How to Enjoy Life With Less Money

Enjoy Life With Less Money

Social media has warped our perspective about reality and “enjoying life.” It seems like it’s damn near impossible to live well with less money.

With the constant pressure to travel, dine at trendy restaurants, drive a fancy car, and have the newest gadgets, it’s easy to feel like we need a lot of money to enjoy life truly.1Source: The Chicago School

Sure, enjoying life does take a bit of money since nothing is for free. And even if you don’t plan to eat out a lot or are not into shopping, you still need to spend a certain amount to be comfortable.

The global inflation rate is on a downtrend, but it’s still higher than 10 years ago.2Source: Statista

Whether we like it or not, everything is more expensive, and keeps getting more expensive.

But all of this doesn’t mean we need A LOT of money. It’s very much possible to enjoy life with less money.

Reality check: Most people can’t afford an expensive lifestyle

The big lie that social media convinces most folks to believe is that people are out there having the time of their lives 24/7.

All the while, you’re stuck doing mundane things. Other folks are experiencing exotic beaches, eating at trendy restaurants, buying a new car or home, etc.

And you’re just here, sitting in front of your smartphone doing your boring job. Maybe you want to go on vacation too, but you know your finances can’t afford it. Or you’re not happy with your job and earnings potential.

But here are the facts:

  • Based on 2023 studies, researchers found that roughly 75 percent of Americans carry some form of debt.3Source: Pew Research And 35 percent of Americans are carrying more debt than they’ve ever managed in their lives.4Source: Northwestern Mutual
  • More than a third of Americans couldn’t afford to cover a $400 emergency.5Source: FederalReserve.Gov
  • More than half of credit card users are “revolvers”: They don’t pay off their full bill every month. Which racks up the interest over time, making the debt much bigger.6Source: ConsumerFinance.Gov

Maybe that family posing in front of their new, beautiful home is actually struggling to pay their inflated mortgage?

Or that person vacationing in different countries paid for the whole trip on a credit card, and they’re struggling to pay car loans? Maybe these people are working a job they hate just so they can maintain their facade?

Social media is a curated reality.

People only want to show their best selves online. So whenever you see someone posing an “enviable” life online, take a short pause and remind yourself: This isn’t the full picture of their financial lives.

And that’s only true for the somewhat honest folks who only leave out the harsh realities of life. What’s worse, social media is full of people who LIE about their entire lifestyle.

Define your happiness

Here’s what my typical day looks like: Write in the morning, exercise midday, work some more, then spend time with loved ones in the evening.

Most of my days are spent in a routine: Writing, working out, spending time with loved ones.

And I’m pleased about it all. I don’t need to go out a lot or go vacationing every time, etc. When I see people posting stuff on social media, I don’t get affected much because I know that I genuinely enjoy what I’m doing every single day. And I believe in my work.

The writing and working out process fulfills me. So I focus my attention and energy more on those.

Sure, I can also enjoy eating out and taking vacations abroad. Recently, my girlfriend and I spent some time in Spain. We drove 5 days, taking our time to enjoy the places we stopped at. But obviously, we don’t do that every time. It took me years of constantly increasing my income before I managed to do all these.

The point is this: Know what you really want to do on a daily basis. Our lives are not defined by big, epic moments. But the things we do every single day.

And on a day-to-day basis, it’s important only to desire a few simple things that give you pleasure. This also aligns with Stoic philosopher Epictetus’ definition of wealth:

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

Having few wants also makes life simple.

Limit your spending. Then focus on earning more

I don’t recommend being overly frugal though. Remember: Money still matters when it comes to enjoying life. So also focus on increasing your earnings.

If your finances are really bad, then temporarily live on a budget. But keep it temporary.

And then focus on increasing your income: Getting a better job, starting a side hustle, etc. It’s about aligning your pursuits with your priorities. Not pinching pennies.

Forget about the social facade. Go experience what you want in life. Just keep your costs down. And increase your income sustainably. That’s how you enjoy life with less money.

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