Living below your means can seem impossible sometimes, especially if you are already struggling to make ends meet, but spending more than what you can afford regularly will eventually lead to financial ruin if you aren’t careful.
If you are fed up with continually trying to keep up with your monthly credit card bills, increasing debt, and lack of financial breathing space, use these three tips to help you start your journey to improve your finances by living below your means.
Stick to your budget
To successfully live below your means, you need to have a budget in place; otherwise, you will keep overspending. A budget is vital to ensure success and will give you an accurate picture of your monthly cash flow. Once you can see the whole picture, you can then focus on your weak spots and areas for improvement to help you save as much money as possible and get out of debt. Doing this will help you to identify habits that you need to change and where you are wasting your money. Make sure to do a new budget at the beginning of every month, either in a dedicated planner or an Excel spreadsheet, and aim to stick to it. Just leave a little bit of wiggle room for those last-minute surprises that life inevitably throws at us from time to time. Remember that your budget is very individual and will differ from everyone else’s, the most important thing is that it works for you. If you find that realistically your budget doesn’t work in the first month, then that’s also fine – you can always go back and tweak it, but having a budget, even if not perfect straight away, will stop you from mindlessly spending money allowing you to save more.
Make more money
If you have budgeted as much as possible, and find that you are still struggling and feeling deprived, then it might be time to start thinking of ways to increase your income. Easier said than done? Of course. But there are also many money-making opportunities out there if you are willing to look around and work hard enough. In an era where just about everyone has a side hustle, there are plenty of part-time, freelance jobs that you can easily do in your spare time on evenings and weekends, and many from the comfort of your own home. The trick is to simply get started, keep persevering, and take every opportunity you can. If you don’t want to work for someone else, why not start your own business on the side instead and look into starting your own blog or promoting your skills and becoming a freelancer? This will help you to save more and live below your means a little easier, meaning that you are more likely to stick to this new way of living.
Don’t spend more just because you earn more
Should you be successful in finding ways of making an extra income, then congratulations! Just make sure that you don’t fall victim to the vicious cycle of spending more now that you are earning more. It might be tempting to go after lusted-over purchases now that you have some extra money, but remember what your overall goal is. Instead of using your extra income on mindless spending, start using it to pay off current debts and add to your savings. Regardless of how much you earn, if you elevate your lifestyle every time you get a pay rise, you will never gain control over your finances, and you’ll always be living in debt. If you are struggling with severe debts and don’t know how to deal with them, reaching out for professional help from specialists such as gaining a DTSS Membership is a great first step to finally gain control over your finances. Living below your means is challenging, yes, but think about why you’ve boosted your income, all of the progress you’ve made in the first place and the financial freedom that you are ultimately trying to achieve.