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Financial Goals Planner and Tracker - Get a handle on your finances and focus on living within your means.
Categories FINANCE

Living Within Your Means – Saving More and Spending Less

What does it mean to be living within your means? It depends. Approximately 50% of the United States population is considered middle class, lower middle class, or poverty class.

The median household income is $56,000 per year, and since I made well below that amount in 2016, I would be classified in the lower middle to poverty class. My budget was tighter than a skin tight leather jumpsuit.

However, I was aware of my circumstances and still able to survive living in Orange County, CA. It was tough, mind you, but I made it work. I had to, and I started like this.

Financial Goals Planner and Tracker - Get a handle on your finances and focus on living within your means.

Understand Your Reality

Sometimes, it’s difficult to accept your circumstances. In a place like Orange County, everyone looks like they’re thriving. Range Rovers and Jaguars everywhere you turn, and everyone is dressed in fancy clothes. However, I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating – things aren’t always as they seem.

We don’t know if the person with the Jag took out a ridiculous auto loan to put up a front to impress his or her peers. Also, we can’t be sure how the people in the fancy clothes make their money. They might work 3 jobs 7 days a week, with declining health due to lack of sleep. We really just don’t know, so stop comparing yourself to other people, and face your reality.

The first step to living within your means is understanding where you stand, and accepting your position. Also, you must know, that you aren’t going to be in that position for too long, because with TCC’s Master Your Budget series, you’re going to whip your finances into shape and inject quality into your life. Starting today, you’re going to download the Financial Goals Planner and Tracker (fill in the form above), and get started on your financial plan.

Be Intentional and Be Specific

Start off by setting strong, intentional goals, because your goals are the foundation for your success. If you don’t have clear, achievable, straightforward goals written down (yes, you must write them down), you’ll easily get lost and fall off-track.

When setting your goals, be very specific. For instance, if you want to go on a vacation next year with your family, you would write something like this:

Goal: Go to London with Ben and Sarah.

Why: We have been working so hard, and I believe we deserve a vacation.

When: July 1, 2018

Strategy:

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Decide What You Really Need – Not Want

When you commit to living within your means, you are making a commitment to cut out the things that don’t add value to your life. Real, actual value.

Remember this: “It’s not a good deal if you don’t need it.” 

Instead of putting your money into things you don’t need or won’t last, plant your money where it will grow (in the bank, investments, etc.) to help you reach your goals. Even if you’re not the investment type, putting your money into a savings account is better than spending it. At least in a savings account, the money is still yours. If you spend it, it’s just gone.

“Money looks better in the bank than in your closet.”

Know That This Won’t Last Forever

The whole point of setting financial goals is to create a life that you don’t have to spend years paying for. Eventually, you want to stop working and focus on enjoying life, spending time with family and friends, and still be growing your wealth.

In order to do that, you need to understand that: “If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes your sacrifice.” 

If you’re serious about setting a solid financial foundation, you’re going to need to put your head on straight and keep your eyes on the prize (your goals). Don’t look at what Jim or Jane are doing. Look at what you are doing, where your life is now, and where you want to be next month, next year, and the year after that. Develop your game plan, and crush it.

Living within your means is something that should be natural, but with influences from the outside, media, and everyone around us, it’s easy to get caught up in all the fluff. Today, you face the problem, and accept the challenge to focus on your own life and your own goals. This is your time – right now.

If you found this post helpful, please share it with the social share buttons below. Every bit helps. Until next time, I wish you well!

Ashlynn Cueto

INFJ, Ravenclaw Blogger. Headquarters: Houston, TX. Making this my most creative and rewarding life. This blog is my hustle, and I'm here to help make your creativity yours.

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  • thanks so much for sharing these tips, I’ve saved the post cos ill need to remind myself of these tips every now and again!

    Abigail Alice 💕

    • I’m glad you found it helpful, Alice! Thank you so much!

  • Lolita “Lolitambonita” Bonita

    This is a great post. I know exactly what you mean even with social media. People stunt and you have no idea whats behind the person and how their money is made. These cars you can rent out! They can be 2nd hands clothes. Looks can be very decieving! x
    Lola Mia // http://www.lolitabonita.co.uk

    • Exactly! We just need to focus on what our own goals are and what we want in our lives. Nothing else matters. Thanks, Lolita!

  • Melina Pena

    This is a great post! While my parents make a good amount of money, I am no where near that! I tend to save up my money in order to go on vacations and trips. I’ve been saving a lot recently in order to move out, and have been doing a great job at doing so. Like you said you have to save now in order to live more comfortably later on! I don’t know if I can give up on the vacations, but I have been cutting back on shopping! xxx

    Melina | http://www.ivefoundwaldo.com

    • That’s awesome! It’ll feel so rewarding once you’re able to get your own place. I think it’s one of the best things – having a place to call your own. That’s ok, we can’t all give up everything. It’s just cutting out the things we don’t really need to help us achieve the life we want. Good going! Happy savings! 🙂

  • Aw really great tips! I love the attitude focus on where you are in your journey instead of comparing to others 😀 I love how it saves energy and feels so productive! Your blog is amazing! xx

    elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara
    (lets follow each other on bloglovin or instagram)

    • Thank you, Elizabeth! A lot of our successes depend on our attitudes – master that, and you can do anything. 🙂

  • This is such a helpful post! I have just started my new job (also a graduate job) and I am not going to make much in the first years. I also have a tendency to spend a lot and suck at budgeting. THis really put things in perspective and help! I’ll try to save at least half of my salary each month! xx Corinne

    • Saving half of your earnings is definitely a fantastic start! Congratulations on your new job!

  • Chelsea Hodges

    Great post, I desperately need to work on my financial habits. My boyfriend has been a big help, as he’s a financial major and super into all things money related. I need to remember everytime I get the urge to buy something, do I really NEED this? Probably not, lol.

    • You’ll get used to asking yourself the financial questions. It really is a lifestyle. Happy savings to you and your boyfriend! You can do it!

  • Rachael Shortt (PaleGirlRambli

    This is a great post! Living within your own means is so important! My mum always tells me that although people may seem to have all these amazing ‘things’ they might live in a tiny rented house and not have a car. It so important to decide what things you think add value to your life. To my mum? Buying a good house was way more important that going on holidays so we’ve never actually been on holiday, but I wouldn’t trade that for the world!
    PaleGirlRambling xo

    • I’m with you. Personally, I’m not a fan of vacations or holidays. I’m much more interested in my home and the food I get to feed my family. It’s something we have to get used to, especially growing up in this generation, but once we’re there, it’s hard to live any other way! 🙂

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