For many people who are used to a certain standard of living, having to dial back one’s lifestyle and live within one’s means is a bitter pill to take. How can it not? People are creatures of comfort and habit. We become attached to a certain lifestyle and everything about us, from our attitude to our mindset to how we see ourselves, gets reconfigured to fit that lifestyle. We develop a certain comfort zone and it is hard to break out.
Ever wonder why so many lottery winners go back to being dirt poor after winning millions? It’s all about one’s mental comfort zone. The sad truth is that we all do this. We all prefer to say within our comfortable definitions of who we are, what we are capable of, and what our incomes should be. When bad times strike and people lose their jobs, their whole world starts unraveling. Cars get repossessed. Homes get foreclosed. Sometimes people even become homeless.
Still, despite all these radical changes, many people still retain their old mentality and mindset. It is hard to let go of a mindset that has served you when times are good. The sad news is that you have to get over this denial stage. You have to. Otherwise, you will continue to spend the same amount of money as before while not having the income to cover the spending. In other words, you might quickly find yourself buried in debt. Don’t let this happen. Get over the denial stage of your present predicament.
Time to wake up and face the mirror
You need to decide to look in the mirror and realize that your income is not like it was. You have to realize that you are no longer earning as much as before, and that you would have to change your lifestyle to accommodate your present income. You have to decide to live within your means. This is not as easy as some people think.
For many people, old spending habits are hard to break. Still, you have to force yourself to admit to yourself that your income is not the same as it was before. Remind yourself by looking at your pay stub or your bank account. It’s time to save your money before your current savings runs out.
Get an accountability partner
Get a friend or loved one to check in with you periodically to see how you’re doing. This is a tough adjustment period, and you need someone to keep you in check. Not hold your hand. Not wipe away your tears and offer a sympathetic shoulder. No – you need someone to keep you in check and remind you about what you need to be doing. Instead of pampering you, you need someone to keep you accountable.
The stakes are very high and debt is only a matter of time. You are racing against the clock, and that is why it is crucial that you need to get over sense of denial so you can start living within your means. Don’t put it off. Start now.
Edwin is behind the Make Money Saving blog, a blog devoted to helping people pay down their debt and save their money.
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