It has been said that money cannot buy happiness. And while that is true because happiness is not for sale but is free of charge to everyone who has it in their souls, money does have influence in your life.
And living can be a source of happiness, can’t it? So maybe money can’t buy happiness by itself, but it sure can buy the tools that help us enjoy the happiness we do have. Or even help us enjoy our God-given “pursuit of happiness” as stated in American’s declaration of freedom.
But let’s step back for a minute and think about life as happiness. If money cannot buy happiness, but if life is an expression of that happiness, can it not also follow that money cannot buy life?
What I mean is this: Is it possible for us to live our lives without money, or with as little of it as possible?
Living Life Without Money
Oh, I am sure that if you look at your family budget, the idea of living your life with little money seems impossible. But if you think about it in a very objective way, maybe you have to adjust somewhat, but surely you can see ways to live on as little money as possible.
If your budget is especially tight, this might be a necessity before you look at ways to increase income. Reducing spending is somewhat easier and quicker than finding new money.
Even if you do this just for a month, it could make a huge difference in the stress level of your family.
Here are some quick tips to at least start to live without money, or at least less of it.
4 Tips To Live On Less Money
#1. Prioritize Your Spending
Take a hard look at your necessities and how you justify necessities. You should consider a necessity as what you need to survive is always first. That means you need food to eat, water to drink, clothes on your back (to protect from cold and wet), a roof over your head and some form of transportation.
Once you have your budget narrowed down (everything else is extraneous), that alone will save you a lot of money. Outside of necessities, you have a lot of disposable income, don’t you?
#2. Find Ways To Save Within Those Necessities
For food, this may mean buying more store-brand food rather than name-brand, or growing some of your own food. Make meals out of what you have in your fridge, freezer and pantry now and only buy what you need each week and no more.
For transportation, if you can bike, walk or use public transportation to get around. Keep the car at home.
For shelter, if you can’t cut your mortgage costs, consider renting out a room to someone or selling the house and moving into a cheap-rent apartment.
Clothes? Buy only what you need, and by need I mean clothes that are worn out, not need as in “I need that blouse because it’s so fashionable now,” while you have five functional blouses in the closet already.
As long as you have enough clothes for a work week and for puttering around the house, you really won’t need much more than that.
To really save money, if you have a sewing machine and some creativity, why not try making your own clothes, or ask for discarded clothes from friends or neighbors? There is always Goodwill or Salvation Army as well.
#3. Free Entertainment
Play games at home as a family. Read books, listen to music, catch free activities in the community such as at the library or a community center or park. Avoid restaurants, unless you’re working there.
When you put in a little effort to seek out free entertainment, you will be amazed at how much there is out here.
#4. Live Off The Grid
Write letters and mail them rather than send e-mails. Because e-mails require the Internet and Internet can be quite expensive.
Cut off the cable TV and read more and play games.
Find alternatives to generate power through solar, wind or candle wax.
Use low-flow toilets, or have an outhouse or composting toilet. Lose the computers and/or smartphones and downgrade to a single laptop and a land-line phone (yes, they are still around, somewhere).
Taking these steps, even some which are not as drastic as some mentioned here, will go a long way toward reducing your financial footprint.
It’s tough to go drastic cold-turkey, so if you do have plans about living on no or very little money, you might want to take smaller steps in the first month and make them part of habits, then add other steps slowly in successive months.
If you are doing this to get out of debt quickly, then cut drastically immediately to be a bit uncomfortable. It sounds odd but when you are uncomfortable, you will work harder and faster to get out of debt to put some comfort back in your life.
But if you don’t have debt and you just want to save more money each month, then less-drastic steps can be taken for you to be pinched a little, but still comfortable enough to get used to the change in a month or two.
Either way, don’t work around the edges where you feel like nothing is different. There should be at least some adjustment so that you keep yourself intentional in what you’re doing and less likely to fall back into old habits.
Author Bio: Jon blogs at Penny Thots, a personal finance site that helps readers improve their finances, one day at a time.