At some point, all of us have felt society’s pressure to live by a certain standard. The possession of material things has become a status symbol. The more things you have, the better off you are. Although we all know this to be false intellectually, it has been the catalyst to many of us living beyond our means.
The key to staying on top of your financial health is to work with what you have and use less than you need. When you get a boost in salary, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to start upgrading things like your car or your home. Living beyond your paycheck can quickly put you in financial trouble and cause a lot of stress just to impress the neighbors.
If times are tough, planning and living within your means is the best way to secure your money for the future. Let’s take a look at a few ways that you can live below your means and save money throughout your lifetime.
Buying a brand new car is a luxury, but not a priority. The purpose of having a car is to provide you with reliable transportation, not to make a statement about your wealth. You could choose to buy a brand new car that will cost you thousands of dollars in payments, interest, and insurance or you could go for a reliable and still stylish used car. For example, you could end up paying more than $30,000 for a new model or $6,000 for a slightly used car. The savings will benefit you more in your retirement or college fund.
Buying used can be extended beyond vehicles. There is no limit to purchases that you can make of used goods. Consider the money you could save if you choose to buy used clothing, books, and toys.
When you analyze your finances, there is no reason for two adults to pay for a mortgage on a four-bedroom home just because it is large and in the right fashionable neighborhood. When buying a home, take some time to consider how much room you need to live comfortably and what kind of mortgage payments won’t put a significant strain on your budget.
PAY OFF DEBT
Millions of people struggle with paying down their debt. If you want to live comfortably without the strain of massive debt hanging over your head, you have to be smart about how you manage your credit. Paying the minimum payment on your credit card balances or other loans will keep you in debt for years. Instead, be proactive in clearing your debt and dedicate at least 25% more than the minimum payment for each of your debts to pay them off faster and save on interest. Finding ways to get some fast cash can go a long way to helping pay off the amount owing without dipping into your savings.
CREATE A BUDGET
You can’t manage your finances without having an understanding of your money situation. Track your spending for an entire month to create a budget that will give you a clearer picture of your finances. Once you can see where your money is going, you will make decisions about where cuts can be made.
Living below your means doesn’t mean that you have to cut out everything that makes your life enjoyable, but you have to be willing to cut back on expenses that aren’t a priority. Follow some of these tips to help you live an extraordinary life that is within your means and get yourself and your family on a strong financial foundation.