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Live Within Your Means of Income – Keith Horton – Medium

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Having a source of income is important to sustain a healthy life. We do what we can to pay bills, eat, have a roof over our heads. Most Americans (or human-beings) find this obviously necessary.

On an uncomfortably cold, rainy Saturday, I was looking for better ways to manage my income. And I came across some interesting things in the process. Applying my own past financial experiences with what I read, I thought about decisions made by those around me and why it strengthened or crippled them financially.

And it made me ask the question: How exactly do you live within your means of income? After a couple hours of picking my brain, and scrolling through pages online, I discovered that these three basic things are essential to answering that question.


A budget is an organized calculation of income and expenses designed for a set time-frame. Think of it like a ruler that’s used to measure a specific object.

Budget Example

It’s used to determine how much income is available to be spent on whatever expenses needed to be made. Budgets are also used to monitor the expenses themselves.

People who want to keep track of their income and expenditures will use a budget. It’s there for those serious about their finances. For example, someone may be trying to save up for a house. Well, a budget helps determine how long it could take to get that house, how much they’ll have by a specific time, or how much income they’ll need to make that dream a reality.

Using a budget brings peace of mind to those who use it well. Being able to make better, confident financial decisions is simply a result of budgeting. And by becoming more aware of where your money’s going, you’re now able to rest assured knowing that you have a tight grip on your finances.

The power of “no”

If it’s something you know you cannot afford, you should say “no”.

Those who have little control over themselves while shopping should put this into practice. People who have issues managing their expenses would be amazed at how well saying “no” could change their impulse-driven lives.

Impulse buying is making abrupt purchases based on the current burning desire for it. Instead of making a purchase on something that’s needed, someone buys twelve expensive jackets because they just can’t help themselves, which puts them over the budget for the month.

Sticking to your budget, however, helps avoid impulse buying and allows you to live comfortably within your means of income. And financial success comes after putting your budget over your own urge to buy that new jacket (you don’t need).

Yes, saying “no” is a choice. And there’s nothing wrong with telling yourself that.

Think long-term

Your lifestyle will change after you change your thinking. And thinking long-term forces you to make smarter decisions with your spending.

You are in control of your finances now, not your impulses. Consequently, you might not be able to go out like you want at the moment, and you may have to skip out on that new fancy restaurant downtown. But, here’s the good news: you’ll be sacrificing this for later. And the later could be so much better.

Thinking this way helps by causing individuals to think before they make a purchase. One purchase could change your life. But one decision to save that for later could, too.

If you want that house bad enough, you’ll give up a couple nights of spending money like there’s no tomorrow in order to have it. And, make no mistake about it, whatever you want to do or be later is determined by how you manage your money now.

Photo by Xan Griffin on Unsplash

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