Living with simplicity is trending today. We all want it, many need it, but few do it.
Over the last two weeks, we’ve been writing about pursuing your passion, in a balanced manner that allows you to still provide for your family. In which, one of the suggestions we made was to live below your means.
We realize that some of you may not know where to begin in this process. So, we thought we would give you 4 tangible things you can do right now, to live below your means.
1. Stop frontin’ like you got money.
Yes, I said it, quit frontin’ like you got money; it’s costing you too much.
I can’t tell you how many families I’ve seen go into financial hardship; all because they were trying to keep up with the Jones’s? The truth is, the Jones’s can’t even keep up with themselves.
When I worked in the financial industry, I remember something one of my clients told me that stuck with me all these years. When I asked what type of checks she wanted to order, she said: “It doesn’t matter because the money spends the same way, I’ll take whatever is free.”
This came from someone who was wealthy and did not see the need to spend money on things that made her look wealthy. She knew she was wealthy. Unfortunately, the answer was very different from people that didn’t have as much. They were willing to pay $18-$30 more for fancy checks to give the appearance that they had money.
The problem with this is when we spend money to appear wealthy, it actually steals our wealth.
I changed my perspective about obtaining wealth years ago, when I read about the difference in the way the wealthy and un-wealthy people live their lives in a book called: The Millionaire Next Door. Wealthy people live below their means, and by doing so it gives them the freedom to enjoy life to the fullest.
This does not mean that you have to live poor. No! We don’t serve a poor God; this just means that we need to use wisdom on how we spend our money. As Children of God, we deserve to have God’s very best; but not at the expense of our peace.
James 1:17 tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from above. Buying the car of my dreams that stresses me out each month because I’m wondering if I can make the payment, is not a gift from above.
Why? Because the blessings of the Lord makes us rich and adds no sorrow! If your expenses to live your lifestyle brings sorrow, and you have to toil day after day to make it happen, then it’s not a blessing. And it’s time to make some changes.
2. Reduce how much you eat out.
One the largest expenses for any family is food; whether eating in or eating out.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, a family of 4 who eats liberally spends approximately $1296 a month on groceries, and that figure is even higher for those who eat out.
I understand there are times you may want to go out for special occasions. However, if you take a close look to how much you spend eating out, you will find that figure to be much higher than you thought.
Everything always comes down to keeping a balance. With that said, I don’t think you have to cut eating out completely. But I would encourage those who may eat out 3 to 4 days a week, to consider cutting it down to once a week or possible only a few times a month. That will help make a drastic reduction in your expenses.
And if you are interested in reducing your food expenses when eating at home, here a few tips to help you spend less at the grocery store, even without coupons.
• Make a menu for the week. Then write your grocery list according to what you plan on making. It is true that when you don’t make a list or have a plan, you end up buying more than what you need.
• Don’t go to the store hungry. Have you ever noticed that when you shop hungry, you buy more than what you need?
• Purchase what’s on sale. I live by the 11th commandment: Thou Shall Not Pay Retail! (yes, I made that up…)
• Purchase store brand items when you can. Some store brands are just as good as or even better than name brand items, with the only difference being the cost. You may have your favorite brands but by switching out some of your groceries with store brand items, you can reduce your grocery bill immediately.
3. Reduce or eliminate your cable bill.
With the influx of TV streaming options available from Netflix, to Hulu, Amazon Fire TV, and so many more, you can spend a fraction of the cost for cable.
With a little research, I’m sure you will discover how you can reduce or eliminate your cable bill, which will affect your bottom line!
4. Set your power bill and / or gas bill on equal payments.
Sticking to a budget is difficult when you have a lot of bills that vary every month. Some bills you don’t have any control over that; however, many power and gas companies offer equal payment plans.
This is where they take your cost for usage over the year and divide it up in 12 equal payments. Some of you may like the few months out of the year when your bill is low. But, it’s those few months out of the year; when the bill is high, that causes you to get behind somewhere else. Knowing exactly what your power or gas bill will be each month, will help you stay on track with your budget.
If you’re tired of living just to pay bills, and want to pursue your dreams with peace, then purposing to live below your means is the best place to start. Keep in mind, the tiniest changes can make the biggest progress!
We all want to live simplistic lives; many of us need to, but few will do it. So I ask you, will you be a part of the few?
~ Timberley Gray