Live within your means. That’s what every financial advisor will tell you. Live beneath your means. Others go as far as doing that. But, have you ever really tried to live within (or beneath) your means? Do you truly understand what this entails?
If you’ve tried – even in theory – to do so, you’ll know that it may not be as easy as it sounds. After all, we are all human, and with that comes weaknesses that make it hard to be satisfied with what we have. It doesn’t mean, however, that you cannot make an effort to live within your means and succeed at it. If you’re serious about making a change for the better, take a look at these easy things you can do to live within your means.
Define your necessary level of comfort.
What is comfortable for you? How do you define ‘rich’? This is the root of the matter – how you perceive your life and what you need to be content with. It really is what you think that matters. If you keep on thinking that you will never be happy until you have a big house, a luxury car, etc., you will never be able to live within your means. It is ultimately your decision to determine just what you need to live a comfortable life and stick to that.
Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have a stable job that pays the bills? Do you eat at least three meals a day? Do you have enough to go on the occasional trip? That should be enough, shouldn’t it?
Pay with cash.
In our consumerist society, it is very easy to use the credit card whenever one feels like it. Credit cards are very tempting and convenient. Why wait to purchase something when you can use your credit card?
Then again, this is one of the major reasons people always find themselves short of cash. They keep using that piece of plastic like there’s no tomorrow, and before they know it, they’re buried deep in debt. If I were you, I’d stick to using cash. This is a better way of keeping track of your expenses. More so, using cash lets you know exactly how you stand financially, without the false sense of security that credit cards bring.
Avoid paying extra charges.
Speaking of credit cards…we all know how steep finance charges and other fees can be. Stay clear of them and you will be doing yourself a favor. How do you do this? By simply not using credit cards if at all possible. If you do use your credit cards, make sure you pay the bill in full and never forget to pay on time.
Credit cards are not the only culprits when it comes to extra charges, though. Your other bills also come with surcharges if you pay late. Checking accounts have fees if you do not maintain your balance or are unable to fund a check. The list goes on and on – make sure you are not wasting your precious money on excess charges.
Avoid eating out when you can.
Eating at restaurants can be fun, and we should all do it every so often. However, making a habit of eating out can be detrimental to your finances. Instead of doing this regularly, why don’t you make it a habit to cook your own food? Try going to the market or grocery store once a week and preparing your lunch for work in the morning. Try preparing dinner after work and treating everyone to homemade meals.
If you’re not convinced about the savings that you can make, do a little experiment. Gather the restaurant receipts you have for a week. The next week, try to make your own food as much as possible. Gather your grocery receipts. Compare them – you’ll be converted!
Don’t buy designer items.
Designer clothes, shoes, bags, sunglasses – they’re all over the place, and everyone’s dying to buy them. Why? Perhaps because of the prestige that they bring; but is the prestige really worth being in debt? I once heard someone say that humans like to pay an arm and a leg for things that will impress people that they don’t even like or know. Think about it – why would you want to do that?
You can buy clothes and other items that are not tagged as designer labels and they will still look good on you and do the job. Why pay more when you can pay less for something just as good?
Don’t go to the mall for no reason at all.
A lot of people have turned the mall into a place of leisure. I suppose they cannot be blamed as this is what mall owners have been trying to do anyway. They want people in their premises, even if the people do not have need of anything they have to sell. The result is that people go to the mall and end up spending more than they intend to, or can afford.
If you want to leave within your means, stay away from temptation. If you go to the mall, act like a man with a mission: get what you need and get out of there.
Lend and borrow – learn to share.
You don’t have to buy everything, you know. Take DVDs and video games, for example. You can actually make some savings by sharing these items among friends and family. Instead of purchasing every DVD that you want to watch, why not ask your friends and family to divide purchases and then share the items when needed?
Take care of yourself.
Getting sick could cost you a whole lot these days. Even with medical insurance, the cost of medication can be horrific. The best thing that you can do is to take care of yourself, and avoid getting sick. Of course, there are certain illnesses that we cannot do anything about, despite our best efforts. The common illnesses that can be avoided, however, should be avoided.
Maintain your car properly and keep it for as long as you can.
Are you the kind who changes his car every year, or every other year? Why do you need to do that? A car can last for several years, and if you maintain it well, it can last even longer. If I were you, I would get the most out of your car and only buy a new one when necessary.
Go sales shopping.
Going shopping can be fun, but it can also drain your bank account. The best thing that you can do to indulge your shopping urges is to go look for sales. There is always a sale going on somewhere anyway, so you will not be lacking for options.