Living Within Your Means

Category Advice
Fewer financial concerns can actually allow you to live a joyful life, with less. This is a page about living within your means.


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September 7, 2011

When my husband and I first married, I didn't have any real sense about saving and/or spending wisely. I allowed my husband to assume control over finances because of his excellent upbringing.

We initially rented for six years as we saved money for our own home during the years we were both working. Our first son was born four years post-wedding but our rental home was sufficient for one extra tiny being, and it offered me the opportunity to stay at home to raise him while always looking for ways to save money and always following my husband's example. We only spent our money on "needs" rather than "wants".

After two more years, we were expecting our second son. We had enough money to buy our first home, not a down payment, but actually purchase a small home. It wasn't necessarily located in a place that would have been our first choosing, but it WAS a home and it WAS paid for. Our second child was born and we continued to put our money towards needs rather than wants.


It allowed us to eventually save enough to add to the equity of our home and buy another small home in a more desirable location. Our kids always had clean clothes, food, and a roof over their heads while growing up. We always had control over what they did, when they ate, and how much sleep they had.

In the last eight years, saved money was once again added to our home equity allowing us to build a new home with 3 bathrooms and 4 bedrooms. We have always lived debt-free, I have always been at home to care for my family. Our sons, who are now 22 and 19, have always saved for their own cellphones, iPods and brand name shoes.

I read somewhere that "most people don't live within their means because they don't consider it living", but it allows for a truly beautiful life without financial worries.


By oSandi from Sherwood Park, Alberta

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September 7, 2007

Raising three children as a single mother is never easy. But the key to contentment is learning to live within your means. I never owned a new car, a house of my own, and worked in trade for most of my furniture. Yet that never really bothered me as I centered my life around being the best mother I could be and raising good well rounded children, my God-given responsibilities.

I worked a lot of part time jobs to avoid the cost of child care. By doing so, it also allowed me time to be a part of their activities in their school years. The boys played baseball and basketball and many times I sold the pictures and decorations right off my walls to a friend to pay for their ball fees or team photos.


I had a neighbor remark to me that the children she was raising were told by no uncertain terms that they COULD NOT AFFORD to let them play sports. Mine were told that we'd find a way to pay for their activities. And with God's help and sacrifice on my part, we made it!

Fortunately, yard sales came into existence the year my first son was born. Play clothes were purchased at them and they all had clothes they knew were to play in and NEW clothes were used only for church and school. As my first son outgrew his nice clothes, I had a close friend with a son a little younger and I took care of them and sold them to her in order to re-invest in new ones. This was a policy that I used with all three and they never lacked for nice clothes. When my daughter was small, I cleaned for a friend in trade for many of her daughter's clothes.


I cannot see why many young mothers refuse to dress their children from yard sales. Obviously, my daughter learned from example. She now has a 10 month old son and, other than the new clothes at birth, he also has been raised in yard sale clothes. And many can't believe it-by the way he is dressed. It isn't that they could't afford new. She chooses to do this so that she can stay at home with him, rather than work. Children learn by example and she followed my leading.

There were other things that helped see me through child-rearing days as well. I taught myself to decorate cakes for my oldest son's birthday. Baking and decorating cakes for others has seen us through many of my children's high maintenance years. Three high school graduations, two beautiful weddings, baby showers and many many birthday parties.


I didn't call for professional help. I chose to do it myself! And a lot of money was saved. Cooking at home saved a lot of money as well. Eating out was done in moderacy. I feel that the money saved far exceeded the dread of cleaning up the messy kitchen.

Sometimes I wonder if the situation had been different, would I have chosen to live the same lifestyle? I honestly can't say. But I think that a lot was learned in those years and three great children were the reward for MY FRUGAL LIFE!

By Sharon Shearer from Ravenna, Ky

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September 19, 2018

Now on a very small fixed income, I kept finding myself running out of money before the end of the month to pay my monthly bills and living expenses. So I wound up drawing money out of my savings account every month to pay bills until my next monthly check came in. I realized that my savings account was shrinking at an alarming rate. In looking at my lifestyle, I realized I had to change some of my habits.

A Thanksgiving table set and ready for dinner.

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August 3, 2011

Listen to Dave Ramsey, and take his advice. Save as much as you can; Invest, but only in something decent. Never try to live beyond your means or try to impress someone.

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Always live beneath your means. Sociologically it has been proven that people who are at the top of a lower income group are more satisfied than those at the bottom of an upper!

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Frugal living, to me, means using what I have before buying something new. When I am in need of something, I first think about what I already have that might fulfill my needs, and try to use that first.

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