Live Like No One Else: What it Means and Why it’s Awesome

By Jackie Beck   Updated 02/14/2022 at 1:38 pm

Dave Ramsey is fond of suggesting that folks “Live like no one else, so that later you can live like no one else”.

Generally, I suspect people take that to mean sacrificing to win now — making major cutbacks while getting out of debt — so that you’ll be able to live the good life later on.

After all, when you’re not in debt, you have a whole heck of a lot more money available. And you can do whatever you like with that money, instead of sending it to the credit card companies. You can feel good about your money.

So what is living like no one else?

When you decide to live like no one else, what you’re really deciding is to make your money work for you (instead of the other way around).

For me, it’s not really about sacrificing at this point, although I do feel like I’m making an “oh poor baby” kind of sacrifice by delaying the kind of travel I like to do until after our house is paid off. (Which had darn well better be this year.)

Most people, though, would not consider “only” taking short trips to Las Vegas, Denver, and Washington, DC this year a “sacrifice”. I know that, and I’m very happy to go on those trips. But when you prefer to take 2-3 week trips to places like New Zealand or Europe, and you love love love travel, AND you can afford to do so, it IS delaying the thing I enjoy most in order to get to where I want to be faster.

But that’s already an example of the kind of living like no one else you can do when you’re not living like everyone else.

Because everyone else is in debt, generally speaking. They can’t afford to pay cash for big family trips on a regular basis, because they’re too busy paying their credit card debt, having $200 monthly cable bills, and $5 workday latte stops instead. Not counting debt payments, that’s at least $3100 a year — more than enough for a week in Paris.

It’s about changing how you feel

Sure, I “gave up” cable. Years and years ago, because I don’t like TV, and because I decided that I didn’t want my son exposed to hours of nonstop advertising on a regular basis. It had nothing to do with getting out of debt. It had more to do with him waking me up as a 4 year old to tell me about this great cleaning spray that we should go buy right now.

And sure, I don’t have a new car — and I haven’t had one for more than 20 years. In fact, I don’t have a running car at all right now. But that also has nothing to do with getting out of debt. I just love my car, and it was damaged in an accident. Getting my car fixed is not an emergency in my book. I can get a ride to work, and walk home. Or walk/ride my bike both ways if need be. And I can borrow my husband’s car to go to painting class, which is pretty much the only place I go that’s more than a few miles away anyway.

Back when I first tried to get out of debt…

I absolutely made some sacrifices back when I first tried to get out of debt. I spent the month of July without AC (in daily 110 degree weather for those who aren’t familiar), while pregnant, because we didn’t have the money to get a new unit. Trust me, that was NOT fun.

And boy was I pissed when I discovered that first company we called was just trying to scam us into spending more than a thousand dollars. The second company was able to fix it for something like $35 instead. But if I hadn’t drawn that line in the sand, we’d have gotten scammed and been another $1000+ in debt. And there’s more.

Making the choice to live like no one else

I know that it can absolutely be hard to change. It was hard for me, and I struggled to do so for years.

But in the long run, it’s a matter of deciding what you want your life to be like. To me, that means being content and without the constant stress and pressure of debt.

Being content makes the difference.

Living like no one else is really about being content in my book. It’s about doing what truly makes you and your family happy, and stepping out of the rat race. Be content, instead. If you have to do some work to get there, trust me, it’s worth it. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

If you get sick of people pressuring you to be normal, maybe you need different friends. Why should you be normal, when normal is stressed out and broke? That’s not the life I want. I like my life now, and I’m going to like it even more when I can travel the world even more easily because we’ll have a paid-for house.

So go ahead, start living like no one else.

Dave Ramsey often talks about living like no one else. But what does that really mean?

17 thoughts on “Live Like No One Else: What it Means and Why it’s Awesome

  1. The only reason we have cable is because my wife likes the news. Ironically she never watches it so I told her to use the radio. That didn’t go over too well. Cable truly sucks.

