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I know what it’s like to be broke. Really broke. Getting calls and notices that you’re past due on just about everything. Not being able to afford the simplest things. Having no vision of a future without payments or mountains of bills. The crushing feeling in your chest and knot in your stomach every time an unforeseen expense pops up.
There is some serious simplifying that comes with being broke, which was a good lesson I had to learn. Now free of the crushing debt I never thought I’d get out from under, I still live simply, but not because I don’t know how I’ll afford to put gas in my car.
Simplifying taught me a lot about the value of money, about want versus need, and a whole lot about the WHY behind keeping up with Mrs. Jones. Does that mean I’m living off the grid in a tiny house?
Heck no. (Not that I don’t admire the folks living off the grid in tiny houses.)
Choosing to live more simply doesn’t mean that you live like you’re broke. It means that you live more intentionally. It means you have a plan for your life and that the way you save and spend your money supports those plans in a purposeful way. It means seeing beyond the weekend and living accordingly.
Is it possible to live simply while maintaining a high standard of living?
Living simply means living within or below your means. If your means are to the tune of several million dollars, and your dream is to live on the beach and drive a BMW, you could still be living simply. The key is to understand your WHY.
Why do you want to drive a BMW? You love and appreciate the quality of the vehicle, you love the speed, you love the smooth ride. All legitimate reasons to want the car. You love how jealous it makes your snarky neighbor and your old high school nemesis? You may need to check yourself.
Living simply doesn’t have to mean living a meager lifestyle. It means that you can sleep at night because you’re not worried about the bills you can’t pay. It means enjoying time with your family and friends because you’re fully present, instead of your mind constantly wandering off to your negative checkbook balance.
There is a certain level of peace that comes with learning that there will always be things you’ll want because of their beauty, their prestige, their quality, but that you’re able to decide you don’t need to own them in order to appreciate them. It’s okay to see something lovely, acknowledge it, and not need to possess it, even when seemingly everyone around you does so.
It’s Spring and many of us have jumped into Spring cleaning mode full force. (If you need some inspiration, check out my post on the KonMari Method). This is a great time to Spring clean your finances as well. Are there things you’re paying for that you don’t really need or use? Do an inventory of the small fees you pay each month, and really assess the value you’re getting. Do an inventory of the larger payments you have as well, and ask yourself what you’re getting for your money. Does it make sense? Do you have a plan for your money and can you see how your plan is building to the future you have for yourself and your family?
Let me know the ways you plan to start simplifying some things in your life this Spring, be it material items, or finances. You can leave your comments on the blog, or hit me up on Twitter.