Guest Author Post: Simple Ways to Live Within Your Means

Guest Post: This post was written by James Lander. You can view more of Lander’s work at Couponing.com, a site dedicated to saving consumers money.

What does it mean to live within your means? Quite simply it means spending less than you are making. Some might question how you can accomplish such a thing, especially given our current economic state; but it’s important for ensuring future financial security. There are quite a few good answers to these queries.

First let’s take a look at some of the reason why it is desirable to not spend more than you make. Perhaps the biggest reason, a life free from the stress associated with living paycheck to paycheck. Having a little money put away that you can rely on if something unexpected happens can make all the difference. Another thing to consider is how good it would feel if someone very close to you needed financial help and you were able to provide that. Life becomes much more meaningful.

How can you get to the point where you are living within your means, or even below? As stated in the title there are “simple” ways to live within your means. Let’s discuss a few of these.

• Don’t eat out as much. In our fast paced world we have become “need it now” types of people. We don’t want to go home and prepare something or plan ahead to fix something. It is so much easier and faster to let someone else do it for us. You can get cheaper, more nutritious, better tasting meals eating at home.

• Buy store brands when you shop. The quality is not noticeably different for most products. Yes, understandably there are those things that you can’t disassociate yourself from – sure, Kraft Mac & Cheese just tastes better; that’s fine. Buying store brand items whenever possible allows for those splurges. Consider buying store brand paper towels, frozen foods or canned items.

Eating in is the new eating out?

• Stop trying to impress others. Whether it is name brand clothes or a shiny, new car. Clothes are meant to cover your body. And like shopping for store brand groceries, the same goes for clothes. Splurge on jeans that know will last a long time, but save on socks or t-shirts. Finding the balance is the most important thing.

• Buy used or rent. This goes for books, movies, tools etc. You can buy used books for a fraction of the cost of new. If you look at second hand stores or around the Internet, you can find an unlimited assortment of used books. Better yet, you can borrow it from a library for free. The same is true of movies. Check out eBay or Craiglist before making purchases, you might get lucky!

• Finally, don’t use your credit cards! When you are using plastic it doesn’t seem like real money.

When you use cash you can see your money going out of your hand and you are a lot more cautious about what the money is being spent on.

By using some of these little tips you will be able to live on the money you are making and slowly get ahead of the game. Not much can compare to the serenity of being able to pay your bills and still have money left over.

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