Extreme Budgeting and Simple Living: Living Beneath Your Means

Above:  A tiny house in Portland, Oregon.  Though I don’t think I’d like to live in one permanently, the simplicity inherent in living in a tiny space appeals to me.  Photo by Steve Walling.

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I just discovered a blog called Not Buying Anything.  It’s written by  a couple who is trying to live simply and reduce all unnecessary spending.  There are certainly budgetary reasons for doing so, but they emphasize simplicity as the primary goal.  Wealth does not buy happiness, they reiterate; after a certain point of having enough money to be comfortable and secure, wealth does not really increase happiness.  It’s a relief to remember this, especially since living in Boulder can easily make a person (moi?) feel like a failure, money-wise.  It is too easy to look at the people with the nice car, fancy designer clothes, expensive gadgets and overflowing shopping carts at Whole Foods and think:  They are so lucky.  They must be so happy.

Except they probably aren’t so happy all the time – they’re just normal, like all of us.

One post at Not Buying Anything stood out to me.  They asked the question:  What do you need?   and answered by putting expenses into two categories.  Category one is what you need to survive, and category two is everything else.  I’m going to do some thinking this weekend about what we need to survive, since my primary goal with living frugally is to throw as much money as possible at my student loans.  I won’t sacrifice our health by buying substandard food, and I won’t sacrifice our happiness by overly stressing about money, but I do think a life of simplicity is a very worthy (and, conveniently, frugal!) goal.

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