Living Below Your Means Does Not Mean Living Poorly.

It’s all in what you make of it, really. As I am sure you are aware of, there are plenty of people who live below the ridiculously low poverty line (both here in the U.S. and the rest of the world) that are very happy; and there are also incredibly wealthy folks who are miserable as all hell. Money does not make a single person happy. You may think it does, but it doesn’t. Because if you are not reasonably happy with yourself in the first place, all money does it try to plug a hole that will eventually open up again – leaving you unhappy once more. Many people without money make due however they can; by sharing bedrooms, driving beat-up old cars, not ever going out to eat. But that doesn’t mean they are living poorly at all. They are living within their means, which for some actually means they are comfortable with where they are in the social strata.

Now granted, you could be living below your means AND be living poorly, for sure. By never spending a penny on anything fun in life, you could be living well below your means but not having a great time. We all work so we can pay our bills…and hopefully have a little fun along the way. Being a penny-pincher to the point of never doing anything can be just as sad as not having the money to do those things in the first place – you have to find a balance between “your means” and “your lifestyle”.


For those living the high life on credit (like I used to do), I have advice for you – stop. Just stop. Life can be quite fun when you live within your means! You don’t need to make a ton of money in order to have a comfortable life. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to use money to fill some sort of a hole…and you don’t need to fall for it. There is nothing wrong with making a lot of money, so please don’t take what I am saying as meaning that. But having to “make money” as the goal to make you happy and to lead a comfortable life is, well, a mistake. No matter your income, you can usually live a content life while living within your means. It does not mean you have to live poorly…not by any stretch.

Photo from Shutterstock

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Comments (6)

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  1. Doctor S says:

    The high life living on credit is quite a high. Stopping is easier said than done, some people (like this guy) relied on them too much. Gotta make sacrifices to get things right. In the process currently of righting this ship.

  2. Lulu says:

    I just wrote an article about how I am keeping my budget the same after getting a salary increase. I guess that is living below my means now…it is not a big increase…but instead of acknowledging the extra money and possibly succumbing to lifestyle inflation I am going to operate as if the extra money does not exist.

  3. Its all about your mindset. If you have CC debt, you simply need to cut back until you are paid off. After that, the frugal living concept doesn’t go out the window, you just simply can’t live BEYOND your means.

    Its a hard concept to implement in your life, but once done and once you see the benefits, it can easily become a way of life.

  4. Agreed. It all comes down to the fact that money can’t buy happiness.

  5. ctreit says:

    I agree with you when you say that money does not buy you happiness. But poor personal finances can make you very unhappy and stressed out.

  6. PJ Johnson says:

    We have raised 8 kids below the poverty line. It has not been easy and we have worked, but many in the midwest work for the minimum wage of this country – not because they are happy doing it, but because that is all that is available in their area. We bought our home outright years ago so we are able to live within our means but it is still a struggle. Anything out of the ordinary such as ripped jeans or a broken down old car can put a wrench in life quickly when you live on so little. Next time you stay in a motel – check out the desk clerk – she might be me!