For some people, bills control their lives. My friend is in this situation. Any time we talk about finances, which isn’t often, he brings up how he is drowning in bills. He complains about how big his mortgage is, his monthly car payments, and a number of other bills. Every month he has to work very hard just to make ends meet. His wife works a full time job as well. If something were to happen to either of them they would be in serious financial trouble. After one month of missed income they would start to get threatening letters. After a few months the phone would be ringing off the hook with aggressive bill collectors. Within six months they could lose everything. Most people would not be able to go six months without any income, I know I wouldn’t be able to. The difference between my situation and my friend’s situation is I could live on substantially less income without too much sacrifice to my lifestyle. Why is this? We have two approaches when it comes to bills and debt.

If you are familiar with He-Man you’ll remember his character going from a wimpy guy with a funny hair cut to a bulging muscle man with a funny hair cut. The difference comes after he holds his sword over his head and yells some stuff. The last line he screams to the sky is “I HAVE THE POWER!!!”. This, my friend, is key. You have complete control over your bills. When you get your first credit card in college, pay your own rent, or buy your first car, you have complete control over what your bills will be.

All the frugal living tips will be pointless if you bought too much house, drive new cars that are out of your league (most cars are), and live beyond your means via debt. Peeing in the shower to save on your utility bills won’t make any difference once you’ve made major mistakes in creating your bills.

Note: I’m joking about the peeing in the shower thing.