Over the last few years, our personal finances have taken a major turn for the better. We have doubled our household income consistently for 5 years in a row! This is due to my husband getting promoted and my online business skyrocketing.
We have been able to pay off 100K in debt, which was primarily our individual student loans. We’ve been able to save for our 3 boys to go to college, put aside funds into our retirement accounts, give to our church and charitable organizations, increase our life insurance/investments, and the list goes on.
This was ONLY done by living within our means.
Actually, we lived WAY under our means a lot of times.
Often, people tend to increase their spending when they make more money. They get a raise or promotion and they immediately buy a new car, or new house. In these instances, they usually have nothing left after taking on these major expenses. I know of individuals who have built beautiful homes, and had nothing left to furnish it, go on vacation or even eat out. They put themselves into such a financial bind, they never get to enjoy financial freedom.
Let me share a little background, we have spent over 10 years of our marriage essentially making ends meet. We were not extravagant with our spending in any way. We just brought in enough income to pay the bills and not much else. However, I am still really grateful for that.
God took care of us and we didn’t want for anything.
I didn’t do things such as get my nails done, or eat out much. We budgeted every dime. We were trying to be the best stewards we could! For example, I learned how to coupon and save large amounts on groceries. Also, we have been blessed to be able to tithe through it all, and give to others consistently. It may have not been very much, but we gave what we could.
When things really started to turn around for us financially, we wanted to continue to do the right things with our finances. Often this meant making simpler choices, that weren’t “showing-off” to others. This majorly goes against the grain of choices people often make when they make more money. It’s been challenging at times. At the same time, when building wealth is your goal, you might not always appear wealthy.
Now don’t get me wrong, we do live in a beautiful home, in a really nice neighborhood. We also drive nice cars. However, they are still under our means. “Within your means” is going to be different for everyone.
For us, this meant buying a Toyota under our budget; instead of a Mercedes Benz at the top of our budget. Instead of building a super expensive custom house, we live in a home that costs significantly less where we don’t feel the pressure to “hustle” every month to make our mortgage payment.
When people hit our household income level, they often live pretty over the top. As a family raising 3 black boys, we also realize the significance of passing down any form of wealth to them.
Living a little more modestly in order to leave a financial legacy for them has been a top priority.
I’ve learned from reading books on improving personal finances, building wealth, and becoming a millionaire…it doesn’t happen from living in luxury day after day. It is from living beneath our means.
We live on less than half of our income.
We save, invest, and give the rest. We want to be able to help our boys if they have a business idea, or a hard time financially in the future. We don’t want our kids to have college debt that takes decades to pay off. We want to be able to vacation without counting our dollars.
In the beginning of the year, we considered moving, and buying a larger home. We then realized we could make THIS home our dream home while still keeping our mortgage low and not increasing our fixed monthly costs…therefore increasing our wealth as our income continues to rise.
We have been able to re-do the siding on our home, build a white picket fence, put in new floors, new kitchen countertops, and all new appliances. We’ve also bought new beds for the boys, get the deck re-finished, the inside of the house painted a new color, hire landscapers and update our decor!!!
This is all because we CHOSE to stay put, and invest in our family, our quality of life over appearances to others.
We are even going to Hawaii this summer, rented a beautiful house on the beach, and are bringing my parents! These are all things we could NOT do if we choose to continually increase our standard of living!
So, I encourage you to let go of the pressure of appearances and find confidence in pursuing financial freedom for you and your family.
Also, if you feel like this is so far beyond your finances, know that prayer works! I prayed for years for God to turn around our finances and He did just that! It wasn’t in my timeline, but He did it and we hope to glorify Him with how we are using it!