Simple Living Doesn’t Mean Sacrificed Quality of Life

By Tom Mox

The ‘simple living’ movement is red hot.  Google ‘tiny homes’ and the popularity of the results is one small piece of the puzzle.  People are downsizing their lifestyles sometimes out of necessity but increasingly by choice.

There are environmentally-conscious individuals who desire reducing their footprint and there are economically-conscious folks who want more financial liberty. There are also families with one professional parent who doesn’t make income.  No matter what the reason, simple living concepts are booming.

Some may think this lifestyle is devoid of conveniences or luxury, thus resulting in a lower quality of life.  But that all depends on how one defines ‘quality of life’: Is it your collection of things or is it how you spend your limited energy in this life?

Your time and energy is what you own, not things.  If you spend 40 miserable hours per week in an attempt to acquire things, then maybe you’re doing life wrong. Is a big mortgage, car payment, or even student loans worth the sacrifice of your time? Securing food, shelter, and clothing does not need to be a miserable experience.

This positive energy manifesting in the desire to live simply has led to a surge in creativity for DIY tips and techniques for just about everything, but especially where food, shelter and clothing is concerned. The basics of life.

That’s all well and good, you say, but what about my bills?

Ah, yes, there real world concerns. I suppose the underlying goal of all people who choose to simplify their lives is to be less dependent on the machinethe predatory corporate machine and its puppet government.

Everyone knows that to be self-sufficient it’s best to avoid debt, but it’s still smart to maintain a good credit rating should you need to purse financing or personal loans. Get Approved is one company that can help you get loan approval. Even some employers are looking into credit history of applicants. Walking away from old debt should be a last resort to achieve self-reliance.

Instead, the focus should be put on adjusting how you consume. You may realize that it’s not quite the sacrifice you thought it was going to be to thoroughly plan shopping trips, for instance. You don’t give up any ‘quality’ to spend some time planning meals, cutting coupons, studying weekly specials, growing a garden, or avoiding convenience stops, but you do save a lot of money. Would you rather spend time doing this or working a job you hate?

We all need shelter, but there are many ways of accessing shelter — giant 30-year mortgages being the most popular — but which way is best?  In some ways renting comes with more rules and less freedom (no dogs allowed), but in other ways renting is very liberating since your shelter is not an anchor that traps you like a big home you’re invested in.

What about clothing?  Does anyone still care if people don’t wear hip clothing?  Seriously, who would want to hang out with critics that care about such nonsense?  It’s understandable the need to keep up impressions by wearing a costume to work, but all designer clothing is just a costume that comes with a manufactured meaning.  It seems stupid and generally a waste of energy to strive for non-functional clothing.

Simplifying your life is a process that shouldn’t feel like a huge sacrifice. Take baby steps. Once it does affect your quality of life, slow down and re-evaluate what is important to your comfort.

Image credit: Pieter Kuiper Wikimedia Commons

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