The one recurring lesson I keep learning is that living within your means does NOT help you reach financial independence. That’s right! Living within your means will just keep you running in place and not help you in your quest to become financially independent. That’s because when you live within your means, you are not able to save aggressively or to have enough disposable income to invest in opportunities that increase your income. Also, as your means keep increasing, living within them consumes more and more money. You’re buying things you don’t need because you can afford them and not necessarily because you need/use them. And you don’t even notice that you’re hemorrhaging money because you’re getting by comfortably even with your spending. Living within your means keeps you complacent. What really helps you reach your goal is living BENEATH your means. When you do this, you free up a lot of money you can re purpose towards investments that will pay you handsomely in the future. So, after having to learn this lesson repeatedly and painfully, I’ve finally decided to act. I decreased my expenses and I’m currently working on increasing my income. Here’s how I’m going about it.
Pick the low hanging fruit-
Some things are really easy to do and can save you a lot of money. For me, this meant getting rid of services I did not use but paid for and utilizing resources I have to make more money. This is what I’ll be doing to reduce my expenses.
- The first thing I did was cut my cable and HBO. With school and work, I barely have time to sit and watch TV. Besides, I could watch any of these shows on Netflix. Doing this reduced my bill by $50.
- I also cancelled my gym membership. This was an extra expense because I already have a gym at my condo and plenty of places I could go to exercise for free, including the local high school with its standard size track and field. This reduced my expense by $50.
- Pretty soon (within a month)I will also be changing my cellphone plan from the crazy expensive Verizon service I get now to a less costly plan from another provider which would reduce my monthly bill by $80.
- I unsubscribed from magazines like vogue and WSJ which saved me another $35. I’ll be getting my reading in online from free news sources. And with all these beauty/fashion blogs on social media, there’s no reason to pay money to find out about fashion trends.
- This October, I’ll be changing my health plan to a high deductible but low monthly payment plan. This will reduce my the amount taken out of my check for healthcare. I can put some of that to my 401K and take the rest as income. This will reduce my expense by $150-$200 and might actually make me money :).
Just by cutting these unnecessary services alone I save $365 a month. Win!