In today’s age it seems that there is a long list of items that you “need” in order to keep up with the current trends. In fact, many people feel like they need optional accessories like an iPad or smart phone in order to be popular or even efficient at work. Not having constant access to the internet may cause you a delay in opening the latest email.
Truth be told, consumerism runs rampant in the United States. People both buy and cling to material objects because of the sentimental value that they hold. I personally know this all too well. I strive to live as simply as possible, but I am a sucker for books. In fact, I even work at a library. I absolutely love reading books and especially owning books. I have limited myself from buying unnecessary books, but when I can find books for free I can’t resist but to take them home to add to my bookshelf, even when there is a slim chance that I will ever open it again. In some respects it is an addiction.
It is this sort of consumerism or attachment to stuff that not only can create
unhealthy living environments, but also places a financial strain on families. In order to resist this, I want to illustrate how owning less can save you money.
When Less is More
- Smaller Home: Simply put, having fewer items will allow to
live in a smaller home and to live comfortably. A good friend of mine just recently purchased a three bedroom house for his family of three. He just recently told me that they were already outgrowing the house. I couldn’t bring myself to bring up that my wife and I happily live in a small one bedroom apartment less than a third of the size of their house.
- Cheaper Travel: Have you ever traveled with someone who had to
bring EVERYTHING? I know I have. It is not only more expensive, but can be quite the hassle to get around as you try to lug around those extra suitcases. Everyone knows that airlines now charge you for each bag that you check, but it can also cost you more when you have to upgrade the rental car to fit all of your suitcases or even tip the bellhop more money for managing your extra luggage.
- Car: Having fewer items can allow you to get by with a
smaller, more efficient car. It will not only save you money on gas, but also costs thousands less for the smaller model. The price difference between a car and an SUV is even more drastic.
- Moving Costs/Storage: Having less stuff can also mean an easy
way to save on moving costs and storage fees. I know several people that hold on to so many things that they are forced to rent a monthly storage unit because they don’t have the storage space at their house. While it is not on the same level as the ‘Hoarder’ TV Shows, it is still quite absurd to have this much stuff.
- Mindset/Lifestyle: Last, but not least, I find that having
fewer items helps reinforce the mentality that you don’t need the latest items or the entire collection of X. It keeps you from unnecessary spending and allows you to direct your money towards more meaningful goals.
I believe that understanding the many ways that having less can save you money is only the beginning for making a change for the better. If you feel tied down to the many possessions that go unused or are unnecessary, you might want to make a change. I know that I am going to start weeding out the books that I don’t use. Do you have something you have been meaning to get rid of?
What are other ways that less is more? Have you experienced the benefit of living with less?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.