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It’s so easy to get hooked on credit when society glorifies instant gratification over perseverance and sacrifice. Meanwhile, one look at the amount of debt with which Americans are burdened today reveals the natural outgrowth of this mindset.
It’s truly remarkable how many people feel deprived — while enjoying one of the highest standards of living on Earth. Even with all of the financial setbacks of the past couple of decades, the quality of a middle class lifestyle here in the US still exceeds that of most other nations.
Here are the Tips
Appreciating What You Have
Just be thankful for what you’ve got — even though you may not drive a great big Cadillac. One of the most challenging aspects of life in the US is recognizing what you have as being good enough.
There will always be a faster, more luxurious car than yours. There will always be a nicer home than yours. And, there will always be finer clothes than you wear — regardless of what you do, who you are or what financial resources you have.
Now this is not to say you shouldn’t strive to be all you can be. Just don’t tie the measurement of your success in that regard to the accrual of material possessions. Recognize and acknowledge the tremendous value of the things you already have in your life and you’ll be well on your way to living comfortably within your means.
Understand the Difference Between Want and Need
You need clothing, but you want a Kiton suit. You need a car, but you want a Mercedes-Benz S Class. You need a watch, but you want a Rolex Submariner. You need a home, but you want a 4,000 square feet contemporary with a filtered ocean view in a gated community.
Are you seeing the pattern?
Yes, life does impose necessities. However those necessities come in a lot of different varieties, some costing far more than others. There’s nothing wrong with getting the best you can comfortably afford — as long as you can comfortably afford it.
Screw the Joneses
Going hand in hand with the passage above is refusing to measure your self-worth by the apparent accomplishments of others. Hustling to “keep up with the Joneses” is to sentence yourself to living in eternal debt.
There’s always going to be someone who seems to be doing better than you. And, they’re all too happy to have you living your life blinded by that illusion. Meanwhile, in their ongoing effort to “stay ahead” of you, they’re in debt up to their eyebrows.
Why chase them and wind up there too?
If you’ve been doing this and your debts are about to get out of hand, consider availing yourself of a debt management strategy such as credit card debt consolidation to get yourself extricated from the situation and back on track.
Think Long Term
The path of least resistance is a dead end street. True satisfaction is found over the course of a long and arduous journey.
Moreover, there’s a lot more to life than what you see right in front of you. Permanence is an illusion. The only thing that always remains the same is the fact that things always change.
To truly live within your means, you must develop the ability to look beyond where you are right now and anticipate what you’ll need farther down the road. That’s the best way to avoid being blindsided. Decide what’s important to you, plan for your future to include it, execute that plan to the best of your ability and your future will be better than your present.