As credit becomes more readily available, Americans are finding themselves more and more in debt. This coupled with the fact that we are constantly being inundated with the next new big thing to buy, has left many in dire financial straits. As we continue taking out payday loans or cash advances that we cannot afford in order to cover our impulsive spending, we will likewise see this hole of debt grow even bigger. Those who want to avoid finding themselves in such a state can do so by simply living within their means.
While this solution is fairly straight forward, it has become harder and harder to do so in today's society. However, by thinking before you spend and adjusting your purchasing habits, you can ensure that you buy only what you can afford, thus keeping you from drowning in a sea of debt.
One way in which people tend to live beyond their means is by trying to keep up with technology. The rapid advancement of technology means that new and more advanced products are constantly coming out on the market. It seems that a new cell phone or television comes out every week, causing people to stand in monstrous lines for the opportunity to give stores money that they do not have in order to be one of the first to own it.
Before you find yourself among this crowd, you should ask yourself a couple of questions. First, do you really need the product? Is the cell phone that you purchased two months ago so out of date that you must upgrade to a new one, or have you simply fallen victim to good marketing and a 'keep up with the Joneses' mentality. If you do not really need the product but still want it, then you must decide whether you have enough expendable income to buy the product anyways. Can you afford to buy something simply because you want it? An honest 'yes' means that you can purchase it and still live within your means, while an honest 'no' means you should quell your impulses and walk away.
Another way in which people live outside of their means is by buying experiences that they cannot afford. Going on vacations or to dinners and events that you do not have the money for can quickly put you further and further into debt. This is a harder situation to avoid, as you may worry that not going on such outings will put a damper in your social life. However, this need not be the case.
You can live within your means and still have a thriving social life by being a little more aware of what you buy when you go out. Choose a restaurant that you can afford, and if you so find yourself in a higher priced establishment, be aware of the prices before ordering. Have a soup and salad instead of the three pound lobster. If you go out to drinks afterwards, do not be afraid to ask the bartender for prices, as you do not want to accidentally order a $15 cocktail. By being aware of your purchases when you go out, you can keep your social life without having to take out a payday loan in order to cover rent next month.
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