How to Live Below Your Means Easily

Living below your means can make it easier to save money.

When you want to save money, living below your means is one way to go. By spending less than you can afford, you can build up a savings account and plan for the future. Living below your means does not mean going without; if you have a steady income, you can live comfortably while you prepare for a smart financial future. By taking steps to eliminate some unnecessary spending, you can put extra money aside easily.

Step 1

Buy store brands whenever you can to save money on the lower prices. There's no need to replace all of your products with off-brand versions; simply choose the things you buy most often. Approach brand choice as a continuing process, choosing which brand name products you prefer and which you can live without.

Step 2

Take care of your car and keep it for as long as possible. There is no need to buy a new car every few years unless you use it extensively to entertain clients. Bring your car in for regular tune-ups, drive gently and address any problems immediately to avoid further damage . Once you have paid off the car, keep it in good condition so you can put away the money you would otherwise spend on car payments and full-coverage insurance.

Step 3

Cut out a few luxuries. Don't eliminate all of your enjoyable activities; simply reduce them. If you go to lunch each day with your coworkers, plan to make a lunch at home two days a week. Cook meals with your family instead of eating out. If you often pick up individual soft drinks at the gas station or in the vending machines at work, buy them in bulk instead to save money. Take the subway instead of cabs, buy used instead of new and rent a movie instead of going to the theater. Reduce your luxury purchases by two or three per week.

Step 4

Buy only the things you can pay for in cash to avoid overdrafts and manage your credit. Don't use your credit cards or even your debit card, which are easier to part with than bills. When you want to buy something, go to an ATM to withdraw cash so you will need to see the money you are parting with; doing so can also reduce impulse buys.

Step 5

Get a library card. Use it to check out books instead of buying them, particularly those that you will read only once or finish quickly. Most libraries also have a large selection of CDs, movies and audiobooks; check them out instead of paying to buy or rent them to save even more.