18 Means for Living Below Your Means
Practical Tips for Productive Living
Live a comfortable life, not a wasteful one. Do not spend to impress others. Do not live life trying to fool yourself into thinking wealth is measured in material objects. Manage your money wisely so your money does not manage you. Always live well below your means.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
– Benjamin Franklin
Redefine your definition of "rich". – "I remember sitting in a cubicle at my first professional job staring at a picture of an SUV I wanted to buy (and eventually did). Now, I sit in my office and look at the pictures of my kids, and just outside my window I can see the beater I drive sitting in the company parking lot. What a difference a decade makes! To sum things up, my definition of being rich is having enough money to meet my family’s basic needs, a few of our wants, and to be able to give some away to others." – via Frugal Dad
Borrow and share. Everyone wins! – "We borrowed a DVD from a friend instead of renting or buying and had a little snack from our own fridge! Way cheaper than using gas to drive to the theater/rental place, paying for a movie, and paying for a snack." – via My Dollar Plan
Avoid the mall. – "Going to the mall is not entertainment! We used to go when we were bored. Of course, we usually ended up spending money while we were there. If you need clothes, then shop sales or go to stores that offer name-brands at a discount. You can save a ton on these items if you are a smart shopper. Dave Ramsey says, "Never pay retail!" We probably save $15 to $30 per month by staying away from the mall." – via My Super-Charged Life
Limit your intake of advertisements. – "Advertising sucks. That’s the cold, hard truth. It’s engineered to make you feel like you’re incomplete, that you have an unfulfilled need, that you’re not good enough." – via On Simplicity
Buy with cash. – "You can’t spend money you don’t have. Many bank accounts provide overdraft protection, so even with a debit card, it’s easier to go over your account balance than you think." – via Simple Mom
Find a better deal and actually SAVE the difference. – "Regardless of what they sell, if you’ve switched companies for price reasons, save the difference. Think of phone companies, internet access, cell phones, credit cards, and others." – via The Wisdom Journal
Adhere to a long-term investment strategy. – "I’m a long-term investor. The stock portion of my portfolio is spread over several mutual funds, a few ETFs and a few individual stocks. Each and every one of these holdings was carefully chosen, after thorough research. I believe in these stocks and funds. I consider them as my best bet in growing my money – LONG TERM." – via MomGrind
Curb your consumerism! – "Have you ever watched how a child can play with a cardboard box for hours, and leave the toy that came in it by the wayside? How is it that children can enjoy themselves without a lot of "stuff", but we as adults feel the need to reward ourselves by buying more stuff?" – via Billionaire Woman
Stay Healthy! Medical problems drain bank accounts. – "James M. Rippe, M.D is a best-selling author, world-renowned cardiologist, and founder of the Rippe Lifestyle Institute. He explains that if you look at all the risk factors for dying, the one that is most predictive is fitness level. In addition, an older person with high cardiovascular fitness is healthier than a younger person who is physically inactive. By increasing your fitness level, you can actually roll back your biological clock." – via Abundance Blog
Stay in and relax. – "So, think about it the next time you go out. Are you going for with a purpose? Maybe the solution is to not go out at all. Stay home and save! Save up for something you really want or need." – via The Jungle of Life
Gradually prepare yourself for a rainy day. – "Even when things are going great, and you feel on top of the world, you must always be prepared for a change. If you take the time and patience to set yourself up properly, then when things to take a turn for the worse, you will be prepared to handle it. If you live above your means, then when the slightest change occurs, you will not be prepared to adapt. Financial flexibility is more important then keeping up with the Jones’." – via Yin vs. Yang
Stop competing. Forget about the Jones’ altogether. – "If getting rich makes us happy, then why don’t countries as a whole get happier as they grow wealthier? They discovered that as a country gets wealthier there’s no overall increase in happiness. Why? We continually compare our wealth against that of others. We are competitive and envious. Add to that the fact that Western countries encourage people to strive for more and more, and you have a formula that spins many into depression." – via Color Your Life Happy
Get out of the "easy street" mentality. – "I think there is too much emphasis on the quick fix or the easy option in today’s society. For example taking diet pills to lose weight instead of the "hard option" – exercising and eating well…. money is sometimes being used as a substitute for hard work. Do you think there is an increasing expectation that you can get want you want by throwing money around instead of working hard and "earning" it? – via Forever Change
Avoid impulse buying. Buy things you truly need. – "Don’t you just love the excitement you feel after coming home with a new TV? Driving home in a new car? Opening the box on a new pair of shoes? I sure do. But, from watching the behavior of myself and my friends I’ve found that the new quickly becomes just another item. The excitement of novelty passes quickly." – via Think Simple Now
Time is money. Properly manage your time. – "The fewer tasks you have, the less you have to do to organize them. Focus only on those tasks that give you the absolute most return on your time investment, and you will become more productive and have less to do. You will need only the simplest tools and system, and you will be much less stressed. I think that’s a winning combination. Focus always on simplifying, reducing, eliminating. And keep your focus on what’s important. Everything else is easy." – via LifeDev
Find ways to give without spending. – "Want a quick, easy and (almost) free way to be guaranteed that you’ll make someone’s day special? Send them a letter. Why not set aside some time this weekend to sit down and write to a few people? If you don’t enjoy writing, try buying some nice postcards of your home town. If you’ve got an artistic streak, why not design your own note cards? You don’t have to write a long letter for it to be effective. It’s the thought that counts and the personal touch that makes it special." -via Dumb Little Man
