Living Within Your Means Is Bad Advice

Why Living Within Your Means Is Bad Advice

Why are you holding back?

Why aren’t you doing the things you want to?

Why aren’t you traveling the world, indulging in new experiences, “living it up!?”

I’ll tell you why – you aren’t thinking clearly.

You will often hear the adage, “People need to live within their means.” But what does that really mean?

It typically means that you should spend less than you make, avoid debt, and not overextend yourself.

I agree that you shouldn’t put yourself in a bad financial situation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t live the life you truly want.

IMAGINING THE POSSIBILITIES

People often think they can’t afford to do certain things. But this is because they haven’t taken the time to figure out how they CAN afford to do them.

“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” – Oscar Wilde

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In the popular book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki, the “poor dad” would regularly say to his son, “We can’t afford X,” subsequently closing the door on any possibility of getting what was desired. The “rich dad” would tell the son that you shouldn’t say you can’t afford something, you should ask yourself, “How can I afford that?!”

Simply forcing yourself to think of ways to achieve your objective, as opposed to saying “I can’t,” will free your mind to be creative and imagine how you could.

This doesn’t mean you should reach for your credit card and go into boatloads of debt. What I’m trying to say is you can afford to live the life you’ve always wanted to, with the help of a little ingenuity!

Here’s how you can begin thinking of ways to “live outside of your means.” Whatever that refers to…

TRAVELING

How often do you hear people talk about their desire to travel more?

“I want to see the world! If only…”

If only what?

Usually the roadblock is money. If only they had more money, they could see the world.

World travel is cheaper than you might think. With new resources and technologies, you can travel the world on a tight budget. You just might have to get creative!

Ideas for Affordable Travel:

#1: Travel On Off Days

Plan your travel on days most people don’t fly. In the U.S., it is usually cheapest on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday. Fridays and Sundays are usually the most expensive.

#2: Buy Your Tickets On Tuesday At 3:00pm (EST)

Well, buy them around that time. This is usually the low point in the week for listed prices and when you’ll find the best deals.

#3: Fly During Unpopular Times

Flights that depart super early are usually not desirable.

You can also find great discounts if you book overnight flights. So book that “red-eye” flight and save a few bucks!

#4: Use Comparison Shopping Sites

Sites like Skyscanner are amazing for finding cheap flights.

#5: Use Services like Airbnb, Couch-Surfing, Hostels, or House-Sitting

If you are on a tight budget, staying in top-rated hotels isn’t the way to go. You can save money by staying in hostels or affordable Airbnb listings. And if you are really looking to stretch your dollar, you can use sites like couchsurfing.com, where you can stay on people’s couches for free!

Those looking for an adventure that lasts a little longer might also be interested in house-sitting, looking after some amazing homes around the world – again, absolutely free.

How about calling an 18th century French chateau home for six months? House-sitting can open doors to experiences you never thought you’d be able to afford. Some of the placements will even PAY you to take care of the property!

This article from farecompare.com offers some other great tips on travel planning.

Btw – don’t forget about the amazing culture and sites in your own backyard. People often pass up the opportunity to be a “tourist” in their own cities. In major cities like New York, I know people who have lived there for years and have never been to places like the Empire State Building.

People travel thousands of miles to come to NYC and see these sites. Don’t pass up great experiences just because they are easier than flying halfway around the world.

Also, don’t overlook domestic travel. Your own country has a lot to offer, wherever you are located.

EATING OUT AT RESTAURANTS

Are you a foodie? Do you want to try all the restaurants near you so you can talk about and recommend them to your friends?

How about planning these culinary adventures when there are deals happening?

In major cities there is usually a “restaurant week” at least once or twice each year. During these times you can find highly-rated restaurants offering prix-fixe meals at affordable prices.

When I used to live and work in Boston, my older brother and I would meet for lunch during restaurant week and try some really nice places, and not have to spend much at all.

Another idea is to look for new restaurants offering discounts coinciding with their grand opening. The new place in town is usually trying to draw crowds, so they sometimes offer great deals to get people in the door.

GETTING DRINKS WITH FRIENDS

Looking to spend a night out on the town with friends?

Instead of heading right to the newest and trendiest spot, start somewhere that offers a happy hour and discounted drink specials. You can start at those places before heading to the swanky, high-priced bars the rest of your friends want to check out.

BUYING A CAR

Personally, I’m not very big on focusing on material purchases, but this is one that comes up often.

You may be tired of that old clunker you’ve been driving around and looking to make an upgrade.

I recently heard about a friend’s coworker buying a BMW.

You might be thinking, “Wow, living the high-life!”

But it turns out she was able to find a used BMW with only 20,000 miles on it listed for $14,000. This is cheaper than what other people paid for much less “fashionable” brands.

INCREASE YOUR INCOME

So far, we’ve discussed how you can stretch your dollars to go farther. The other option is to find ways to obtain more dollars!

You could start some type of side business in order to make extra money for the things you want to do. Maybe you can even join some freelance job sites like Upwork, Fiverr, or TaskRabbit. And there is also the ever-growing side-hustle of becoming an Uber driver.

FINAL POINTS

My purpose of writing this article isn’t to get you to overextend yourself and get into a tough financial situation. I want you to see outside the traditional parameters (fly out on Friday and back on Sunday for a weekend trip), and find ways to do the things you truly desire.

By looking outside the traditional parameters, you will be able to live outside of your assumed means.

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The big thing is to plan ahead. If you wait until the last minute, it’s always more difficult to find deals. But if you take time to plan all of these things out, you can get creative and find ways to really “live outside your means.”

Capably Yours,

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10 Tools to Simplify Your Financial Life
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