My bride and I were recently talking with a young engaged couple and the subject of finances came up. I shared my thoughts and seemingly gave them something to ponder.
I said that most people in the US live beyond their means. They live paycheck to paycheck, are over extended, and one little glitch sends their world crumbling.
A few people in the US “live at their means.” That is, they spend their money wisely, save for a rainy day—which will eventually happen, don’t try to keep up with everyone else (who are actually living beyond their means), are careful using credit, and make careful investments. In short, they live fiscally responsible lives.Should you try to live beneath your means? Click To Tweet
My goal, however, is to “live beneath my means.” That is, to live more simply than what I can afford to. This certainly doesn’t imply that I’ve taken a vow of poverty or anything of the sort—I have been too spoiled to attempt that—but I have sworn off extravagance and am largely content with what I have, be it home, car, clothes, and other possessions. It is very freeing to be not always wanting more and yearning for what is unwise or unwarranted. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have goals—I do—but they aren’t materialistic in nature. I’ve learned that possessions can weigh you down and often make demands of you: be it time, attention, more money, or worry; plus you really don’t own them anyway—they often own you.
So, let’s keep it simple; it’s much more prudent and a whole lot less stressful.
Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.