I was listening to Andy Stanley’s “Your Move” podcast recently and Andy talked about a simple concept when it comes to your money. Andy said, “it’s better to want than to owe.” When I heard this, I wasn’t shocked or surprised – I knew this intuitively. But there is something powerful about hearing an old idea put into a catchy phrase. And for that reason, this was very powerful to hear.
Andy went on to explain the value of living within your means and creating more financial margin. I was so inspired that I had to write about it. The gist of his message was that instead of living so close to the edge of your cash flow every month, you should say “no” to more spending and give yourself more financial margin. That’s it. That simple. He said (and I agree) that this will leave you so much happier because you won’t be as stressed.
If you have to go into debt to buy something then you shouldn’t buy it. Why? Because it’s better to want than to owe.
This is the new phrase that I’m using when it comes to making decisions about things I want to buy. My challenge to you is to do the same.
When you think about buying something and you’re not sure whether you can afford it, remember that it’s better to want than to owe.
Think about your spending weakness. What is the one the one thing that you spend too much money on – the thing that makes it hard for you to resist? For me, it’s buying clothes. Get me near a mall and I’m in risky territory. Even if I’m browsing online it’s dangerous. Before you know it, I’ll buy something I didn’t plan for. That’s why I have to avoid the malls and avoid the online shopping unless it’s for specific things. That’s also why i come from a place of delayed gratification. I like to spend money.
You know what your thing is. It may be coffee (Starbucks lattes anyone?), or it may be eating out. It will be something different for everyone — only you know what that one thing is that you spend too much money on (or are tempted to spend too much money on). This is your weakness and you should avoid it.
You also know when you’re living paycheck to paycheck. Wouldn’t it be nice if things weren’t so tight every month? Creating financial margin isn’t easy – but whatever you can do to help yourself to get closer to financial freedom, you should do.
I have three rules that I’m living by to create more financial margin in my life, and they may just help you, too.
3 rules for creating financial margin in your life
- Whenever you’re tempted to buy something you can’t afford remember that it’s better to want than to owe.
- Avoid your weakness (because it’s just too tempting).
- Focus on how good it feels to have financial margin in your life (and think about how bad it feels to live paycheck to paycheck).
Wouldn’t it be nice to just breathe and not be so focused on money? The only way this is possible is for you to make better financial decisions over time. Every choice you make can bring you a little bit closer to living better.
If you want a tool that can help you manage your money more efficiently, I would go with Personal Capital. It’s a tool that can organize your finances and keep you on track with your financial goals. The visual graphs and charts are also very helpful. If you organize your finances and live by “it’s better to want than to owe”, then your future can be a happy, debt free one. 🙂