Living beneath your means can help you prioritize your expenses so you are able to build wealth. I’ve included some tips below that will help you in this process. You won’t have to move into a shoebox or completely forgo entertainment and shopping – but the tips below will help you learn how to make better spending choices.
1. Have a slice of humble pie. If you’re constantly in a competition with your neighbors, coworkers or friends, you’re never going to stop spending. In the back of your mind, you’ll always try to “beat” them by having the newest car, biggest house, most expensive clothing, and more.
- Once you eject the competitiveness from your mind, you’ll be able to effectively trim the fat from your budget.
- If you’re a smoker, now is the time to quit. If not for your health, do it for your financial future. In some states, a pack of cigarettes can cost $10. If you’re a pack-per-day smoker, you can save $300 per month by ditching this harmful habit.
- Work with what you have. There’s no need to upgrade your car if the one you’re driving now gets you from point A to point B. If your current home isn’t to your liking, make some updates or redecorate – it’s a far less expensive fix than purchasing an extravagant estate.
2. Trim your grocery budget. Coupons aren’t the only way to save money on your grocery bills (though they certainly help). You just need to be conscious of your purchases. Check out my article on How to Save Money by Checking the Grocery Ads Each Week for more tips.
- Never go grocery shopping hungry or tired.
- Three nights per week, cook up something very inexpensive for dinner, such as beans and rice or homemade soup. It’ll be a nice change of pace, without feeling deprived. And of course, the biggest bonus is that you’ll save money! One of my favorite inexpensive recipes is Taco Style Lentils & Rice. It’s very inexpensive but so tasty!
3. Make savings a priority. Savings isn’t optional. It’s necessary for financial emergencies – and they always come up in some form or another. Treat it as any other bill each month. Place this, as every other bill, in your budget workbook. You do have a budget workbook, don’t you? If not, get ready for my Budget Bootcamp for budget help!
- If you’d like, break it up into pay periods. In order to save $500 per month you would have to set aside $125 per week. A $300 goal would be just $75 per week. When a savings goal is broken into manageable pieces, it’s a far less daunting figure.
- When you’re unable to meet your savings goals, either find a way to make more money or spend less money each month. If you’re able to trim the fat from your monthly expenses, there will always be a way to meet your savings goals.
- Budget your “fun money” as well. When you budget a set amount for unnecessary shopping trips and entertainment, you can’t shop until you drop. When the money runs out, you’re done.
Living below your means doesn’t have to be a drastic change in your life. It’s about minimizing where you can and refusing the temptation to live larger than you are capable of. I just watched a movie this weekend called, The Joneses, have you seen it? It’s a great example of how living large isn’t all its cracked up to be!
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