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How to Live with Less

Updated on September 16, 2011

We live in a consumer-based society. The term 'keeping up with the Joneses' couldn't have fit our society more because everyone seems to be constantly trying to 'one up' one another in terms of housing, gadgets, careers and any other aspect of life.

However, what about those that want to live a modest life? A life where you're not overwhelmed by stress and buried in the clutter of unneeded items.

You don't have "throw everything away"; on the contrary, living with less is more about being conscious about your surrounding and what truly makes you happy - not just 'keeping up with the Joneses'.

I'd like to share a few ways that you can live with less but still enjoy a fantastic life.

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Take Control of your Finances

The first real step toward living a modest life is to remove the stress that comes from debt.

Nearly every person has come under the burden of personal debt through credit cards and bills; living in debt adds heavy amounts of stress (mentally and physically) that prevent you from truly being free because you will always have the debt looming over your head.

Take charge of your life and begin getting rid of all your debt. Do it as soon as possible; make the sacrifice to remove debt in a short amount of time instead of stretching it out over a lifetime. Paying off your debt early reduces the overall cost from interest.

Once you knock down your debt, you can begin to focus on the things that really matter instead of falling under the stressful burden.

Change your Mindset

Get out of this idea that you have to keep up with people in order to fit in.

One of the biggest problems we face with our finances and personal decisions is the influence we have from friends, family and the media. When we surround ourselves with a bombardment of advertising, we start to feel an emotional 'need' for items rather than a logical 'want'. Likewise, being surrounded by friends that constantly push you to go out or buy new gadgets to 'be a part of the gang' is really hampering your ability to keep things simple.

Shift your mindset away from this constant 'need' for items and spending money; adopt a frugal living mentality where you still get the best in life but it's made through smart decisions on how to spend your time and resources.

Aim for 'BIG Wins'

Aim for the big things in life that you truly want such as owning a house, buying a new car or going on a prolonged vacation.

We all have lofty goals but many of us fail to reach them because we end up spending all of our hard earned money on little things every day such as an expensive cup of coffee or a few extra snacks. The little expenses add up and before you know it, you don't have enough money to do the things you want - additionally, you could be effecting your mental and physical health from this constant need to buy - money truly is a drug.

Instead, plan out the 'Big Win' items you'd like to obtain that add a lot of value to your life. For example, a high MPG car will have a prolonged effect on your finances and well being than $20 toward some fast food. Go for the lofty goals in life because they provide the unique experiences that truly define an incredible lifestyle.

A Life: Fulfilled

You've probably heard "you can't take it with you" plenty of times which is suppose to represent that when you're gone, you can't take the physical items to wherever you go.

However, let's be honest: the big win items and things we experience really do add to a fulfilling life. The problem is that we get so overwhelmed by the little things that we fail to take incredible action on living with less and enjoying more of what we already have.

Define the life that you want to live and live it to your terms. Don't play this cat and mouse lifestyle that advertisers and marketers want you to lead; do the things you want to do by removing the things that don't really matter and placing that focus toward the big ticket wins in life.

How do you plan to live with less?

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    • jeyaramd profile image

      jeyaramd 5 years ago from Mississauga, Ontario

      It definitely takes alot of mental preparation to live with less. Its a mindset battle. We have to overcome our wants and focus on our needs. We are constantly being pulled towards unwise spending habits. It takes immense self control. Thanks for sharing this informative hub. Voted up.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA

      Full time RVers like ourselves live on less by doing many of the things you suggested including getting rid of bills and foregoing the little drains on our resources. We've also gotten rid of many of our possessions as we realize that having "stuff" is really not that important to our happiness. Enjoyed your hub and the good advice.