In short: the less you want, the less money you spend and the less time you need to work.
If you don’t desire a huge house, a nice car, even small things like buying a soap dish or a new welcome mat, you’ll spend less.
When you spend less, you have more money.
When you have more money, you are less reliant on your income.
When you’re less reliant on your income, you need less money coming in.
When you need less money coming in, you can be more deliberate about what type of work you want to do and where you want to work.
You can focus on things you truly enjoy.
It’s very simplified. Obviously there are times you have more needs than you’d like such as getting a loan for a car because you need one to get to work and don’t have the cash. People with kids are going to have a much different experience and someone making $8.50 an hour is going to need to work 40+ hours a week to meet basic needs.
It’s not a solution to everyone’s money problems. But it’s a way to start becoming less dependent on it. I know it’s not easy to just stop wanting things, but if you want to save more that’s something you need to learn to do.
Don’t browse online, don’t walk around stores or the mall without a list, only buy what’s on the list, try to get things used whenever possible, get books from the library. If your friends want to go out, suggest doing something for free or doing a movie at home. If they want to eat, try to eat before and order something small if you feel embarrassed not ordering (I almost never ordered anything when we went out to eat in high school. When we’d go to Panera I would get a bagel for $1).
Most people don’t need much. We all need housing, food, water, clothing, a bed, some kitchen essentials to make a meal, toiletries like a tooth brush, tooth paste, soap. (I’m sure I’m missing some things, but you get the point)
Beyond that, everything is an extra. I don’t need this desk I’m sitting at. I didn’t have a desk for a while and just used the kitchen table or went to the library. Same with my phone, the microwave, the couch, the patio furniture, the 5 sweaters I have, the wall decorations.
I try to be deliberate with what I buy now, making sure it actually serves a purpose and isn’t just a nice-to-have. We could probably use a night stand for my side of the bed. I used a cardboard box for a while, til we recycled it. We don’t have any dressers in the closet and probably won’t ever buy any.
By not spending on many things, I don’t feel the need to get the highest paying job possible. I’m comfortable with the salary I have now and it allows me to more than meet my needs every month. When I tell my mom though, she doesn’t think I’m making enough (Side story: my sister wanted to become a teacher but my mom said a salary of $50k was too low. I had other opinions about that :p )
Because I don’t spend on a lot of things, I have money for stuff I do like. We can travel twice a year and go out to eat every once in a while. But those are about the only things we spend on besides groceries, rent, the pets, health insurance (which I finally decided to get for 2019 & 2020 after spending 2 years without it).
I’m coming off as preachy and I know I’m in a privileged spot to say I don’t need a lot of stuff, but this idea can spread to things beyond money.
If you don’t need to have the approval of your peers, you will probably spend less on clothes that make you stand out. You may decide against purchasing the BMW and get a used Camry.
When I think about the reason I’d want to purchase something like a Jaguar, I know that wanting people to see me driving in it and knowing people will be impressed is part of the appeal in having it.
But to me, I don’t really care about impressing anyone or needing strangers to come up to me and say they like my car. So I’m totally fine driving anything.
I used to love shopping at H&M and Uniqlo in New York City. We didn’t have one in Florida. I spent summers in New Jersey working and I’d take the bus up to NYC just to shop. I would buy tons of clothes that I didn’t need! I used to love shopping on Threadless to get cool shirts to show off. Who knows how much I spent and I can barely remember anyone even noticing the shirts.
I think this is why it’s hard for me to come up with business ideas. I can think of some problems people have that aren’t being solved, but are they really that big of a deal? Since I don’t want a lot of things, I don’t want to start a business selling something I wouldn’t even want myself.
I don’t want to contribute to endless consumerism just to make some money. I want to sell a product or service that’s solving a real issue. A lot of products are not really doing that, but they sell really well!
Anyway, I am getting a bit all over the place so I’ll leave this thread for another post.