Has high-spending sneaked up on you without realizing it? First, you bought a new fridge yet the old one is barely a year old and still functions well. While at work, you eat out every day and in the evening you choose to Uber your way home because you say matatus can be hectic. You also bought a new Fitbit smartwatch because you are ‘fitness conscious’ yet you actually never use it.

Within no time, those ‘little’ expenses morph into big ones and before you know it, you are living beyond your means. Recognizing the signs can be hard because the process is gradual.

Here are signs that you are living beyond your means;

Your bills are spiraling out of control

If you are living beyond your means, chances are that you pay your bills and expenses late. List all of your monthly bills and scrutinize them one by one. Do you really need to subscribe to that premium TV package or you can make do with streaming on Wi-Fi? Are you leaving the lights on when it is not essential? Get a hold of your situation before it is too late.

You have a low credit score

A credit report is a running record of your credit history and routine payment from a number of sources including banks, credit card companies and the government. It also shows your outstanding loan balances and credit bureaus use this information to determine your credit score and worthiness.

You spend everything you earn

This does not scream right away that you are living beyond your means because you might be underpaid or you have other financial circumstances putting you in this situation.

However, everyday lifestyle upgrades or just overspending, will have you struggling and waiting for the next pay period. This is a cycle you can avoid by looking at your paycheck and tracking your expenses. Doing this religiously will make it easy to pinpoint areas where you can spend less.

You don’t set or stick to a budget

This is the holy grail of personal finance and financial planning. No matter what you earn, you have to budget for your expenses. Having a budget simplifies your spending decisions as it lets you know exactly what you can and cannot afford.

You have no emergency fund

Nine out of 10 personal finance articles call for having an emergency fund and rightfully so. Everyone wants to save and have an emergency fund, but what happens if you feel that you do not have enough money at your disposal? This is why it is important to look at your overall spending and find those unnecessary money pits and work on how to correct them.

You use credit cards for emergencies

Credit cards are great for building credit as well as helping you out during an emergency, but since they are available and you have no savings, you are likely to use them to buy things that are beyond your means. This in turn impacts on your financial success because you end up carrying over a balance month to month.

You have no retirement plan

If you struggle to provide for your family, the thought of putting money aside for retirement is usually an afterthought. That said, if you engage in money squandering fun activities yet you have no retirement plan, you are living beyond your means. Saving for your financial future earlier is better than the temporary satisfaction you get from possessions or entertainment.