Living Within Your Means When Your Means Change All Of A Sudden

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Most of us are pretty good at getting by with what we’ve got. While it would always be the dream to earn more, we become accustomed to our budgets. And, most of us do alright. We may not be able to afford mansions, but we can make the rent and bills with enough left to treat ourselves. Often, that’s all we can ask. In fact, many people who do experience boosts in earnings report not feeling any richer once the initial excitement has died down. Why? Because they, too, live within their means. When we have more money coming in, we get bigger cars and nicer houses. And, that means we still don’t necessarily feel as though we’re rolling in the dough.

Change All Of A Sudden

But, that gentle balance soon tips  if your means drop for any reason. Suddenly, you may find yourself in a position where those means no longer meet the life you’ve been living. This can happen for many different reasons, including job loss or the breakup of a marriage. Either way, when the amount you’re used to falls through, it can cause a great deal of stress.

If this has happened to you, you’ve come to the right place. While we can’t work miracles and ensure your ends continue to meet, we do at least have some suggestions for altering your lifestyle to your new situation. Read on to find out what they are.

Reduce unnecessary spending

Even if you think you’ve been living close to the bone the chances are you have at least a few expenses you can cut. When our means allow, we often take luxuries like these for granted, assuming they’re necessary to a happy life. But,  when you’re working with a smaller budget, reassessing expenses could reveal areas which aren’t essential at all. Some of the main things to look out for include –

  • Television subscriptions. While it’s nice to be able to catch up on the latest Netflix shows, your life isn’t going to end because you cancel this. What’s more, you always have the option to come back to it if things change again. If you don’t think cutting this out would make much difference, think again. Netflix lures people with low monthly costs, but those add up. Over the course of a year, it will cost you an average $131.88.
  • Expensive phone contracts. You may need a phone contract in the modern age, but that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. Contracts which provide handsets are pretty hefty. But, if you’re due for renewal, cancel what you’ve got and opt for a service which doesn’t include a phone. This could more than half what you pay at the moment. You can even pick up a cheap handset which still offers everything you need.
  • Daily lunches. Many of us fall into the trap of buying lunch either at work or in a local shop each day. It’s a treat, and it doesn’t hurt, right? Wrong. Even just buying a sandwich each week day can set you back $50 a month. All because you couldn’t be bothered to take something along with you. Buying ingredients for a packed lunch will cost a third of the price. Not to mention that homemade options like these mentioned on are often much tastier!

Cut these and more, and you stand to save yourself upwards of $500 a year. While it may not bridge the gap, it can at least bring your lifestyle costs down to a more manageable level.

Consider reducing your largest monthly costs

Of course, not all monthly costs are negotiable. What’s more, these are often the largest ones of all. Things such as your house, bills, and grocery shopping expenses are pretty essential for everyday life. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t alter these, too. When it comes to your house, you may have no choice but to accept defeat and sell. What’s more, you might need to sell fast using a company like Defaulting on mortgage payments is only going to leave you in more debt than you’re in a position to handle. Not to mention that attempting to cover costs here is going to cause you more stress than anything. Instead, cut your losses. Sell on and move somewhere you can afford. You may even find that the money you make from that sale is enough to get you back on your feet.

And, that’s not your only option. It’s also possible to save on bills by shopping around and playing companies against each other. Instead of accepting the price you’re quoted, challenge the cost with better offers from elsewhere. The chances are you’ll be able to bag yourself a bargain which will save you a massive amount. As for grocery shopping, saving here is easy enough. Get into the habit of writing lists and only buying the food for meals you’re making. You can’t afford to stick whatever you fancy in that trolley anymore. Get strict to ensure your money stretches further.

Get proactive about getting back to your start point

In an ideal world, the above are merely stepping stones towards getting your means back to where they were. Ultimately, though, this task falls to you. If you’ve lost the support of a partner, it might be worth looking into ways of making money at home, like those mentioned on These will allow you to increase your earnings while still working a full-time job. While they may not quite bring you back to where you were, they’ll at least improve your situation a little.

If your change in circumstances came about through a lost job, you could still turn to such methods to see you through. A little bit of money coming in is always better than nothing at all. Make sure, too, to be proactive about finding new employment. Reach out to employers instead of waiting to see jobs advertised. Do everything possible to get back to your means as soon as you can.

Living Within Your Means




About Us

DollarBreeders is a personal finance blog dedicated to people who want to take control of their finances and secure their future. Here you will find personal stories to inspire you to make better and more informed financial decisions. We aim to help people understand personal finances better and meet the challenge of living comfortably within the budget.