Living below your means doesn't necessarily mean deliberate cost-cutting and saving money. It is taking full control of your finances and effectively managing them.
It is easy to fall for the trap of living beyond your means, primarily when relying on the safety of the credit cards and debts to spend on unnecessary splurges.
Living below your means is having the power to save more of your money and have surplus for medical bills, emergencies, save for retirement, and can comfortably handle a car repair without getting into debt.
If you want to achieve your goals, improve your financial stability, and avoid the rat race, you have to learn to live below your means. You can start by spending 15% less than your total earnings and comfortably survive without feeling like you lack anything.
1. Create a Plan for Your Money
What makes most people spend more than they earn is because they have expenses awaiting whenever their salaries hit their accounts. You need to assign value to each dollar you earn and prioritize your expenses according to needs, wants, and luxuries.
One simple hack is to make sound financial decisions before you get the paycheck rather than making rash decisions at the moment.
2. Save Off Before You Spend
Expenses are likely to be overwhelming and cloud your judgment once you get the paycheck. Make sure that before you start spending, you already have a well-established saving deductions plan.
Once you divert the savings before they hit your paycheck, you will feel more comfortable spending the rest of the money without an unacceptable change in lifestyle.
3. Cut Meaningless Expenses
You will be surprised by how much you spend on things that don't really matter. It could be a vehicle that you don't need, a club membership you no longer use, or a subscription to a boring cable channel.
All these expenses have no added value to your life-long goals, and eliminating them will free your money.
Write all the things you value the most today, and compare them with your last financial statement to know to distinguish between what is crucial and what needs to be scraped off.
4. Pay Less Interest
High-interest credit cards are an easy direct route to financial ruin. Consider consolidating all your debts and save on interest.
You can also refinance with a low-interest personal loan from a credit union, online lender, or bank. With a lesser interest to pay, you will be free from debt and successfully focus your money on channels that matter.
5. Focus on Assets, Not Liabilities
Assets are things that will add value to the money invested while liabilities keep on taking more money from your pocket. For instance, you don't need a brand new vehicle that will lose 20% of its value once you get it out of the showroom. Instead, focus on getting assets like shares or mutual funds.
Assets will ensure that you have a constant stream of income, while liabilities will only make you more miserable.
6. Live Off One Income
Instead of budgeting and using up money from both salaries, you could try to live off one salary. You could use one to pay for the bills and household utilities and save the rest.
Earmark the other salary and use it to maximize on savings for retirement, investing, or paying off your debt. This is also an excellent strategy to keep you prepared for any unfortunate circumstances like job loss and medical emergencies.