Living below your means doesn’t mean you have to "live without." There are plenty of ways to live small and enjoy yourself. Here are ten ways "USA Today" suggests you can live below your means and save for the future.
- Focus on the benefits: Having a financial reserve helps to prepare for unexpected expenses like car repairs. “Being frugal doesn’t mean you’re cheap. It means you want to invest your money in things that really matter,” says Lydia Senn, a lifestyle blogger at Frugal, Debt-Free Life.
- Be your money’s boss: “Make financial choices for the month in the quiet of your own head, or with your partner, in advance — not in the moment. That way you can feel great about your spending,” says Charlie Bolognino, a certified financial planner in Plymouth, Minnesota.
- Save off the top: Take money and invest before you have a chance to spend it, like a 401K or savings plan. Leon LaBrecque, CEO of LJPR Financial Advisors suggests, “Start small and add a percent or two every time your income goes up."
- Pay yourself: Once you pay something off, like a college loan, continue to make those payments to yourself. You can put them into an interest bearing savings account.
- Live off one income: Most dual-income households’ base needs on a dual-income. Try restructuring to one, and use the second income to max-out retirement plans.
- Cut meaningless expenses: Eliminating costs you don’t care about can free up money. Look at how often you eat out, buy coffee out, spend on cable channels you don’t watch.
- Write down what you value in life: Then look at your financial statements and see if you’re spending on things that matter. “There are usually many things we could go without, but we buy them without even thinking,” says certified financial planner Jared Paul.
- Right-size your home: “Hold back from buying the most expensive house the bank says you can afford. Instead, buy the small fixer-upper and make the house your own,” says Diane Manuel, a certified financial planner in El Segundo, California.
- Drive used: “Remember, your car is only transportation. Used cars from rental agencies are good” to buy, Manuel says — “low mileage and under warranty.”
- Pay less interest: If you’re carrying balances on high-interest rate credit cards consider consolidating or transferring to lower interest rate cards.
Source: USA Today