The decision to pay off debt and become debt-free usually comes with the understanding that it would be a long-term financial commitment. But we must first convince ourselves that we’re ready to give up our usual way of life in return for financial independence.
However, being in the frame of mind that you are always “going without” is not a prescription for success in any way, shape, or form. It doesn’t take long before we begin to look at the lives of our peers with a sense of jealousy. We can have a strong desire to have luxurious lifestyles. We can also want to get new stuff without setting aside money for it for months before purchasing. Or to place an order at a restaurant without looking through the menu for the most affordable option.
For me, living on a tight budget was challenging enough, but witnessing my friends and family members enjoying the luxury that was just out of reach for me made it much more difficult to cope. Everything from Facebook to Instagram was full of instances that made me go green.
I knew that if I was going to stay on track with my debt-free objective, I couldn’t keep thinking of myself as a victim of my rigorous budgeting practices. I needed to learn to be comfortable with my financial situation. That required putting my attention on my journey rather than on everyone else’s.
So, how do we achieve satisfaction while remaining within our financial means? This article will show you how I manage to be debt-free while also shifting to a greener lifestyle.
Green Tips for Living a Debt-Free Life
Know How Much Money You Earn
If you want to live within your means, you need to develop a clear-cut image of how much you make each month. This “playback” method will help you visualize your spending on a month-by-month basis and identify opportunities to save money when possible.
But simply knowing your annual salary or monthly income doesn’t mean you are financially stable. You need to know the net income or total earnings after taxes, deductions, and expenses – rent/house payment, commuting cost, groceries, monthly utilities, phone, internet, cable bills, etc.
Having a debt-free mentality can go a long way. Also, the importance of having debt-free credit and saving effortlessly cannot be stressed enough. I always tell myself that I have the power to choose between cooking my own meal and not dining out, or buying that pair of shoes I needed the most instead of that new iPhone without falling into debt.
Expend Less Money Than You Make
Once you’ve determined how much money you make, you may concentrate on lowering your expenditure to match your earnings. Creating a budget to plan your costs and using it to keep your spending on track is a must if you do not previously have one. If you’ve tried budgeting before and it hasn’t worked for you, give it another shot. Often, all you need to do is do a few readjustments to your budget plan to be successful.
If you want to keep the procedure as easy as possible, consider using a technique known as “backward budgeting.” Make a list of your monthly income, and then start removing items you think you can live without. If you still have a negative figure, you are spending too much, and you should cut back on more expenses.
Increase Your Income
One easy way to increase your income is by working more hours. But many people find that even if take on additional shifts or do overtime at their current jobs, they won’t necessarily get paid extra by their employers, as putting in some extra work is expected these days. So another strategy to make extra money is to begin doing freelance work or start your own business in your spare time.
Nowadays, everyone is looking for ways to earn extra money, and the internet offers an excellent platform for this. Keep in mind that your utmost aim is to live within your means and achieve financial independence.
Reduce the Use of Air Conditioning and Other Energy-Intensive Equipment
Cutting back on air conditioning during the warm months can be a fantastic way to save money while lowering your carbon footprint. If you cannot fully eliminate it, be sure that you are using this equipment in an environmentally friendly manner. Adjust them to the most energy-efficient level and turn them off when you’re not home.
Also, make sure that your ducts are in good working order to avoid waste. Use windows for the natural breeze to keep your home comfortable when you aren’t using the air conditioning. If you have drafty windows, you can insulate them using a do-it-yourself kit, which you can get online. This way, you’ll be able to reduce your heating expenses significantly during the winter.
Reuse products as most as possible to reduce waste and cut expenses. While it may be tough to persuade yourself to purchase used and recycled products, there are many benefits in doing so.
First, these products are often just as good as those new, so you can enjoy the same performance while being more environmentally conscious. On the same note, there’s often a cost-saving involved in buying used things.
In addition, reusing products help preserve our natural resources, so there is less waste that doesn’t harm our planet.
Money Can’t Buy Happiness
One of the essential aspects of attaining satisfaction is learning that having more is not the magical secret to Happiness; instead, it is wanting what you already have.
For many of us, our dream of having more money begins with the goal of having more money to do things. However, many people become disappointed when they discover this is not true.
There isn’t a “magic number” of money that makes everything better. This amount is different for each person. Living within your means doesn’t mean that you have to stick with a budget for the rest of your life. On the contrary, be flexible and adapt to your circumstances. Eventually, you should reach a point where you have achieved financial peace.
Stay True to Your Journey
Instead of looking through social media and becoming envious of other people’s lives, spend your time imagining what your life should look like. Lead your priorities and vision for your life (and your finances) to the forefront of your mind.
Keep in mind that your definition of happiness will differ from your friends — and that’s perfectly fine. As long as you live your life in alignment with your principles, material possessions or money should not determine who you are.
Establish an Emergency Fund
Being retired is great, but it’s not easy to retire early or retire if you don’t have the proper financial habits. One way of financially preparing for the future is by raising your money IQ by understanding how to build an emergency stash of savings.
An emergency fund can include money saved for car repairs, home repairs, or seasonal expenses like covering bigger utility bills. The point is not to save a ton of money, but instead to build your emergency savings over time.
Quit the Habit of Relying on Credit Cards
Using credit cards to pay bills or “live beyond your means” is a classic financial mistake we all make. It’s not wrong to make mistakes — it helps us learn what not to do the next time. We each have our financial blind spots that need correction.
When you plan your budget, completely forget about using credit cards for purchases. Instead, set aside cash for your groceries or stick to a budget at work. You’ll run out of credit if you keep charging more than you’re paying off. Paying for interest can make it more challenging to live within your means.
We are all aware of the cost of living.
The “rat race” can easily trap you and lead you to live paycheck to paycheck. This is something that is not uncommon and can lead some people to a life of debt.
Although this can be challenging, we hope you’ve discovered something new from this article and these tips will make it easier for you to live within your means.
Good luck in your progress towards financial freedom!