Monday, June 01, 2009

Enjoying More with Less

Here's an interesting side effect of being self-employed and making about 1/4 the amount of money I was making at my previous corporate job. I find I'm enjoying things a lot more.

Sure, I can't afford to go out to eat every day like I used to, or buy just about any gizmo that piques my interest. But having less money, I find I'm actually much more content. I appreciate what I can afford much more. In the past, if something broke, I wouldn't think twice about buying a replacement - and this time getting something even better than what I had before. Now, if something breaks, I take the time to try to repair it. And it's a very satisfying feeling when I've successfully repaired something, knowing I'll get some more life out of the product... and I saved some money.

If only I could have appreciated the frugal lifestyle while still making a nice salary. I could have saved a whole lot of money. But, as my mom once said to me in my younger days- money burns a hole in my pocket. If I have the spare cash, I tend to spend it. I don't go into debt - I always pay my credit card balance in full each month - but other than maxing out my 401K contributions each year at my old job, I didn't do much in regards to savings.

I guess this is just another reason why I'm very happy with my decision to quit my job and try the self-employment route. Who would have thunk it? Less money is a perk! I suppose it does make sense. Since I have less money, everything I do have is now more valuable to me. I don't take things for granted because I can't easily replace what I now own.

One of my favorite Buddhist sayings has always been, "True happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have". (No, really, it wasn't that pop singer who made up the phrase...) I always knew the statement was true, but just had a hard time living it. Now it's much easier for me to enjoy more with less.