On Living Simply

(This is going to be another one of my longer posts...)
On Living Simply.  My opinion has always been that to live simply means not trading in my years-old smartphone for the latest model. Or basically not chasing any of the latest trends.  That's true, but apparently that's not the entirety of it.

My opinion has always been that to live simply means not trading in my years-old smartphone for the latest model. Or basically not chasing any of the latest trends.

That's true, but apparently that's not the entirety of it.

I was browsing through youtube when I came across Mark Boyle a.k.a. the moneyless man.



And apparently he's not the only one. Before him there was Daniel Sueolo. And before Suelo, there was Heidemarie Schwermer.

Now, I'm not that extreme. I only bring them up because learning all these made me realize "living simply" is a bit more complicated than I thought.

Sure, the biggest step is to be frugal. That starts a "virtuous cycle" - you're not pressured to make even more money. Which can allow you more time to spend on your passions, hobbies, or just have more quality time with your family. In a manner of speaking, you downshift.

The usual ways of being frugal (but not cheap!) are:
  • avoiding expensive habits
  • practicing self-control to avoid instant-gratification
  • being efficient and avoiding waste
  • avoiding expensive social norms
  • be open to trying cheaper options or even free options

Those are the usual things we already hear about. But apparently it doesn't end there. Another step is to increase our self-sufficiency. It's going to be hard to reduce your expenses if you need to pay for everything right?

Some of the usual ways of being self-sufficient are:
  • doing things for yourself (especially for simple maintenance/fixes for your house, car, or other stuff)
  • growing your own food

That's definitely a bit tougher to do. For example, in the case of growing our own food, it's not like we all live on a farm right? But even those living in condos can at least grow some herbs in pots. Not as effective, but we have to play the hand we're dealt with and make the best of it...

Which brings us to the third step: re-think our view of technology.



Here, we use smartphones for selfies, facebook, games and... well, most things fun and online. In Africa, they use "dumb" mobile phones to pay for bills, groceries, and school fees. It can even check authenticity of medicines and teach them how to take care of their cows (which is apparently a big industry there).

And historically, if you think about it, technology was usually for solving problems. But currently we tend to view it from a marketing standpoint - newer, faster, bigger, lighter/thinner. Essentially it went from problem-solving to entertainment.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, though it helps from time to time to re-consider our views. Even in our day-to-day lives, technology can be helpful and not just a luxury:
  • Your smartphone can enable you to get discounts and promos (QR codes) or at least alert you of promos/sales (thru social media). And you typically don't need the newest model for that.
  • If your work allows you to work from home, then your internet connection is actually allowing you to save money (fares) and time (traffic!). It allows you to be more productive, without adding stress.
  • Even without that, your internet connection has other benefits: some items are cheaper when bought online (even if you have to ship it from overseas), long-distance calls - and pretty much any information you need - are free.
  • And in a time where electricity costs are rising, solar panels for homes are becoming increasingly available (though still a bit costly; so you really have to crunch numbers first). It can allow us to be more self-sufficient.

And overall, that seems to be the key: focusing on solving something, rather than looking for a newer version or getting more of the same.


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photo credit: orangesparrow via photopin cc

2 comments:

  1. I have just recently learned the value of frugality and have been enjoying its benefits. I feel joy every time I buy something of less value without compromising quality and enjoyment. More Filipinos should practice it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. When to say frugal and I deserve this?

    ReplyDelete