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How To Live Within Your Means

If you’re disturbed about your financial standing, you’re not alone. Many individuals from all over the world, and from all walks of life, suffer financial stress and ambiguity. Whether your problems derive from a loss of work, escalating debt, unanticipated expenses, or a combo of factors, financial distress is one of the most universal problems in modern life. Even before the global coronavirus pandemic that created the economic fallout, many young adults already feel stressed out about their prevalent money situation. The recent economic challenges mean that even more people are now facing financial struggles and hardship.

Financial stress can affect your mental and even physical health, your relationships, and your lifestyle. If you cannot deal with your stress level, you cannot sleep properly, which diminishes your energy level and your self-esteem. It can make you feel angry, ashamed, or fearful, fuel tension, and insecure. It will trigger you to find short-term fixes such as drinking and using drugs to escape your worries. In the worst circumstances, it can even lead to suicidal thoughts or action. But no matter how hopeless your situation seems, there is always a solution to it if you want to look for it. You need to take the bull by its horn, so to speak. Evidently, most people got paralyzed by their financial muddle. Overcome it and you take charge of your life and your world. First, you need to clear your mind and take the steps to solve your financial predicament. You will eventually regain control of your finances and ultimately get out of your financial quagmire.

One of the most prevalent financial troubles is living beyond your means. You will never achieve financial freedom if you continue to live beyond your means. It will consume whatever little savings that you have which will lead to your indebtedness. This is usually hard when there is a loss of income and you need to adjust to a different lifestyle. During troublesome times, some companies introduce pay cuts to stay afloat. If you have been living on a certain wage for a long time when it gets reduced you need to alter accordingly and sacrifices need to be made. Otherwise you need to find a side hustle to make up for losing income to preserve the lifestyle that you are used to.

Know How Much You Make

Being financially responsible is an important virtue that you have to set in your mind if you wish to exit from your financial woes. In order to live within your means, you must spend less than the amount of money you draw every month. For many people, it’s a lot easier said than done.

If you want to live within your means, you have to know what your monthly income is. But simply knowing your monthly salary isn’t sufficient. You need to know the net income that appears on your paychecks. Then you will know the maximum amount that you can actually spend that month. You also need to know how often you get paid so you can better match the timing of your income with your bills for better cash flow management. Since you pay your bills on a monthly intervals, you’ll need to know how much you earn monthly. Calculate that accordingly to get your actual monthly inflow.

Spend Less Money than You Earn

Once you have calculated your monthly earnings, you can concentrate on slashing down your spending to match your income. First, you need to create a budget where you list out all your monthly expenses and outflows. This will help you plan and keep track of your monthly spending. Once you have listed out your monthly expenses, total it out. If your monthly spending exceeds your monthly income, then you are living beyond your means, so you need to cut back.

Cutting back drastically on your expenses, can have such a massive impact on your finances. It can be far too easy for our spending habits to gradually spiralling out of control. And often, by the time you realize that has gone out of hand, in the beginning it can seem impossible to cut expenses to the bone.

How to cut back on your monthly expenses

This is hard, I know. The hard thing to do and the right thing to do is usually the same. There are no shortcuts to your financial freedom. I usually set it out in my mind first, especially when it’s hard. It is all in your mind. I would look in the mirror first thing in the morning when I am brushing my teeth and begin my self talk. This self-talk gives me a powerful visualisation effect. I will say it seven times. ‘I CAN DO HARD THINGS’. This will set me up. Then I do it. It is all on your mind. Discipline and commitment are your ammunition. Now you can do the hard thing and keep doing it until that hard thing becomes easy.

One of the hardest things to do for me was fasting. I always wanted to fast at least twice a week Monday and Thursday from about 6 am to about 7.30 pm, no food, no drinks during that time. I had applied that technique. I struggled to do it for sometime when I started. Now it has become easy for me. In fact, after some time I enjoyed doing it. It has become part of my lifestyle. I am a foodie. It was hard for me. If I can do the hard thing, so can you. Try it out. I trust it should help you.

If you intend to reduce your expenses and save money, let me share some tips on how you can go about it. You’ll see that by making some changes in your life through putting these tactics into practice, you’ll easily be able to reduce your expenses and save money, putting you on the financial path you deserve to be on.

Most of the strategies for cutting back are in your day to day everyday expenses. However, there’s one step you must do before setting you on that path, start a daily expense journal.

You need to start this one day at a time. First you have to set out your Google calendar or whatever app that you are using as your calendar and list out all your daily schedule for that day. Earlier you already established your monthly expenses in your monthly budget. Now you need to do the same, prepare a daily budget and detail out all your expected expenses for that day and total it out. Then divide your monthly income into 30 to get your daily income. If your daily expenses exceed that, prepare for a cutback.

In my case, I will stop all my online purchases. I will only buy necessities, if any. To save on all that expensive coffee, I will make my own and bring along with me, better still, a homemade lunch pack. This should provide some daily savings to start with. In terms of transport, if you can do without a car, public transportation would be the best alternative. Using public transportation is more green than driving your own car and becoming part of the congestion problem. Automobiles are expensive. You got to pay for fuel, parking charges, tolls and car maintenance expenses. The less you drive the better it is for your pocket expenses.

Another regular expense that’s unavoidable are groceries. Most people would shop for groceries on a weekly basis. I believe doing that can contribute to excess purchase and it will fill up your refrigerator to the brim. It is better to do it daily and consume it daily. You will definitely save more money on your groceries if you do that and it is healthier as it is fresh.

You should never step foot inside a supermarket without a shopping list. Otherwise, the temptation is far too great to get things you think you need when you actually don’t really need it. By listing exactly what you need, you’ll only spend exactly what you need no more no less.

Daily Food Intake

You need to have a daily meal plan in your daily journal. This is a good time if you want to start a diet. You might just lose weight whilst implementing this daily expenses reduction programme at the same time. As the saying goes, ‘To kill two birds with one stone’. By planning your meals daily and then shopping at the supermarket also daily you’ll be able to make sure there are no wastages and reduce your frequency of eating out and buying takeaway food. This will definitely save you money. Not to mention that home cooked food is much more fresh and healthier.

When you shop, avoid the branded items and pick the generic ones, it is much cheaper. There’s often no difference at all between the branded item and the generic version. The bottom-line is that the generic item will help you save some money.

Electricity Bills

Another big living expense is your electricity bills. You need to monitor your usage of heating and air-conditioning. They are usually the biggest portion of your electricity bills.

If you can do all this consistently, you’ll have surplus funds at the end of the month. You can now use it to reduce your credit card debts. This will save you on your monthly interest commitments. You need to put a stop on all nice to have purchases immediately, and only spend on what you need.

Is It All Worth It

So how do you aggressively cut on your expenses? You’re desperate to turnaround your finances. Yes, it can be tough, but you need to put your mind on it. It demands your full commitment to implement it. I have a proven and tested technique. It certainly worked for me. Believe me, putting these tips into action in your daily life is going to have a positive impact on your spending. In particular, if you live paycheck to paycheck or not being able to stop your savings from draining. Performing even some of the spending habits to reduce your expenses is going to put you on a far stronger financial path. It’s not always going to be easy to cut your expense budget. But the cut backs could literally be a life-changing experience, it is definitely worth doing as it will bring you back to the right track.

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