The curiosity of living with less


Before I jump in to this, can I just say, I recognise that I (and very likely you) live a life of privilege. I haven’t spent much time considering this in the past. I’m glad that’s evolving. Forgive me if my experiences comes across as self indulgent, I’m sharing knowing that they are.

In December 2018, when I left my corporate role, I had enough money to last me a little while, without having to “worry”. That being said, as any entrepreneur will likely agree, there’s a certain amount of insecurity that presents itself the day you turn off a rather comfortable, regular income.

Being someone who prides themselves as an optimistic risk taker, I didn’t really anticipate this. I genuinely thought, well I will just divide up the money in the bank by X months and then when we reach Y, if my income hasn’t caught up, I will rethink. I’m earning money from my Network Marketing business, and know that will only grow. So, I thought, there’s honestly no need to go racing ahead to money running low, let’s just enjoy the “following my passion” adventure.

So, it caught me as somewhat of a surprise, when fear kicked in from day one. Literally, the day I woke up sans job, I thought, OMG, what if this doesn’t work, or it takes longer than I expected? How am I going to pay my bills? My mortgage? And the classic, “I’m terrible with money. How am I ever going to survive?”

Rather than thoroughly push down the fear, for once in my life I let the waves roll in (ok crash). I even chose to take a break from drinking booze and void myself of my primary numbing vehicle.  From this place of clarity, I knew things had to change. It was time  to have a long hard look at where my money goes and tighten the reigns. More than that, it was time to change my money story. 

1/ I’m terrible with money. 2/ It doesn’t matter, because I earn a lot of it. 3/ I’m generous, so not completely selfish.

Yes, I feel kind of shameful admitting all this.

Do you know how much money you spend and on what? I had no clue. Outside of that I wasn’t saving any, so that’s a bit of insight. It turns out my daily rituals of 2 x coffee’s, lunch from a fancy cafe and Uber Eats for dinner adds up. Throw in almost every meal out during the weekend and you start to get the picture (or maybe it sounds familiar). Add on a few bottles of wine, at least one boozy night out a week and an F45 membership. Not to mention the reckless abandon when it comes to monthly subscriptions to all manor of services. Plus a tiny bit of travel (ha).

OK, so here’s the good news. Once I made the decision to be honest with myself about my money habits (and story), the next part was easy. Something clicked in my brain and I took to project overhaul finances with a genuine spirit of curiosity.  Like how much less per month can I actually live on? From day one, I reduced my monthly outgoings by $3,000. It sounds like an awful lot, but that was my state of excess. Here’s how I did it:

  • Grocery shopping and cooking for myself (duh)

  • Bye bye cafe breakfasts for one

  • See ya F45 (don’t worry the yoga membership stayed plus I’m running, swimming etc)

  • No alcohol (although I’m having to reign in over doing my Kombucha habit!

  • No wine, no Ubers to and from restaurants, cheaper meals out (see no alcohol)

  • Renegotiated my Foxtel package, my gas supplier, my home insurance

  • I no longer drive through the cross city tunnel, except when I’m running late (a tad too often)

  • Uber Eats is a huge treat, which I’ve indulged in a handful of times in 2019

  • Cheap petrol (E1 preferably - win/win)

  • I got an Opal card

  • When I travel interstate for work, I generally fly Jetstar and catch Public transport

  • I’ve found a great place to park in Mascot that is FREEEEEE and I therefore get to drive to and from the airport in Sydney

  • I buy/DIY all of my cleaning products, toiletries and skin care through doTERRA, which keeps me healthy and is incredibly good value

  • I’m eating a plant based diet

Truth be told, none of this feels particularly hard. In fact, it’s curiously liberating. I’m proud of myself and the changes I’ve made. Plus as I’ve walked through my months of not having to ‘worry’, I’ve learned a tonne. So far, I’ve barely scratched the surface of living with less. Sure some changes feel uncomfortable in concept. But then I have to remind myself, to move back into curiosity. Maybe even the conceptually harder to stomach will turn out ok too?

So here’s what I’ve learned so far. Us ‘privileged’ ones aren’t living more rewarding lives. Sure we might have higher thread count sheets, but better sleep? Nope. The things that bring lasting happiness are rarely elaborate or expensive. 

These days, the kind of privilege I want more of, is helping others. I consider myself incredibly fortunate that  this is central to my blossoming business. It’s also why I’m proud to be working in partnership with a company founded on principles of conscious consumerism and circulating money to those in need. I’ve made a commitment to myself that as my income climbs, I will be more visible in how I scale this personally.

Back to now. Sometimes you don’t get what you asked for, you get something better. I asked the universe to bring me ease, flow and abundance. Of course that’s what I asked for! The Universe said - of course, no problem, it’s coming - while forgetting to mention, in it’s own good time. 

So here I am. Deep in discomfort. Moving forward one day at a time. Remembering to breathe. Sharing the ups and downs along the way. Sometimes exhilarated, others quaking in my boots (well Birkenstocks). And, learning more about myself than I could have imagined.

Here I am. Trusting that everything is happening exactly as it’s meant to. It’s a curious thing.

Foot note:

My new money story is a work in progress:
1/ I will always have more than enough money (or resources) 2/ Money doesn’t buy happiness, so I need to invest myself fully into things that do 3/ I have a responsibility to make sure I’m conscious of how my money is spent and shepherd it with care