Living below your means can sound scary and impossible. But I truly believe in many cases it is possible, and in the end will leave you feeling happier. We have had times we lived below our means and times we haven't. We are now, once again living below our means, not by much, mind you due to where we are in our life (a career change, and starting over in some areas of our lives) but even a little bit makes a huge difference. Here are the reasons I believe you should live below your means.
1. In case of a crisis. Life is unpredictable. We don't know if tomorrow we will have a health crisis, or a house fire, or an accident. Even though more than likely an event like that will cause strain financially no matter where you are in life, the impact will be less if you are in a better financial position.
2. In case of emergency. Your furnace can break or your car can die. Having no emergency fund or room to budge in your budget can send you into sheer panic during one of these events. Trust me, I know by experience.
3. To save up for items with no stress of debt payments afterwards. If you are living below your means, chances are, when you have your eye on something such as a trip or new furniture, you will save first before you buy, rather than vice versa. This will allow you to actually enjoy the furniture or trip without wondering how you are going to pay for it after it is all said and done.
4. To give to others. We have been on the receiving end of people giving many, many times. Recently, friends of ours had a house fire. We instantly wanted to help, and unlike other times before where we didn't know how we would help because of financial difficulties, because we are in a bit of a better position now we were able to help at least a little bit without hesitation.
5. To pay off debt. We ALL want to pay off our debt. We all hate having debt hanging over our heads. Although we still have a long way to go, I have seen a huge progress in the last year for us as we continue to live below our means.
6. To Get a good night's sleep. You know how nice it is to go to sleep and not worry on how you are going buy groceries this month? I've been on both ends, and let me tell you, I love the peace it brings me to be able to know that I don't have to figure out how to feed my family.
7. So that panic won't set in when the economy struggles. We have recently planned a camping trip to the
The Canadian dollar is not doing well.
Although I wish it was better, we didn't have to stress about our trip
because we have financially planned within our means. Gas costs go up and down, food groceries continue to rise, and taxes never seem to drop. Living below your means makes it easier to handle these financial pressures.
Of course, I must admit, I still panic a bit when hydro goes up, (which in Ontario seems to feel like every ten minutes sometimes)! I'm still a work in progress. :)
Just because you live below your means doesn't mean you won't face financial hardship. Like I said, a crisis could happen in an instant leaving you in a tough spot. Things happen in all our lives that are sometimes inside our control and sometimes outside of our control when it comes to our financial situation. All we can do is try our best to plan and prepare for those moments and work towards being in a better position with our finances.
And sometimes, there are absolutely no other places in your budget to cut, the only way to improve financially is to make more income. I get it, we've been there. Sometimes career changes, or other tough decisions are conversations that need to be had, and changes need to be made. And it's never easy to make big changes in our lives. But when it seems to big to handle, just work on taking the NEXT step.
Although we've always had a more frugal lifestyle than others, it doesn't mean we've always made the best choices (we are human, after all!) And because of some of our choices along as well as other events out of our control we are digging ourselves out of a hole much deeper than we ever wanted to be in. But for the first time in our life I feel like we finally have some real control over our situation and I hope to keep working towards financial freedom, no matter how long it may take or how slow it may feel sometimes!
Even slow progress is progress! Remember that.
Peace & Love. :)