When we think of “living large” we are told to think of private jets, huge houses and expensive cars. The media perpetuates this stereotype because people like to look at shiny things (aka advertising dollars) and this imagery gets people to spend more money. We are social creatures literally hard wired to “keep up” with Jones’s or Kardashians. We have a sudden feeling that we are missing out on something. But, what if we never needed any of this stuff to “live large”? How much wealthier would we be if we gave up this American idea that we need a big house, big car, big meals, etc. to “be happy” and live the good life? Perhaps downsizing everything will result in more contentment, security and bigger happiness!
There are many ways to “live the good life” without trying to obtain expensive status symbols or possessions. This will take mental discipline and re coding. Here is an example. The next time you see the shiny fancy new car rolling by, do not automatically assume that person is wealthy. The one thing you almost know for certain is that they paid a ton of money for a depreciating object/tool.
Here are some ways we can reframe and live larger on less:
I have no desire for a larger house. How could we use extra space effectively? Part of keeping housing costs under control is finding the right size for your family. And will the kids be any worse off if a couple of them have to share a room? Resist the desire for a huge house, it adds so much more cost all across the board. I am fascinated by the tiny house movement. I recently read that many millennial are opting for tiny homes after being saddled with student debt and challenging job prospects. I think that is one thing that makes our culture and country great, the ability to adapt. Make sure your consider all options and realize you can be quite content in a smaller space. This leads to lower utility bills and less of a need to fill up extra space with stuff. Check out the tiny home inspirations on the web:
A car should be viewed as a tool, not a luxury item. But the car makers need you to desire them as status symbols. Is there really a difference between some cars. We purchased a Subaru last year and when I did my research I could not find a feature missing from other “high end luxury” brands. For $20k less I think I received it all, comfort, tech, safety, utility, etc. I even like the way it looks.
I am not saying I do not appreciate a nice car and that everyone should own 20 year old Honda Civics. Just do your research and understand you can buy great value at a fraction of the cost of a new luxury car.
Implement these ideas and the result of this new perspective is that a person may actually be able to accumulate enough capital to support living a full life as time goes on. Here are a few more ideas.
Learn to make something:
There is an inherent joy in making something with your own hands. This can be anything from a meal, artwork, a card, writing a thank you note, furniture, growing a vegetable. And today much of the information to make things is either free online or at the library. The time spent learning and making is time not spent shopping mindlessly or feeling jealous of what someone else has. I have gained immeasurable life satisfaction from learning to make things over the years.
The human mind seems to adapt quickly to taking things for granted. We are bombarded each day with the scientific miracles of modern life, only to take them for granted and quickly forget how fortunate we are. The point is to adjust your thinking to truly appreciate all the modern advantages we get use to and relish them again. Think of the everyday advancements that already give you the ability to “live large”!
Order smaller food portions and items:
If you go to the coffee shop, order the small. If you go out to eat, split the meal. If you have an urge to buy some new clothes, buy one item instead of five. The point is that if you make this a habit, the small reductions in costs will add up to huge savings over time.
I think travel is incredibly important to people. And we could all use some time off from our normal groundhogs day existence. Try and keep the travel to certain lower cost options. You may be amazed at what you can experience in your own region that unique and enjoyable. I am still discovering new areas of California that are beautiful and fascinating.
Life is not a gold accumulation contest. It’s also not a contest where whoever had the biggest house, car, boat is the happiest. That is a lie we are told. Think of ways in your own life that you could do with less and be even happier and more content. Most of us know in our hearts what is important what creates True Wealth. We know it’s not a huge house with a gold toilet, that could be the home of the loneliest guy around.