Living simply is the idea that your life isn’t overly complicated.
In today’s world – and I’m talking about the US, specifically – life proceeds at a rather frenetic pace. There are always things to do, places to go, people to meet, job deadlines, and more.
And, the thing is, many people go to college, get awesome high-pressure jobs, and make good money. There’s nothing wrong with that. Making an honest living is the backbone of the American psyche.
But what if there was a better way?
Think about it. When a person makes more money, the natural thing to do is increase spending. Paid off that old car? Go get a new(er) one with that extra money. (And, I’m not above this: I did this when I got my new job, justifying it because my old car had so many miles on it; I didn’t trust it to leave my town.)
Is that house too small? With higher income, it’s easy to think about getting a bigger, nicer house.
But hardly anyone talks about the hidden costs of making these decisions. That newer car? Now you have to pay for higher insurance premiums, repair costs and upkeep. That nicer, bigger house? The insurance costs are also higher, not to mention the taxes, electric bills, and the cost to furnish that house.
Now, you have to work to maintain all the bills and upkeep for all those new purchases. That means keeping up with the stress, the appointments, deadlines, etc., to have all these things.
A Radical Viewpoint
In my adult life, I’ve mostly lived fairly simply. I’ve not indulged in bigger houses or, when I’ve needed a new car, I was careful to buy a quality used car that, if I lost my job, it wouldn’t be too difficult to come up with the bills.
But living simply teaches us that we are not our things. Sure, it’s awesome to find a great bargain on something. It’s nice to have high-quality products.
But what about having a job that allows you to spend more time with family? Or a job that gives you freedom to pursue hobbies and fun when you want to do that?
And that’s all I’m talking about here. I’m proposing that living more simply is about spending time with family and friends, doing the things you want to do.
I like the analogy of my Beetle that I had when I was in college. It was a small car, but it had all the things: a sunroof, heated seats for those cold winter mornings, a turbo engine.
No, I’m not getting green points for great gas mileage. But because it was a smaller car, I could get more add-ons with it.
The same was true for our house: we have a small house – around 1100 square feet – but it’s easier to be able to fix it up when we want, and we can put in higher quality (and even sustainably sourced) materials as we need.
Indeed, our kitchen is not very big and we will fix it up soon. When we bought the house, the countertops were disintegrating underneath. But, we can buy nicer countertops because there isn’t that much to buy.
Interestingly, our neighbors have a house that’s probably about four times the size of ours. It was four times the cost, and the very nice folks who have that house both have to work full time jobs to maintain it.
Living Simply Has its Perks
Thus, all I’m saying is that to be a little more stress free, and more able to easily afford the things you want, go simple. You don’t have to deprive yourself.
In fact, you enhance your life because you have more time and less stress to enjoy the things that really matter.