Modesty Really is the Best Policy Comments38 Comments

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Picture yourself 20 years from now. What do you see? Perhaps you see yourself traveling the world, enjoying new cultures and meeting exotic people. Maybe you see yourself sitting in the comfort of your own (paid for) home making memories with your family. You might even picture yourself as a successful owner of your dream business.

All of the above options are absolutely attainable. The road to reaching these dreams is living modestly now.

Modest Living Now Equals Affording Your Dreams Later

It’s a completely natural feeling to want things and want them now. After all we are human beings. The key to getting the things you want is sacrifice. Live modestly now, live it up later.

Living modestly does not equate to living like a pauper. It is simply a realization that the sacrifices made now are beneficial to the future. Living modestly does not mean that you have to pinch every penny, clip every coupon, and take advantage of every sale on toothpaste. It is sacrificing in larger areas such as housing, vehicles, and clothing long enough to meet your financial goals.

Imagine the amount of money you would be able to save with a few sacrifices. Living in lower cost housing could free up several hundred dollars a month. Opting for a used car that you can afford to pay cash for will save you thousands. Skimping on the new clothing and latest gadget purchases can save you a substantial amount every year.

I have found that one of the biggest hurdles to jump when starting to cut back financially is worrying what others think of you. At times it can be tough to live modestly when it feels as if everyone around you is living it up – buying the latest and greatest of everything.

The occasional thought of what everyone else is doing and how they are living will come up – it’s virtually inevitable. As long as you can keep the picture of financial security and your chance to later live it up (responsibly) in mind you will be able to keep your focus.

Your Sacrifices Pay Off

When you have become modest with your money and started saving for the future, financial security will be your ultimate reward. With a little bit of investing and planning you will be able to watch your money grow and will be able to afford the things you once dreamed of. In the end you will be happy with every sacrifice that you made.

Author Bio: Alexa is a newly single mother to two little girls. She chronicles her journey as a single mother trying to make it big at Single Moms Income.

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This entry was posted in Financial Advice, and tagged , Comments38 Comments
By : Adam | 8 Jan 2013
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38 thoughts on “Modesty Really is the Best Policy

  1. Michelle

    Definitely agree with your post. Kind of goes in line with my Keeping up with the Joneses post that I have today! :)

    Worrying about what others think about you and/or trying to keep up with others will hurt your wallet, modest is always best. Something that I need to think of all the time!

    Reply
    1. Alexa

      Sometimes I don’t even think we notice the fact that we are trying to keep up with everyone else. You have to take a step back and really examine your choices and align them with your own priorities.

      I am sure we all have our struggles with that!

      Reply
  2. Chris @ Stumble Forward

    I’ve been living with a modest mindset for the last few years in fact this year my wife and I even decide to scale back on our vacation and just do a little weekend getaway instead. I know that is not what I really want to do but in the end it will be well worth it.

    Reply
  3. Jacko

    Modesty in America?

    That makes too much sense man.

    It would be great to see. I can tell you for a fact that’s what has helped me since the 2009 real estate crash – that the country has not recovered from.

    Spend less save more have fun.

    Reply
  4. Grayson @ Debt Roundup

    Good post. It is important to live modestly at really any age. It can be easy to blow through money. I have never really cared about what other people thought about me or my money. As long as I enjoy my life and take care of myself and my family, then that is all that matters.

    Reply
  5. TB at BlueCollarWorkman

    Yeah, it’s hard when people get on your case when you’re tyring to be thrifty. My family mocks me sometimes when I’ll use building materials I got off craigs list to build our family deck or something. My wife and girls think it’s great and it’s all good, but my family thinks that everything should be bought new, etc. It’s ridiculous and wasteful, and I never like when they get on my case. BUt I guess that’s the stuff you gotta deal with when you try to live right!

    Reply
    1. Lindsey

      I buy things off of Craigslist, Kijiji, Habitat for Humanity shops and thrift stores all the time. Every renovation or DIY project I do the majority of the supplies comes from a place other than a traditional store. At first friends and family members thought it was a bit of a joke, but when they see the things I find and how much I save, now they want me to show them how to do it or keep an eye out for materials they need. I say let your family think what they like, that just means less competition for you for all those awesome deals to be had with a little creativity. =)

      Reply
  6. Cat

    Hey Alexa – very true! We saved a lot to pay off our first mortgage early and it was the best decision we ever made. Much happier to have done that then spend all my money on junk!

    Reply
  7. Alex

    I like how you use the word “modest”. I think cutting expenses gets a bad reputation in a consumption focused world. We think in all-or-nothing terms, so it’s either get the new iPad or carve your messages on a stone tablet.

    Modest is a good way to live life. Make some sacrifices for the future, but don’t stop enjoying your present either.

