8 Reasons to Live Beneath Your Means

I know so many people who are struggling financially and my heart breaks for them. One of my goals with this blog is to show you how to use your money wisely and make your household budget stretch further. Since we have been married, my husband and I have always sought to live beneath our means, spending less than we earn.

While it may look like everyone around you is living the good life and enjoying lots of money, this may not actually be true. Here are 8 important reasons to live beneath your means. Get these tips and motivation to pursue a simpler, more frugal lifestyle.

My family has been blessed with a sound financial picture, but we have also been diligent in practicing good financial habits.

When I started my home business, we lived on one income until the business was established. This was a tight time for us financially but we managed to stick to our budget and not go into debt.

Now that we have sold the business, we are again living on one income, but this time around it’s much easier. We are used to being frugal, even though we have 3 more kids than the first time we were a one-income family!

Here are my favorite 8 reasons to live beneath your means financially:

1. To build an emergency fund.

If you don’t already have one, get one! $1,000 is a great start.

2. To save for the future.

Retirement and college costs will be here sooner than you think.

3. To save for a rainy day.

In case you have to cut your budget later due to unexpected circumstances, if you are living frugally, you might not even feel the pinch.

4. To set a good example for your kids.

When they leave your home for college or the working world, they probably won’t be able to afford the same lifestyle they enjoy at home. The allowance just doesn’t stretch that far! When you demonstrate financial restraint, you are encouraging them to do the same.

5. So you can pursue your dreams.

Stephanie Langford and her husband are spending an entire year traveling the globe with their 4 young children! This would not have been possible for them without a lot of sacrifice and frugality.

6. So you can give generously.

Crystal Paine and her husband have financed an entire Child Survival Program  in the Dominican Republic because they were frugal starting early in their marriage and scrimped and saved their way to financial stability and incredible generosity.

7. To practice contentment.

When we continually want the best and greatest (phone, car, wardrobe, vacation) we can afford, we will inevitably be disappointed and unhappy when something better comes along.

Have you ever noticed that you can never truly be satisfied with things? It’s true. Instead when we decide we have enough, we can experience contentment right where we are. And that’s a beautiful thing!

[Tweet “When we decide we have enough, we can experience contentment right where we are. @theEarlyBirdMom”]

8. To be good stewards of our money.

I believe we are called to use our money wisely. And when we do, all of the other things in this list open themselves up to us.

If you are struggling financially, there is so much encouragement and help available online. Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University is the best place to start.

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Want more money-saving tips?

See my Pinterest board, Top Money-Saving Ideas.
Follow Sarah Mueller @ Early Bird Mom’s board Top Money-saving Ideas on Pinterest.

Are you able to live beneath your means? What are your reasons?


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43 thoughts on “8 Reasons to Live Beneath Your Means”

  1. You are entirely correct! A sound financial plan is definitely a marker of maturity. While not all things are in our control (accidents, children born with disabilities, unforeseen circumstances, etc.), we need to remember our money is not ours from the get-go. We are designed to use it wisely, somewhere along the lines we have forgotten that….

  2. Great thoughts, true thoughts, life changing thoughts! It’s really not about how much you have or do not have. It’s about the patterns of your life. God responds to patterns.

  3. We are older and paying for our lack of being responsible with our money. I haven’t been able to work for about 9 months, and we have had to cut back ~ way back~ surprising what one does not really need, when you are forced to do so. The main thing I tell young couples starting out ~ is to budget what they have~ and put something out of every check back! Do not want them to learn the hard way , as we have.

  4. Wise parents taught me to live below my means and always save for a rainy day. Trust me rainy days come along and being prepared gives you less stress.

    Yet, for a few months after my husbands sudden death I got off tract, but learned quickly and got back on tract.

    Getting rid of the tv and simply not allowing society to tell me that I am not a worthy person unless I own something or wear some brand is one step I did that has always paid off.

    Sadly, many many people did get themselves into the financial bind they are in. Buying things they didn’t need. Homes to big for their budget.

    Back in 2006 on HGTV there was a show on called House Hunters, which I was watching while waiting for an appointment. A young couple with two small children had to tell the real estate agent more than once that they wanted to live below their means and wanted to pay off a home within five or ten years. They bought a smaller home, but often wonder if their wise advise was lost on most of the viewers.

    • House Hunters is a perfect example of how what we *need* is all relative. People in California are thrilled to pay a half a million bucks, while someone in Georgia is going to pay half that amount for twice as much house.

      • Not all people in California are crazy enough to buy things like homes, that they cannot afford. My family is renting. We have been renting for years ! Our kids are all grown. A couple live at home still, due to disabilities. We made sure that our kids that could get a college education were able to. They all graduated and are doing well. They pay all their own bills. We are grateful for the lessons in life that we have learned and we make sure that even somewhat expensive purchases are given a few days to think about, before acting on (buying.) If we really need it, then we make sure to shop around for the best price. We don’t need flashy, name brand things..We just need reliable appliances etc. because that is just the way we are. Gratitude is important and even though we have no home ownership, we are grateful for a roof over our heads and a happy home life.

          • Absolutely. Nothing is stable here, in my opinion. Everybody just seems to be praying that they don’t lose their jobs …if they have one !

