[ 4 min read ]
When you’re struggling to keep your side hustle, or when you have passion which earns you nothing or just a little and quitting it is not an option (if it’s really your passion, or as long as it’s really your passion you won’t quit) and, at the same time, you’re not a born moneymaker — born shrewd entrepreneur who will always figure out a way to make at least decent money relatively easily (or maybe you don’t think you can become that way, or you don’t want to become that way — which can happen, it can be you), then the thing which you might want to try (and which will definitely help you in your struggle) is figuring out how to live with less.
Few of us actually analize thoroughly their situation prior to being forced to give up certain things (because they can no longer afford them). Usually they would keep the lifestyle they had before (do nothing about it). At best they would rather start selling some of their personal belongings in order to be able to stay in that comfort zone. Normally they wouldn’t even do that — they would sit, use up their financial resources, and wait until, miraculously, their situation gets back to “normal”. At worst they would try to get some loan in order to be able to stay in that comfort zone as long as possible.
Of course, meanwhile their resources would shrink day after day and soon they would have to give up their lifestyle. But a scenario when you’re forced to give up things means you’re already in trouble and it’s probably getting worse fast. Bank or somebody else is at your door — things can get nasty.
If, on the other hand, you ponder your existence (your lifestyle) frequently, think about all the things you buy and why you buy them, then you can decide what you will be willing to give up for the liberty to earn less. Sure, it might seem weird, because it goes against the common practice (most people want to earn more, not less), but weird doesn’t mean worse. I see it as a very smart move.
People usually don’t think about it that way, but elimination (giving up certain things) is the other side of earning a living. One side is earning enough to cover your current expenses, and then doing more paid work or improving your skills / expertise in order to be able to charge more — in order to cover the increased expenses, and then doing it again (doing even more paid work or again improving your skills / expertise in order to be able to charge more — in order to cover the expenses which never cease to increase). And I’m not talking about inflation — I’m talking about ever increasing needs which are not indispensable.
The other side of earning a living is elimination (giving up certain things) and cost reductions. Why is it the other side of earning a living? Because by doing it you reduce the overall cost of living, which means you don’t have to do what the majority does, i.e. chase money all the time to pay for your ever increasing needs, most of which are not indispensable.
If suddenly you don’t need those $500 (or $300 or $150) per month which you used to need (you thought it was necessary, so it was), then that’s the amount you can subtract from your earnings (monthly budget) and nothing bad happens.
The elimination and reduction of certain recurring costs allows you to earn less (and consequently spend less time on activities which are necessary to earn money right here right now, and have more time for your side hustle or passion), and still be able to satisfy all your basic needs and truly important needs which aren’t basic (and the basic and truly important needs of people who legitimately rely on you for money). And I bet everyone can find costs which can be eliminated or reduced (even if he or she thinks it can’t be done).
If only one person (you) acts this way it can already be significant. Which means that not everybody needs to sacrifice because you want to do your thing. Or not everybody needs to sacrifice equally (others can sacrifice less) — that’s probably a better way to put it. However, when you have a larger family and you’re the only person who gives a shit about the elimination and reduction of certain recurring costs, then it will not do the trick — that’s when their help is indispensable.
How does one figure out how to live with less?
Do you really need this thing or that thing? Do you need all this stuff? Do you need precisely these things? What if you could replace them with cheaper ones which oftentimes are really good too? What if you could negotiate (or renegotiate)? What if you could ask for discounts each time you buy something (anything)? What if you could wait and buy something much cheaper later? What if you could buy a larger pack or larger quantity cheaper (something you will use anyway)? What if you could buy something (the same thing) elsewhere way cheaper? What if you could buy used items instead of new ones? What if you could reduce the quantities of water, electricity and other things you use on a daily basis in your household (how)? What if you can have something for free (and it takes a little extra effort — usually not much)? What if you changed your daily habits — maybe you could save a lot of money that way (for example taking a bike or walking instead of paying for bus rides, or taking a brief cold shower instead of a long warm one, or eating less)?