Living within your means is achievable with dedication. I learned that when people did not have lots of money they used the envelope method.
· Put the name of each bill on an envelope, stored in a shoe box or something similar.
· Get enough small bills when you cash your paycheck to place the monthly amount due in each envelope.
· When the envelope is empty you simply do not spend any more money on that bill or leisure item.
This method worked for me when I had my first apartment. Later I put $30 of each paycheck into a savings account and did not touch it until I needed a set of tires for my vehicle.
Years passed before I married for a short time but my credit took a big hit. There was a credit bureau in my city that I made payments to when I got paid. One day my balance zero.
Some years later my anger got the best of me and I had to pay restitution to someone I did not like. After a little influence from the court I made $300 monthly payments until the amount was paid in full.
The time came when I married a really nice guy who has poor money management skills. Almost 20 years later I find myself alone in a 3-bedroom house. I had to prove to myself I was not the cause of our money problems. I got a safety security box at my credit union. When I got lump sum or unexpected money I would keep a small portion to use and put the remaining amount in the box. It seemed like quite a few people shared their hardship stories with me. I remember thinking to myself I have the amount of money they need to pay off their debt. Let me pray for them to get through this rough patch in their life and learn how to save their money for their future needs.
I decided to pursue my passion by going back to school. I ended up having to pay out of pocket my first semester. This depleted the money I had saved. I have requested tuition reimbursement from my employer. I have maintained at least the 3.0 GPA they require. Right around mid terms my estranged spouse failed to pay the house utilities he agreed to. The lights were off and the gas scheduled to be turned off. I chose to use the tools and resources available to me. I spent hours in the school computer labs and local libraries. I maneuvered friends’ guest rooms attempting to not wear out my welcome. I got dry goods from a food bank to help save money. After about a month with no lights I worked with an organization that helped get the lights back on and the gas caught up. I did not plug my 20-year-old refrigerator or 30-year-old deep freezer back up. I brought two night-lights from the dollar store. I placed scotch tape on the light switches. That way when I instinctively reach for the switch I would immediately be reminded to use the night-light. My first light bill with a $16 reconnect fee is $47. I have been awarded 3 scholarships totaling $2,900 this will go toward my next semester.
Yes, living within your means is a sacrifice but one well worth making to have the money you need when you need it. If you have to use your savings for something important then start saving again.