Better money management is not just for rich people. Everyone needs to think about how they spend money. To live above or below your means – that is the question one needs to ask to understand better money management.

Fortunately, I was taught at a very early age how to manage money, more importantly, how to save money. Not everyone has the ability to save money but you would be surprised how many can, but think otherwise.

Living below my means was the answer and saving was the first step.  Savings – not a word you hear much these days – it was laid to rest in favor of sexier words like investments, hedge funds, ETFs, and of course stocks and bonds.

I wonder if our culture has reduced our ability to know the difference between need and want anymore.  The phrase “immediate gratification” is often tossed out as the critique or explanation for why our younger generations are in debt – but is it really that simple?

It is not.  The world is an expensive and complex place where social success comes with a price.  Peer pressure, fitting in, making and keeping friends, getting a good education, finding a job, dating, taking vacation and living in the right place propel us towards spending more that we have.

What is “necessary” debt? College of course – I did it and now serve many who have made the same decision, but even that question needs to be asked these days as witnessed by this article in the New York Times.

Nonetheless, we can’t avoid debt but we can be more thoughtful about spending money if we think of our lives as a business and ourselves as entrepreneurs – check out these terms.

Here are the 3 simple lessons that “saved” me from mortgaging my future:

1:  Knowing the difference between need and want.

2:  Understanding how, when, and why you need to save money.

3:  Being comfortable living below my means.

I was lucky enough to have family members teach me these lessons, pass it on…