Living below your means is a straightforward financial principle that just means spending less than you earn every month. It’s particularly useful advice for those with moderate incomes. If you have enough to live comfortably but you don’t consider yourself wealthy then adopting a ‘below your means’ mentality may be the best way to boost your savings and help give you better financial security.
A step towards financial freedom
By treating your disposable income as an asset for the future rather than money to be burned each month, you can achieve financial goals such as buying a home or retiring earlier. It might mean making changes to your lifestyle to help cut down on unnecessary spending, but it doesn’t have to involve cutting out all of life’s little luxuries. The key is to reach a healthy balance that easily fits into your existing budget.
Look at ways to cut your housing costs
Rent or mortgage payments usually take the biggest chunk out of our pay packet. If you are living in an expensive area, or in a home that’s bigger than you really need, consider if there are savings to be made by moving. A smaller house or flat will also often mean that your council tax and energy bills are reduced.
Now that more of us are working remotely, it may be possible to move outside of your town and city. Even if you have a blended working arrangement, longer commutes become a lot more manageable when they’re one or two days a week. In many cases, living further from the city centre can actually mean you get a nicer home for a fraction of the price.
This step won’t be possible for everyone – but it’s worth looking into. If you manage to pull it off, you may be able to live well below your means without needing to make compromises in other areas.
Change your diet
Enjoy going out for dinner at the weekend or getting in that cheeky mid-week takeaway? These things are fine as occasional treats, but will leave you feeling skint if you do them too often. Even those of us who already cook at home most of the time can probably find ways to cut down on our costs. Eating cheaper proteins such as beans and lentils can be a really healthy and cost-effective ways to make your shopping budget go further.
Similarly, batch cooking big meals such as casseroles and freezing them in portions can help you keep yourself well fed without overspending. As a final cooking tip, plan your meals around what’s already in your cupboards, only buying the additional things that you need to bulk out the menu. This avoids waste while slashing your grocery bill.
Plan cheaper events
Meeting friends for drinks or a show is another expense that quickly adds up. But there are so many ways to have fun on the cheap! Invite your friends over for movie night and just ask everyone to bring a snack. Meet up in the park with a homemade picnic. Or simply choose a cheaper, independent café rather than an overpriced chain. It’s great to be honest with your friends about the fact that you’re trying to spend your money more effectively – and you might even find that they relish the opportunity to save some pennies too!