by Leo Babauta
I recently tweeted_the_joys_of_less_vs._more, and someone replied that “less is better” doesn’t apply to having money to pay for bills.
Ah, true. Except that it’s not true: having more money isn’t better. Having less money means you’re forced to make a choice: is it better to have a lot of bills and not make ends meet, or go into debt … or is it better to cut back on bills?
Fewer bills is better, in my experience. It means less stress, less hassle to pay bills, less work required to pay them, more savings, simplicity.
It means having less in your life, but that’s not a bad thing. Less in your life means finding creative ways to be happy.
- Cable TV: cutting this bill means you can read books or go outside or play board games.
- Credit card: Eliminating credit means you only buy things when you absolutely need them and have the money.
- Auto: getting rid of your car means finding alternate transportation — walking and cycling are much healthier, and much cheaper. You also cut out the gas bill, insurance, auto maintenance and repairs, cleaning costs, registration fees, parking fees, toll fees and more.
- Restaurants: eating out less means cooking more, which can mean fresh food cooked simply and healthily.
- Coffee: cutting out on drinking mochas and cappuccinos means drinking water or home-made coffee or tea, which is healthier and cheaper.
- Heating/cooling: you might not be able to kill this bill, but you can cut back by heating or cooling small spaces instead of the whole house, or dressing warmer.
- Power: cut back on electricity use, unplug things when you don’t use them.
- Mortgage: sell the house, rent a smaller place, get rid of most of your possessions so you don’t need so much space. You’ll also cut out homeowners taxes, fees, maintenance costs, and more.
- Phone: cut out the landline or the cell phone. You also might not need a data plan.
- Gym: workout at home or outside for free.
- Magazines/newspapers: info is available online. Read books from the library instead.
- Trips/vacations: have fun near your home.
- Housecleaning/yardwork/landscaping: Do it yourself if you currently pay someone, and get healthier doing it.
- Daycare/private schools: Public schools can be great, homeschooling is free if you can manage it.
- Movies/DVDs: Be selective, and find free forms of entertainment instead.
I could go on, but you get the idea. Cutting back on bills means being creative, but it also means a simpler, healthier life in many cases.