It’s just so easy to fall into the trap of spending more than what we can afford. 

I know I did.

I used to love living beyond my means — always relying on my credit cards to pay for all my unnecessary splurges.

I was constantly trying to keep up with this lifestyle — a lifestyle that was eventually leading me to financial ruin. 

I continued to give in to all my impulse purchases — purchases that I couldn’t even afford. 

And the worst part is, I constantly justified those bad spending habits with the fact that I deserved it — that I deserve good things. 

While that statement may be true but choosing to live above my means was only burying me in so much debt. 

It was doing me more harm than good. Yes, I was happy every time I make those purchases but that kind of happiness doesn’t last. 

For what it’s worth, living beyond my means only made me feel stuck because I didn’t have any savings, no emergency funds and of course, I was buried in debt. 

It only gave me so much stress and a lot of sleepless night. 

I swear, looking at my credit card bills was just gut-wrenching. 

So, don’t make the same mistakes as I did. 

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I learned my lesson the hard way. Now, I find that the key to achieving financial security and financial success is by learning to live below your means. 

I tell you whether you want to increase your savings, add more to your emergency fund or get out of debt learning to live below your means will help you achieve it. 

After having to quit my job, I had no stable income, since I was just jumping from one freelance work to another, living below my means was a total lifesaver! 

It saved me from a lot of stress and constant worrying. 

So, if you want to start achieving those financial goals and improve your finances, living below your means is a great way to start. 

Here are 5 Proven tips to help you start living below your means without feeling deprived… 

Set Financial Goals

I can’t tell you how many times I told myself that I will finally start saving money but of course, I always fail. 

It was too difficult for me to start and stick with it and you know why?

It’s because I never really had any financial goals. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my money.

As awful as it sounds but I didn’t have any future financial plans. 

If you want to start living below your means you must first know what your goal is. 

Knowing what you will be gaining by living below your means will make it easier for you to start it and stick with it. 

So, take the time to sit down and figure out what that is. 

In my case, it was to help me get out of debt and figuring that out made it so much easier for me to make the sacrifices needed to spend less than what I can afford. 

Photo by on Unsplash

Track your current and past spending

This is one of the very first steps I took. 

Tracking your finances effectively helps create better financial awareness. This gives you the opportunity to know where every dollar goes and how you’re spending your money. 

Doing this actually gave me a clearer picture of what habits I had to change to stop wasting money and what areas I can easily cut to reduce my spending.

Also, if you have a habit of just mindlessly spending your money, doing this will help you prevent that. 

Since this basically forces you to acknowledge all those and it also makes it a whole lot easier to recognize all your unnecessary purchases. 

So, start by checking your previous statements and start recording each of your expenses every day — you’ll definitely be surprised how helpful this is in achieving your goals faster! 

Related: 5 Things I Stopped Buying to Save Money

Reevaluate your bills

Since I was spending beyond my means for a long time, I knew that the best way for me to figure out how to lower my monthly expenses was to reevaluate my monthly bills.

So, if we are on the same boat, it’s best to take a close look at all your monthly expenses. Do you have any recurring subscriptions that you’re no longer using?

Any big bills that you can downsize? Memberships that you are no longer using?

The thing with these recurring subscriptions is, we are often too used into paying them and since the upfront charges are low, we barely even realize how much money we are wasting — money that we could have just easily saved if we only paid close attention. 

Look at all your expenses at a financial perspective. Determine what things you are willing to give up to reach your financial goals faster.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Make more money (if possible)

After having to quit my job and jumping from one freelance work to another, my income was barely even enough to make the ends meet.

My budget was already so tight, so the thought of living below my means just seemed impossible.  

If you too feel this way, it might be time to look for ways to boost your income. If possible, there are plenty of side hustles job that you can easily do in your free time and while you are at the comfort of your own home. 

To help you get started, here’s a list of side-hustle jobs that you can start today… 

Related: 5 Habits of Debt-Free People you should Copy

Don’t Elevate your lifestyle

This habit was one of the reasons why I was buried in debt. 

Back when I was working my office job, I got a promotion so that meant an increase in my paycheck but was I able to save some of that money?

No, because instead of using that money to start saving or to pay off my current debts, I chose to elevate my lifestyle. 

And that was definitely one of my biggest mistakes. 

Because the reality is, regardless of how much we can boost our income if we also elevate our lifestyle every time that happens, it still won’t help us reach our financial goals. 

So, if you’re tempted to inflate your lifestyle, it’s best to always focus on your “Why”. Why you wanted a raise in the first place?

Why did you boost your income in the first place? Focus on it and make wise money decisions. 

Living below your means can be challenging. You may encounter a lot of setbacks and temptations to just quit but don’t. 

Persevere, focus on your end goal and be consistent with your efforts. 

It can be overwhelming to change all your spending habits at once, so take baby steps. Remember that you don’t have to do everything at once. 

Set small goals and always keep yourself motivated. You can do this! 

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