Reducing expenses to only essentials (food, energy needs, toiletries) creates more life for me. I exchange my time – the way in which I measure my life – for money through wage employment. Between the actual time I work at my wage job, my commute, the time I spend before and after work preparing for work (i.e rising before work to shower, doing laundry, preparing my lunch) as well as the time I spend talking about work with my spouse and others, I spend about 40% of my life working in a seven-day week. If I include the time I spend thinking about my job – thinking my employer gets for free – that percentage rises to at least 60%.
Reducing expenses means what???
In exchange for this life energy, I get and have gotten money. Until last year, I expended little energy reducing my expenses. I suffered from the I-am-so-special syndrome – I needed the things I needed because I needed them. I also suffered by basic American confusion over wants versus needs. Basically, I did not reduce my expenses because I suffered from major lifestyle creep. With each raise, I spent more. Then I went into debt and complained that I had no money.
In a very real sense, buying stuff shortens your life. (And btw that means a charitible donation is literally giving part of your life to another, taxes are the government redistributing life, national debt shortens the life of people of the future, etc, etc.)
If I magically received $1,000,000 tomorrow – even $500,000 – I would quit my job. Reducing expenses means the total amount I need to live on remains low. When I say reducing expenses lengthens my life, I mean it. My overall quality of life increases every day I do not have to work. By reducing expenses, I can invest what I save and live off those investments. Who wants to give their life in exchange for food and housing for 40 or 50 or 60 years?
No thank you.