Photo by Bobby Stevenson on Unsplash

Mental Model

The world is full of influences to drive your behavior to consume more and buy things you don’t really need or can’t afford. The financial burden of debt or long-term commitments begins to grow and constrain your choice and freedom. Your ability to transition to a more lucrative career path that requires a short-term investment may not be possible. You begin to make career choices purely based on financials that can negatively impact your growth and happiness. Successful people live below their means to acquire options, freedom, and long-term wealth. Freedom of choice will give you power and peace.


Pursuing opportunities to reach your full potential often requires risk and delayed gratification. It also requires a financial and time investment. When your financial situation is such that you live paycheck to paycheck, your options and flexibility are limited. You are also not able to weather setbacks such as job loss or a reduction in income. You must adopt a mindset that less is more. Be ruthless to question if every purchase is essential to your work and life goals.

People who achieve luxurious lifestyles are rarely satisfied: Experiencing luxury only whets their appetite for even more luxury. – from A Guide to the Good Life by William B. Irvine


1 – Create and Track Your Budget.

Use a spreadsheet or a financial app to capture your income and monthly expenses.

Use a debit card for purchases.

Hold yourself accountable by reviewing actual vs. planned expenses each month.

2 – Scrutinize Each Purchase.

Ask yourself if the thing you are about to purchase is essential.

Delay the purchase for at least a few days to mitigate the emotional urge to spend money.

Remember each purchase is lowering your future standard of living.

3 – Give Up Status and Luxurious Lifestyle.

Quality and successful people don’t care what kind of car you drive.

Resist the temptation to spend money on things to impress others.

Spend on utility and value, not status brands.

Sell status assets and belongings to free up cash and invest it.

4 – Practice Living Below Your Means.

Give up dining out for a month for a simple diet at home.

Wear basic clothes when the expectation is otherwise.

Experiment With This

  • What can I easily stop consuming or purchasing each month?
  • Are there financial burdens that I have assumed on behalf of other people that can be transitioned to that person?
  • What are the behaviors or habits that I have developed that contribute to living beyond my means? If so, what are the real reasons why I am doing this?
  • Do I need to disassociate from certain people who live beyond their means that influence me to do the same?


Stillness Is the Key – by Ryan Holiday (Part III: Body – Get Rid of Your Stuff)