Are You Living Out of Your Means? Learn From One Couple’s Financial Stress of Not Living Within Their Means

We all have those people in our lives. The people that complain that they never have enough money or are always down in the dumps because they are short on funds. However, when you look at their lifestyle, isn’t it easy to find many things they waste their money on.

I know several people like this, but one couple sticks out in particular. They are striving to make ends meet with a rental property and through real estate, however, their real estate business has been on the decline for three years. They have three vehicles, two that are nice and upside on their loans. All three vehicles require several maintenance services. The wife lives in a huge five-bedroom house that they are renting from a real estate friend. The husband works out of Phoenix and travels back and forth to California frequently.

They struggle to pay bills and rely on their grown children for support, though they always have a full fridge, a nice television with a nice cable package, and will not say no to going out to eat a few times a week.

While it is not our job to judge others like this, it is pretty easy to see that this couple is living outside of their means. They talk about how they are living in poverty, yet spend and keep their lifestyle comfortable. What can we learn from them? We need to live within our means.

Living within our means is not always fun. Sometimes it requires a lot of sacrifices, especially when income is not reliable. It may seem impossible to make cuts from our budget, especially when it means giving up comfort or things that we want. However, ask anyone that has made hard cuts to survive financially, and you may be surprised that they actually enjoy life better without the added stress.

If the couple above were to make some huge and uncomfortable cuts to their lifestyle, they may be surprised at how freeing it is. For example, since the husband usually uses a rental car for when he is in AZ, the family could easily get cash for cars by selling two out of three cars. Imagine the savings if you got rid of two cars. They would instantly save on gas, repairs, maintenance, and insurance.

The couple could also sell several items, which they bought when the money was flowing but that they hardly use. They can easily sell some unneeded furniture, a nice piano, and their nice trailer. Can you imagine how much income would come from selling these big-ticket items?

Finally since neither of them stay inside the large home, unless it is for a weekend or to sleep, they can downsize incredibly to a home that is more within their means. This would save them $1600 a month plus the large costs of utilities that comes with living in a large home. Since both of them want to live in Arizona anyways, moving there would save money over the cost of renting in California. The move would also save money on travel expenses of the husband.

These are just a few ideas on how the couple could drastically change their financial situation. However, they do not because it would mean change and being a bit uncomfortable.

The purpose of this story is not to point the finger at the couple with harsh criticism, but for all of us to point to our own lives and to exam if we are living within our means. The lucky few of us could say yes, while many like myself will find that changes can always be made.

When cutting out comforts to save money and live within your means, ask yourself, “Will I really miss ________ that much”? “How would life be different if I didn’t have this bill or expense to pay?”

Are you living within your means? What small or major item or expense have you cut out of your life? Did it make a positive or negative difference?