Living Within Your Means isn’t About Lack

Isn’t it funny how being unable to have something makes you want it more? If you are dieting, that donut seems to be the only thing between you and eternal happiness. If you are broke, nothing in your closet fits or looks good and shopping - being out of the question - 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 within 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 within your means shouldn’t feel stifling or like denial. It should feel:


  • Powerful
  • Mature
  • Responsible
  • High-functioning


These are all amazing things to be celebrated. Living within your means isn’t about lack, it’s about freedom!


It’s hard to believe that living within your means is even necessary. Anything can be bought on credit. Having a credit score is part of the American lifestyle and one of the ways to have a higher credit score is by having and managing debt well. The opposite of living within your means. You may not be able to live totally on a cash basis, but there are certain things you can do to reduce the need for credit or debt and free yourself from the anxieties of being over extended.


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 within your means isn’t painful if your means exceed your living expenses. Make choices now to live within your means, so you can expand your means and live bigger without debt.


Reduce the need for credit and expand your means here are some ideas that may work for you:


✔Only finance your mortgage and your vehicle- If you can’t pay cash for a car, choose a car that is within your means for the lowest price and lowest payment possible.


✔Have one credit card and don’t use it- Have a credit card with a relatively low credit limit and only use it when cards are required to secure an asset like a car rental or hotel reservation. Pay off any debt incurred at the end of the 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.


✔Pay with cash- Withdraw a week’s supply of cash to cover the incidentals you need. Once the cash is gone, stop spending. Having cash helps make the realities of the dwindling dollars more of an impact and can stop you from making unnecessary purchases.


Living within your means is a responsible 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.


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