When I was younger I went to a lot of seminars from how to make money starting a business to investing into stocks to real estate investing. It truly was an inspirational experience, and one of the things they all had in common was the thought that, instead of living below your means, we should work on expanding our means.
Expanding my means is something I’ve thought about a lot, and it does make sense. You can open up great things for yourself by starting a business and thinking big. But lowering your expenses and living with less also has its advantages, and it can lead to a lot of freedom and less stress overnight.
Living With Less Stress
The major advantage of living with less stuff is that it allows you to reduce your stress level. If you have a huge car payment and a huge mortgage payment each month, it will motivate you to work harder and longer to ensure that you are able to meet those obligations, but it also means that you are going to be constantly stressed out and worried about what will happen if you ever lose your income.
Your stress can influence your life, your work, your happiness and even your health, as stress can lead to aging and heart related problems.
Everyone has their own stress level, and while you will find tons of stress relieving activities out there, the less stress you can make for yourself, the happier you will be.
It Can Help You Work Harder
You wouldn’t think of lowering your expenses as a building block to work harder. But personally, having less expenses motivates me to keep going and start working hard for the money.
Here are my thoughts. Whenever I have to work harder just to meet my financial obligations, it makes me unwilling to work because I know that at the end of the day I will be left with nothing to show for it. I am not saving money or building my future, I’m just getting by and that is a little depressing.
Expanding my means doesn’t really help either because if I’m not careful my expenses will increase with the extra income. As a result I am going to spend more and work harder for nothing to show for it. This is the exact trap that the majority of people on this planet fall into.
When they work harder, they spend more, and by default they can’t follow their dreams in life because they don’t have anything to show for all their hard work at the end of the day. At that point you might as well let it all fall apart and start from scratch.
Living at or above your means is stressful and can be depressing for many people.
The alternative is to live with less and have money left over after you pay your bills to save and invest. When I have more then enough it makes me work harder than before. Now I’m not just working to make someone else rich, I’m working to build my future.
I know that every time I can put money away for next month, it means I will have that much more freedom in the future. Saving is the only way to true wealth, because regardless of how much money you earn a year, if you spend it all, you have nothing to show for it and you will just have to work that much harder in the future.
If you’re like me, lowering your expenses will actually encourage you to work harder and do more because you are working to build something that will make your life easier and give you more freedom.
It Gives You More Freedom
Our expenses can trap us. If we have a high paying job that we don’t like and bills to match that job, it makes it harder to look for other opportunities, like finding something you really want to do or taking a year off to start your own business.
On the other hand if you are living below your means you have more opportunities. Maybe you’ve saved up a years worth of expenses so you can take some time off to start your business, or maybe you realize that you don’t have to keep the job you hate you can do something else that pays a little less, but makes you happy.
It Doesn’t Mean You Have To Choose One Or The Other
In the seminars I went to when I was younger always made it seem like you could either cut your expenses or increase your means. But you don’t have to choose. Books like the Millionaire next door and the Millionaire mind examined millionaires and found that the majority of millionaires got that way by not only looking for creative ways to expand their means, but also by looking for ways to live with less and not consume more then they need to.
Living with less can take some getting used to, but it does bring you more freedom then you have had before. If you are living in a high stressed world and constantly worrying about paying your bills on time, consider cutting back to a reasonable level and get in touch with who you are rather then what you can buy. Have you cut back on your bills and started living with only what you need to get by? How has it worked out for you?
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