Do you prefer living life on the edge? Perhaps you’re afraid that creating a financial buffer, such as an emergency fund or a retirement savings plan will make for a boring life, without adventure. If so, you’ll find this article super helpful! By following the steps I’ve outlined below, I can guarantee you that life will never be boring.
Without further ado, here is my list of 7 lifestyle habits to keep you living from paycheck to paycheck. Enjoy!
1. Always go out.
Let’s face it, staying home is for losers. It’s too hard to spend money if you never leave the house. I mean, how much fun can be had watching Netflix, playing board games, or having friends over for coffee. Lame. And if you ask me, family time is completely over-rated. Gardening? Bleh! It’s dirty work, and frankly, who wants to spend the entire summer nurturing produce, before it lands on their dining room table? This isn’t the stuff of a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle.
My advice, get out there and live life! Movies? Hit up the multiplex and ten dollar popcorn, baby! Sports? The place to be is at the stadium with your buddies. If you can spring for seasons tickets, even better! Not into sports? I would recommend meeting friends for dinner or drinks, often.
2. Buy more house than you can afford.
If you want my advice, skip the starter home! Moving is a real hassle, and the fewer times you need to go through that, the better. Here’s what you do. Go to your bank. Find out what would be the highest mortgage amount they would deem affordable. Use that as your starting point when shopping for a home. Be warned, you’ll likely fall in love with something that is more expensive than the number your bank has given you, but that’s ok! They’ll find a way to make it work. You may have to increase the mortgage amortization by a few years, or refinance your car loan, but hey, this is going to be your forever home, it’s worth it!
By the way, the property taxes will be astronomical. Details, details…it’ll all work out.
3. Parents, enrol your kids in as many extracurricular activities as possible.
Remember this, your child is a superstar. I mean, they have big league talent that needs to be nurtured. And if you aren’t going to give them the opportunity, then you’ll be watching your friends kids excel as your child sits on the sidelines. So don’t close any doors to them. Swimming, music lessons, dance, gymnastics, baseball, football. But wait, it gets better. You’ll have an opportunity to spend additional money on skill development camps, or elite level programs. Bring it on! Trust me, your kids will love the
over-stimulation, and you’ll never have to worry about an ‘emergency fund’!
NOTE: Avoid old fashioned activities like going to the park, for bike rides, or days at the beach. Yes, all of those things are absolutely free. But will they make your kids famous? I mean, think back to 30 years ago. I highly doubt that society produced many doctors or lawyers, movie stars or ballplayers without the types of programs that exist today.
4. Own more than one vehicle.
This may be my personal favorite. There are SO many ways to layer additional costs onto your transportation budget….budget? First of all, make sure that you own at least one car for every driver living in your home. When your teenage son or daughter gets their license, it’s a prime opportunity to help them with the purchase of their first car.
Second, make sure you always buy new vehicles. This will give you the peace of mind of having a full warranty. Besides, you can amortize them over like, a decade, which will make it easier to afford a more luxurious ride, which you deserve.
Thirdly, and perhaps most important, make sure that one of your vehicles is a pickup truck. I know, I know, you live in a cul-de-sac and you haven’t seen a gravel road in years, but they are safer vehicles to drive. Also, it means you won’t have to borrow a buddy’s truck when you buy your new living room furniture next month.
5. Anyone want an iPhone?
Ok, so you cancelled your landline. Let’s not go crazy with saving money! Don’t get any ideas. If you’re not spending money on a traditional phone line, leverage your smartphone to avoid realizing any potential savings. Let’s see, you need one, your spouse will as well. And as soon as Apple or Samsung release a new model, remember that you will need to upgrade, whether or not your current phone is functioning perfectly. Oh, and don’t forget your 13-year old. They will also need their own phone. After all, you’re a good parent, you’re looking out for their safety, and besides, it’s the only way to keep tabs on them!
6. Never buy used.
Whenever you have to make a purchase, always ask yourself; can I buy this item new? Whether it be big ticket items, such as vehicles or appliances, or smaller stuff, like clothing or sports equipment, this is one of the best ways to make sure you spend ALL of your hard earned money.
Hint: The best way to avoid buying used is to leave things to the last minute. When you’re pressured for time, it’s always more convenient to head to the nearest store to find what you’re looking for.
7. Dine out often.
If you’re already following the steps I’ve listed so far, but still have money left over when payday arrives, try this one. It’s a surefire budget killer.
Look for every opportunity to eat out at restaurants. Depending on the size (as in number), of family you have, a couple of restaurant meals will rival the cost of an entire weeks worth of groceries. Think about that. Two meals in a restaurant versus 21 meals at prepared at home. This one is a bit of a stealth spend though. You probably won’t realize how effectively dining out is killing your bank account, then all of the sudden,‘poof’, your money is gone. It adds up quick!
DECIPHERING THE MESSAGE
There you have it, my 7 steps to keep you living paycheck to paycheck. The sarcasm? I’ve laid it on pretty thick. If you’ve made it this far, it goes without saying that the “advice” is full of crap.
But, beneath my sarcastic delivery is a voice, and a message. It’s the voice of mass marketing, of advertising campaigns, of our consumer obsessed society. Their message is that you deserve it, and that you deserve it today. Life is to be experienced, and there’s no better way to experience it than with (insert product name here). Another message is that ‘good’ parents provide their kids with every opportunity, and should never let them go without.
Mass marketers say jump, we say, how high.
It’s very effective. To varying degrees, much of our society has surrendered control of their spending decisions to these mass marketing agencies. Retail giants know just the right emotional levers to pull, to convince people to part with their hard earned dollars. Trust me, they’ve had lots of practice.
The best way to avoid living paycheck to paycheck?
Don’t let your intelligence be insulted. Don’t allow yourself to be treated like sheep.
Stand out from the herd, you won’t regret it.