Date: January 1, 2010

News - “Living Within Your Means” Sustains Us All

From living part-time in southern West Virginia, I have seen a state and a culture totally different from Maryland. They are genuine and when needed, they “kill you with kindness.” Not a region among the wealthiest in the country, they have stuck to their values and never stopped from “living within their means.” It is truly a blessing to see those in southern West Virginia and nearby Southwest Virginia are surviving as well as they are. They have helped remind me what is really important in this world. 

As a company, Chaney Enterprises declared 2009 as our Year of Sustainability. Part of our company’s definition, “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability to meet the needs of the future,” is the core purpose of “sustainability” and the core purpose of “living within your means” be it for the world, for our country, for our family, and for us as individuals. 

To increase your means, you must either earn more or spend less. With a terrible economy, earning more has become a great challenge—many are earning less than ever before. So, we really only have real control over what we spend. My frugal wife and I always try to purchase that which gives us the “best value;” that is, the lowest cost in the long run. If you successfully control your cost, your chances of being sustainable are much greater—again showing how “living with your means” relates to “sustainability.” Here are few suggestions on how Susan and I save and live:

  • Grow a small garden. Share with neighbors and they’ll probably share with you.
  • Buy groceries in bulk if at all possible. An extra freezer really helps.
  • Go over the phone and TV bills. Remove features you do not use much.
  • If affordable, use internet banking to do your finances. and its affiliate provide free web services. They sure do make life simpler. Just be sure to use proper password protection.
  • If you frequently use a computer, there are free software packages that are worth using, but many are not. CNET ( is a great place to find them and their ratings I’ve had success with:
    • Auslogics Defrag—For defragging (which is needed on a regular basis to keep your computer fast)
    • Revo Uninstaller—For uninstalling unneeded software
  • Do more things (travel, church, meals) as a family for more sharing of costs and moral support.
  • Spend more of your free time being with and teaching your children—including lessons on how to be frugal.
  • Look into ways on the web to save energy with your utilities. The dollars can add up very quickly.

In 1999, the US Congress deregulated the banking and financial industry. Thanks to the greed of this industry, at all levels, those without a strong belief in “living with your means” were baited into a hole that they could not dig themselves out of. Now with the worst economy since President Carter’s administration we are all paying for it. Our federal government has spent more in one year than it had in all of its previous years of existence. They have taken “living beyond your means” to a level never seen before. From what we can see in the construction industry, hardly any jobs have been created as promised. It seems to me that the only jobs that have been saved have mostly been those in government that are being held accountable by nobody and those who work for companies that should have been shut down years ago due to corruption and inefficiencies. It is a financial mess second to none, and no one takes the blame. It is always someone else’s fault. But I still have faith—faith that true Americans, who represent true character, true competence, and true desire to do well, will stand up and turn this whole thing around. 

But until then, we must all set the standard and practice living within our means and sustainability at never level and in every facet of our lives individually, family business, charity, our country and ultimately our world. May God help us save our world for our children and grandchildren, and, yes, continue to “kill them with kindness.” May 2010 turn out far better than the past year for all. 

God Bless, Frank Chaney

Other news articles from January 2010