6 Signs You’re Living Beyond Your Means And How To Fix It
In the age of plastic spending and mobile payments, it’s easier than ever to buy stuff you can’t pay for right away and supporting a lifestyle you can’t really afford.
Let’s take a look at six red flags that might mean you’re living beyond your means and the steps you can take to get back on track.
You’re carrying a credit card balance from month to month
Credit cards are a great way to earn rewards, pay for emergency purchases when things are extra-tight and build a strong credit history. Unfortunately, they also make it far too easy to fall into the spending trap.
If you have a high credit card balance and you’re only paying the minimum payment each month, you can end up carrying this balance for years and pay a lot in interest.
The fix: Try to make double payments and stop using the card until the debt is paid off. If you have multiple cards with balances, try using the snowball or avalanche methods for paying down balances.
You stress about paying your bills
Bills should be fixed into your budget and you should be able to pay them easily without any stress.
The fix: Take a long look at your monthly budget to find ways to cut back. Cancel a subscription you never use, trim impulse purchases or cut back on eating out.
You can’t save 5% of your monthly income
If you can’t put away at least 5% of your monthly income into savings, you’re living beyond your means.
The fix: Again, you’ll need to trim your expenses and restructure your budget to include a minimum of 5% for savings as a fixed part of your budget.
You don’t have emergency and rainy-day funds
Ideally, you’ll want to have an emergency fund to cover major unexpected expenses, like a job loss or a medical emergency, and a rainy-day fund for small expenses you can anticipate, like replacing an aging appliance and sending your child to summer camp.
The fix: Start building your funds now by putting away as much as you possibly can each month.
You lease a car you can’t afford to buy or finance
Leasing lets you live the life of a high-roller without the huge bills. The problem is that many people can’t really afford their leases either. Can you afford to pay for or finance your car? If the answer is no, you’re in financial trouble.
The fix: Downgrade your vehicle to one you can actually afford.
Your financial decisions are influenced by your friends’ spending habits
Thanks to the hyper-sharing culture of social media, the pressure to keep up with your peers is stronger than ever. If you find yourself making financial decisions based on your friends’ choices, you’re likely spending more than you can afford.
The fix: Stop looking over your shoulder and keep your eyes on your own life and your own wallet.
Your Turn: What’s your personal red flag that your spending has gotten out of control? Share it with us in the comments.