What Does Beyond One’s Means Mean?

Living Beyond Your Means Meaning

Definition: More than one can afford.

This idiom describes something that is out of the price range that someone can afford.

To say something is beyond my means is a way of saying that you will not be able to pay for it. People may also say that something is beyond your means if they think you do not have the money to afford it.

This phrase is related to the saying, to live beyond one’s means, which means that someone is spending more money than he has and is going into debt.

The opposite of this phrase is to live within one’s means, which means that someone is not spending all of his money and is staying out of debt.

Origin of Beyond One’s Means

 Live beyond your meansThere is no certain origin of the phrase beyond one’s means.

One possible origin story is that this phrase first appeared in English Bible.

One sentence from an English translation of the Bible describes giving to charity with the sentence “they gave according to their means.” In this case, “means” is a synonym for the word “ability.”

Examples of Beyond One’s Means

Meaning of beyond his means The word means can still be roughly translated in this case to mean ability. If you are spending beyond your ability, you are living beyond your means.

Financial experts have listed several indicators that you should consider to determine if you are living beyond or within your means. Some indicators include having a low credit score, going into debt, rising credit card balances, and not being able to save much money each month.

More Examples

  • If you plan to tap a home equity line of credit to cover holiday season expenses, don’t do it. You are living beyond your means. –Houston Chronicle
  • But there’s a concern. Did you rack up the credit card debt by living beyond your means? –The Star-Ledger


The phrase beyond one’s means describes the habits of a financially wasteful or person who spends more money than he takes in.