LIVING BELOW YOUR MEANS: BENEFITS AND GUIDE

“Live below your means but within your needs.” –Suze Orman  

Perhaps you’re familiar with it, but do you know what it means to live below your means? It is a lifestyle in which you spend less than what you make.

The problem nowadays, most people are living beyond their means. According to study, almost 55 percent of Americans say that they spend more than they make each month.

People tend to spend more than they can afford, charge it to credit cards, and thinking that everything is still under their control. They keep on doing this kind of lifestyle again and again until one day, they woke up with tons of debts and can’t afford to pay it back.

Debts slow you from accomplishing your financial goals and future plans. Your hard earned money will be wasted because you are paying more than the item’s cost because of interest. Having debts can lead to serious stress and relationship conflicts. To sum it up, having debt is not good for your pocket, yourself, and loved ones.

To avoid or stop any of this life’s mess, you need to adopt the lifestyle of living below your means. This way of life will give you lots of benefits.

7 Benefits of Living Below Your Means

  1. Pay or Avoid Debts 

If you spend more than you earn, the negative balance will be covered by your credit card or borrowed money from family or friends. If you keep this kind of life, your debts will ultimately grow.

By living below your means, much more money will be left in your pocket. This extra money can be used for debt repayment. The best part, having extra money will keep you from clinging unto debt if ever big purchases or emergency occurs. This way of life is the road towards a debt-free life.

  1. Save for Present and Future  

Do you plan to save-up to buy a new laptop or go on a travel? Or you want to save to buy your dream house or fund your retirement? Whatever plans and goals you have, either short or long term, saving will be a piece of cake if you live below your means.

As a result of spending less than what you make, there is more money allocated for your savings account. Living below your means will help you reach your financial goals.

  1. You’re In Control  

If you dream to be financially free, take control of your finances. You can manage your situation and stay out of debt by not spending everything you make. You won’t live paycheck to paycheck since you always allot extra cash for emergency expenses. Having important big purchases, a sudden business trip, medical emergencies, and any other sudden situation will not be a problem to you anymore.

Living below your means give you supreme authority over your finances. It is much better to have control of your money instead of your money taking control of you.

  1. Stress-Free   

If you read my first post, you will know that I had so many sleepless nights thinking about my debts and miserable financial situation. I always had headaches every time I received my bills. When I received my paycheck, seeing the digits written on it gave me more worries knowing that it can’t cover up my expenses. Dealing with financial problem is a stressful one.

As I embrace minimalism, I decided to live with less by living below my means. With this, I slowly pay-off my debts and overcome my financial anxiety.

Living with less and below your means will give you a stress-free life. Receiving bills will not be a nightmare anymore. Whatever financial situation may suddenly occur to you, you’re always ready to slay it.

  1. No more long working hours or side hustling 

As I mention above, living below your means will give you a stress-free life. Another benefit of it is that you won’t need to work overtime or do side hustles to earn additional income just to fund your lavish lifestyle or pay your debts. Moreover, you have more time to relax and do the things you love such as gardening or playing sports.

Living below your means gives you more freedom and control over your time.

  1. More Family Time  

Given that living below your means give you control over your time (no need to work extra hours to earn more), you can spend more time with your family and loved ones. You can go out and have picnic at the park or stay at home and watch movies together.

Spending more time with your family is one of the best benefits of living below your means.

  1. Have Fun  

If you’re done paying off all your debts; already build an emergency fund; and have enough savings; you can spend your extra cash on the activities you love such as traveling. Living below your means gives you less stress, more time and happiness.

I am not saying that you spend everything to leisure, my point is that you deserve a treat. I know, living below your means is not an easy lifestyle, you have so many restrictions, hence, treat yourself even just once a week or once a month. Go on adventures and have fun. It is much better to spend on experiences than on things.

Living with less is not easy. You may be harsh to yourself sometimes by cutting off your expenses and minimizing your leisure activities. However, the benefits of living below your means is immeasurable. So, if you decided to embrace this lifestyle, below are the steps to guide you on how to live below your means.