    Reply
    1. Alexa

      Definitely! You just have to be realistic with your money. You know what you can and can’t afford so as long as you stick to that you won’t stress out about being broke all the time.

      Reply
  8. Kim@Eyesonthedollar

    Great post. That is one of the hardest things we have had to deal with in our guest for financial independence is my family’s perception of us. We used to spend like no tomorrow and I think my family equated this with success, even though we were up to our eyeballs in debt. Now we have stopped spending on things that we don’t value, and my parents think we are miserable and destitute, which is funny because we are so much happier now. You have to live your own life and not worry what others think.

    Reply
    1. Alexa

      It can definitely get hard sometimes, trying not to care about what others thinks. But as long as you and your family are happy thats all that matters!

      Reply
  9. Budget & the Beach

    Yeah, it’s hard to do, especially with social media sites like Facebook rubbing that stuff in your face. But you never know what is going on behind closed doors. One of my favorite sayings is, “keep your side of the street clean.” Just focus on yourself and what you need in life.

    Reply
    1. Alexa

      Oh yeah everyone’s gotta do Facebook updates when they get something or do something awesome. But if you can try to be happy for them (hard to do i know!) it will make it easier on you.

      Reply
  10. AverageJoe

    This is why I like knowing how much you have to save. While I’m a fan of living modestly when I have to, if I don’t have to, why not spend it today and enjoy yourself? Life is about balance. If you can’t afford to spend money today, you definitely need to cut back….

    Reply
  11. Canadian Budget Binder

    Hi Alexa,
    Nice post. I would like to think we live a modest life we also like to save to spend money on the things we love to do. We didn’t go hog wild with our house and bought something that was reasonable. Every little bit helps. Mr.CBB

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      I think it’s good to balance leading a modest life with spending a bit more on things you really love. If you focus too much on modestly you don’t get to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

      Reply
    1. Jeremy

      True…being cheap could just make you and the people around you miserable. Being frugal allows you to save money without it affecting others significantly.

      Reply
  12. Lou Rodriguez

    Good for you Alexa. I don’t know how old you are, but with 2 little girls and becoming a newly single mom, I applaud you for having the mentality you write about!

    I live this life every day and my family and I couldn’t be any happier!

    Stay strong and wishing you the best! :)

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      That’s awesome that you and your family live by this lifestyle Lou. I think a big part is taking that approach from the start with kids. If you spoil them early and then cut back they’ll have a lot tougher time understanding it. They might not be as happy if they get a waste of the materialistic life.

      Reply
  13. Scott @ Youthful Investor

    Living modestly also includes living within your means and not assuming you are entitled to everything. For example, the new Ipride (credit to theoatmeal.com) came out and you feel you must have one! This often happens at the expensive of savings, future plans and another charge to a credit card.

    For me, living modestly is in finding pleasure in hobby’s that are affordable and reusing things that I already have. A couple of my hobby’s include reading, aquarium fish and volunteering at the local state parks. All of these are done next to nothing each month.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      I completely agree. I’m glad I got over the need to have the latest and greatest gadgets or whatever else. Instead I’m content with what I already have. Inexpensive hobbies are important too. I’ve been getting more into hiking which is a great inexpensive hobby. Not only is it cheap but it’s also good exercise and there’s bound to be some awesome views.

      Reply
  14. Goldeneer

    Great post. I agree that modest living is part of the solution to financial security and it doesn’t have to be about pinching every single penny. Changing my luxury habits (Starbucks coffee, second car) were though at the beginning but after a week or two, my new modest habits became the new normal.

    Modest future living should also be recognized. People tend to sacrifice a lot in the present in order to reach a dreamy future filled with travels and fun activities. The reality for most of these dreamers is that future passive income won’t be as great as you think. I’ve done well to save for my future but realize how easy it is to spend all my income.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Good point about future living. A lot of people do have intentions of living lavishly later in life and use that as motivation to live modestly today. That isn’t very practical thinking considering we don’t know how long we’ll live. By developing modest habits early we can at least carry those habits forward and prevent wasting money on unnecessary things like starbucks.

      Reply
  15. Kyle @ Rather-Be-Shopping.com

    So true Alexa. The truth is that you can still afford a small luxury from time to time when you live within your means. Just not the big ones that put you in debt or knock away savings. I enjoy those little luxuries so much more when I have worked hard and lived modestly so I can afford them. Even dumb things like a cup of coffee from Starbucks with is a special treat these days.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Yep, it’s the big luxuries that can be especially detrimental to your finances. A luxury that becomes a regular habit can also be considered a big luxury when you add up the costs though. So you have to consider how often you really need those little things. Sure it’s easy to think of it as small each time to buy it, but over time it could cost even more than those big purchases that you’d love to make.

      Reply

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