When you envision living below your means, what comes to mind? I often thought that living below ones means meant that you had to make major sacrifices, wear clothes I didn’t really want or drive a car that I was embarrassed to be seen in. However, over time I’ve discovered that there are ways to live below your means and not necessarily sacrifice a comfortable living.
The most important step in any savings program is to start slowly and proceed at your pace. It’s much easier to find ways to cut out $5 – $10 a week than it is to eliminate $500 overnight. I’ve come up with 5 ways you can live below your means, saving significantly, without really feeling it.
1. Share, Borrow, Trade – There are many local and online resources where you can find items at no cost. Your local library has new releases of both books and DVDs. You neighbor may have a yard tool you can borrow. Online resources such as Paperback Book Swap, Craigslist and Freecycle can help you reap significant savings.
2. Buy with cash – Many financial experts, such as Dave Ramsey, say that you will spend 10% – 15% less if you use cash instead of credit. There is something about handing over cash that makes you stop and contemplate just a moment longer.
3. Check with your service providers to lower your costs – periodically you should call your local providers such as phone, cable, internet and ask if there are better rates available? If you are given a lower rate, actually SAVE THE DIFFERENCE by transferring it to a savings account.
4. Never pay full retail – If you are buying online, before you check out ALWAYS search for a coupon code. It’s easy to do and only takes a few minutes. All you have to do is type in the name of the website you’re purchasing from along with the word ‘coupon’ or ‘code’. Whatever you save, make it an actual savings by transferring the money into your savings account.
5. Eat/Cook at home – eating out can be costly. Even if it’s the $1 menu at the fast food giant of your choice, it adds up over time. In addition to saving money, eating/cooking at home can save you calories and help ensure you eat a healthy and balanced meal. By eating more at home, your wallet and your body will thank you.
By incorporating these 5 simple changes into your daily routine you can see that living below your means without really feeling is possible!