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What does living within your means, mean to you? Do you think Americans can ever live within their means?

To me it means being able to buy EVERYTHING with cash. To not being in debt, that even means homes, cars and medical. If you have to take out a loan, it should not have more than a 5 year payoff and that only for land, a home or business.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 1:47 PM on Feb. 3, 2010 in Money & Work

Answers (12)
  • I agree with you. I don't think Americans can do this only because they have this need to live up to the Jonese's!

    Answer by older at 1:52 PM on Feb. 3, 2010

  • We don't pay EVERYTHING with cash we use a debit card AND cash , but we have NO debt that' only because when we were young and stupid we were stupid with our money and had to file bankruptcy . It's been 3 years and we have learned how to budget our money and not buy stupid stuff with our money.

    Answer by baby1love at 1:52 PM on Feb. 3, 2010

  • we live well within our means, and no debt. many people do including low income

    Answer by sati769leigh at 1:55 PM on Feb. 3, 2010

  • I don't know why anyone would live outside their means. It's not hard to keep a budget. If you don't make enough or spend to much, make a change. It's really that simple!

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 1:56 PM on Feb. 3, 2010

  • Plenty of people do it, although not enough.
    We don't buy things we cannot afford. If we don't have the cash, we don't buy it.
    The only thing I can see having a loan for would be a home.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:01 PM on Feb. 3, 2010

  • OP here I am asking because I work for a social service agency and I am seeing more and more people in my office that have lost their job and they are worrying about paying for their credit cards. I'm surprised I didn't get fired the other day because I was so upset with a couple who was applying for assistance and were more worried about paying their credit cards off than buying food for their kids. I understand they lost their $100k + income, but they have unemployment which would cover all their expenses except their credit cards. They actually got offended when i handed them a flier for low cost bankruptcy and bankruptcy alternatives. Their attitude was how how dare I give food to another person who was struggling at a minimum wage job hauling their garbage. Talk about your bad situations the guy was actually in the waiting room. Their combined weekly unemployment was more than what this guy makes in a month.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:14 PM on Feb. 3, 2010

  • To me it means not maxing out your income and living moderately. DH and I both make 6 figures a year. You can't tell what we make by what we drive, how we dress, or how we live. Just because you are making excellent money at this exact moment in your life doesn't mean you need to upgrade your 2007 Maxima to a "luxury" or 80k vehicle to show your "status" and the same thing goes for housing.

    I rarely buy things cash. I put everything on the credit card as long as I know I have the money in the bank to pay the whole statement when it comes in. I like racking up the points on the credit card since you get 1-5 points per every dollar you spend to redeem at the end of each year for stuff.

    Answer by momtotrips at 2:58 PM on Feb. 3, 2010

  • momtotrips i find that amazing. I know people who are in the same financial situation as you that live paycheck to paycheck and it confounds me. They have a house that if they lose a job they will lose the house, because they have refinanced it twice and prior to the house they filed bankruptcy. They had the audacity to tell me that I was mistreating my kids because my 2 girls share a bedroom, I buy cars secondhand along with clothes and we do not go out to eat and our kids our involved in community activities versus private dance lessons or private sports clubs.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:11 PM on Feb. 3, 2010

  • I dont live beyond my means...i have a car loan because of a car accident that left me no choice. Ive yet to make the type of income that provides enough to begin a real savings. Most of my family is so proud and amazed that i can make our money work for us the way it does. SO and i combined make about what my mom makes a month...maybe less depending on the weather.....Anytime i come into "extra" I end up having to replace something on SOs truck or something (we tend to have awful luck) but we have a budget, and just about every dollar is accounted for. We dont eat out much, go out different places, and we try to stick to our family plan as much as possible. Im praying by the time im done with school we can make some major changes in our lives. I dont make enough to live beyond my means! lol..

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:16 PM on Feb. 3, 2010

  • I agree with you OP. Just because you can make the payments doesn't mean you are living within your means. Plus you pay so much extra when you drag the payments out for years and years.

    in 08' we nearly doubled our "income" by taking out piles and piles of student loans. Starting in 09' we've been paying those off and paying cash for our school. What a shocker that was to cut our life style by nearly 75%! But hey we're doing it and now we're almost debt free. :)

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:27 PM on Feb. 3, 2010

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