Yes, bills suck. But they’re probably not the problem. Generally, people make more than enough to cover basic necessities.

So why do we struggle to pay our bills?

Discretionary spending is what gets us into trouble. 

It is critical to find ways to support ourselves from falling into unconscious spending patterns.

Spending more than you earn leads to debt, having less savings, and little investments for your future.

We all know this, but living below your means is often easier said than done – especially in a world where it’s easy to buy, buy, buy.

Here are 5 easy ways to do just that. Implement these, and you’ll be well on your way to living below your means.

The Best Ways to Stretch Your Budget (How to Save Money Fast on a Low Income)

1. Stay Productive

Procrastination might as well be synonymous with online shopping. If you can stay productive throughout the day, you’ll spend less time spending money you don’t have.

Give yourself the goal to “fill the day.” Designate the day’s hours of productivity, and stay focused during that time.

We recommend keeping a running list of tasks on your phone. 

That way, when you notice yourself mindlessly open your phone to start scrolling, you can check in, and check your task list for a quick project. 

Your home will look better if you focus more on keeping it decluttered and clean rather than filling it with stuff.

Easy Money Saving Ideas (Best Financial Tips for Saving Money)

2. Budget in Problem Areas Only

Budgeting can seem overwhelming. 

But it doesn’t have to be if you focus on discretionary spending. That’s what tends to make us go over budget.

Create a budget just for discretionary spending.

Give yourself a set amount of money each month to spend on entertainment, online shopping, and eating out. 

Once you’ve spent the allotted amount for the month, stop spending and wait for next month’s paycheck. 

Best Financial Freedom Habits (Try These Must Dos for Living Cheap)

Free Workshop – Join our free Simplify Money Workshop

The *only* way to save money is to spend less than you earn. That means you need to decrease your expenses or increase your income.

We want to help you do both.

Join our FREE Simplify Money Workshop to learn the fundamentals of growing wealth. Because when you can spend less than you earn, your money has no choice but to grow. You will build your savings and pay down debt. 

What’s more? We’ve got a bunch of free money-hacks to share with you:

  • Hacks to lower your monthly bills
  • Hacks to spend less on debt
  • Hacks to start investing
  • Hacks to increase your income by $20/month (with no extra effort)

This workshop has everything you need to accomplish the cardinal rule of personal finance: keep your income over your expenses.

Join our free 5-day Simplify Money Workshop, and start growing your wealth today.

3. Pick Up an Inexpensive Hobby

Let’s be honest…many of us spend our free time spending money we don’t have. 

Fill your time with something that excites and expands your life. 

Embrace an inexpensive hobby.

It’s harder to shop when your hands are busy knitting, holding a book, or painting a canvas.

It’s easier now than ever to learn how to do something new for free or on the cheap.

Have you ever wanted to be an artist? Check out to learn fundamental drawing skills for free. 

How to Pay Off Debt Quickly with Low Income (Try These Smart Ways to Budget)

Related: Easy Ways to Cut Back on Household Expenses (no one told you)

4. Take a Walk

If you’re tempted to overspend, the best way to break unconscious spending patterns is to take a walk.

Instead of heading to the outlet mall or shopping online, head outdoors and move your energy.

It’s better for your bank account and your overall health. 

5. Practice Gratitude

Practicing gratitude is probably the best hack to stop living beyond your means.

Appreciating what you already have helps to stop the craving to buy more because you become content and less likely to want what is beyond your means.

Check out the book The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life by Janice Kaplan.

In this memoir, Kaplan shares how she improved her overall quality of life – including her financial life – by practicing gratitude.

Kaplan discovered she didn’t need to buy more stuff to be happy.

She writes, “Instead of trying to fill the psychological holes of the soul with jewelry and clothes and cars, it’s better to use gratitude to make the emptiness disappear altogether. As an extra bonus, people who are grateful are less likely to yearn for the stuff that ultimately won’t add to overall well-being, anyway.”

Stop Overspending and Start Living Content 

You can start living below your means and stop living paycheck to paycheck.

Use the following tips, and you’ll notice a financial mindset shift.

  • Stay productive
  • Budget your discretionary spending
  • Embrace a cheap hobby
  • Get outdoors and move
  • Practice gratitude