Remember back when you moved out of your parents’ house and lived off $100 a month? You ate ramen 2 meals a day and used your nose to decide if laundry was re-wear-able. If you survived that lifestyle back then, what’s keeping you from living off $500 a month now?
I saw a gif on the internet a few days ago that said, “We drive to a job we don't like in a car we can’t afford to pay for the hose we never live in.” This is horrifying for me. Why would I want to buy into that culture? Why would I want my children to buy into that? If there’s one thing that has been beaten into me by being a nomad it’s that.
Rule #1: If it is nonessential, you can ditch it.
Rule #2: Everything is nonessential.
We don't need anything fancy. We can walk anywhere, sleep anywhere and eat a lot more variety than people care to admit. I used to teach Wilderness Survival skills to the Boy Scouts when I worked at Summer Camp. The only things we as humans need to survive are water, shelter, and food. We don't need the biggest house in the neighborhood. We don't need the three car garage. We have been warped by advertisements to think that we need them but they are nonessentials. A car is nice but not necessary. Especially not the brand new luxury edition ______. The sooner we get out of the mindset that we need what the commercials say we need, the happier we will be. The key here is downsizing.
Stick with me here. I’m about to pretend I’m good at math. If you can cut your expenses down to half, then you are making more than double your money. I’ll get back to the “more” part in a second. Your money will go more than twice as far.
Common areas to downsize in are:
House- Getting a smaller house or moving to a place with a lower cost of living will save you thousands. If you get a smaller house then it will also be cheaper to heat, to decorate, and to clean. It will save you countless hours and dollars. You will adapt to your environment. If you force yourself to downsize now, you will grow comfortable and appreciate it later.
Car- this is a no brainer. As long as your vehicle is a reliable transport to get you where you need to go, there is nothing else you should pay for. If the dealership wants to give you freebies on top of that then by all means accept them but you should not pay for a new car or any nonessential add-ons on a vehicle. If you are paying extra for cosmetic changes on your vehicle you are throwing money away.
Clothes- buy lasting clothes. This is both referring to durability and in design. Simple designs that will not go out of style can save you hundreds over the years. You can always change accessories later if you need to feel trendy but everything you buy should be something you can get a few years wear out of... (a certain leather costume comes to mind...)