Off Grid Living: How To Live Simply Save Money & Be Happy

Money can’t buy happiness they say…But I argue that it’s easier to be happy if you have money. I’ll even go so far as to say, money can buy my family a new house and land, and all the things we need to live a comfortable life, and that would make me very happy to know that my family is provided for.

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So yeah. Money will buy you happiness, or at least the most important things in life that you need to LIVE rather than just subsisting and existing, barely surviving, living paycheck to paycheck, and doing without so your child can have what they need. The fact is the system we live in today is based on money. If you don’t trade your time for money, then you have no money to provide for your family.

So you spend more time trading hours for dollars in the hopes that you can give your family what they need. In the meantime your family relationships are suffering because you’re spending more time working than with your family. The answer seems to be a choice between more money and less expenses. So you cut back. You cancel accounts here and there to save $10 or $20 per month. $30 here, $20 there.

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It all adds up. You let a few bills go longer than you should, and then the money you saved on cutbacks is eaten up in late fees and insufficient funds charges. Never mind the bank’s logic and unethical stealing of your money by charging you money on money you don’t have to begin with when money is taken out of your account that you don’t have all the while knowing you don’t have it. Instead of just declining the charge like a credit card company does when you try to buy something that’s over your limit, banks go ahead and let the charge go through, thereby overdrawing your account, and then when you have LESS THAN ZERO in your account, they take $35. Bam!

Now you have even more bills to contend with. It’s a never ending cycle and a vicious circle if you’re struggling to live paycheck to paycheck. But if you have the money it’s easier. It’s easier to do what you need. It’s easier to pay your bills. It’s easier to make a living. Money buys your time. And the trade off is that you have to continue to make money, spending less time with your family, hopefully at which point you ask yourself. “Why am I doing this?”

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Like a hamster in a wheel. Tied to a job you hate, working 40-60 hours per week. Paying for babysitters and daycare because BOTH you and your partner, wife, husband, have to work full time jobs just to get by. And that’s if you’re lucky enough to even have a job. Some people aren’t so lucky.

People with associates, bachelors, masters, and PHD’s are out of work and or homeless. Applicants who have more than enough experience in a job are told time and time again that they are “overqualified”, yet you don’t care. You just want to work! You need a job. You’ll do anything. You don’t care. You just need to provide for your family.

Knowing this you take whatever job you can get. Usually paying barely above minimum wage, which is not a “livable wage”. Which means you have to trade more of your hours for more dollars to pay bills and late fees, and overdraft charges, and late mortgage payments and more late fees. All eating away at your bottom line.

Your relationship with your family is suffering, money is tight, it causes arguments, and people separate, get divorced, move away, start over. Or they decide to buckle down, work harder, get more hours, and maybe even get a second job just to get by. It’s only temporary they say. Just to get through the storm until “it gets better”. But it doesn’t get better. Bills still come in.

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Cost of living increases, businesses make cutbacks, you’re spending more on gas working two jobs, driving more, picking up the kids from daycare that you wouldn’t have to pay for if you were at home more with them. Daycare which is in many cases more than a full car payment, including insurance. And that’s with ONE child.

If you have two young children that aren’t in school then you are paying twice as much for daycare, and have to trade more hours for the dollars to make up for the daycare cost. Basically trading your time, for dollars so you can spend less time with your kids. It’s insanity. How does it make sense?

Is it what you really have to do? But you can’t think. You don’t have time to think. You have to rush off from work to pick up the kids from daycare, make a mad dash to get to the school before they start calling you telling you you’re late, then somehow all the while you’re thinking, “What’s for dinner?”.

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You pick up the kids, stop in at the grocery store to pick up a few things that cost more than you expected and that are probably easy to cook, but are probably not the healthiest food you can feed your children. You get the kids all crammed back into the car, starting home and realize you’re almost out of gas. You run to the gas station, fill up, which costs you $50 and “more than you should have spent” but you had to or you couldn’t get to work in the morning.

You rush home, bring in the groceries, get the kids started on homework, start dinner, text your wife, hubby, partner asking how long till they’re home, and try to sit down for a moment and realize you didn’t check the mail. You grab the mail, going through it you see bill after bill, electric, water, gas, cable, mortgage, daycare, medical, dental, vision, car payment, insurance, cell phone, bank statements…you drop it all in a pile, separate out the bills you can pay and the bills you have to delay. Check on dinner.

Your partner, wife, hubby gets home, you eat in the living room while watching reruns of some show you haven’t watched in a long time because you’ve been too busy, and you talk about the day. Kids are wound up, you’re winding down, your partner doesn’t want to talk, “Rough day.”

