3 Tips for Living Well Beneath Your Means

Contrary to popular opinion, the key to financial freedom isn’t solely based on the amount of money you bring into the household each month. It’s about learning how to manage your money and prioritize your spending. This is also known as living beneath your means.

Below, you’ll find some great suggestions for living beneath your means in order to build savings. You won’t have to move into a shoebox or completely forgo entertainment and shopping – but the tips below will help you learn how to make better spending choices.

Consider these strategies:

1. Have a slice of humble pie. If you’re constantly in a competition with your neighbors, coworkers or friends, you’re never going to stop spending. In the back of your mind, you’ll always try to “beat” them by having the newest car, biggest house, most expensive clothing, and more.

• Once you eject the competitiveness from your mind, you’ll be able to effectively trim the fat from your budget.

• If you’re a smoker, now is the time to quit. If not for your health, do it for your financial future. In some states, a pack of cigarettes can cost $10. If you’re a pack-per-day smoker, you can save $300 per month by ditching this harmful habit.

• Work with what you have. There’s no need to upgrade your car if the one you’re driving now gets you from point A to point B. If your current home isn’t to your liking, make some updates or redecorate – it’s a far less expensive fix than purchasing an extravagant estate.

    2. Trim your grocery budget. Coupons aren’t the only way to save money on your grocery bills (though they certainly help). You just need to be conscious of your purchases. It’s possible to feed a family of four for under $10 – with a high quality meal to boot!

    • Never go grocery shopping hungry or tired.

    • Three nights per week, cook up something very inexpensive for dinner, such as beans and rice or homemade soup. It’ll be a nice change of pace, without feeling deprived. And of course, the biggest bonus is that you’ll save money!

    3. Make savings a priority. Savings isn’t optional. It’s necessary for financial emergencies – and they always come up in some form or another. Treat it as any other bill each month. Place this, as every other bill, in your budget workbook. You do have a budget workbook, don’t you?

    • If you’d like, break it up into pay periods. In order to save $800 per month in a 2-income household, each partner would have to set aside $100 per week. A $400 goal would be just $50 per week. When a savings goal is broken into manageable pieces, it’s a far less daunting figure.

    • When you’re unable to meet your savings goals, either find a way to make more money or spend less money each month. If you’re able to trim the fat from your monthly expenses, there will always be a way to meet your savings goals.

    • Budget your “fun money” as well. When you budget a set amount for unnecessary shopping trips and entertainment, you can’t shop until you drop. When the money runs out, you’re done.

      Your entire life doesn’t need to change in order to live below your means. It’s all about minimizing your expenses where possible and refusing the urge to live larger – even if you have the means to do so. By implementing these simple tips, you can slash hundreds of dollars – if not more – off your monthly bills and stash it into your savings account!

       

      Frugal Living – Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

      Laundry detergent has a huge markup! A lot of what you’re paying for is water! Making your own detergent will not only save a significant amount of money, but it’s also a fun activity to do with the kids.

      You should be able to find the ingredients at your neighborhood superstore. The recipe below will allow you to make great performing laundry detergent at 1/10th the cost of store-bought detergent. Let’s get busy!

      Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

      •       6 cups of water

      •       1/2 bar of inexpensive soap, grated (find a soap that smells good to you)

      •       3/4 cup washing soda (not baking soda)

      •       3/4 cup of Borax

      •       10-gallon bucket for mixing

      •       4 1/2 gallons of water

      Pour 6 cups of of water in an appropriate size pot and heat on low. Mix in the grated soap and continue to heat until the soap has completely dissolved. Add 4 ½ gallons of water to the 10 gallon bucket. Add the soap and hot water mixture to the bucket. Now slowly add the Borax and washing soda while stirring. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens. All the work is done, just let the concoction sit for 24 hours and it’s ready to use.

      There you have it, laundry detergent that costs about $0.02 per load. Yes, that’s 2 cents! The name-brand stuff from the store costs 10 times as much. Give it a try – it’s easy and fun! You and your clothes won’t know the difference.