Most of us are not a Kardashian, nor are we related to John D. Rockefeller, Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. Major inheritance, vaults of gold, barrels of oil, or technological genius is not in our future. We’re normal, everyday people trying to save for the future while being as comfortable with the present as we can.
As America braces for perhaps another recession, many of us are feeling a strain on our finances while still reeling from the effects of the last recession.
Before you continue reading, please know, there is no black or white answer to living comfortably now while saving for tomorrow.
For some, living comfortably may mean going on a one-week vacation every year, for others it is eating out more frequently. The meaning of “live comfortably” can mean different things for different people.
If you are one of the majority of human beings on the planet who carefully budget before making major purchases and plot out the minor ones as well, keep reading. Here are three tips to help you live comfortably while saving for tomorrow:
1. Never stop saving — Like living a healthy lifestyle, you’ll want to keep doing this your whole life. For instance, say you have successfully paid off a car or personal loan. Now that you don’t have a monthly payment anymore, take the amount you had dedicated for your loans and put them toward savings. When you earn an increase at work, instead of spending more, change that mindset and save more instead. Whatever you do, don’t stop saving.
2. Prioritize your life — Regardless of where you live, the culture that surrounds you does affect your view of money. Be mindful and aware of extreme views of money, i.e., extreme frugality vs. wasteful consumerism, etc. Somewhere in between the extremes there exists a range of attitudes and beliefs about money. As you create your own priorities, it is helpful to think about what happiness means to you. For example, is your happiness dependent upon having the largest OLED/HD/SUPER HD TV so you can watch football, or having many “toys” large and small? If they are, you have to assess your earning power to buy these things without compromising your finances. Are having those “toys” going to prevent you from accomplishing a goal, like getting an education or owning a home? Set your priorities to help remember what's really important to you.
3. Find and use budgeting tools — There are multiple sources, tools, apps, etc., available to help you create and maintain a budget. Use your local credit union to help guide you down this path. Just as you would meet annually with your medical physician for your annual check-up, plan a regular check-up with a financial advisor at your credit union to keep your finances healthy.