Minimalism is about living with only what you need in life and that includes money.
No matter how much you simplify your life, there’s no real way to escape spending money, and because of that, earning an income is a necessity. How much you need to earn though, is up to you.
In 2012, we made the decision to become a one-income household. It wasn’t an easy choice but it was necessary for our health and wellbeing. Angie was miserable in her job. Every day she would get on a bus to commute an hour each way to watch over drunken gamblers in a casino for 10 hours. Every day she would come home angry and in terrible pain from being on her feet all day. Every night she tossed and turned, preoccupied with working the next day, and never really getting a good night’s rest.
Angie’s misery is one that’s shared by too many Americans. Every year the Harris Poll conducts The Stress in America™ survey on behalf of the American Psychological Association (APA). Their most recent survey shows that:
- 80% of Americans are stressed out by at least one thing about their jobs
- 12% have called in sick because of job stress
- 25% have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress and 14% have felt like striking a coworker in the past year, but didn’t
- 19% have quit a because of job stress
- 62% routinely find that they end the day with work-related neck, back, or eye pain
- 34% reported difficulty in sleeping because they were too stressed-out
We contemplated quitting for a more than a year before Angie left her job. Like everyone else, we had bills that needed to be paid. When the casino denied Angie’s vacation – the day before we were supposed to leave – and after having had the request in for 2 months, we reached our last straw. Long story short – we went anyway.
All of the things that we were afraid of – going broke, never being able to have any fun, being stuck where we were – never came true. We adjusted. We moved to Florida for a cheaper cost of living. We paid off bills. And soon we began to thrive.
Now we look at money in a completely different way. We have to pay for housing, food, clothing, and healthcare. We choose to pay for car expenses (like gas and oil), travel, entertainment, our cell phones, and the Sunday newspaper. Every dollar that goes out costs us something in return – our time – so more often than not, we approach purchases with one question in mind now. How long will I have to work to pay for this?