It’s a common misunderstanding that living below your means will make you feel depressed and unsatisfied with life. Doing without the luxuries we are used to can be a difficult adjustment, but the payoff is much more worthwhile than you would think.
Below are eight things you’ll notice when you start living below your means. You’ll be surprised how much you will change once you change your spending habits.
1. Sacrifice Isn’t as Painful as You Thought
This first point is perhaps the most effective. Often people think that doing without will be too stressful, tiring, and boring even to comprehend.
Sacrifice comes with many benefits. If you are worried about the sacrifices, you will have to start saving and start small.
If you make it your mission to do without that morning coffee, you will be surprised to discover that you stop missing that coffee altogether after a week or so.
2. You Didn’t Need That Item
Yes, but if I buy that outfit and wear it on most nights out, it would have practically paid for itself!
Yes, we have heard this one a lot and told ourselves the same! Sure, that new dress or pair of shoes look irresistible in the shop window. The fact is that you have gone your entire life without them and have done just fine so far – read more on CleverGirlFinance.
We often fool ourselves into thinking that we need to stay on-trend. Or we need that new item that just came out because it will make our lives so much easier.
The truth is, you are doing nothing more than falling for very clever marketing tactics. You do not need to buy half of the items that you do.
The next time you see the next ‘must have’ item – walk by it. You will be surprised how quickly you will forget that such an item even existed.
3. Less Stress
The best part about living beneath your means is the emotional benefits. All too often, people reach the end of the month and are left with the worry of wondering where their next meal is coming from.
When you live beneath your means, you always start the month by setting money aside for the essentials. There is no more stress about that unexpected bill, the last week’s grocery shop, or if you can afford to travel to work that day.
The emotional relief of knowing you have the basics covered is vast. So many people forget this feeling because they have spent so long living hand to mouth after payday.
Try setting out your budget for the essentials and saving it somewhere separate from your daily spending money. Notice how much lighter you feel knowing that all your payments are already taken care of.
4. More Security
As you begin to live beneath your means, you will notice a small savings accumulate. Having some savings stashed away is a great safety net for times when life happens.
Knowing that you can dip into your savings when times get tough makes you feel more safe, secure, and ready to face whatever life throws at you. Dealing with hardship has an emotional impact, not just a financial one. Knowing that the finances are taken care of means you won’t feel the pinch so much, and you can continue to focus on getting back to normal.
Try setting a savings goal of $,1000 for emergencies. If this is too much, transfer whatever is left over at the end of the month into a savings account and let it grow.
5. A Healthier Bank Balance
No one can deny that seeing bigger numbers on your bank balance every month is a source of great happiness and joy.
Many people have forgotten what this looks and feels like, and others do not know this feeling at all.
Watching your bank balance grow will give you an enormous sense of pride. Not only are you on top of your bills and debts, but your bank manager is also happy too. Getting cash out is no longer a game of chance. You know the money is there if you need it.
You may also notice that as your money increases, you will be less likely to spend it. Psychologically, when you see the big numbers on the screen, you will be triggered to make them go higher, not lower. Instead of money controlling you, you will be in more control of your money.
Open a savings account and send all your leftover money there. Check it once and a while, and be sure to shop around for the best interest rates. Checking in and seeing the positive figures will make you feel more positive too.
6. Improved Opportunities
You heard of the saying that you have to spend money to make money?
Money breeds more money, and now you have a little under your belt, you may start investing in legitimate business opportunities and go from simple saving to wealth building.
Saving money and building wealth is entirely different. Saving cash is putting some aside from your monthly paycheck, which is great, but wealth building is when you place your money to work to make more.
Investing in new opportunities will give you a new entrepreneurial mindset. You don’t need to be an expert in the market; that’s what financial advisors are for! Even if you only have a few hundred dollars to invest at first, it is worth finding somewhere to invest it, so your hard-earned cash starts working for you.
7. You’ll Become Savvier
Getting a great deal feels just as good as buying something new at a total price; in fact, it feels even better.
When you live below your means, you’ll develop a keen eye for cost, and you will become even more reluctant to pay the total price.
Scouting for deals can get quite addictive; that’s why so many people are into couponing! The internet has tons of websites dedicated to just that, finding you the best deal through discount vouchers, two for one sale, or buying in bulk.
Saving a few bucks on the essentials feels good, leaving you to add a little extra to your savings or treating yourself to a cup of coffee without eating into your budget. Becoming money savvy is beneficial all around.
Next time you see an item you need, go home, and see if you find it cheaper online instead of buying it then and there. Additionally, only go for those two-for-one deals if you truly need two of those items. Go ahead and treat yourself with the extra few dollars you have saved or save them up for something even more significant.
8. Increased Self-Worth
As your money increases, so makes your sense of self-worth. Money isn’t evening, but it sure helps to know you are organized, on top of the bills, safe, and secure no matter what life has in store. Taking responsibility for your situation will increase your confidence and self-assurance.
Also, stepping up to the challenge of living below your means and making those sacrifices will give you an immense self of pride. Exercising self-control and restraint is not easy, and as time goes by and you continue this good habit, it will get easier.
After the first few months of living below your means, take some time out to appreciate what it is you are doing. Some people must make more changes than others to achieve this, but it’s still something even if you can only afford to live $10 below your means.
Never forget to congratulate yourself and pat yourself on the back for your efforts. It’s easy to criticize ourselves and give up on the endeavor entirely when we hit a few roadblocks, but the truth is that changing your mindset and lifestyle is a difficult task. If you have managed it in any way, it’s a good reason to stop and celebrate.
Set out a treat day once a month with a set budget. Even if it’s only $5, treat yourself to something nice and thank yourself for your effort to rectify and improve your finances. This will help you keep on track and give yourself something to look forward to at the end of the month.
Starting a new budget that allows you to live under your means is the first step to achieving a healthier mindset and bank balance.
You will quickly become surprised that you won’t miss most of the items that you previously thought you could not live without. Sacrifices rapidly become ‘the norm,’ and items that used to excite you won’t do so much anymore.
Clever marketers are always trying to persuade us to buy the ‘next big thing’ when less is more. The less you have, the less you need to protect and maintain. Opting for a minimalist lifestyle that does not involve hoarding every new gadget under the sun will give you a renewed sense of self-satisfaction and resilience.
Exercising willpower while watching your savings grow will see your stress levels diminish. Knowing that you have a nest egg stored away for a rainy day will alleviate many mental worries, and you will be better positioned to face any difficult times that lay ahead.
Living beneath your means that your finances will be in much better shape. Whether you are saving your money or paying off debt, being in control of your money and seeing your debt figure go down or your savings figures go up brings with it a sense of achievement and relief.
Overall, living below your means will help improve your self-worth and make you a savvier shopper. You will have less tolerance for overpriced items and will better negotiate when there is an opportunity.
Image by NATNN via Shutterstock