One of the hardest things to change in life is your belief system. We all believe we can’t cut back on our income, until it is forced upon us by outside forces. If you have ever tried to cut back on any vices; you already know that once your mind has been made up it will rebel like a bratty out of control 2 year child if you try to change it! And that is the way that it is with our lifestyles. To tell yourself that you are going to be living on less money is just asking for an inner rebellion, so you might want to rephrase it and tip toe a bit before you can fully comprehend the proposition.
Once you have gotten over the shock of how much different your life will be on a lower income, you can start to come to terms with the acceptance of the actual reality of it all. That is when you know you are on the mend, when you can say, ok, I accept, I can handle this, now what?
Well, as with anything in life there is balance. And the balance of less income is that there are also perks that you don’t really think too much about until you start experiencing them for yourself.
More Freedom: Overall, there are a lot of obligations you can put down when you don’t have the money to impress. When you just grab some ramen noodles once a week and you don’t have to dress up to go out to dinner you feel a release from always being on display. (No turning into a couch potato though) As a matter of fact you will come up with all kinds of new ways to cook and get the recipes just how you like it with the freedom to experiment.
Less stress to keep up with the Joneses: Hey, didn’t you hear the whole country is turning frugal; so now we don’t have to keep competing for everything, how bout we all just be friendly towards each other now instead?
Less time spent mindlessly shopping: After a certain time frame shopping becomes a numbing activity; that’s why we do it. There are probably 250 other uses of your time that could be more productive and will actually make you feel better in the long run. Even when grocery shopping, your in, your out very quickly because you only have so much to spend and it saves on mindlessly wondering and wandering.
More concentration for what’s really important to you: after a couple of months you will find that you have all kinds of interests you didn’t even know that you had; and they are things that can be done on the cheap. Going back to the library, getting together with friends at a local park, just being sane for awhile, music, the list will go on and on.
I am sure you get the gist. It is hard to first accept living on an income below what you are used to and it takes great courage and strength to forge ahead into new territory. But, once you are on the road you will see that this journey is not just an exercise in giving up everything but also getting something much better in return: You.