11 reasons why I prefer to live on a budget
Spending as little as possible goes the longest way, whether you earn money on the road or have saved up for the adventure. To us it was a goal to minimise our spending as much as possible. In the beginning that sometimes made me feel bad: my new way of living meant I had to deny myself certain things, such as the luxury of not having to think too hard on what I spend my money on. Not on the usual daily stuff, anyway.
Now it’s different. Even when I do groceries I can’t just buy whatever I feel like. Not only because there is this minimized budget, but because there is the reality that I only earn a certain amount of money and otherwise we won’t be able to get by. You might understand how this position of being ‘limited’ can make for a strange sensation. Like, as if I wouldn’t deserve it. As if I’m selling myself short.
That, however, turns out to be not the case at all. After living like this for almost a year and a half, I’ve really started to enjoy it. Perhaps you, too, are looking for ways to minimize your expenses or maybe you just want to live a more minimalist lifestyle. Well, I’ve put together some reasons why I really like living on a budget.
Before you start reading them, it might be good to know a little bit of my background story. So, I come from a life and society where people work very hard and earn quite some money compared to many people in the rest of the world. It seems like the ideal situation, but in reality the afforded luxuries have trouble competing with developing stress and ongoing pressure – and a total lack of feeling you have the hold on your own life.
So, I hope you understand I don’t want in any way to offense you if you feel like you don’t make enough money and see this article as a bad way of explaining why that should be good. It’s not. I just would like to show how the ‘dream’ of having ‘a lot’ of money perhaps should not be the goal we often claim it to be.
There we go. I like to live on a budget and not be able to spend a lot of money, because:
1) I eat healthier foods. When I shop at grocery stores I will mainly be looking for fresh, unpackaged articles such as fruits and vegetables. Luckily, in many of the countries we’ve been in, those have been the least expensive items to buy. Of course we sometimes splurge on cookies and chocolate, but not wanting to spend too much on that is at the least a very good incentive to not get it all too often.
2) I don’t have to waste time on what to wear. Because I don’t own many clothes. This might be a more personal thing, because I was never really into shopping for clothes anyway. I guess the gargantuan choice in cities messed with my head, and also many brands (especially the more sustainable ones) can be really expensive. Even when I could spend a reasonable amount of money on clothing, I always felt like I only had so little – and ended up coming home happy with what I’d bought, sure, but I also felt a tad disappointed over what I hadn’t got.
3) That’s partly the next reason already: if you know you’re not going to spend anything, you are less likely to enter a store and thus exempt yourself from any possible regrets or jealousies or whatever emotion buying or not buying something can arise. It’s like the psychology experiment with the jam jars: the more choices people were subjected to, the less happy they ended up with what they’d chosen. By the way, that doesn’t mean you can’t solely admire things. But you’ll notice: once you tell yourself to not want to spend anything, the whole process already becomes so much more time and energy consuming and so much less fun.
4) Another reason is that when you spend little, you own little, so you have fewer worries over something to break or get lost or having to replace it because someone tells you it’s old.
5) I used to buy so much stuff I never used. Before we moved out of our house we sold almost everything and I found the most unimaginable items to be in my possession. Like a press for making mashed potatoes. Only, I hardly ever ate that and when I did, I just prepared it with a fork or a pestle I had (and still have!) for making stew. I mean, I totally forgot I had the thing and when I got rid of it I honestly had never used it. Why did I buy it in the first place? Because it was only a few euro’s and it seemed like a handy little thing. Being on a budget means overthinking a purchase at least twice, so you never come home with something you’d use only once. Or never.
6) Also, it is such a delight to surround yourself with only stuff you really really like.
7) I appreciate what I have and do thanks to money a lot more. Because spending it on the one thing, means not being able to spend it on something else. That makes me extra thankful of what I do get out of it.
8) Minding your expenses and thinking about those choices also teaches you what you really find important in life. That might ultimately help you lead the way to your heart’s desire, if you have trouble with that.
9) It could also very well bring you into interesting situations. For instance: if you don’t quite enough money for, let’s say, a repair, you might need to ask others for help. You will then be surprised about the good-heartedness of so many around you and learn that this world is not so bad after all, and that money could have never bought you such a good feeling. Like it can’t buy so many other things.
10) Getting to see so clearly what I actually want on a very detailed level, really motivates me into working to earn the money I need. Before it was more like, there was a bunch of euro’s coming in, and so very much going out, and the two had almost nothing to do with each other except for a minor handshake on my bank account. Now they’ve become friends and they’re both willing to make sacrifices for one another.
11) This is not a main reason, but something I’ve come to appreciate: I’m not so much a part of the consumerist part of society anymore and therewith there are a lot less influential people and brands that have a hold on me. I was never one for following fads, so the consequences aren’t that huge, but I do feel free.
I’m sure even I have more other reasons, but these are the ones I can think of now and I really liked sharing them with you. If you, personally, have any additions I totally welcome you to add them in the comments below.