The goal is to live below your means now, so that you can be more comfortable later. Or, to live below your means for a time so you can pay off debt, build up a savings or reach some other financial goal. Whatever your reason for being frugal, truly living below your means is what is going to get your goals accomplished.
But, what does it really mean to live below your means?
The answer is manifold. There are a lot of ways you can live below your means and be frugal.
Drive less of a car than you can afford.
Sometimes is means driving an outdated, but paid-for old thing for a few years. As long as it is reliable, why pay for something else. Don’t let pride or a desire for instant gratification get ya! Of course if its breaking down all the time, you don’t want to pour money into a sinking ship. Be wise about it, but don’t buy a new just because your pride is hurting a little bit.
Live in less of a house than you can afford.
Frugality aside, the more house you have, the more you have to clean! Ain’t nobody got time for that! 😉
But, more house does cost you more money. And don’t forget about the money involved in furnishing and decorating a bigger house. Living in a smaller, less extravagant home can definitely save you money.
Refrain from spending what’s left after your bills are paid.
I know, it’s tempting to see the money left over, after all your bills are paid, as money to burn. But, if you are trying to save money, be frugal and live below your means, that money should already be assigned to your financial goal. Don’t spend it on junk that is just going to clutter your house up, put it toward your debt snowball, or your savings account.
Avoid clothing fads.
I know, it’s hard! I love new clothes, shoes and accessories. But, when I really take a hard look at my jammed packed closet i get to feeling
a little very wasteful. If I added up all the money I’ve spent on clothes, I would probably throw up.
Lately I have been really strict on myself about clothing shopping. Truly living below my means means that I don’t follow every fashion trend that passes by. I do NOT have to have the latest thing to look well-dressed. And let’s face it y’all, fads come and go real fast!
Avoid decorating fads.
And home decorating fads! Hobby Lobby is a trap I tell ya! I really just try to avoid it and stores like it because it is so hard to walk out of there without some adorable but cluttery item that I don’t need.
Home decor trends change as quickly as clothing trends. So, if you try to keep up, you are not only spending a lot of money, but you are cluttering up your home and ultimately adding to your future Goodwill donation bin. I know, I sound like a Negative Nancy, but if you look at it for what it is, you will see that I’m right.
Re-purpose and re-use.
Throwing out things that are less than perfect or have a minor defect is the American way! We know we can just drive down to the store and get a new one so we mindlessly toss things out. If you really want to make the most of your money you should re-purpose and re-use every chance you get.
Make due with what you have.
This sounds pretty simple, but how often do we buy things we really don’t have to have? Just because it’s only a few dollars or just because everyone is getting one doesn’t mean we need to buy it. The little expenses add up, y’all. (Read more about that here.)
Don’t be afraid to buy used. Buying used cars, used furniture and used clothing can be a great way to stretch your budget and live below your means. But, you can also buy all kinds of things used; tools, appliances, decorations, toys, anything really!
You can save so much money by buying used instead of brand new. Sometimes you can even get brand new items from people who bought them new but never used them. To truly live below your means, check yard sales, resale shops, on-line groups, craigslist and eBay before buying something new.
Be conscious of all the money that goes out. Like I said before, all the little expenses add up quickly. Pay attention to where your money is going so you aren’t mindlessly letting your money slip away. I posted a free printable in this post to help you track that.
Avoid the latest version.
Skip the latest versions of cell phones, tablets, computers and other electronics. You really don’t need them. Keeping the older version as long as possible is not a huge sacrifice. Just because you can afford to upgrade doesn’t mean you should. Of course Apple would disagree with me! 😉
Are you really living a frugal lifestyle, below your means?
If you are hardcore about saving money, you should be doing everything necessary to make it happen. If you are all about it but not exactly hard-core, you should be doing a lot of these.
If you are just getting started on your journey into frugal living you should start with a couple of these and work your way into doing more. It can be hard at first, but eventually you won’t see it as a loss of stuff, rather as a gain of money and financial freedom.
What about you? Are you doing any of these things? Are there any ways you are living below your means that I didn’t mention? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
P.s. If you liked this one, you will love these…