        • Everything is expensive in CA, but here we have fresh fruits and vegetables year round. Each region has its benefits and its downsides. You could pay me millions of dollars, buy me a big house with lots of square feet and empty space for acres, but there is nothing that would make me leave CA. (Also, our jobs typically pay more than other states! Higher cost of living = higher living wage!)

          As a young person in CA, I don’t have a house, but I envision buying a condo within 4 years and when I’m ready, I’ll sell that to put towards a house. The point is to figure out your monthly income, pay your bills early and in full, and to put the rest towards savings.

          • Good points! It’s all about priorities. If the budget works and you’re living according to your priorities, you’ll be in great shape.

            Thanks for commenting.

  5. Great advice. I have been lucky in having a parent who taught me this and in having a partner who was the same. My tip would be start using cash when paying for anything if possible. When you have to hand over 300 bills and actually count it out from your hand to theirs you begin to see what you are really paying.

  6. Hi,
    nice post. I’ve been saving money since I’ve met my wife – she taught me that 😉 we are debt free and have some savings – which turned out to be really smart thing. In Jan I lost my job and couldn’t find another one for 6 months, if not savings we would be in deep trouble. Another thing I learned is how much money I was spending everyday – way too much. I could actually get through whole week at home for the same amount 😉
    Thanks God we don’t have any mortgage – it would be a disaster. People will say – what can we do, we need a home!
    Well, there are options – maybe you dont need huge house close to the city? Countryside has it’s pros 😉
    In UK lots of people live on canal boats – most of them are comfortable enough, and I’ve seen some superb ones too! You could get something for 20% of cost of house/flat, live there for few years and save at accelerated rate. I guess same applies to the trailers 😉

    so there are options but most people do not want to take them as it would look bad in other peoples eyes.
    best regards

    • Yes! We take so much for granted but when we really look at what we *need*, it can be pared down so far. Most people don’t want to consider this, though, until they are forced.

  7. As Seigfried stated, don’t overlook different means of living. I live in the states (southern coast) and have lived on a boat for over 5 years with my significant other. Our rent is cheap but there are rules to follow that do not apply to homes however, it has allowed us to save a small bit. It’s not nearly where I would like to be at but, it’s a start. Our major expense is eating out. I’m a great cook but I also have a bad back which makes standing for a time difficult. So, when I have a bad day (back wise), we eat out. I’m working on this however and plan to make eating out only a special occasion event instead of once or twice a week.

  8. Great post, thanks ! We all need this especially with the economy we live in now. I just need to work hard about living frugal with my husband. For me is kind of in my blood already as I grew up in this kind of environment ( third world country ) I found your site from livingwellspendingless !

  9. I’m in my mid 50s now and the older I get, the more I realize how fortunate I am that my parents abhorred debt, even though household income was rather limited when I was growing up. I assimilated so many valuable lessons on properly aligning spending decisions with priorities and personal values. I appreciate all I have now.

  10. Loved this Sarah! My mother and father in law were adamantly against debt. They paid cash for everything and if they didn’t have enough cash, they waited until they did. What resulted from that was a jaw-dropping GIFT to their children after they passed away. Not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new from them (financially speaking) and they’ve both been gone for almost a year now. The biggest lesson learned is that they would have given the shirt off their back to anyone in need, but rarely did anything special for themselves. They lived like money was tight, but in reality, they could have traveled the world, lived in a mansion, bought fancy cars, and more. That lifestyle just wasn’t in their nature.

  11. My goal is to be financially free at some point by living well below my means and always looking for opportunities to make more money.

    I focus as much on making more money as I do saving because I think it’s a key element to financial security. The more we make, the faster we can save enough to enjoy ourselves later in life.

  12. Hi Sarah,
    I found your site via an article mention in the April/May issue of MaryJanesFarm magazine. Wow! Great site! I love this list, especially #4, being a good example to our kids. We don’t even know what a gift it is to them, to set realistic, humble expectations, so that when they are grown and out on their own they do not fall into the overspending habit but are appreciative for everything in life they can afford. It is heartbreaking to see the kids of friends who have not learned this lesson, and watch them struggle with car payments they can’t afford, credit card debt they never should have incurred for luxury items like vacations, etc. Our kids grow up with the values we give them, and it is such a joy to see your grown kids making wise financial decisions. Thanks for all the work you’re doing here to encourage wives and moms in their oh-so-important calling. Keep up the great work 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Lynn! They were so kind to include my link in the Mary Jane’s magazine. It is hard for kids who have never known anything else.


  13. Your comment, ” When we decide we have enough, we can experience contentment right where we are,” is priceless!
    The “grabber” is that little four-letter word, WHEN…
    WHEN we decide. At what point in my quest to grasp the elusive “more” will I decide it is “enough”?
    The beauty and freedom of the realization that it IS whenever I DECIDE it to be “enough”…
    Truly, “Godliness with contentment is great gain”!
    I have been a frugal-grasper most of my marriage. The “lightbulb-aha!” Of your comment is like the missing puzzle piece: By God’s grace and gratefulness I can “DECIDE” right now, that what I have is quite bountifully “ENOUGH,” cease the grasping, and enjoy the beauty of contentment.


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Welcome. I’m Sarah!


I’m the creator of Decluttering School (formerly known as Early Bird Mom), lover of organized spaces, encourager to women and mom to four boys. Click here to read more!

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