7 Steps on How to Live Below Your Means

  1. Commit yourself to live below your means.
  2. Evaluate all the sources of your income including your 9-5 job, businesses, and side hustles.  By this, obtain your average monthly income.
  3. Track everything you spend and calculate your average monthly expenses. Subtract the average monthly expenses to the average monthly income. It must not result to a negative digit. If your expenses is beyond your income, cut unnecessary expenses. Remember, spend only on the stuff you really need.
  4. Make a budget and stick to it. On doing grocery purchases, make a list and calculate the estimated total cost. Then, only bring the estimated amount to avoid impulse buying.
  5. Control your spending. Evaluate the item first before purchasing.
  6. Live frugally and be resourceful.
  7. Increase your income if it can’t suffice your expenses (necessities) and if cutting is not enough.

Final Thoughts

Live a meaningful life and not a wasteful one. Living below your means is a manner to reduce stress, create more time for yourself and family, pay off debts, and build wealth. It doesn’t need to be boring, you can create more options to spend less. Be resourceful and commit yourself to live frugally.

Living below your means gives you more control over your finances and time. You don’t need to fool yourself that you need more to be happy. Remember, wealth is not measured by the materials we possess.

How about you? Is living below your means beneficial to you? What are the benefits it brought to your life? What are your steps to live this kind of lifestyle? Feel free to share it here.

All the best!

Advertisements

7 Easy Steps Towards A Decluttered Home

“We need much less than we think we need”.- CaitFlanders.com

All our lives, we thought we need much to be happy. We thought having it all is our road trip to contentment. We keep on buying, owning, and keeping without knowing our home was already filled with more stuff. Perhaps some stuff was not yet used.

This too much stuff gives us distractions. To remove distractions, we try to organize. However, organizing is just a temporary solution. If we still have this “we need more” mindset, stuff will keep on accumulating and distractions will get worst.

So what shall we do now?

Let’s have a break, grab a cup of tea, then evaluate our life and our stuff. Think of what makes us really happy? Are having too much stuff gives us joy and freedom? Is stocking unnecessary items is our definition of abundance?

As I embrace minimalism into my life, I decided to remove all my unwanted possessions and own less. Owning less for me means less debt, less to organize, less to clean, less stress, less distraction, more money and time. After that, I started to declutter my home. Below are the steps I did to declutter.

7 Easy Steps Towards A Decluttered Home

1. Categorized

Categorized your stuff based on its use or purpose. For instance: your pants, shirts, dresses, and underwear are under clothing category; your shampoo, face powder, comb, toothbrush is under beauty category; your mobile phones, laptop, camera, chargers are under gadget category. You can create as many categories as you want. These categories will group your stuff to make it easier to sort out.

2. Remove

Remove all your stuff from its place and lay it in the bed or on the floor. When I say all, it exactly means all. Remove everything, including your scarf in the cloth stand, the bobby pins inside your drawer, and everything you own in every edge of your room. By this, you can see all your stuff and figure out what you overlooked.

3. Sort Out

Sort out your stuff and group them according to the categories you created.  In decluttering, focus on one category at a time. Start at the category with most stuff. It is better to start in a category that needs a lot of work while your drive and energy are at its peak.

4. Evaluate

This is the step that needs your emotional judgment. Prepare 3 boxes or container (depends on the size or volume of the stuff). These boxes/containers serve as the destination of your stuff. One is for “to be used stuff”, the other one is for “to donate/sell stuff”, and the last one is for the “unsure stuff”. Unsure means you’re undecided on its destination, whether you keep it or donate/sell it.

For the “Unsure Stuff”, keep it away from sight. Give yourself one month before you evaluate it again. If after a month you’re still unsure, give yourself another month to decide. If the stuff was still untouched after 2 months, in that case, it was destined to be given away.

On the other hand, if after a week or a month you decided to use some stuff, you can get it out from the box and return it back to the closet. Remember, you are not restricted to do so. Give or sell the other stuff.

5. Return

For your “To be used stuff”, evaluate it again. Will it be necessary? Will this stuff be used often? Or will it give joy to you? If the answer is “yes”, return it back to where it belongs. However, if your answer is “no”, then let it go.

