Living With Less.

Something I have learned in the week and a half of being unemployed is how to live with less.

I have never been materialistic. I don't own a lot of 'stuff.' I'm not into electronics. I don't drive a fancy car or wear designer clothing. The main thing I splurge on are cosmetics (hey, we all have our vices). I would sooner spend my money on my family than on myself. I live more for the experience than for possessions.

This has been something that has been growing inside of me with age. I slowly started letting go of materialistic things. I've gotten rid of so much clothing, so many tokens of memories, photos of people I am no longer friends with, just anything that no longer serves a purpose in my life. Let me tell you it feels great! And whenever I need a little more inspiration on becoming more of a minimalist, I look to Lindsay at Happy Herbivore and her Minimalist Monday posts. They have really been a huge help, especially since my finances are currently in disarray.

So what does this have to do with being unemployed?

When I was working and had a steady income I didn't think as much about my spending habits. Mind you I am not in any way in massive debt and often pay my bills way ahead of time (I am really incredible when it comes to money management). But I would food shop frequently rather than finding a way to use what I have first. I wouldn't think twice about stopping at Wawa for a cup of coffee or how much gas I am using to get around (although I was trying to work on this in an effort to be more environmentally aware). If I was shopping for something in particular and happened to see something else I fancied I would give more consideration to buying it because it's ok to "treat" yourself.

Now I am forced to be more aware of where my money is going since I don't have any coming in.  Stop at Starbucks for a latte? No - make coffee at home. Out for shoes to wear for an interview and see a dress that is cute? I ask myself "do you need it?" and the answer is always a big fat NO. I spend on what I need out of necessity only. And with that I wait until I am just about out of something completely before it gets replenished. I plan my daily outings in a way that will use the least amount of gas. I spend more time outside with myself, talking with my family, reading books, connecting with friends, and bettering myself. Not only are all of those things great for the soul but they are free!!

I may not have a job right now but my life has never felt richer.

That is what living with less is all about. I'm not worried about having the latest gadget or wearing expensive clothes or having my hair done. In the grand scheme of life none of those things truly matter. Connecting, living, being... those actions matter. I have my struggles. Not every day would be deemed a good day. But I embrace the bad with the good. I embrace feelings and experiences. Because that's what life is about.

Life isn't about things you can hold in your hand but about what you hold in your heart.

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