I’ve talked before about living within your means as much as you can in order to build savings, wealth, and to just cut down on spending unnecessary money. I’ve showed you how to build that savings, why it’s important, and how to budget accordingly. But today I wanted to talk about one part of those three things, how to live on half of your income.
For some you might right away be thinking that for you this is impossible. And while for some that might be true, (after all not all twenty somethings are newly into a corporate high paying job) for others, you just haven’t tried it yet.
If your income is too low to go all the way to living on half of it, I still think that taking these tactics and trying them out on your finances will cut your living expenses down immensely and help you to build savings.
Now let’s get to it shall we?
How To Live On Half Your Income
ACT LIKE IT
How, you might ask do you “act like it”? Well you tell yourself that “half” is all you have. You sit down and you write out a budget for half of your income. When you trick your mind into thinking that’s all you have to spend, that’s all you will spend. Don’t just start saying that you should spend “less”. Less is a broad term with no concrete meaning to go back to.
Write down half of your income, budget for that, and then only spend what you budgeted. That’s how you act like it!
BE OKAY WITH NOT HAVING IT ALL
The newest iPhone, the biggest TV, the new movie out, (does anyone even buy movies right out anymore) anything that costs more because it’s new is not worth you buying it right now.
Even if you think you have the money for it.
So be okay with not having the newest item or all of the things you want right away. Learning patience in buying will literally save you thousands over your lifespan if you learn it here and now in your twenties.
Remember, you alone are great. You do not need the newest phone, or perfect outfit to make you great, you’ve already made it. Take money and things out of your happiness or self worth equation, and you will be golden!
CUT BACK ALL THE BILLS
I pay $100 for my husband and I’s iPhones with 2GB of data that we never go over. You don’t need the newest phone with the highest plan and data.
We don’t have cable, and watch anything via Netflix or Hulu. You don’t need cable to watch you favorite TV shows. If you only have cable for the sports just go to a friends house to watch the game, half the time thats what you do anyways! Or, there are certain sports websites that you can buy streaming from for games that is cheaper than cable!
Greg and I moved from a two bedroom to a one bedroom apartment to save $125 a month. It’s smaller and we have to share listening space (he is a guitar player) but and it’s made a huge difference in our finances!
We also have a small electric heater we use in said apartment in order to heat which room we are in instead of the whole house, which brings our electric bill way down.
My point? There are places to cut back on all your bills you just have to find them and be willing to do it!
AUTOMATICALLY PUT THE OTHER HALF AWAY
There are usually automated systems you can set up with your employer and direct deposit to put half of your check in one account and the other half in another.
Set up for each check to be divded in half and half put into checking and the other in savings. This way you never even see or feel like you have the money that is going into your savings account, yet it’s building every month.
If you have a really hard time not spending money then I suggest not looking at that savings account! Put it away and don’t worry about it unless an actual emergency happens and you need to get into it. Otherwise just let it sit and accumulate while you live off the other money!
DON’T JUST STOP IT, REPLACE IT
Don’t just try to stop all your habits of spending and expect for that to last. If you stop all of your spending, which most likely correlates with things you do for fun, you won’t last long. You will probably get bitter, annoyed, or discouraged and give up.
Instead of just stoping those things, replace them. Replace what you do for fun (if it involves money) with something that you like and that doesn’t cost money. If when you are feeling down you usually would go out to eat, find something to replace that instead of just saying, “well I can’t go out to eat” and staying sad. That will only lead you to give up sooner. Instead find something else that fills that spot, like maybe baking at home.
If you like to go shopping every Sunday instead of just stopping cold turkey and being bored on Sundays, ahead of time try and fill it with something else you enjoy. Maybe Sundays will start to be the days you sit and catch up on your favorite shows or read that book you’ve been meaning to. That way, come that Sunday afternoon you are not sitting around thinking, “Well usually I’d go shopping but now I can’t.” Instead you have already filled that spot with something to do.
Getting rid of the “bad” is great but if you don’t fill it with “good” you haven’t set yourself up for success. If you start building these habits your brain will follow suit. Soon you will be filling your time with things that you love but don’t cost you later, and you will be filling your bank at the same time.
Good luck friends! And as always, if you have any questions or need help reach out! :)