Most posts on my blog do not involve spending money. I am a big believer in living a low-cost lifestyle as much as possible. For me, it means that I do not have to force myself to work long hours in a business or a job that I hate simply to pay the bills. Or worse, go into debt to fund a high-maintenance lifestyle.
Yes, life is still a balancing act between income and outgoings and even more so now we have our business. Before my husband and I opened a shoe store together, we only had to worry about our own finances, but now we have our finances and the shop’s finances to keep straight.
In spite of not knowing who is going to walk in the door next or if someone is going to place an order on our website, I can honestly say I don’t lie awake at night worrying about that. We had a really ‘interesting’ time during the 2008/09 crash but we came out of it eventually and our business survived.
Warren Buffett says of peoples’ finances that ‘you see who has been swimming naked when the tide goes out’. Isn’t that a great saying? Thankfully my husband and I are on the same page regarding living a low-cost lifestyle, living in a home that is just the right size for us and enjoying simple and free activities.
The 2008/09 crash was hard enough at the time and taught us a lot, but we would have found it many times harder if we had an expensive lifestyle that required maintenance. And if we’d have had a lot of debt that’s where you can come unstuck, real quick.
I don’t find it fun keeping up with the Joneses. Yes, I’ve spent more than I probably needed to on certain items over the years, but these things have been the exception rather than the norm, and in each case I can think of, aside from our house, we paid with saved cash from our bank account, so we weren’t going into debt for them.
I’ve often thought it would be a great thing if financial literacy was taught in school. Apart from maths and economics, which both do not touch on day-to-day finances, running a household and living within your means, there is nothing really to help young people out when they move into the real world.
It’s young people who often get into trouble with money, because they don’t have any financial education. You will pick up how your parents did things, but because people don’t really talk about money, you will more than likely figure out yourself what works – if you’re lucky!
When I think back to my economics classes at high school, the kind of information we learnt was so far removed from my own wallet which is where your own experience with money begins. It has to start from how you earn, spend, save and invest money and then can move on to how economies function and all those kinds of things.
These days the feeling I get from not buying something is the same kind of feeling I used to get from shopping (but even better, because it lasts). I feel really happy when I go for a walk around a shopping area or into the city and come back without having bought anything, not even a coffee. I've had a lovely walk and enjoyed a spot of window shopping. And if I'm lucky, a chic sighting to inspire me.
I also love going to buy something if I actually need it, and only buying that one thing. I don’t feel deprived at all but feel content that I am living in a light way. It’s just as much about the clutter as it is about spending the money. In fact I’d say it’s more about the clutter.
The more I give away, the better I feel, and the less likely I am to want to buy new things. It’s a wonderful feeling and I know as we pay more of our mortgage off, the more secure we are financially too. Just the thought of having a free-hold home one day makes me feel very happy and content.
I am interested to know, what were the main influences that shaped your money views? How have those views changed over the years? And are you a high-maintenance or a low-maintenance person? Because even though I am a low-maintenance person, there is no right answer. If you have the income and investments and love being a high-maintenance person, go for it!
That’s what it comes down to, what is right for you. Some say ‘there is no cap on what you can earn’ (which is true), so think big, dream big, spend big. For me personally, I like to live in my own relaxed and simple way, which is a little bit smaller than that. I talk more about living a small life here, too.