Do I Need to Adjust My Spending? 5 Signs You’re Living Beyond Your Means
In a time of “buy now pay later,” it’s easy to fall into spending habits that lead to debt. We don’t even need to leave our homes to make large purchases, making reckless purchasing even easier.
Here are five warning signs that you may be living beyond your means:
1. You Aren’t Saving At Least 10% of Your After-Tax Income
We are all advised to save at least 10-15% of our income. If you can’t save 10%, then you may be living beyond your means. Savings instruments include 401(k) contributions, emergency fund contributions, investments, and deposits into your bank account.
2. You Have No Emergency Fund
Part of the reason you need to save at least 10% is to have cash set aside for the inevitable emergency. Putting emergencies on your credit card or taking out a loan will continue the cycle of living beyond your means. I recommend that you have 3-6 months’ worth of your monthly expenses set aside.
3. You’re Living Paycheck to Paycheck
If you find yourself with more month than money, you are living beyond your means. Many people believe they do not have the required salary to set aside savings or cannot afford to reduce their current lifestyle.
4. You Use Credit Cards or Take Out Loans to Pay Bills
Believe it or not, many people borrow money to pay their bills. This is a clear sign that you cannot afford your current lifestyle. If you find yourself not being able to afford food, toiletries, and clothes, it’s time to see if you can make changes.
5. You’re Afraid Your Friends Will Judge You
Social media can wreak havoc on your wallet. Do you ever find yourself buying items to please others? Do you buy items just to post a picture on social media? Evaluate what you really need and stop trying to impress others.
If you think you may be living beyond your means, congratulations! That’s the first step to making a change. Next, I’m going to walk you through the tips I use with my clients to help them make and execute a plan to live within their means.
Elaine Harrison is an Accredited Financial Counselor® and Financial Fitness Coach®. Elaine has a fierce passion for helping others with their finances, especially as it relates to living debt-free. After traveling the world as a military spouse, Elaine and her husband have settled in their home state of Louisiana. When not working, Elaine enjoys reading, crafting, and admiring nature’s beauty.