This quote comes from Calvin Coolidge, not our most famous president but he got this right. We have written about budgeting, buying a home, investing, a plethora of personal financial topics here at Military Crashpad yet the best single piece of advice we can give you is this; live within your means. There has never been (and may never be) so brilliant, simple, and profound a quote about finances? Living within your means is the crux of all good financial advice, period.
The Key to Financial Independence
Here in the U.S. we don’t understand this concept very well, how to live on less than we make; with as many as 55% of us living paycheck to paycheck. Further only 35% of us could come up with $2000 if we needed it for an unexpected cost, let’s change that!
If you were to boil down everything we have written, the thousands of words penned about money in the digital stratosphere the one thing we would hope you would take from it is “live within your means.” There is incredible simplicity in that advice, but goodness does it work. When you choose to spend less than you earn and do so consistently over time you build toward financial independence. We define that simply as when you reach the point in your life where you no longer have to trade your time for money, because you have all that you need. What amount that will require is unique to each person as is the timing, but it is what so many of us are working toward. Here at Military Crashpad we want to help you reach that goal, especially as individuals who have served our country.
Financial independence comes through the consistent discipline of living within (and hopefully below) your means. It is what everyone who gets on a budget is striving to do and we can tell you from experience that it works. It may be difficult to accomplish but if you can you have an incredible chance of achieving financial independence. If you are able to live within your means when you make a modest income, you will do so as your earning potential increases. Spend less than you earn no matter what you earn and do that consistently over time and what you have available to you will grow and grow.
The Most Important Thing You’ll Do This Year
If the path to financial independence is paved with conscious discipline, and making sure to spend less than you make how can you actually do that? The first step is to actually sit down and set a budget for yourself (and your family if that is applicable) and stick to it. Figure out what you make, what you are spending now, and if the later is greater than the former start a plan to reduce it. We would encourage you to get on a monthly budget that has you spending just 5% less than what you currently make and increase that a percentage point every 3 months till you get to 10-15%.
You will be impressed with how much you are able to trim back and the sense of pride and accomplishment you will experience when you do. Continue on that trajectory over time and you will get to experience the dignity and independence that Calvin Coolidge described for yourself. Simple, straightforward, and achievable, what more can you ask for?
Are you able to live within your means? If not how can we help you get there?