Living within Your Means

I have mentioned before I met my husband, I was living in a house I bought and getting by, by eating grill cheese and tomato soup, spaghetti and no sauce, chips and cheese for dinner.  I had stretched my budget tight when I bought the house.  Looking back, had he not come into my life at that time, I would have probably lost my house or still be eating grilled cheese and spaghetti without sauce (super healthy right)? I learned a lot during the time I lived there.

So after we got married, we decided to build a house.  The slick banker said we could spend $$$ on a house.  I said $ is what we want to spend, about half what we were told.  So we built lower than we could afford on purpose.

I did this for a couple reasons.

1. I wanted to make it so if one of us lost our jobs, we would be able to still make our house payment.

2. I didn’t want to live pay check to pay check.

3. Grill cheese is great, but not every day.

Looking back it has been a blessing, we had no idea the economy would do what it did.  It also caused me to seriously coupon so we could still pay for ‘extra’ things like vacations and items the kids need.  I also keep track how much I save each month and use the money saved, to pay down bills.  This is a way to help you pay off your debt early and give you ‘extra’ money for daycare, vacations, etc.

We have the same lifestyle with less, but we have so much more.

If you need help getting started couponing, I can help, just ask.


  1. We just bought our house in February. We got it for a pretty good deal :) But, I am working part-time thru the summer because I want to spend more time with the kids, it would be great to start to learn how to do this couponing stuff. I’m not sure how everyone does it. It seems the coupons I always get are not for the things I need or plan on buying, so I’m not sure the best way to get started :)

    It’s a pleasure to meet you by the way!

  2. Will you please explain this concept to my step-daughter, who thinks a quick 12K is nothing to ask of her Dad!;) Someday, maybe when she’s 40 she’ll get it.

    • Oh wow. Maybe let her pay for things herself may give her a better appreciation of money? I’m not sure on that. Not looking forward to those days. Hang in there Courtney!

  3. We are in the 4th home we’ve owned. We thought we bought on the low side especially considering that most people are paying more for rent than we are for mortgage. After having 3 kids very close together (all are under 4), I am so thankful we bought low! I have actually tossed around the idea of selling this house and buying a fixer upper with just what we have in equity – essentially paying cash for a home. The hubs is very wise and knew that we wouldn’t be able to fix up a home while caring for such little ones. It is important to live below our means!

    • Sounds like you guys are smart! I would love to buy a fixer upper, but my hubby is busy and gets distracted sometimes, so we would not have it done as quickly as I would want. :)

      Definitely save a little and act like you are broke for sure!

  4. This is very inspiring. I really need to start doing this. I just found out my second-oldest daughter is lactose intolerant and now grocery bills are killing me. I wonder if couponing could still help with the really expensive soy-type foods too?

    • There are coupons for soy milk and I believe other products. I would contact the companies you buy from that are soy-based and tell them how you use their products and ask if they have any coupons or where to get the coupons. They should be able to help you out. Also check their website for coupons to print.

  5. That is so smart! I think it’s important not to become a slave to your house. And making sure there’s financial room to survive should one of you loose his or her job is good thinking.

    May I say, I just love your header and layout!

    • Thank you for your kind words.

      It is important to live like this like you said if a spouse looses a job. But I just realized it’s also important should you loose a spouse, you don’t want to also have to deal with financial problems with grieving as well.

  6. Yes, it always amazes me that people will just pour money into a huge, expensive house and then have nothing else to live on! I’d MUCH rather have a smaller, modest house and get to go on vacations (without going into debt). I’m so glad that it worked out well for you, especially with the crazy economy!

  7. It’s hard to see other people make unwise choices and live beyond their means, especially if it’s someone you care about. My husband and I are so paranoid about debt and saving that we act poorer than we are. But the idea of not having enough at some point (which I’ve lived through in the past) is so scary that it’s worth it. Thanks for a great post!

    • Glad you are like minded. Hubby asks me if we have money and I tell him we are broke, though we have a little money saved away.

      I think it’s better to do that, than extend yourself to far and then be stressed about paying bills. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  8. I hope I can be as disciplined as you!


  9. If only you could teach this lesson to all of our kids while they are in school. From a young age. We see so often people living beyond their means, living pay cheque to pay cheque, over-extending credit, etc, and then they find themselves in serious trouble. I have been fortunate to have always owned my own home, and have worked my way up into a family home that suits our needs for today. While it isn’t a “dream house”, it’s exactly what we need for our family, and we have been able to pay down our mortgage faster. Great advice, great post!

  10. That is such a good idea. Now days, you have to live within your means. You just gave me a few dinner options lol!

    Stopping by from Weekend Blog Hop Til You Drop. :)

  11. Love it! Your newest follower via blog hop! Please follow back!?

  12. I have to tell ya we built a house when the market was high, high, high and I am so incredibly grateful that despite the promptings we built what was WELL within our means and haven’t had a single headache over those bills since. Thank goodness to my husband who ate ramen every night after purchasing his first house so that he could as a young engineer be sure his bills were paid.

    Thanks for spending a wordless wednesday with us at


    • Good to hear Nicole. I had a few old co-workers who stretched to buy their houses and I just wonder how they are doing in this economy. If we all don’t listen to the bank and buy at our limit, we would be better off.

      I would prefer a smaller house than a huge payment of worry.

      Glad your hubby at noodles too. Very smart!

  13. Slick banker – exactly! I am glad we knew better as well. My husband has retired from the Marine Corps and we now have a strict budget. Had we bought what they said we were approved for we would be in trouble.

  14. You had the good sense to manage on a tight budget. Honestly, it is always a struggle to live within our means. I avoid hanging out with flashy and rich friends to keep away from the temptation of spending more than I allow myself. I don’t let anything go to waste, and buy only the essentials.

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