How to Avoid Living a Lifestyle You Can’t Afford

I don’t know where all of this information was back in 2013 when our family got way in over our heads financially, but nevertheless, it is here for YOU now! If you are someone who feels like you are always struggling with money and can’t seem to get ahead, there may be some life circumstances that are making it difficult, but you might also have fallen into the trap of living above your means. This is something people can so easily fall into without realizing just how much it’s going to drain them energetically and financially. What’s worse is that that some of the financial institutions we decide to blindly trust are usually aware we’re making a huge mistake or have no clue themselves. So, as a former broke girl, I feel it is my duty to fill in some gaps for you to prevent you from drowning financially — or give you some ideas on how to get out if you currently find yourself treading water.

Learn how to design your life

One of the best things you can do for yourself that will allow you to see results in every area is to intentionally design your life rather than let life happen to you. When you learn how to do this you may just find yourself with more clarity, peace and fewer financial burdens that are weighing you down.

If you’re not quite sure how to do this but you love the idea of taking control of your own life and building it the way you want to, check out my free training, Massive Action Masterclass.

Stop thinking more money

I remember a day, several days actually, when I would realize that our bank account was low again and would go into a panic thinking that I needed to find a job. At the time I was a stay at home mom and my husband, Tom, was working full time. On occasion, I would work a part time job here and there just to have something to do and for some extra cash.

However, whenever money felt tight I always felt I needed to work more or find a job with more hours. Immediately I would start scanning the wanted ads in the newspaper (man how times have changed), in a panic.

What I didn’t realize was this:

Because I was already in the habit of spending without purpose, making more money would only allow me more money to spend without purpose.

In some cases, yes, you may find that your family does in fact require more money. Often times, however, you just might be able to find money right where you are.

Know your money

One of the scariest things to do, especially when you are struggling or feeling overwhelmed financially, is to actually sit and look at your money. I get it, opening up your bank account to see a $0 balance or even a negative balance can send a person into depression faster than it takes to shut your laptop.

Not only that, but you just might have to come face to face with where you have been spending your money. You scan through your purchases to see fast food restaurants, Target, and Amazon. What did you even buy?!

I know, believe me, I know how shitty it can feel to open your bank account in an attempt to find where your money has gone only to come face to face with the reality that you are in fact the one who made it all disappear.

Here’s what I want you to do:

  • Take a deep breath
  • Plan to not like what you see
  • Write down or record your actual spending

If you aren’t sure how to do a Spending Inventory, check out my YouTube tutorial to help you get started.

Coming face to face with the reality of your finances and just how much (or how little) money you have can feel totally debilitating. I get that. To make it less awful, I want you to do these two things to make it all a little more worth it:

  1. Decide what spending you can eliminate – This is a genius way to get more money back in your bank account every month. 40 Ways to Reduce Your Monthly Bills
  2. Decide what things you can spend less on – If you are in the habit of spending $200 per month on Starbucks. Get yourself a pre-loaded Starbucks gift card for $150. You’re still allowing yourself to spend, but are shaving back how much by just a little bit.

Making these two small decisions can help put you back in control of your money and can spark a new way of thinking where you are working to bring more money back to your account rather than focusing on how much may have disappeared.

Consider all costs

Before making any financial decisions, consider all the costs of your purchases. This can go for big purchases like a house, or a car, however, it can also go for smaller purchases like clothing and kid’s toys.

When it comes to major financial purchases, the hidden costs associated with these purchases are often called Phantom Costs. These are additional expenses that you don’t always consider that can increase the amount of money you devote to your new home or new car each month beyond your monthly payment.

Here are some examples:

New home

  • Increased home owner’s insurance
  • Utilities
  • Property taxes
  • Services to maintain the house (duct cleaning, new roof, water filters, air filters)
  • Lawn care equipment
  • Furnishings
  • Future updates

New car

  • Gas expenses
  • Oil changes
  • Repairs
  • Yearly tabs

While Phantom Costs are often used in reference to hidden financial costs, it is just as important to remember the costs of smaller purchases.

New clothes

  • More laundry
  • Potential interest if bought with credit card
  • Additional clutter to maintain

Kids toys

  • More clean up
  • Potential fighting
  • More to declutter later

Does this mean all of these things are not worth it? No. It’s simply that we often forget about just how big of a price we pay for the things we say we want. Keeping these reminders in the back of your mind may help you slow your future purchases and be a little more intentional when it comes to leaping into a new decision.

Focus on your future

Another way we can easily get ourselves swept up in living a life that we can’t afford is when we are so focused on buying whatever is currently trending.

Your friend group is buying houses so you feel pressured to buy a house.

Everyone at work just got the iPhone upgrade and now you feel left out.

That one asshole from high school just took an all inclusive vacation to Fiji and you sure as hell don’t want her thinking her life is better than yours. Your life is amazing, you’ll show her!! So you book a trip to the Dominican Republic for your whole family and buy yourself swimsuits that are cuter.

Now, these might not be the exact examples, but chances are, you have fallen into a few of these pitfalls throughout your time on earth.

In order to avoid these little soul-sucking money traps, why not consider asking yourself this one important question: “What is it that I actually want my life to look like?

When you can hold a vision for what it is you want for your life (broad statements like, “To just be happy” don’t count), you can work to refocus your attention whenever you are feeling pulled in a different direction.

Connect your emotions to your brain

Lastly, I want to give you the reminder that if you are making impulsive financial decisions, you are most definitely being lead by your emotions.

If you are anything like me (recovering shopaholic) then you probably know that rush that comes along with shoving items into your cart. The rush that comes along with it can feel like it’s your friggin’ birthday and you’re 8 years old again.

This same sugar-rushed feeling can go hand in hand with buying a new house, car, toilet…the options are endless.

As someone who used to be completely run by her emotions, let me tell you learning to recognize my rushed state and turn on my thinking brain was one of the best things I have ever learned how to do. Buddhists would call this quieting the monkey mind.

Find a guide

Lastly, in any are of your life where you seek expansion and knowledge, it is important to find a guide that can help you out. Reading blog posts, books, or listening to podcasts can be helpful but sometimes it’s nice to have additional guidance and place where you can ask questions.

If you’re hoping to find a little more clarity on the subject of living a more aligned life financially and spiritually, check out my 3 part series: Massive Action Masterclass. If you are able to pay your bills, but have little left to live a lifestyle that allows you freedom and contentment, this can help!