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 One of the greatest habits in our daily lives is living beyond our means and spending way over our budget. Except, after we do spend into infinity and beyond, we realize it wasn’t worth it.  So how do we avoid getting into this funk?

 Well, I have compiled some quick and short pointers to help us avoid this situation and relieve ourselves from the temptations. As we live in a fairly materialistic world, I don’t blame you for spending when we tend to perceive material goods as a form of success by our peers.

A great documentary that has inspired me to tackle this habit is none other than Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and Predatory Lenders directed by James D. Scurlock; this film will truly make you think twice before purchasing anything and motivate you to live within your means.

 So, you may be thinking, all right, but what can I do? Well, first things first, we need to create a budget plan. I know this sounds dull and we’ve heard it a thousand times over but it is very important to avoid getting into a financial funk.

Now this budget plan should have three sections; one for a longer, one-year term, one for a quarter term (3 months), and one for a shorter one-month term. This way you know exactly where you are this month, know your ultimate goal and you can keep yourself on track in between the two, without feeling overwhelmed.

 Keep all receipts, checks and the like in a box or a jar and pay off credit card debt first as interest charges are the enemy; use credit cards ONLY for emergencies. They are great for building credit but considering the fact that we spend more when we swipe anywhere we go plus the added interest, pay cash instead.

Before making an expensive purchase, take a step back, away from the salesperson, owner or whomever, go outside the store and take a breather. Think critically and clearly, do you really need this fancy new suit or pair of shoes? The answer is almost always, no.

 All in all, think critically about your money. Create a plan and STICK to it, don’t just veer off the road the minute you’re tempted by a material good. Most importantly, let’s live within our means and watch Maxed Out! You’ll love it!

About the author


Brooklyn-based Margaret Skowronska is a St. Francis College Communications and Business graduate with an intense curiosity that fuels her drive. She strongly follows the inspirational words of Norman V. Peale, “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”

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