Living within your means has become somewhat of a challenge these days, especially considering that we live in a time when using credit to buy things has become the norm. But just because this seems normal, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do – and it doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing a huge disservice to your financial well-being.
Here are a few red flags you should look out for that may indicate that you’re living beyond your financial means.
You carry a balance month-to-month on your credit card
In today’s day and age, it’s not unusual to use a credit card as your primary method of payment. But if you carry a balance month-to-month, that’s usually a pretty good indicator that you’re spending more than you can afford.
Get yourself back on track buy doubling your minimum payment due, and consider carrying cash when you shop – research suggests that people tend to spend more money when they are using credit cards because it doesn’t feel like real money!
You don’t have an emergency fund
Ideally, everyone should be squirreling away about 10 to 15 percent of their total income – but if you can save at least 5%, you’re on the right track. Part of the reasons you need those savings, is so you can be covered for one of those unavoidable emergency purchases.
Many young people don’t feel that an emergency fund is necessary – but the truth is, we all experience unexpected expenses at one point or another (car troubles perhaps, or even an unanticipated vet bill). The point is, if you don’t save for emergency expenses, you end up putting them on a credit card and living beyond what you can afford.
You don’t have money left at the end of the month
There are typically always at least one or two ways you can start cutting back on your expenses. Maybe cutting out a pricey cable bill and replacing it with Netflix (which can often be split among friends or family members).
Another great way to jump-start saving, and become more conscious of your spending is to enact a one month, necessities-only spending rule, where you only spend money on…you guessed it, necessities, including rent, groceries, and other mandatory bill payments.
You’ve never set a budget
Having a solid budget plan is characteristically one of the best ways to achieve financial freedom. If you’ve never set a budget, and you’re not extremely wealthy, chances are you probably aren’t living within your means. Sit down and consider your spending habits and financial goals – by doing so you’ll likely save yourself a great deal of stress in the future.
It’s easy to living beyond what you can actually afford – but the good news is, it’s never too late to start saving your money and building an emergency fund so that you can live within your financial means and save yourself from the stressors of financial uncertainty.