How to live within your means.
With the stress of the holidays, both emotional and financial, it can seem as though there is never enough money to make ends meet. This is especially true in this economy where so many people are looking for jobs and even those who are lucky enough to have them are making less money than ever. This holiday season is a great time to start thinking about goals for the new year and what better goal is there than to make more money than you spend?
Of course the problem is that how much you earn isn't as flexible as how much you spend. While you can make a budget and save for more important goals, there are still some changes that aren't as obvious that can help you make your financial life easier.
Here are 4 ways to make living on less a reality:
Think about what kind of life you want to have - Look at your career options and try to get a clear idea of what type of life you want. If you aren't making a lot of money now, you might not be able to have a huge home and a brand new SUV. And that's ok! Once you do this, you may need to re-define what being successful means to you. It's ok to drive an old car and live in an apartment. Most of the ideas we have about what a successful person looks like comes from advertising, not reality.
Share and borrow more - Borrow books, movies, clothes for special occasions from friends and always be generous and share the things you have. By combining forces, all of you can save money and have better experiences. For example, taking a small family out to the movies and buying snacks can cost almost $100. Instead, ask a friend to lend you their 4 favorite movies and then make snacks at home. You can even get the whole family involved. It will build better memories while saving a bundle.
Don't go to the mall - I look at the mall as a place that has a huge toll. There is no way that I am going to go in there and walk out without spending money. It just doesn't happen. These days, I prefer to do my shopping online and look for other ways to entertain myself rather than spend time at a place that is designed to take my money. Also, I try to avoid stores like Target and Walmart when I have kids with me. Target.com offers free delivery, so I prefer to buy things that way rather than pay the "kid surcharge" (you know, the one where they beg for just something small). Those little tolls add up to some big money.
Don't watch commercials - Almost everywhere you look these days, there are advertisements. It's insane. I don't watch a lot of TV, so when I do I am always shocked at the constant bombardment of messages that tell me what I ought to buy, how I should look and what I should do with my life. Take a break and check out movies from your local library instead of watching commercial-filled programs. Personally, I prefer to watch a television show on DVD because you can watch all the episodes and don't have to worry about editing or commercials.
Living a more frugal life will take making big changes in your lifestyle. It doesn't have to be painful, in fact, many people find that once they cut out all of the madness, they are able to live a more comfortable and more rewarding life.
What do you think about this? Are there any ideas you plan to try? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for Administrativejobsblog and Nexxt. Along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.