Living below his means:
Andrew White, 25, Web site developer, Toronto,
I hate to say that I consider myself fortunate
to have gone through university and accumulated next to no debt.
To chalk that up to luck discounts the amount of work that I put
in to make that happen. That said, I am lucky to be at this point
25 and not only debt-free but with significant savings.
I am not overly interested in working hard,
but I love to learn and gain new skills. The more skills I pick
up, the higher my salary goes. Still, I see people making far more
than me who are scraping by. There are suburbs of Toronto where
people are almost broke on $200,000 a year. I am almost fanatical
about not getting into that position.
Living below my means doesn't mean that I go
without the things I want. I like music and I have an amazing stereo.
I like to DJ and I have nightclub-quality equipment. I have a PlayStation,
an iMac and I'm about to buy a brand new PC. I have a fully furnished
apartment and much of the furniture is nice enough that I'll probably
hold on to it when I buy a place or step up to nicer digs.
A lot of what living below your means entails
is delayed gratification. You can have the consumer goods you want
and the vacations you dream about. You just need to plan for these
You can save yourself hundreds of dollars just
by doing a little research. In my opinion, an Internet connection
pays for itself every year. I don't make any kind of purchase, from
books to Internet games to electronics, without first researching
it on the Web. I found a "Home Theatre In-A-Box" that
was higher rated than a machine that cost three times as much. I
also bought a video game a month ago at $30 under retail.
Money is like the solid form of opportunity
and time. If you squander it, you're blowing opportunities -- the
opportunity to have something you've always wanted, to go somewhere,
or to take some time for yourself. I couldn't imagine mortgaging
my future for a sexy car or a leather couch. The freedom that I
have to totally change directions at the drop of a hat is worth
so much more to me than anything I could pick out of a catalog.