[COLUMN] Money and the simple life

There are no shortcuts in arriving at a decision to live a simple life. Sometimes, one has to go through a personal hell experiencing an inner fatigue and helplessness over the never-ending chase for the almighty dollar and quality of life in order to come to a conclusion that there has to be a better way than what is commonly believed.

Money is a major consideration in deciding to simplify one’s life. Let’s face it. Our attitude and relationship towards money have a lot to do with it. If you are always strapped for money because you are too deeply buried in debt,  then money has you in a stranglehold. You have to work longer, harder hours in order to pay off the debt.

Think of it this way. If you buy a new car which you have to pay on installment for the next five years, you have just signed yourself on to work for the next five years to pay it off. If you love your work and can see yourself doing it for the same company for the next five years, then driving a new car and being able to pay for it are bonuses of the work that you love to do.

But if you hate your job,“… aye there’s the rub…,” as Shakespeare would say. Overwhelming financial problems will prevent you from living simply. Many who have taken the simple life path will tell you that being relatively debt-free can be very liberating. It will allow you to breathe freely and lead you to appreciate everything  with a twinkle in your eyes, about life under these big blue skies.

Saved money can give you options to take an extended leave, extended sabbaticals, switch gears to study for a change in career or simply to do the things you have always wanted to do but could not because you have been slaving your life away over things you have bought stashed in the garage, in the closet or in the basement unopened or things you have been maintaining to impress others with how successful you are to create an image.

To be able to save money, you will have to live below your means and pare down to the barest minimum your expenses to cover the basic necessities. Your treacherous, fat ego—the one that keeps wanting to impress others with bogus symbols of power and success—must  be cut down to size. If you have neither the motivation nor the discipline to do this, it won’t happen.

Ergo, put that big, fat ego on a diet, pronto.

If you begin to understand your attitude about money and how you can make it work for you instead of you spending your life away chasing it and living paycheck to paycheck, then you are on the right track.

When it finally hits you that money can either free you or make a slave out of you depending on how you view it and how you use it, you can then begin to exercise the control you never knew you had over it. The reward is tremendous. You begin to experience a rare sense of freedom that only a simple life gives.

Charles Dickens who would probably make a good accountant as well, stated it plainly.

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result HAPPINESS.

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result MISERY.

Paraphrasing Dickens, Don’t spend more than what you make.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Nota Bene: Monette Adeva Maglaya writes for Asian Journal Publications, Inc. Her opinions are her own. To send comments, e-mail monette.maglaya@asianjournalinc.com.

 

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