As a young man, I fell in love with a beautiful curvaceous automobile called a Mazda MX-6. I wanted to be the one behind that wheel and to live the life of someone who would drive that sexy sports car. I bought it in a rush of euphoria. The problem was that I was neither sexy nor rich! And after the rush faded, I was left with a liability that crowded out my ability to do all the other things I really wanted to do – save, change careers, and buy a home. I tried to live the lifestyle of someone else – someone with a high income. Pretending to be someone I was not, was a sure fire way to ensure that I would never be the person I wanted to be. I was not being true to my income or myself.
Finally, living within your means is honest. How do you know if you are living beyond your means? If you have more than one dollar of REVOLVING credit card debt, you are living beyond your means. If you do, stop using them. Credit cards only make is easy to spend money on things you don't need and can't afford.
Now, what if you not only lived within your means, but also created a budget that was based on your values. Now that is a powerful combination. We want our values to dictate our spending rather than allowing our spending to dictate our values.
Budgeting is not simply a tracking exercise designed to deprive you. Instead look at it as a process to determine if you are in harmony with the things you hold dear, rather than as a process of tracking or trying to do without.
If you are not true to your income, you are trying to live a life you can't currently afford. As I learned, acting rich will never make you rich.