Don’t let greed and deceit get the best of you. – "According to Stephen R. Covey, if you reach an admirable end through the wrong means it will ultimately turn to dust in your hands. This is due to unintended consequences that are not seen or evident at first. The example he gives in The 8th Habit is: The parent who yells at their kids to clean their rooms will accomplish the end of having a clean room. But this very means has the potential to negatively affect relationships, and it is unlikely the room will stay clean when the parent leaves town for a few days. Now, to return to the topic of wealth, I think it is possible to see much of the world’s current financial problems as stemming from people who wrongly believe the ends justify the means. My advice? It is fine to aspire to wealth, but don’t lose sight of the means to accomplishing it." – via The Change Blog
Never ever pay retail. – "You can easily save hundreds of dollars a year on clothing purchases by waiting for sales or shopping at discount retailers like Marshalls. Better yet, avoid name brand clothing all together." – via Marc and Angel Hack Life
My wife keeps the food bill down by buying large quantities of items on special that we normally buy anyway.Supermarkets cycle basic items on special over months. So a bigger portion of our food is brought on 20% off sales. Need big cupboards though 😉 Just doing it on a larger scale now thanks to the CC…………
Amen to that. Has anyone ever watched that show about the family with 17 kids? Not a typo, seventeen mouths to feed. That family is debt free. No mortgage, car payment, credit cards. The father said something to the effect "People ask me how I do it without credit. I ask how do you do it WITH credit. It’s easy to spend that at first, but then you’re speding 20% more because you bought it with credit." They make their own laundry soap, basically enough soap for a family of 4 for a year (it only lasts them 2-3 mos) for $3. They don’t buy anything new. They lived in a relatively small house until they built a new larger house as they could afford it. And they actually built it themselves. It took 5 years, but they don’t have a mortgage! I think we could all learn from people that resourceful.
Our society is shamefully wasteful. I was never one for buying "stuff." My wife could never understand why I hated buying clothes, but loved getting hand-me-downs. I think now she’s starting to get it.
Another thing I found was this. I think this should be the norm, not the exception that makes the news.
some pretty good ideas…
here’s a few other things to keep in mind..
1) network…not just online but obvious in the flesh. Try to find where some of the largest clusters of people are. This is harder than you might think. A city or a town lists a population but it doesn’t list say as to how many people work in a given company, how many students? I go to school in a town that’s 25K people…but the school itself of all students is about 10K people…there’s plenty of people that might have nothing to do for their lunch hour…showing just a bit of this site might help
2) get involved at least aware of what is happening locally. You’d be surprised as to how many government seats go empty. I’d say nearly half of some of the departments in my town will be empty within a few years. An entire generation is going to gradually retire. If people don’t learn how to conduct say a town meeting in the future it can get ugly. Not to put it down but look at say Detroits public school system. A gradual breakdown can be horrific.
3) The concept of community has to come back. There’s way too much of a distraction away from it and I fear that we’re still losing much of it. A huge section of community newspapers has consolidated and might actually go under. There’s no need to "log on" just look out your window.
We, along with extended family in the area, grow vegetables, fruit, and staple foods like sweet potatoes and rice, and share with each other. We buy as little in the way of processed foods as possilbe (though I do keep a stock of commercially canned foods). Most everything we eat is cooked from "scratch".
I buy organic wheat and flour in bulk as well as several kinds of dried beans, so I can make our own bread, pea soup, refried beans, chile, etc. Takes some time, but is enjoyable, saves a lot, and is much healthier.
I will not compromise food quality and safety to save money. That’s a penny wise and a pound foolish.
For the past four years we’ve been a one car family, which my SO uses to get to work. We have three bicycles – two ordinary types and one electric hybrid – which are my main means of transportation. For distances more than about 10 miles, I take a highway express bus or train. (Maybe someday I’ll convince my SO to give up the car, but haven’t been able to do so yet. It’s paid for and gets over 30 mpg, so isn’t a terrible drain at this point).
We are presently designing a grid tied solar electric system (our electricity cost about 22 cent/kWh), which I consider an investment, not an expense. And will obviously pay us back over time as well as provide some energy security. Part of that process has been to reduce our energy consumption, an exercise I encourage everyone to do, going solar or not. We’ve cut our electricity use by 1/3 over the last year.
We don’t own a television so are not subjected to endless garbage, advertising, and consumerist messages in programming. So, we also don’t pay for any television related services.
As unusual as it is here in Japan, I don’t own a mobile phone either. Another savings.
We have zero debt. (That was not easy, but we achieved in three years).
With all the cost cutting measures, our lives have improved in many ways. We no longer feel like we are on a financial treadmill, have time and funds to take in art and cultural events, and feel healthier and happier. It those ways we have more, not "less".
Firstly, I would like to thank Chris Martenson for this site, and I’d also like to thank those who try to share info here. No matter what happens in the future, your first step should be to gather info in order to make informed decisions. I’ve learned much on this site!
I have been thinking about this kind of stuff for awhile, and have been trying to gather info. One place I hang out is http://www.wtdwtshtf.com (What To Do When The Sh!t Hits The Fan). You will see that I’ve been advertizing The Crash Course there for some time! I hope the info there is useful to some folks.