Instead of focusing on your income, why not focus on your outcome?
Working as hard as we can to make as much money as possible to buy the nicest things we can is the way that most people live. I have lived most of my life above my means. I have worked too long at a job that I did not like because of the money I made there, not because it was meaningful work. I worked paycheck to paycheck just to pay off debt that I had accrued because I wanted more things than I could afford to pay for. I have desired material belongings only to find that once I owned them they still did not make me happy. I have run in the rat race and lived a life that revolved around making and spending money, only to feel a false sense of fulfillment. I also worked so hard that I did not have time to enjoy my family and friends or take care of myself properly. I had a very unhealthy relationship with money. My goals and dreams consisted of wealth. To me money equaled happiness. When I decided to become less materialistic and put people and experiences over possessions, I had a great revelation. Instead of making more, I thought I would try to need less. Needing less money gave me the opportunity to leave the job that I did not like, to work part time at a meaningful job that I did like and focus on my writing. Don’t get me wrong, I would not have been able to work part time if I did not have a supportive husband. We are still trying to work out the kinks and I will be flexible to working more to make money for things like travel and savings. My ultimate goal is to run my own business helping people and being paid for doing meaningful work that I love. Working is a part of life. Being able to have meaningful work can make life so much more fulfilling. Everyone has a different situation. I am not suggesting for everyone to quit your jobs without being prepared. What I am suggesting is to take this information and try a new way of thinking to see if needing less money instead of working so hard to make more money could add value to your lives. The benefits can range from taking an extra vacation a year to accepting a dream job that you love that pays less money than you used to need.
Here are some ways that I have found to need less money
Cancel the cable: This not only saves on your monthly bill, but it will give you much more time to do other things. You will get over missing your favorite shows within weeks and you will never have to watch an unwanted commercial again. When I cancelled my cable I signed up for Netflix. The cost is only $8.00 a month and I can watch documentaries or an occasional movie on the weekend.
Work out, outside: Cancel your gym membership and walk, jog or bike outside. Spending time in nature (even if your nature is a city street, pigeons count!) instead of a smelly gym is great for your well-being and your physique. When the weather is kind of frightful I find jumping on my mini trampoline is delightful. It’s a fun way to do cardio indoors. My trampoline was only $25.00 brand new at a thrift store. You can also find used exercise equipment like a treadmill or stair climber for a one-time investment and save those monthly gym fees.
Stop comfort shopping: In the past I used shopping to feel better about myself. A new dress and strappy sandals would boost my self-esteem and lift my spirits. But this was only a temporary fix. As soon as the new digs came off I was deeper in debt, my closet was even more unmanageable and I would soon be looking for my next score. This cycle was unhealthy and expensive. Since I have been a “mad minimizer” I no longer feel a buzz from shopping. I know that shopping leads to debt and eventually having to get rid of the things anyway. Nowadays I buy things that I really need. I have also learned other ways to feel better about myself and keep my spirits high, without the crash.
Buy quality: When shopping for things that you need, buy things that you will not have to replace. Investing more money on quality items when you need them will help you need less money in the future because they will not wear out. This popular website sells things that are supposed to last a lifetime.
Do the chores: When I was working very hard at a draining job, my husband and I decided to hire people to do things that we did not have time to do. We had someone to run errands, do housework and mow the lawn so that we would have more quality time together. When I decided to quit the job that made me unhappy we were back to doing all of our chores ourselves. The strange thing that happened is I now actually enjoy the chores that I used to dread. I find cleaning and taking care of the house brings me pleasure. Part of the reason is that I am not rushing through the tasks like I used to do when I was in such a time crunch. I am taking my time, taking pride in my work and using cleaning as a meditation. I even enjoy washing the dishes! I recommend this great book about being mindful while doing chores. I have also read about people making their chores into games. By making my chores enjoyable I am able to move through my day doing things I enjoy instead of things that I dislike. I am taking this practice into other areas as well such as running errands and packing for a trip. Doing these things myself instead of paying someone to do them can be a great way to need less money.
Try a trade: Trading a service is another way to keep your money in your pocket. Find things that you spend money on but could trade something for. How about offering to color your friend’s roots for a massage or exchanging pedicures with a friend? Let your little sister do laundry at your house in exchange for pet sitting. Make a list of things that you can do and a list of things you pay money for. Get creative! Some people hate to cook and would love a pot of soup in exchange for taking you out for Happy Hour. These all sound like win-win’s to me!
Here are some other tips for lifelong success to need less money
Pay off all debt: Pay off all of your credit cards. Pay off your car, or better yet, live without a car Learn why Dave Ramsey believes that buying a new car is a bad investment. Take good care of the one you have and plan on keeping it.
Pay premiums in full: Most companies give you a size-able discount if you pay your full premiums instead of making monthly payments. We save almost $300 per year on our auto insurance if we make a big payment bi-annually instead of making smaller payments monthly.
Figure out how much money is needed: Studies about happiness say again and again that money can bring you closer to happiness if you are poor and do not have your basic needs met. The same studies also say that after a certain dollar amount, more money does not mean happier people. People who run in the rat race seem to spend more time at work, have more stress and live above their means by buying things that they believe will bring them happiness. This article offers suggestions on how much money per household people need to be happy. I like this article because it goes by state. I only need half the money that I needed in California to be happy here in Florida! Figure out your magic number. Do your budget and include things like saving for retirement and vacations. Also keep in mind that if you are on a path of needing less, this number should drop.
You have read “Needing Less Instead of Making More” here first on Live Big and Small. Please leave your comments, suggestions or ideas on how you need less money in the comments. Thank you so much for being a part of this amazing community of like-minded people who want to live a more meaningful life.