The last installment!
For me, a big part of spending less and saving more has been about letting go of certain ideas, mainly regarding what I actually need/want and what kind of lifestyle I’d like – not what the media or other people would have me aspire to. I can’t say this enough (about everything!) but this really is different for everyone. Recently, several people have mentioned to me some of the changes they’ve made in regard to what they do, what they want and how they think. All sorts of things have come up including:
- How much you actually need to earn (is it worth working long, long weeks in stressful conditions and never having enough time to ‘live’? etc)
- The cost (on many levels) of always trying to keep up with various trends (clothes/fashion in particular)
- The impact of magazines and the media which often dictate a certain lifestyle that can be very difficult or expensive to actually put into practice (and often make you feel inadequate if you can’t)
- The importance of ignoring what other people think you ought to do/have
- What actually constitutes a treat & the long-term consequences of buying things as pick-me-ups
- What you actually need to do to lose weight (expensive books/food/supplements/sports equipment versus eating a bit less, making healthy choices and being more active in general etc)
- Finding new ways to entertain yourself and socialize when you can no longer afford to go out several nights a week
- Buying new ‘stuff’ when you have something much the same already
- How much you actually have to spend to make your home nice & looking for more inventive, cash friendly ways of updating
- Holidays – what kind, going where and how often
- The difference between needing something and simply wanting it
Much of this re-evaluation has cropped up through New Years Resolutions and also through various struggles with paying off debt, being out of work or general financial worries. There seems to be a fair amount of evidence to suggest that the happiest or most content people aren’t those who are either very hard-up or very well off but the ones that can comfortably pay their bills and have enough time to spend with their family, friends and pursuing various hobbies and so on.
It seems to me that, as diverse as people are, what we often have in common is a desire to have more free time and/or greater peace of mind. Perhaps it is better to focus on how these things can be achieved and then compromise on some of the other things that cost more but just don’t deliver something as important.
Have you ‘let go’ of any particular ideas that mean you spend less and save more? Have you abandoned any old ideas about what you ought to have or do so that you now have more free time or feel more content?