Five Smart and Foolproof Ways to Live Within Your Means

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Living below your means is one of the financial mantras majority of financial advisers preach for everyone to live by. You can’t really argue with it seeing that it makes perfect sense. But real problems arise when you actually try to do it. Living below your means when your income is barely enough to cover your expenses is not only frustrating but also disheartening. It’s just not possible you might say and that’s true most of the time. A generous dose of willpower and some smart strategizing may help however. Below are simple, smart and foolproof ways to help you live within your means:

Change your mindset

More than the tangible steps, you need to start with your mindset in order to pull this kind of life changing goals. If you think it’s impossible to live below your means with your current income and situation, the first thing to do is work on changing that kind of mind. If you’re having a hard time doing so, maybe faking it until you make it might work. It will also help to think that your income is smaller than what it is. One trick that works for some is to think that your income is still the same before your earned a raise then live within said income and set aside the money for savings.

Pay yourself first

One way to train yourself to live below your means is to set aside a certain percentage of your income first thing. As soon as you receive paycheck, set aside 3 to 10% to another account, which you can call your savings or emergency fund account. What will make it even more effective is if you set this up as automatic. Call your bank and set up automatic transfers so you’re a step ahead to living below your means.

Set specific goals

Living below your means without any specific goals to work toward to is like running around in circles. If you want things to make sense then you need a financial goal to justify your decision to live below your means. Maybe you want to save up for a home, retirement or a vacation. Whatever it is, make sure it’s specific enough.

Make specific plans

Don’t stop with setting specific goals. In order to achieve those goals, you need to back it up with specific and realistic plans. How do you intend to save up for a home or vacation? This is one key question to ask and the answer may include making specific lists and how to’s on how to stay within budget within the week. This may also mean cutting back on some expenses, cancelling subscriptions, etc.

Pay cash for everything

While you’re still getting used to living below your means, it would be best to pay cash for everything, at least for now. Use cash when shopping or paying for your bills. This way, you’ll be able to really feel and understand how much you have to spend on expenses per month.

How to Save More Money Without Feeling Deprived

saving money

Contrary to what many experts claim, saving money is not easy. It can be frustrating and complicated. It takes a lot of willpower to develop the habit and there are strategies you need to deliberately learn in order to fully master the art of saving. The worst part is, if you save money on a tight budget, it may leave you feeling deprived.

Deprivation is never a good thing. When you feel deprived, saving money becomes an ugly chore and you’re just likely to ditch the habit in no time. To help you save money without feeling deprived, we’ve come up with some simple tips and tricks you can try that might just work like a charm:

Set up automatic savings

You know those features on your bank accounts that let you transfer money automatically? Take advantage of that. By doing so, you make it so much easier to set aside money and make the habit a part of your lifestyle. By setting up automatic saving transfers, you are essentially setting up yourself for success. After all, you won’t miss the money you haven’t seen. You can start with a small amount you are comfortable with. Between 3 and 10% of your income is an ideal start.

Buy yourself a trusty coin bank

Another trick that will help you save more money without feeling like your depriving yourself is to start with those you usually forget about. Buy a coin bank and stash all your coins in there. In no time at all, you’ll have extra savings you can add to your savings account.

Add loan payments to savings

Another trick that works like a charm is to keep paying loans. That is, if you have a loan you’ve already fully repaid, continue to set aside the money but this time by adding it to your savings account. Since you’re already used to a lifestyle without the additional money, it won’t even hurt you to add the extra money to savings.

Pay yourself

Many financial experts often say to pay yourself first. As soon as you receive your paycheck, the proper thing to do is set aside a percentage for savings. But don’t just stop there. Keep paying yourself. If you’ve done a major housework, you should pay yourself at the equivalent rate as you would if you hire someone. Set the money aside for savings.

Strive to stay healthy

Pursuing a healthy lifestyle is not just about achieving the perfect body. It’s more about your wellbeing and that includes your emotional, physical and financial state. But zeroing in on the financial aspect, when you are healthy, you’ll not only feel great about yourself but you’ll be able to avoid getting sick which can be pretty expensive.

Cancel subscriptions

If you’re like most people, you probably have a number of subscriptions you’re not really maximizing. It makes perfect sense to just cancel some of them, don’t you think? Once you’ve freed up the extra money, you can set it aside and add to your savings account. No matter the amount, remember that it all adds up over time.

Take it a step at a time

One of the reasons why most people fail to save is because they feel overwhelmed. If you’re just starting out with this new lifestyle, it’s important to remember to take it all one-step at a time. If you stumble and fall, don’t take it too seriously. Just try to get back up on track. The biggest trick really is to just keep doing what works for you.