7 Easy Tips To Live Below Your Means For You To Be More In Control Of Your Money

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7 easy tips on how to live below your means 2-min

To live below your means is very important when you’re trying to save or just be in a better place financially.

It can help us pay those debts more quickly and create more room for us to further in our financial journey.

But before I go any further, if you have read Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!, I know that Robert at times advise going against living below your means. Because then we will tend to keep our potential at a certain level, when we can actually go further, financially.

And I do agree with that.

That being said, there will always be a time in our lives where we have to take a look at ourselves hard in the mirror.

Where are we exactly right now, financially?

If we still have a lot of bad debt and our spending is out of control, then we need to tackle one thing at a time, before going and launch our new business venture.

I followed this type of lifestyle too because it’s one way to help me get rid of all my credit card debt, increase my savings by a lot, and give me a lot more room to venture into my freelance business. And it can be for you too. 🙂

So here are my 7 easy tips on how to live below your means. And if you’re ready for a change of lifestyle and be more financially stable then let’s get right to it!


More From Me:


1. How Much Is Your Means

This will be your starting point.

To successfully live below your means is to know how much your mean is! Easy peasy, right?

Take a look at your monthly salary that you take home every month. Take note of the deductions, taxes, and insurance. Whatever money is left, then that’s your “means”.

When I did this, I checked the breakdown of my monthly salary and other sources of income that I might get. Like rental income, any dividends, or an average of my monthly income from my blogs 🙂

And I adjusted everything from there. From my savings, groceries, daily food allowance, transportation, and entertainment.

Your means, your salary, or your income will be the center point of all these things. Your financial decisions will revolve around that. Putting things down on a spreadsheet or paper will do you good.

If you don’t know where to get started in budgeting and planning your income (and expenses), here are two of my famous posts on this topic:

2. List Down All Present And Future Expenses

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This will only work if you really be specific!

Take a good look and remember where you spend your money. List it down from the smallest purchase to the biggest one. 

When I started to take my finances seriously, this one of the first steps that I took. Because knowing where my money goes makes the most sense when I’m trying to live below my means.

When I tracked down my expenses, I needed to be really specific so I know where I spend most of my money on. I tried listing them down on a paper but I figured that it would be more convenient to place it on a Google spreadsheet! Because when I purchase something, I can just immediately add it to my sheet. 🙂

I really suggest that you do this first and do it on where it’s convenient for you!

Do this first so that you can see the bigger picture of your spending.

There will be times that you’ll feel lazy and say something like you’ll fill up the sheet later. But later doesn’t always come! 

So be focused enough to fill that sheet every day, every week, or after every purchase. My colleague before even had an alarm to remind him to fill up his sheet! (Talk about discipline!)

P/s: If you want a list of examples on what to budget, you can check my post on creating the budget template or grab my FREE budgeting template here.

3. Create A Budget

Tracking my expenses answered the question, what I spend my money on?

While this tip helped me answer on how much should I spend?

Tracking and budgeting go hand in hand. 

Having a budget will definitely lessen your expenses. Since you are more aware of the total amount you’re only supposed to spend in that certain category.

Sure I can spend $400 on foods and drinks per month but until I had a budget, I didn’t know that I could live even with just $200 food and drinks allowance.

Having a budget will force you to save money. So it’s very important that you stick and trust your budget! 🙂

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4. Control Your Spending Habits

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If you’re a sucker for big discounts in the mall, this time around – you’re not. Force yourself that you’re not.

Don’t add another item on your expense sheet just because something is on sale. Remember that even though you can afford it doesn’t mean you should buy it. 

Be smart and be wise with your money.

When I was started this tip, I first looked at my expenses from the previous months. I started looking at the groceries first because it’s the one who takes most of my monthly budget. 

What I found out from the receipts is that I spend a good amount of money on instant noodles! LOL. It’s NOT healthy and for some reason, I always buy big instant noodles packets every single time I go out grocery shopping.

Which made me realize that there are still some instant noodles packets at home! (And yes, they are sitting nicely in my pantry). Which only means that I overspend on buying junk foods. I categorize instant noodles as junk foods – cause they are junk. But like tasty junk.

Also, read my 6 effective tips on saving money on groceries!

Another one that I saw from my expense sheet was the clothes that I’ve been buying. I tend to buy new clothes even though I still have a number of unworn clothes. (Aren’t we all, though?) What ends up happening is that I donate some of the old clothes or sell them online.

So my suggestion to you is to really look at your expenses seriously. And fix that bad spending habit immediately.

It takes time and discpline but it’s totally doable! Trust me 🙂

5. Don’t Bring Your Credit Card

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This one’s a lifesaver tip for me!

