Is It Downsizing Time?






Divestment of Money-Sinks:

How much money can you come up with if you just tweak your spending habits? ...I bet a whole lot. 

The more awake and aware you are about your spending habits, the easier it is to reduce expenses. 

And the more you're able to think of it as a game to reduce expenses, the less painful it will be! The "pain" also diminishes as you begin to feel the effect in your life of choosing greater security and flexibility over free-wheeling consumerism.

(Have you already looked at the page of Personal budgeting tips? If not, it might be a good idea to peruse this now.)

I'm not wishing to set myself up as the voice of your conscience. But perhaps you'd love to save more money and aren't really sure how to go about it; so...

Let’s experiment. What in this list of common ongoing expenditures are you including in your budgeting – and which of them are really necessities?:

  • Your particular rent/mortgage choice
  • Taxes/insurance and other costs associated with where you choose to live
  • Utilities as you choose to use them
  • Telecommunications choices:  internet/DSL, satellite/cable TV, landline phone, cellular phone service
  • Home equipment/upgrades:  computers/peripherals/software, TV/video, stereo/radio/CD/DVD, kitchen appliances
  • Garage/shop/studio:  many/expensive tools, payment for and upkeep of the space
  • Vehicles:  multiple cars/trucks, RVs, boats, trailers, 4-wheelers/snowmobiles, planes? (and registration, insurance, storage, and upkeep for them all); new car turnover
  • Costs of commuting to work?
  • Home services:  landscaping, groundskeeping, cleaning, decorating, house sitting, home protection services, dry cleaning
  • Personal expenditures:  haircuts/dying/perming, makeup, manicures/tanning/hair removal/etc., massage, tobacco, new clothes/shoes/jewelry, monetary donations, expensive gifts, frequent shopping trips (to distant stores?), health insurance premiums, savings, investments, payment options
  • Food/drink:  dining out/fast food, daily imbibing of lattes/sodas/alcohol, bar drinks, fine wines/liquors, expensive foodstuffs/treats, nutritional supplements
  • Animal-related:  grooming, raising / showing (resource-heavy) animals
  • Recreational/athletic:  magazine/online subscriptions, music/films/books/tapes, camping/sports equipment, seminars, club memberships, personal trainers, costly vacations/timeshares, gambling/lottery tickets, season tickets
  • And monthly storage bills for all the excess stuff you no longer see, use, or even recall!

(…And many people who don’t consider themselves rich [or happy?] count all of these expenses as "everyday needs" – !)

Ask yourself:  Are those normal expenses?

When you add all those regular payments up, that’s a huge chunk of change! (I think back to my student days as a point of reference – or, leaner still, to how little I needed for great enjoyment while traveling light… Wow; there’s a lesson in needs.) 

Can we prove, with totally rational argument, that more is better for us? (For some things, definitely we can; for others, not.) If not, it may be instructive to envision how we might retrace our steps, as it were, to unburden ourselves – and free ourselves to recreate a lifestyle that may better suit us.

Janet Luhrs, of, said this in her 2/2009 newsletter:  "The vast majority of spending is emotional, such as the 'I deserve it' rationale. This is the very reason why people wind up on the treadmill of work and spend, never getting out of the hole. ... If you think you deserve something, how about this?:  You also deserve to be financially independent - and that won't happen if you don't curb your emotional spending." That puts spending into a more accurate perspective in our lives - and underlines the critical realization you'll need to make if you're going to save:  You are in control of how much you want to move in the direction of independence.

We are going to have some expenses. Of course there are indeed basic needs in the list above. For instance, if you’re an artist, studio space may be extremely important. Or if your hobby is woodworking, you’ll truly need the space and the tools to carry it out. You may need a cell phone and/or superfast internet service for your job, or to support your pursuit of information for a book or a business. And I am not trying to make you feel guilty for being a modern consumer. (Besides, if you didn't ever treat yourself, you'd be apt to get fed up and spend like a binge eater on a starvation diet.)

But if you’re interested in downsizing, you might well be interested in changing more than the size of your dwelling place… And if other expenses are in the way of your ability to focus on and fulfill your true needs (or even figure out what they are), a closer look at this list and its ramifications might help.

Possibly just reading through that list has jolted you enough that you can see how to take it from here on your own steam. If a little more depth would help you to clarify what some of your options are, click on the links in the list repeated below. They "enliven" the list with annotations from the standpoint of the person who’s looking to recoup some of that financial outflow.

(And then a final suggestion:  Get into the habit of playing "Remember When?"... you did it yourself or did without.) 

Good luck with your efforts! I bet you'll be pleased with, if not amazed at, the money you can save when you put your mind to sorting out your priorities. (Perhaps you'd like to take a look at the page Seeing your true needs for more ideas on where this might lead.) It might even be a fun adventure into a new (or old?) way of life. 










Living Rich by Spending Smart: How to Get More of What You Really Want - by Greg Karp




























Living Rich by Spending Smart: How to Get More of What You Really Want - by Greg Karp




BACK TO:  Ways to save
BACK TO:  "Downsize" in the home you've got


Gordon Pioneering - Copyright 2007 & onward