Living the Dream Cost Me a Fortune

The following is a guest post.

We’ve all heard how we need to spend within our means. Don’t you hate it when people tell you that? It’s easier said than done, with credit so easy to get. The reality is that I let my wants take over and it ended up costing me much more in the long run.

It all started when I was in college and credit card companies were camped outside the dorms handing out free T-shirts for every application I signed up for. This was long before you could find prepaid credit cards so my mailbox and wallet soon filled with credit cards.

What happened next was a spiral of pizza nights, shopping sprees and more shoes than could fit into my closet. By the time I left college, I had $15,000 in credit card debt and little chance of paying it back any time soon. It took years and cost me thousands more than I paid originally to finally get rid of it, but by managing your purchases you can live within your means and not on credit.

Cancel Your Credit Cards

Credit cards are way too easy to use when you’re living outside your means. You don’t have any money, but you need to have that coat in the window or that night out on the town, so why not charge it. Cancel your credit cards and find prepaid credit cards if you need to have that charge fix.

Create a Budget and Stick To It

Make a list of your revenue for the month and then your expenses. Keep in mind that your necessities are most important and paying off your bills. That doesn’t mean you can’t budget money for fun, but keep it to a minimum. Living within your means requires discipline and your monthly budget is the most important step.

Make sure you have enough to pay all your necessary bills such as rent, power, car payment etc., as well as food and those pesky credit cards.

You Don’t Need Name Brands

One of the easiest ways we live outside our means is by buying name brand items rather than generic. When you walk into a store and pay $200 for a pair of shoes because they are designer and you can’t afford your rent for that month, you’re living way outside your means. Instead of buying those shoes, why not visit a department store and buy a pair for $50 or $60. You’re still getting something fashionable but at less than half the price.

Name brands don’t just extend to fashionable items. A quick trip to your local grocery store and you can see the same thing. Why buy the name brand butter when the store brand is half the price. It may not taste quite as good as the name brand, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices.

Living within your means isn’t easy and there may be times when you falter, but always look to the future. Without the worry of credit card debt, you can worry less and enjoy life more.