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Many Americans struggle to make ends meet. This often results in both financial and marital stress for couples. After digging out from under more than $37,000 in debt, my husband and I changed the way we look at money and now, we live beneath our means.

Changing the way that we looked at money was not easy. It was absolutely a challenge. It also did not happen overnight.

When we were digging out from under our debt, we had one income (until I started bringing in a little from my website). This taught us that we had to change the way we were spending our money and really evaluate what was important and what was not.

Part of our process was learning how to live on less than we made. Doing this has allowed us to get out from under that mountain of debt and build our emergency fund to a level which makes us both comfortable. Here are reasons you should do the same.

1. Teaching Your Children

Kids learn by example. When they see Mom and Dad being wise with money, they pick up on that. In fact, my kids all know about how we use cash and not plastic at the store. They are learning to watch prices and know that we always shop with a budget in mind.

They also know that we save money out of each paycheck. While they do not know the amount, they know the importance of saving money.

2. Reaching Your Goals

Perhaps you want to go on a dream vacation. Maybe you want to get a newer car. Whatever your dream, you can use the money you save toward reaching it.

3. Being Content With What You Have  

Learning that more is just more and does not lead to happiness is a lesson all of us need to follow. Knowing that you can be happy with what you have allows you to feel content.

4. Being Able to Give Generously  

I am believer in the philosophy that you reap what you sow. That is true with the way we give unto others. We can help those in need and find that when we do, we are rewarded 10-fold through other blessings.

5. Building Confidence

I remember the days of dreading looking at the finances. Fortunately, those days are behind me. I actually feel good about our budget and seeing us working to reach our goals.

When you are in control of your finances and know that you can pay your monthly bills, you feel confidence in your success.

6. Building Your Emergency Fund

If you don’t have one yet, you need one. What happens when the air conditioner decides to stop running. Or, how will you pay the deductible for your vehicle when you get rear-ended at the stop light? This is why you need an emergency fund.

7. Saving For Your Future  

It is important to get started on both your own retirement savings account and also your children’s college funds. Those events will be here before you realize it.

8. Reducing Stress

Without financial burdens weighing you down, you instantly reduce the stress in your life. If something comes up, there are funds available to cover your expenses. No lying awake at night wondering how you will have to put food on the table.

Living beneath your means puts you on the path of financial independence. However, you need to make the initial decision to make the necessary changes needed, in order to make it a reality.

[Editor’s Note: If you’ve fallen into the overspending trap, it’s possible to get yourself out. You can start by using Credit.com’s free tool to track your financial goals, like paying down debt and building good credit.]

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