    True story. I negotiated my cable deal and while I was doing so the rep said, “oh… you are getting a great deal already.” I said, “do you see the shit that is on tv? No I am not. Please lower my bill.”

    She did.


  2. When I come up against an expense (like you did with car repairs), I use it as an opportunity to think about “what else” — what else could I do instead of going back to the same thing? What else could I do instead of paying money? What else would I do if I absolutely couldn’t afford it? What else do other people do?

    I’ve come to realize that many, many people do without X — usually because they can’t afford it, sometimes voluntarily. Some of them don’t even notice, because it’s not something they got used to having. It’s not something they find necessary. So why do I find it so important? (I ask myself.) What is the difference between my life and theirs, my values and theirs? What if I didn’t replace a worn-out or broken thing? What would I do instead? It can be very liberating.

    1. Oh I completely agree. I always feel like I’m living like a pioneer or something when I do that — depending on creativity and your own self to get along.

  3. Living like no one else, to me, means living intentionally. I am cheap on spending for the things I hate, but splurge on things like travel that make me happy. After all, the reason I started this journey was to feel happy and secure.

    1. That makes perfect sense. Much better to spend on what’s important to you while not going along spending on the things that don’t really matter to you.

    2. loove that answer…We need more experiences …than material things for impressing others(bigger houses..bigger car…new clothing etc)

  4. This is really the opposite of keeping up with the Joneses. My husband and I once had couple friends who really lived beyond their means; it was so tempting for us to try to keep up with them (go to extravagant restaurants, take great trips, have the latest of everything), but we knew it was a path to destruction for us.

  5. I do live like no one else, but I have cable! I live a very low profile lifestyle without debt ecept for a small mortgage. We go out every weekend for dinner, but my monthly dinner budget is $150-200. We have old cars (17 & 15 y.o.). It is much easier when your children are grown and you save a lot.

    1. Hehe, nothing wrong with cable if you enjoy it and can afford it. And low expenses + very little or no debt does = a whole lot easier to save.

  6. LOVE this post Jackie. Living debt free is really much more fun to me because we’re in a totally different mindset than everyone else. We are content with the older cars and fewer toys because going without all the Jones’s stuff means we can afford to do stuff the Joneses can’t do.

  7. Hi Jackie. I very much look forward to and love receiving your emails chocked full of logic and life experience. I am on a fixed income and have a fare credit card debt load that I’m plugging away at trying to get rid of. It’s very difficult to get ahead making only tiny progress it seems. Every cent that I have is accounted for every month. There are days that I can visualize myself just treading water, just barely keeping my head up to keep from drowning. On these days, I realize that that the only thing I can do is to just keep going and working on it. I feel that credit cards are just an invitation to get yourself in deep financial trouble at least for a lot of us. I’ve completely stopped using credit cards altogether now for quite some time. In fact there’s one card that expired and the new one came in for me to activate but I haven’t bothered. When they’re paid off – they will be cut up immediately. I can’t wait for that day to come. I feel I should celebrate in some form when that time comes. It’s been a long road with this debt repayment. I don’t drive anymore – my car is in my garage. I completely stopped the browsing and shopping as a past-time and only buy what I absolutely need and even then I just go without many times. I am going through my home sorting and have found things that I don’t even recall buying and have never taken it out of the bag or even taken the tag off of it, so these items as well as anything else in my home that’s not being used or needed is going to be sold for some extra “pay back debt” cash. Sorry I didn’t plan on being so “long winded.” As I said, I love hearing from you and I feel that you keep me invested in getting out of this financial situation I’m in. I only wish that I’d heard from you many years ago because I certainly would have approached money in a completely different and wiser manner. I would truly like to thank you – I feel that you are contributing greatly to my determination to get this monkey off my back so that I can breathe again. I just signed up for your free 7 day email course and looking forward to getting into that. Thanks again !

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