I used to bring my credit card because I might purchase something that I couldn’t afford yet.

Do you see what’s wrong in that sentence? I’ll use a credit card on something I can’t afford…Really Wina?

Also, I’m pretty sure that’s how most of the people who have credit card debt think. But that’s something I USED to do. That’s the 2017 Wina. The 2020 Wina is a lot smarter with her money.

Okay, back to the topic…

If you can afford to leave the house without your credit card, do it. Or better, you can cancel your credit card and just go with cash!

 I searched for the data on credit card debt in the US and it’s shocking you guys! This statistic came from Debt.org which claims to be America’s debt help organization.

They wrote that a 2016 survey showed people under 35 years of age had an average debt of $67,400 while the 35 – 44 age group had $133,100 and the 45-54 age group had $134,600.

What?!?

Those are craaazy numbers! Imagine having $67,400 in credit card debt!

If that doesn’t motivate you to be serious with your finances and cut your credit card, I don’t know what will…

I noticed when I don’t bring a credit card on a grocery trip, I force myself to only buy my essentials to fit the budget! And you can do that too to see if it works for you as well.

These are my additional suggestions on how to prevent credit card debt:
  • Use your credit card only for emergencies – You should already have an emergency fund, but we all know that emergencies happen to everyone and we can’t control it. What’s important is that you should define what an emergency is for you. Be specific. 
  • Buy what you can pay – Only buy things that you can pay at the end of the month or when your credit card is due. This will help you avoid unnecessary payments like interest charges.
  • Limit your credit cards If you have three credit cards, it’s time to limit it to one. Having more than one will make tracking your expenses difficult and you’ll be tempted to use the others.

Disclaimer: I don’t think credit cards are bad – in fact, I do have a couple and they have given me a lot of perks like cashback! BUT, it took a lot of practice and discipline to own a credit card without going into serious debt.

And I did have credit card debt before. And lesson learned.

Now, I always make sure I have zero interest charges – meaning that I always pay on time. If you’re not disciplined enough with your credit card usage, please reread this pointer!

6. Cancel Unnecessary Payments

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Double-check if you still have a subscription or membership that you don’t use.

If you go to the gym only twice a month, then it’s probably time to stop that membership. Gym membership is expensive especially when you don’t go regularly! 

Entertainment/fitness subscriptions can also be eating up your salary.

After I had graduated from college I had a one-year subscription to a gym. Nothing wrong with that but my problem was I wasn’t going to the gym 90% of the time! So instead of forcing myself to go to the gym, I subscribed to a more fun activity which was yoga that I could do at home or pay a one-time fee to a studio.

And now, I use Alo Moves. If you’re interested in doing yoga, you can read my review on Alo Moves on my old yoga website :p

If you don’t want any gym membership but still want to be active, you can work out at home or jog around your neighborhood.

7. Live A Frugal Life

Overall if you like to live below your means, living a frugal lifestyle is a sure way to achieve that.

To live frugally isn’t depriving yourself of having a fun life. Some people say that in order to be frugal, you should just focus on not spending money – to the point that it’s not fun anymore.

But living frugal means you’re mindful of where you spend your money and how you spend it!

I used to spend a lot on bubble teas. But when I decided to save up more money, I had to give up having 10 bubble teas a month… to 4 per month :p

It’s a conscious decision, you guys. And it’s a healthy one!

Be nice to yourself. You can still have your guilty pleasures but on a moderate amount only! (Make sure that you include them in your budget list!)

Living Below Your Means Isn’t So Hard..

There’s always a reason behind a major lifestyle change. It can be because you want to save more money, you want to have more time for yourself, or even just to have a stress-free life.

My reason behind living below my means would be to achieve financial freedom. I may not be there yet but I know doing this lifestyle change will be a stepping stone towards my financial goals.

And it can definitely be for yours too.

I’m sure you have your own reasons as well & I would love to read about them below ❤️

P/s: If you find this post a tiny bit helpful to you, please help to share this post around so more people can also find some value from this tiny little blog of mine 🙂

Xx, Wina.

If you find the post helpful, please share it around!

2 thoughts on “7 Easy Tips To Live Below Your Means For You To Be More In Control Of Your Money”

  1. There is one thing I want to say about credit cards since you mentioned it. A lot of people that I have actually talked to about credits card don’t know how to properly handle them. They think that a credit card is something to use when you cannot afford to pay. Big mistake!!!! And most banks count on this to make money out of you. On the contrary if you handle your credit card like you handle the money in your wallet than you will be able to manage it and never have to pay more than you should. A credit card can be a really handy tool and the biggest trap if you don’t know how to use it.

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