10.23.2018

How to Reinvent Your Lifestyle & Live Within Your Means

How to Reinvent Your Lifestyle & Live Within Your Means

I started working when I was twenty years old and now I'm almost thirty. Have you ever felt like you've spent years of your life working so hard, but you still never had enough savings at all? That's how I felt for the longest time.

My financial life has been comparable to a rollercoaster ride. My almost seven years of working in the corporate world was a never-ending struggle of living from paycheck to paycheck. I did manage to get a promotion but it felt like my salary was never enough. 

It's not that I didn't enjoy. The truth is, I probably enjoyed too much during the first few years of my career - buying things I never needed, hoarding stuff that just accumulated dust in our house, and eating out a lot because I couldn't cook to save my life.

For the record, I was able to open a savings account and actually started saving Php 3000 every payday. I just didn't know why it went downhill. It must be the pull of People are People, Terranova, and Starbucks. It was too strong to handle that time.

Then just like magic (not!), I went from being my own Little Miss Independent to Mrs. Grown-Up With One Legal Dependent. 

How to Reinvent Your Lifestyle & Live Within Your Means

That's when I started to be very cautious with everything I had to spend on. Even though I was totally cautious and my friends would already even tag me as "kuripot", there were still instances when I'd spend mindlessly and forget about the budget. 

It was only when I started working from home that I set out on a mission to totally reinvent my lifestyle and live within my means, if not below my means.

"Living within your means" means that you are only spending less than or at least equal to your monthly income. For many people including myself, it is definitely easier said than done, especially that I have a family to consider, not to mention I was running a single income household for the longest time. To be honest, I got so tired of living from paycheck to paycheck that I really badly wanted to improve my way of life. 

But I realized that if I really wanted to change what's happening in my life like the way I handle my finances, I had to change something to make it work. I knew I had to make a budget. Trust me, I always did, but it seemed like my budget would always be BADget. :(

So what I did was I took action and started reinventing my lifestyle together with my husband and son. Here are the things I did and are still doing that you can apply too. 

How to Reinvent Your Lifestyle & Live Within Your Means


1. Cut off unnecessary subscriptions or monthly payments and spending. 

I can't even begin to tell you how hard it was to part ways with the things I felt I truly "needed", but my willpower emerged victoriously. Thankfully, my husband is allergic to anything expensive so this mission became a lot easier.

I began cutting off my mobile postpaid plan and settled with prepaid load. I was paying almost Php 2000 monthly with my plan for many years but with prepaid load, I only spent Php 50-100 monthly. 

Right now, since I just work from home, I very rarely use my phone to text because we have WiFi that I use for work. Besides, FB messenger is what most people use to communicate. I only reload when I need to meet with friends in the city. The budget that I previously had for my postpaid plan is now being used to pay for my insurance payment monthly. 

I also cut off my Spotify subscription. It's only Php 129 monthly but I wanted to be really hard on myself and evaluate the things I truly needed. I realized I can do away with Spotify and just check YouTube if I need to listen to a song I like.

I stopped eating out. I swear I did. My family and I once ate at a new restaurant where I spent Php 1000. I didn't realize it then but when I looked back to it, it hurt my budget so bad. I finally told myself that we're better off cooking our own meals (or actually letting my husband cook our meals). 

So do yourself a favor, evaluate your expenses and see which ones you can get rid of completely. Give way to the more important and valuable things.

How to Reinvent Your Lifestyle & Live Within Your Means


2. Stay away from the social media trap. 

You know it. Social media has immensely changed the way people think about themselves and others. People seek validation from likes, shares, and comments. 

Social media has even grown exponentially partly because of influencers who project lavish and luxurious lifestyles. I don't have anything against them especially when they've worked genuinely hard to get to where they are. It's just that people tend to get into a comparison trap and a scrolling spree. Suddenly, you also want to be that person you idolize on social media.

Of course, your favorite influencers are paid to promote lifestyles in the form of clothing, shoes, apparel, wardrobe, makeup, skincare, travel, and a whole lot more. This is when sometimes you feel like you need all of those even when you don't have money to spend. 

I've been there, done that. I took a really hard look at myself and evaluated what I have become. I would scroll endlessly on Facebook and Instagram and wonder why all these people have things figured out and how they can afford the life they have.

How to Reinvent Your Lifestyle & Live Within Your Means

I spent so much from purchasing photo filters, apps, and even pretty blog templates just to make my social media photos look nice and beautiful. I purchased products I saw from social media just because I liked them. But eventually, I never got to use them all. Waste of money, yes. 

I made a drastic move to unfollow all influencers and celebrities. Again, not that I have anything against them. A lot of them are really nice and I still follow those who truly bring inspiration to me.

But my goal was to stop comparing my life with theirs. My goal was to focus on my own life and not spend the entire day checking their social media feed. 

I don't want to be tempted to buy something I don't need. And mind you, it has been effective because I've also drastically decreased my time on social media. I was able to focus on the present of my life. 


3. Consider a minimalist and sustainable lifestyle. 

One of the things I also started doing was to slowly create a minimalist and sustainable lifestyle. When you live this kind of lifestyle, you intentionally live with less and only the things you really need or find valuable.  

