One of the great misnomers of our time is that rich people have it all. The fact is, it doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor. If you don’t live within your means, you’ll be creating a lot of stress and hardship for yourself — pressure that’s easily avoidable. Given that, do you spend money like there’s no tomorrow? If so, what impact is that having on your life? The original title of this post was “Why Doesn’t Anyone Teach You This Sh*t?” After some reflection, I settled on “Live Within Your Means — Or Else!”
Even rich people could end up in the poor house.
Money can buy you peace of mind or become an albatross around your neck. Your choice! The point is that hardship is not always as much about how much money you make, as it is about your spending habits. Simply put, if you spend more money than you make, you’re setting yourself up for trouble. So why are some people irresponsible when it comes to spending?
Build wealth by spending less money than you make.
What Does Money Buy You?
There are times when accumulating debt is sensible, such as when you’re faced with a large, unforeseen expense or if you make an investment that’ll bear fruit in the future. But when folks go into debt because they don’t know the meaning of enough, there’s trouble ahead. Here are eight situations where frivolous spending can cause problems for you.
Wanting versus needing. Some people have a hard time distinguishing between a want and a need — something they can’t do without versus a luxury.
Keeping up with the Joneses. Some folks gauge success by having more than their neighbor.
Working yourself to death. Some people buy stuff merely to justify the long hours that they’re working.
Proving you’re successful. Some people will go to any length to win the admiration of others.
Satisfying a shopping addiction. Some folks get a sugar high from buying something on sale or getting a “good deal” — even if they don’t need it.
Alleviating boredom. Some people simply love to pass the time by shopping.
Feeding your ego. Some folks measure success by the possessions they have.
Abandoning your values. Some people believe that acceptance is based on what they have rather than who they are.
Winning at any cost. Some folks think it’s no big deal to borrow a little money today and a little more tomorrow. But just like a small drip of water can cause a flood, debt can easily get out of hand.
The Price You Pay for Living Beyond Your Means
There are eight drawbacks to spending money you don’t have. Consider the following possible outcomes and ask yourself whether living beyond your means is worth it.
Forfeit your happiness. Artificial demands that you place on yourself force you to work harder and harder to cross a finish line that keeps moving.
Pay for nothing. When you incur debt, you’re forced to make monthly interest payments without receiving anything in return.
Multiply your success — or failure. The law of compounding interest can turn a small sum into a fortune. Alternatively, compounding can turn small debt into a nightmare. Albert Einstein said, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it…he who doesn’t…pays it.”
Damage your health. Mounting bills are a constant source of stress and anxiety — which can be detrimental to your health and well-being.
Damage your relationships. Out-of-control spending can create so much pressure that it makes you lose sight of what matters most.
Mortgage your future. Education? Retirement? Unforeseen medical costs? If you live beyond your means today, you may regret it tomorrow.
Forfeit your freedom. Living beyond your means may require you to ask others for help one day.
Get blindsided. Some folks spend like there’s no tomorrow, perhaps thinking that bad things will never happen — until they do.
What Does More Get You?
This essay isn’t about someone living paycheck to paycheck or the person who buys what they need. It’s about folks whose eyes are bigger than their wallet. They may have plenty of money, but they don’t know the meaning of enough. It’s like an addiction — a purchase feels good for a moment and then they need another fix. They give up so much acting this way, and yet they keep coming back for more — more debt, that is. And they have only themselves to blame — because it’s their choice.
The happier you are with the life you choose for yourself,
the less you need the approval of others.
If you’re going into debt to satisfy your ego or to prove how successful you are, you may want to give that a second thought. When you run out of money — stop buying. Live within your means — or else!
Do You Live Within Your Means?
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