Spend Less Than You Earn

One thing I learned along ago is that personal finance is not rocket science. In fact, it is far from it. The hitch is that simply because I know how to get my personal finances in order doesn’t mean that it’s always easy for me to do so when there are a lot of competing things that I want. The best piece of financial advice I have ever received was that while there are a huge number of financial rules and hints that can help me get my finances in better order, there is one that is by far the most important because it stands true no matter how little or much money I make: if I learn to spend less than I earn, I will be OK. Once I master this one simple rule, my finances will be fine and all the other financial tips beyond this which I choose to adopt will be extra icing on the cake. I think this clip from Saturday Night Live explains it well with a lot of humor:

Of course, the key is to take this information to heart and actually listen to it rather than simply know it. While there have been times for me when this advice was much more difficult to follow than it sounds, I have learned that if I understand my financial goals and I’m willing to use a bit of creativity to reach them, virtually nothing is impossible (although it certainly won’t be easy).

My goal for 2011 is to travel 50% of the time, but in order to accomplish this goal I will have to make some difficult financial decisions along the way. Much like my challenge last year to eat well on $1 a day, I hope to show you how I personally make all of my financial decisions in 2011 and the trade-offs and sacrifices that come along with them. While not everything will apply to your financial circumstances, I hope that the process and thinking that I do (along with the mistakes I make) will be able to help you with your own finances. If nothing else, it should be an interesting journey that I hope you will enjoy and from which we can all learn.

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5 Responses to Spend Less Than You Earn

  1. teresa says:

    Great clip, high school seniors should be required to watch something like this, maybe the next generation would understand the concept!

  2. Gail says:

    The clip isn’t showing for me now but your message is right on target. You will never catch up or succeed financially if you constantly spend more than you earn, eventually your financial life will collapse. I like the way that you also share your thought processes along the way as it helps to understand and show how we should think things through. I know some like to comment and tell you you are stupid (or words to that effect) but it is obvious that they are the ones that aren’t thinking through things. Just because ‘it’ doesn’t apply to them doesn’t mean the thought behind the decision might not be very applicable to them. Best wishes for a great year!

  3. Bob Farmer says:

    This applies to most things in daily life. Want to lower your electric bill? Use less power. etc etc. Good job.

  4. This is a very good article. If more of us lived within our means, our nation would not be in the condition that it is currently in right now.

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