I'm already pretty simple myself but unknowingly, I have accumulated so many things over the years and most of them were things I never needed - shoes and bags I only used once, clothes I never wore at all, books I've never read, notebooks and pens I never used, and many more. 

It's not always easy to let go of your things. But one thing I've learned is to never be attached to material stuff. In my case, it's a lot easier to give away clothes I never wore or will never wear anymore. I also gave away a lot of my son's toys and baby clothes. 

I stopped buying shoes and bags because I still had good ones. All my clothes can fit inside two large pieces of luggage. I only kept the ones I can use long term. 

I also made sure to buy only one quality face foundation, pressed powder, lipstick, and blush-on. Those are the only things in my mini make-up kit and I never bought never-ending makeup stash anymore.

How to Reinvent Your Lifestyle & Live Within Your Means

I stopped buying pretty notebooks because I still have a lot of empty ones that I really just collected. At least now, I have a reason to use them down to the last page. I also stopped buying brush pens because I also still have a lot and I figured, they will do for now. I don't need more. 

The hardest things to give up are my books. So what I did was I left most of my books with my sister who has never read a book in her life and just kept my favorites with me. I also didn't go to Big Bad Wolf Books Sale because I knew I didn't have a budget for more and I still have a lot of unread books too. That was a pretty big win for me! 

Try trimming down your stuff now. List the things that you can actually stop buying or hoarding. Declutter your things and organize them. You will realize that you own quite a lot already so you can tell yourself to stop buying more if you really want to save money. 


4. Diversify your income. 

Even when I was still working in the corporate world, I was already blogging on the side, but it was only my hobby and something I did for the love of writing. When I became a full-time online content creator and started working from home, I had more time to write on my blog.

When I started growing my readership online, my blog's worth also increased. I can't say it's a famous blog but I can say that it has its loyal audience. So I told myself that there's nothing wrong with earning a little bit of extra from what I love doing.

If you have skills or expertise in any field, even though you're not really business-minded, you can start other income streams. I wasn't born business-minded but I've learned that when you shift your mindset from being an employee to a business person or an entrepreneur, you will have the motivation and drive to succeed in creating your own business.

For example, I started accepting sponsored or paid posts on my blog to earn additional income. I also started an online platform about call center lifestyle since I worked in the BPO for many years before. I created a website and a YouTube channel and now, I'm earning quite a decent amount from YouTube ads.

How to Reinvent Your Lifestyle & Live Within Your Means

Recently, I also started writing an ebook that I eventually sold. It was a great feeling to have my first sale! It wasn't huge but I was so happy that I started. I also plan on creating online courses and coaching programs soon.

I consider them my streams of passive income. You can do those things too and apply them in your field of expertise. It doesn't have to be huge and grand right away. The reason I chose online business is that it's not costly to start.

Since I already had my own website, I just created a shop right there and did not pay anything anymore. Then I shared it on my social media accounts with very little investment in ads. So far, I only spent Php 100 and I immediately got profit from my ebook.

If you're good in baking or cooking, you can start selling your creations to your family and friends, and eventually branch out from there. If you're good in fashion and makeup, perhaps you can be a makeup artist or stylist for events. The possibilities are endless!

As what we often hear, "do not put all your eggs in one basket." When you diversify your income, that means you will have other sources of funds in case one source fails. You will also be able to grow your money with dedication and hard work, save and invest a portion of your income, and eventually achieve your financial goals.


5. Start investing.

I used to be very scared of investments. The only thing I wasn't scared of was investing my feelings. ;) But when it comes to investing my money, I tend to hesitate a lot. I think it's understandable because oftentimes, we are scared of risks. In return, we tend to just hold on to the money we have and keep it at home or in banks.

To be honest, I'm still learning a lot about investments or other ways to grow my earnings. I don't want to just earn money and save it. I also want to grow it so that I can prepare financially for my son's education as well as retirement with my husband.

Right now, instead of spending on things I don't need or things that don't bring any kind of value to me and my family, I choose to set aside funds for investments. This also entails a little sacrifice or delayed gratification which is something I'm willing to happily partake so that I can live within my means, and at the same time, expect financial returns and save for my future which is basically the future of my family too.

How to Reinvent Your Lifestyle & Live Within Your Means

The first thing and the most important for me is to invest in myself. I'm always all for ongoing learning. If there's a course or educational tool that I can invest on to become more knowledgeable and skilled in my field of work and that will eventually help me grow a profitable online business, I take it.

Aside from investing in myself, I've also started looking into real estates and properties. I've started investing in a property and also looking into investing in a condo that I can convert into an AirBnb.

With all these financial decisions and investments in place, it's truly important to have a trusted financial partner or advisor who can educate you more about the best investments that are fit for your lifestyle. 

From time to time, I speak with a financial advisor to help me discuss my financial needs and situation. Years ago, I never really listen to anyone who speaks with me about finances, but now, I've learned that sometimes, we need an external intervention so that we can avoid costly mistakes.

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I'd love to know about your investments if you don't mind! Feel free to leave your comments below. Also, anybody here who's living a minimalist or sustainable lifestyle too? :)



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