Live Below Your Means: Top 5 Tips

Live Below Your Means

Margo Lestz

Many people have champagne taste on a beer budget. They are always wanting to buy more than they can afford. And, in our society, there’s a never-ending list of ways to spend money. Advertising is designed to encourage and persuade us to want more, and we’re constantly bombarded with images of the latest cars, luxury holidays, smart phones, and other gadgets. It’s no wonder we never seem to be satisfied.

Too many people spend money they don’t have, to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t likeWill Rogers



Spending more than you make and living on credit is costly. Credit cards make it so easy to overspend and live above your means. When you buy something on credit and include the interest, you may be paying an exorbitant amount for the item.

For example, let’s say you bought a pair of shoes for £100.00. If you purchased them with a credit card that charged between 18-24%, and you made only the minimum monthly payments on that credit card, it would probably take you over 25 years to pay them off, and your newly purchased shoes would cost you more than £400!

So, if you do not have the means  to pay for something now, you shouldn’t buy it. Living above your means will put you further and further behind in the money game.

Live Below Your Means



Even if you can afford to buy something now, that doesn’t mean you should. If you spend everything you earn, it’s unlikely that you will ever get ahead, and you might end up falling behind if you have unexpected expenses or if you lose your job.

Some people live above their means, and others live within their means, but to have real financial freedom, you need to live below your means.



You must live below your means in order to have funds to save. For peace of mind, you should have an emergency fund to handle unexpected expenses. You never know when you might need to cover home repairs or even job loss. Or perhaps you want to save up for a well-deserved holiday or a new car. Having money put aside for these expenses can give you a sense of security, knowing that life’s little emergencies won’t destroy your financial plan. You can also begin to save for your long-term goals, such as university fees, or a comfortable retirement.

Top 5 Tips for living below your means

  1. Make a Budget – Before you can begin your financial plan, you must know how much you are earning, how much you are spending, and what you are spending it on. You can use our Genistar budgeting form which we call the Fat Finder because it helps you identify the ‘fat’ or excess in your spending.
  2. Make a Plan – Most people spend more time planning a family holiday than they do planning for their financial freedom. Involve the whole family so everyone knows what they are working toward.
  3. Spend Less – Maybe you could eat out less often, shop around for your utilities, insurances, etc. Don’t buy things you don’t need, and don’t buy on credit.
  4. Make Extra Money – Maybe you can begin a part-time job or sell some of your unneeded items. You might even earn enough by selling forgotten items in your attic to pay off your credit cards. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
  5. Have a Winning Attitude – Think positively about your financial situation. Learn from your past mistakes and stay focused on your financial goals.

No matter where you are today, you can change the course of your financial future by making a plan and implementing a few small changes at a time. Financial freedom is for everyone.

Don’t Buy Stuff You Can’t Afford. This funny video with American actor Steve Martin on the Saturday Night Live show is humorous, but the message is important. 

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