public vs private schools , part-time vs full-time student.
- Centralize your spending on 1 credit card: choose a reward card and charge your daily expenses to it. It will be easier to track your spending, earn rewards and pay-off the card in full each month.
- Only shop for what you need: Avoid shopping without a specific purpose. Use lists and leave kids at home to help you avoid impulse buying. Also use the 24-hour rule.
- Use actual cash: withdraw a week’s supply of cash to cover the incidentals you need. Having cash helps make the realities of the dwindling dollars more of an impact and can stop you from making unnecessary purchases, and help you control your spending.
Living below your means is a responsible and powerful way to live. It frees you up to have more choices and it helps you and your family make the best decisions day-to-day. This creates the opportunity to be, do, and have more than you might if you were overextended and paying past debt with current income.