Monday, April 4, 2016

how to live below your means

Growing up in the LDS church, I was taught a number of principles about finances. I was taught from a young age about donating 10% of all my increase to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We call this tithing. Over the years I have never once been worried about paying tithing. I was taught to pay tithing as soon as I was paid. I have realized the blessings of paying tithing and in more recent months, Haig and I have been so blessed to receive help when we need it most because we are full-tithe payers.

My parents also admonished my siblings and I to save 10% as soon as we got paid. I did this for a number of years, until I started working and had a debit card and a small savings account. Eventually I stopped saving 10% of my increase. Finally, a couple of months before Haig and I got married, I started saving 10% of my increase again and it has been so great to save a little bit of money.

I started working around 13 years old with a paper route. I worked throughout high school at chain restaurant. I worked throughout my bachelor's degree. Now, I work full time as a caregiver and full-time as a wife and homemaker. I have never had a lot of money, just sufficient for my needs. From a young age, I decided to live with what I have, be frugal in my purchases and save, save save!

Living below your means is used to describe a life that is free of debt and worry. Our church leaders have encouraged us to work hard to maintain a happy lifestyle. An important aspect of this is comparative buying. SO MANY times there has been something that I've wanted, simply because someone else has it.

I need to start asking myself the question: "Should I afford this?". Haig and I just moved into a new apartment and there has been a number of things that we've had to buy recently without asking that question. A new space required a number of new things including storage compartments, food, cleaning supplies and emergency preparedness items. However, when it came to home decor and finishing touches, I decided to be as frugal as possible shopping at thrift stores, dollar-stores and kijiji. 

Haig and I are hoping to start a family within the next year. The "should I afford this" question comes to mind more often because I know that starting a family will be an investment. I know I will have to ask this question more often when it comes to purchasing something for myself, when I could be saving money for our future.
Debt has always been something I have learned to stay out of. Debt can be very dangerous. I have been told however that some things are worth going in debt for like education or a family car. We hope that the investment we put into our education will have a high return. I think it's so important to stay out of debt. An easy trick for staying out of debt is making rules for your credit cards. For example, our MasterCard is only used for grocery shopping trips or gas. Another good trick is to save and create an emergency fund. Having an emergency fund can help when unexpected expenses come up. 

When you do what you know is right with money, there will be blessings in store. I have seen blessings in our life as we strive to do what is right with money, which for us means saving more and less frivolous spending. We are grateful for what we do have, and we are so fortunate to have jobs that provide us with enough hours to maintain a happy lifestyle. We have been blessed as we give to and serve others, save money and budget in the right ways!  

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