6. Give Space

Give free spaces between stuff. Now, there is more room for the stuff you might need and the stuff you love the most.

7. Donate/Sell

Give your unwanted stuff to your relatives or friends that need it the most. You can also give it to the charities you supported. But if you need money to pay your bills or debts, sell it. Below are some ideas might help you on how and where you can sell your unwanted stuff:

Final Thoughts

Owning less gives me more happiness, freedom, and contentment. Moreover, having less creates more space to those significant things that will come into my life.

Furthermore, decluttering doesn’t need to be finished within a day. You can schedule it either every weekend or anytime that suits you. Start at your own pace. You can also involve your partner or your kids.

It’s your turn now. Evaluate your life and all the stuff you own. If you think that having more will not give you any satisfaction, so go ahead. Declutter your home with these 7 easy steps and start to live with less.

Embracing Minimalism: A Life-changing Decision

Is your life a mess? Are you tired of dealing with your stuffed or even life? Are you having so many sleepless nights thinking about your debts? Well, we’re on the same shoe but I slowly overcome it. How? By deciding to fully embrace minimalism into my life.

“Less is more.” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Perhaps you already heard or read about minimalism. Maybe you’re thinking, “Here we go again, there’s another person wants to join the trend.” Since minimalism is in vogue these days especially to the millennial like me.

To join the crowd is not my intention. I have these two (2) major life-changing goals I want to attain and becoming minimalist is my trip ticket.

To Have a Debt-Free Life

I have been living paycheque to paycheque. Every time I received my salary, it goes directly to my bills, my debts, and my family’s expenses; at the end of the day, nothing is left for savings and for me. The worst part is my financial status becomes negative. This means that my expense is greater than my income so I cling to debts.

This kind of life goes on and on and on. I have been so many sleepless nights thinking about how I am going to slay my debts. I am drenched to debts because I keep on spending thinking that I am still in control.

When I heard about minimalism, I knew that this lifestyle will help me solve my financial problem. By shifting to a minimalist lifestyle, I build a habit of spending less and saying no to expenses knowing that we don’t need to buy more stuff to be happy and contented.

By wanting less, I learned to cut my expenses and use the money to pay debts instead. In making purchases, I evaluate the item first if is it really necessary and will it bring joy to my life.

Becoming a minimalist slowly leads me to a debt-free life.

To Have a Decluttered Life

I work in an industry far from the city. I spend my nonworking hours in a small room provided by my employer  with just a bed, a table, and a small closet. It is spacious yet appears crowded caused by my cluttered stuff. I have plenty of stuff which I didn’t use. I keep this stuff thinking that I will be needing this someday.

Cleaning and organizing this stuff consumes my time. I should have spent my time doing the things I love than dealing with this mess. Moreover, aside from a wasted time, having a cluttered room gives me a cluttered mind. I get stressed and distracted instead of coming home from work to relax.

Another essence of embracing minimalism is to declutter. Decluttering unnecessary stuff to give more space to things we love the most.

In a few months time, I have removed almost two-third of my stuff. Wew! I can’t imagine I have this much stuff sleeping in my small room.

Decluttering gives me freedom. No more wasted time cleaning and organizing. I can surely stay in my room, sip a cup of tea, relax, and focus on my writing with no more distractions.

Final Thoughts

It’s been more than a month since I started a minimalist lifestyle. This decision really changes my life. I now started my journey to a debt-free life; I created a monthly budget; cut my expenses and live below my means. Being a minimalist also changes the aura of my room. It is more spacious now and I am more relaxed. The burden inside me is long way gone and I can now sleep soundly without any worries in mind.

I know I am not yet free from debt. But I believe, step by step, I will surely get in there by living below my means or living with less. This means I have to cut my unwanted expenses. If you think this is way too harsh, well, it’s not. I am more comfy with it and I do believe that this is the life I really wanted.

It’s your turn now. If you want to change your life positively, and if you think minimalism is the way, embrace it as well. But if your done already, what your reasons and goals?

Best of luck on your journey to a simple life and feel free to share your stories here with me.