My "Year of Less": What I Learned from Living on My Savings
On my monthly trip to the library to find a new non-fiction book to get absorbed in, I came across a book titled The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. When I read the back copy, I learned it was about Cait’s recorded experiment to live on half her income and only spend money on consumables, such as gas and groceries. Reading the back cover caused me to reflect on my own “year of less”. So, I checked it out and started reading.
My “year of less” was less experiment more necessity compared to Cait’s, but we both came to the same conclusion. Living on less makes you appreciate what you have more and realize how little you truly need.
Simultaneously, I’ve been doing some spring cleaning and cleaning out my closet. Over the last couple of years, I’ve made big progress getting rid of stuff I’ve been holding onto. I had a moment of regret last year when I realized I just gave half my clothes away and wouldn’t be able to go shopping for a long time.
During my “year of less”, when I lived on my savings and only purchases consumables like Cait, here’s what I learned:
The Less I Spent, the Easier it Got.
Seriously, I hated the thought of not being able to spend money on whatever I wanted. However, I found it’s just like getting in shape or making any change. It’s really difficult at first but you power through it, you get stronger, and eventually, it gets easier because it becomes a way of life.
Spending Less Helped Me Enjoy the Ordinary.
I lived for going on walks outside, and cooking and eating meals, spending time with friends, and enjoying a cup of coffee. Ordinary life became beautiful and I fully appreciated it. I never loved grocery shopping more!
I Need Very Little.
Remember when I said I regret giving away half my clothes knowing I wouldn’t be able to shop anytime soon? Yeah, well for the last year I lived in athletic attire and no make-up. It was glorious.
I realized I only wore a small percentage of what I owned. So, now I’m getting rid of even more stuff and vowing I will use up what I have before I buy new. Even though my “year of less” is over, I’m only buying what I really need. I no longer want to waste money on a bunch of stuff I’ll never use or will get rid of in a year.
Now it’s Your Turn!
Try Your Own Experiment- Only purchase consumables for a month; things like gas, groceries, and basic necessities. Journal your feelings and findings. Record how much money you saved and put it towards one of your goals for savings or paying off debt.
Take Inventory- Get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year. Take a before and after shot. Do they look drastically different or not?