“I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than attempting to satisfy them.”
Last year I was very fortunate to have a full time job. This opportunity combined with a frugal mindset allowed me to accumulate a substantial amount of savings. This year is the polar opposite, as I am now a full time student living away from home, and supporting myself entirely. Not only has my cost of living risen, but I am yet to find a steady income to supplement some of my new expenses. Quite a conundrum. Especially if you derive a large portion of your happiness from accumulation and spending.
However, over the last few years I have been practicing this art of “frugality”. I was largely inspired by a blog called “early retirement extreme”, written by an extreme frugal expert by the name of Jacob Fisker. Definitely worth a read if you have any inclination to learn of how to construct a frugal lifestyle. You can reach his website here.
So my drive to live frugally in order to reduce all unnecessary expenses has turned out to be of great benefit for my new adventure. I have one basic rule that dictates what I spend my money on, and this has worked well so far. It constitutes a question that I ask myself before each purchase. “Does this expense fit my highest values?” Back when I was working full time, context allowed me a little more flexibility with my purchasing decisions. Now being a student, My main expense categories are food and rent. I have been able to exclusively reduce my spending to these two categories only, with the exception of required University textbooks and fees.
But what about entertainment? Well, with the help of some spiritual foundations, I seek pleasure and enjoyment in the simple aspects of life. For example, taking a walk on the beach, reading enlightening literature, meditating and having stimulating conversation. All other monetary driven entertainment is easily eliminated to ensure my savings account moves down in the slowest possible speed. For clothes and other consumable items, I have taken a minimalist approach and am very happy with all items I currently own. I have enough clothes, bags and gadgets.
It is very satisfying to have this kind of control over spending. Being grateful for the money you do have to spend on the most critical elements of survival is a key attribute of frugality, and leaves you much happier than you might expect. There is also the benefit to nature by not contributing to the consumer paradigm. You will be reducing your personal waste, carbon emissions and natural resource degradation.
Even when I do find myself an income, I plan to keep flexing my frugal muscles to sustain happiness without the need to spend. This also leaves a great opportunity for savings, that may grant the luxury to travel and experience life in many more meaningful ways, while having the byproduct of helping the environment in your small way.
So build up your frugal muscles and think outside of the box. Do you really need to spend on that new clothing item? Do you really need to spend on that tourist attraction? Or could you find pleasure in great company and natural surroundings? Be frugal, live simple, be happy.
Thank-you for reading this article.