Basic Cents, Features

The Minimalist

By Samuel Rosenberg


WE can all simplify our lives a little, both mentally and financially. If you have not seen the recent video of a young woman who decided to challenge herself to live on just two dollars a day for food, for a two-week period, now is the time to go and search online for it. It has rapidly gone viral in the US and around the world.

Fortunately, yet perhaps surprisingly for some, she has succeeded in living normally and did not lose 10 pounds in weight during that time. This makes you wonder how you can simplify your own life and achieve the right balance between what you need and what you want.

We are all taught to understand that more is better, even as we take the first steps in life. We are bombarded by advertisements on television, radio, the Internet, newspapers and magazines, gigantic billboards. They are all trying to sell us something and most of it is that more is better.

Because of this philosophy, individuals work long and hard hours so they can spend an endless number of dollars purchasing the fastest car, the biggest home, keeping up with the trendiest of fashions, the most expensive toys and most importantly, purchasing the coolest gadgets that are out of date before you have taken them out of the box.

We can all live with less, but do we want to? We are not forced to consider spending just two dollars a day, but on the other hand there is no need to buy a skinny latte from your favourite coffee shop mid-morning, a take-out meal for lunch and a pizza for dinner, every day.

Those who have simplified their lives often speak about the calmness in their lives because they are no longer chasing the biggest and the best of everything. Of course, most do not wish to go back and live the lives of our great-grandparents 100 years ago, but there are many ways we can get off the treadmill, which is running too fast for our mind and our wallet.

Too many of today’s society have become hoarders, where we keep clothes, furniture and equipment that we are never going to use again. A small garage sale can easily remove unnecessary goods from your house and raise a few dollars for your pocket or you could give it all to charity.

Apparently, we wear around 20% of our clothes 8% of the time. That suggests that we all have clothes that no longer fit us and take up space.

Children will always try to talk you into more and bigger toys, but they do not learn life lessons by being given everything they ask for. The result is that many lose the gift to be creative, helpful and most importantly, sharing. Children with fewer toys can be just as happy and most quickly forget unused purchases.

There are many ways in which you can minimalise your life and lifestyle. By reducing the number of cooking utensils and kitchen gadgets, as well as all of the extras on your countertops, in drawers and storage boxes, you can make your life easier to manage. Essentially, by only purchasing items that you actually need, rather than want, you will increase your savings balance and probably add years to your life because you will live a calmer existence.
Samuel Rosenberg is the founder and CEO of Axcel Finance Ltd., the leading regional microfinance institution. Share your thoughts and email your questions to [email protected]

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