When it comes to living within your means and spending what you have, on paper it should be a pretty black and white business. If you are playing a game of Monopoly, have £200, and land on one of the green properties like Oxford Street which costs £320, obviously you’re not going to be able to buy it.
However, although living within your means is a pretty simple business in theory, the lines become rather more blurred when we tackle the subject in the real world. As mentioned in part one, our deepest darkest desires for the newest and shiniest smart phones, gadgets, clothes, cars, and other assorted that means that many of us are willing to spend money that we don’t have in order to own these things. It obviously all becomes a bit of a problem when people start to borrow more than they can really afford, and the lenders start asking for their money back, often with eye-watering interest.
It goes without saying that prevention is better than cure, and there are a number of ways in which you can avoid getting yourself into trouble for the sake of something which in essence is ultimately pretty pointless and which you don’t really need all that much anyway.
Sell Your Junk
Admittedly this doesn’t necessarily fall under the category of spending less but of course if you have more money to begin with, you are spending less by default. Perhaps your Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 are gathering dust, or your wardrobe is full of all those beautiful garments that you no longer wear any more, or there is that guitar which you haven’t picked up since the bassist walked out, or that pram which your children no longer use is getting in the way; remember, if you no longer need your junk and clutter, sell it on to somebody who does. Gumtree.com or Ebay are ideal for selling your unwanted bric-a-brac, as are the local free ads. In addition to earning some money, you can have a good deal of fun having a bit of a haggle with your soon to be customers too.
Saying no next time you are invited out by pals for a wild night in the city, or when your partner nudges you about a sunny holiday abroad, is really very difficult if you are the impulsive, devil may care sort. As fun as it might be to do what you want and let future you worry about the consequences, it will punish your finances so really think twice when a good invitation pops up and you know you should know better. On the other hand, next time your children are screaming until they are blue in the face because you refuse to buy them the crazy coupe that they have been playing in all day, stand firm and don’t cave; draw a line in the sand! All in all if you know you should say no, than be sure to say no.
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Don’t get drawn into keeping up with the Joneses
If your next door neighbours or a ‘frenemy’ is both wealthier than you and supremely smug about it, you may feel the burning fire of green eyed envious rage burn within you when they buy yet another new TV, or shiny new car. Rather than dipping into credit to not only match their new purchase but raise them, avoid getting drawn into an expensive match of keeping up with the Joneses. You shouldn’t compare yourself or what you own to that of other people. This kind of one-upmanship has driven many a household to ruin and it really isn’t worth it. Being susceptible to such silliness is a true demonstration of character, and not in a positive way.
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