While most American households manage to earn a paycheck at the end of every month, only a few of them can manage to offset a $500 emergency without getting into debt. This is mainly because few people take the time to save up some cash from their earnings. Some will end up spending the unaccounted for earnings on items that are way beyond their means.
From fancy cars to expensive vacations, it can be tough for most people to overcome the pressures they get from friends who seem to be living their best life. As they set out to invest in these life pleasantries, the chances are that most might have to ignore common bills just to get by the month, or even borrow some cash. If this is you, then living within your means should be a priority.
Here is why living within your means is pivotal:
The Issue with Missing Payments
At first thought, the idea of missing payments for them to be rolled over to the next month, only to enjoy some extra luxuries, might seem reasonable. But there is more to this than quenching your thirst for life desires. Were you to miss telephone bills you risk disconnection as well as a late payment fee.
As such, you will have to pay both two months’ worth of subscription and the late payment fees. On the other hand, missing a single payment on your credit or mortgage can be detrimental to your credit score and lead to lower chances of securing short term loans in the future – which might save you from tricky situations. Furthermore, having to roll over payments to the next month might cause further stress in the future as you try to get back to your typical stability.
Save For the Future
The future is filled with uncertainties in terms of both opportunities and financial risks. The only certainty that you have is the amount of income you can get today, which is why saving it is essential. Instead of saving once you are done with spending, start with saving first.
This will require you to have enough visibility into what you earn, and set an ad hoc budget. You can commit to saving a certain percentage of your income over time. To make the goal easier to achieve, set saving milestones and celebrate each one that you achieve.
It Is Wiser To Save Than Rent
In the quest to live a luxurious life, most people will switch to renting consumer goods. While this might have the initial satisfaction of owning something that you have been yearning for, it raises the question of whether you made the right choice or not. For instance, if you rent out a TV for a year, the chances are that you might have raised enough in terms of the rent to actually buy the TV.
It would be better to try and save your way to buying the luxurious items that you want. This will also help you be in control of your spending habit through delayed gratification.
Boost Your Income
Despite trying to minimize costs, you might still find yourself struggling to make ends meet. While taking out a loan is an option for the short run, it shouldn’t be your only alternative. Try and diversify your income sources and make the most of allowances and employment benefits.
You can start by adjusting your tax withholding if you typically get a tax refund. On the other hand, you should also look to sign up to the right company benefits to maximize income. The best alternative would be to try out for another job to help fill the deficit.
Living beyond your means can only breed financial turmoil. The only way to be financially free is to take control of your finances. Consider the insights above while saving for the future to be prepared for any inevitable emergencies.