Living within your means isn’t always easy, but it’s the only way to make progress towards your financial goal.

There are so many different financial goals out there, but regardless of whether your financial goal is to become debt free in a year or to have the money socked away for a downpayment on a new home, there’s one very important thing you’ll have to do in order to accomplish it — start living within your means! But, unfortunately, living within your means can be easier said than done, especially if you’re already on a tight budget. That’s why, in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, we’ve been going over expert tips on how to live within your means. Today, we’ll be finishing up this series with these last couple of tips:

#7. Have an emergency fund.

No one ever plans for emergencies to happen, and they can easily derail all of the progress you’ve made toward your financial goal if you don’t have a plan in place for dealing with them. These emergencies could include health-related problems, like an illness or an injury that leaves you with hefty medical bills and an inability to keep working, or something as simple as a broken air conditioner that could cost hundreds to fix. If you don’t have an emergency fund saved when an emergency strikes, you may have to dip into your savings or go into debt to cover it. There’s no way to plan for every emergency, but having an emergency fund with two to three months of income saved up will go a long way towards cushioning the blow.

#8. Use what you’ve got first.

Before you decide to spend your hard-earned money on something new, take some time to ask yourself whether you really need something new or if what you have will work. For example, Americans waste $165 billion worth of food every single year. And, most of us don’t even realize we are doing it. Before you go to the grocery store, take some time to look at what you already have in your pantry. There’s a good chance that, if you use what you have, you might not need to go to the store at all, or you may just need one or two things. Another great example is clothes. When you rip a hole in your jeans, you could decide to buy a new pair or simply fix the pair you have. This same rule also applies to vehicles, phones, shoes and a whole lot more.

No matter what financial goal you’re striving for, living within your means can be difficult, and we hope that these tips will help. But, here at Goal Plus, we go one step further in helping you achieve your goals with the free Goal Plus app. This financial planning app will not only make it possible to easily set your financial goal, but it will provide you with everything you need to reach it, like performance graphs, goal cards, a vision board, audio affirmation and so much more! Download Goal Plus today!