OK. Bath time. Brush your teeth, kids in pajamas, reading time, in bed. You finally jump in the shower. Time for bed. Damn! Didn’t put the trash out.

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As you pass the pile of bills on the table you take a moment to glance at a few of them. $500 here, $1000 there, $200 to insurance, $400 to daycare, $100 to cable. So you grab the calculator and sit down to do some “quick budgeting”, payday is Friday so you pick the bills you can pay.

Your partner comes in and says come to bed, you say “In a few minutes, just doing some quick budgeting.” Which takes another hour because you’re stressed about the bills and meanwhile your kids are asleep, and your partner, wife, hubby is now asleep too. Finally you head off to bed, dreading and knowing you have to get up and do it all over again tomorrow.

As your head hits the pillow at midnight and you’re letting your day float away into the nothingness that is hopefully a restful nights sleep you realize…

“Damn! I forgot to put the trash out!”

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Where does it stop? Does it ever stop? When do you tell yourself, enough is enough?

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If you haven’t figured it out yet putting the trash out is a metaphor for ridding your life of the crap you really don’t need in it any more, or at the very least, simplifying your life. Making it easier on yourself and your family. And creating a better life for those your care for.

Our lifestyles today are unsustainable. It’s counterintuitive to continue to run in circles just to get ahead when in fact we’re running in circles. Fortunately there are ways you can improve your life, and get out of the rat race that is today’s society, while not actually removing yourself from society.

It’s all about your mindset and HOW you think about and look at the world around you.

This article is not about the negative effects of living in a monetary system, but rather it’s about perspective and priorities.

It’s about the path to happiness and the perspective and focus you need to get there.

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It gives you an outside look into your own life. You can probably relate to a lot of the things in the article, maybe you’ve experienced them yourself, or know someone who has. The point being is that you have a choice.

It’s about that choice. You can choose to live they way you’re living now and make that choice every single day you go clock in at a 60 hour a week job, paying for a house you’ll probably never own outright, and not spending valuable time with your family.

Time you will never get back.

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It’s about perspective, and perspective is everything. This article has hopefully been an insight into your own life and lifestyle, and hopefully has given you some positive things to think about. It’s hopefully opened your eyes and given you some enlightenment and insight.

It’s About Living Sustainably

Sustainable living is about doing what makes sense, making the most of our time and resources, and giving back. Living a more peaceful and content life. A life WITH our families, not separate from them. Being happy doesn’t cost money. But having money in a monetary society certainly does help make life a bit easier to achieve that goal.

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So ask yourself. Do you really need a $200k to $300k home in a suburban neighborhood and a nice car, and daycare, and all the stresses that comes with that kind of lifestyle? Or would you rather live simply and as stress free as possible, raise your family, and spend time with them enjoying life and making great memories?

Work From Home

Find a job or go to school to learn a new skill that way you can work from home. Technology today has made it so we don’t have to commute except for the necessities like grocery shopping, supplies for the home, etc. You can work form home doing just about anything. Having a home based business, or a job where you can work from home is great way to save money and spend more time with family.

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Even if you don’t want to start your own business and run it from home, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a telecommuting job that pays well.

Cut Costs by Moving to an Area With a Lower Cost of Living

Take steps to move somewhere else where the cost of living is less. Cutting costs is great if you can afford it.

That sounds counterintuitive but it’s not. An example would be cutting costs by stopping daycare, but you can’t do that because then you have no one to watch your kids while you’re at work. But you being at work costs you time with your kids. So you have to weigh the profit against the cost. How much profit do you make by putting your kids in daycare and having babysitters versus the remainder of money left over from your work after you pay for the daycare. There are costs you can cut if you change your mindset on what you think you need, and what is actually dragging you down.

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Find a job that allows you to work from anywhere. This way you can move anywhere you really want, primarily to somewhere where the cost of living is lower. Working from home affords you the luxury of picking and choosing where you’d like to live, rather than choosing a place that’s close to where you work. That’s just silly nowadays. Unless you’re a mechanic, in construction, or work with your hands, which does make it a bit more difficult. That’s not to say you couldn’t find a job doing that in an area that has a lower cost of living.

Grow Your Own Food Saves You Money

This is one of the best ways to save money and it has the added benefit of making you healthier because you’re not eating chemical laden foods packed with sugar and preservatives. Not only will you save money in the long run, but the health benefits of growing your own food are priceless.

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Work Hard Working for You & Your Family Not The Boss

It’s not going to be easy. You’ll still have to work. But hopefully you’ll be able to make advancements you never thought possible.

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Lower cost of living, smaller house, less commuting, no daycare, less expenses, all mean less time spent away from your family, and more quality time with loved ones making good memories. Money may not be able to buy happiness, but saving money affords you the time to be happy.