Thursday, May 3, 2007

Living Within One's Means

One of the bartenders who I work with actually lives within her means. She pays cash for her vehicles, owns a house and a just bought a cottage which she intends to pay off in 2 or 3 years. I have no doubt she'll do it sooner then that. In a trade (the hospitality industry) where most people live in debt and spend their tips almost as fast they spend them, I have recently met a few people at the Olive Garden who appear to live within their means. They save money, have RRSP's, and aren't saddled with credit card debt. Another stereotype broken!

I wish I was one of them. I'm almost there. I have no debt (I don't consider properties as "bad debt" as they appreciate in value), and we maintain a mostly balanced budget but we are behind on having enough money to afford to maintain what we have (cars, houses, our teeth, etc). A great and readable book on living within you means is the The Wealthy Barber (coincidentally available in the Random Enlightenment Bookstore)!

Living within one's = spending less than you make. Very simple formula, yet so difficult to apply!

For me, living within one's means also involves being able to save something for emergencies, invest for the future, and giving to worthy causes. So my question is, how many people do this? I can blame being a student right now, but what happens after that? In our society, we are continually tempted to buy more then we need. Do you know anyone out there who lives within one's means? What is their secret? Are they likeable people? I want to understand this strange breed of people.

May Light increase,


Rayna said...

We've always tried to do this - live w/in our means. It has been a little more difficult now that there is no extra cash coming in with my being a SAHM (Stay-at-Home-Mom).
Another good book - "Rich Dad, Poor Dad."

Mark said...

Rayna: Definitely difficult! I find though that all families (and individuals) seem quite frugal in somethings but are luxurious in others. For instance, some will drive a beat up old car, but have an extremely nice house. Or they will eat out alot. Or have a really nice entertainment system. Or buy all organic groceries. I find it fascinating to see how especially in couples, the partner differ on what the luxuries should be. I have also seen this to a lesser degree in churches. They will buy the cheapest fake grape juice for communion, but have a beautiful fence around the property. Interesting.

Rayna said...

Yeah - churches are a phenomenon when it comes to outward appearance sometimes. It is all in the priorities, hey?
For us, we live in the least expensive stand alone house in our community, with cars that are both over 10 years old and we try to be extremely frugal when it comes to shopping of any sort. Not sure what we are willing to splurge with - things we do are usually things that will last a long time and the cost is divided in our minds over the course of use, i.e. spending money on a high quality dress coat for Michael that is classic and will last for years and years versus spending just a little on a trendy coat that will last 2 seasons.