I Wanna Need LESS Money, Not More.

money debt word cloud
Read that again: I wanna need LESS money, not MORE.  I don’t know why it sounds like such an epiphany for me right now, but I’m really digging that thought process! :) We’re always talking about wanting more and more, and trying to finagle ways to bring it all home even faster  (*ahem* our side hustle series) but at the end of the day if you can LOSE a butt load of expenses too, it’s just like bringing in that extra income the same way! Only once you’ve cut it all out, you’re no longer TIED to needing it all anymore – it’s genius! Haha…

Of course, I’m still a huge fan of making crap tons of money so I can live the lifestyle I truly want when I’m old and gray and all that, but I think there’s a lot to be said for differentiating these NEEDS vs WANTS like we’re so used to spouting – especially when it comes to our income. YES, I want a lot of money so I can reach my dream of being a millionaire one day, but NO I don’t want to be forced to keep bringing it home every day just so I can survive!

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s good to get out of the INCOME generating mindset every now and then, and focus a little more on the “getting rid of expenses” part too.  Nixing debt still helps you achieve your dream lifestyle at the end, yes?

Now unfortunately you can’t rid yourself of *everything* you’ve got going on due to monthly billings and things with no real stopping points EVER – like cell phone bills, electricity, insurance, etc – BUT, it doesn’t mean we can’t focus on the chunks that we CAN control once and for all! Like mortgages, car loans, credit cards, personal loans, and a bunch of other debts I’m sure weighs on your mind pretty heavily.  It’s like minimalism for your finances! :)  The less money-sucking items you have, the less you *need* to be bringing in over time.  I like that.  And I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir too, haha…

But that’s my little light bulb moment for the day, anyway.  Re-focusing your thought process on the bare minimum needed given your current lifestyle, and seeing if any revelations come to mind as far as the way your financial game plan is set up. Can you imagine your life w/out a car loan or mortgage?  How much LESS money would you need every day to live the same way you’re already accustomed to living?  It may not be the most earth-shattering idea outta me, but I can tell you I’m pretty pumped about it right now :) Especially if I can just figure out a way to make more money so I can get rid of more of my debt! Haha… (did that just negate this entire post?)

(Word cloud by Vectorportal.com)

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  1. SMB September 22, 2011 at 8:36 AM

    I’ve been trying to focus on this as well lately. I don’t have any debt so I’m trying to cut down on recurring or pointless expenses. Netflix is a small one, but it’s definitely on the chopping block. My gym membership is also looking excessive when I have access to a free gym at my apartment.

  2. Romeo September 22, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    Yep, in 2 years I’ll going to hopefully quote Mr. Jones from the movie, “Next Friday” when he says, “Got the only house on the block, paaiiddd fo.” That’ll not only cut out the expense but bring in money once it’s rented out. I’ll have cut expenses and created a passive income generating side-hustle!

    My budget spreadsheet that I stare at every Sunday focuses on cutting and slashing monthly payments. “Netflix? Gone. What, I paying $15 for a DVR box? Gone. How much is my deductible? $500? Hmm. Well. Um. Damn, I guess I’ll keep it…for now.”

    It’s all about CASH FLOW BABY!

  3. LLF September 22, 2011 at 9:03 AM

    I posted about the cost of extra things in life. If we can bring ourselves back to living a little more simply, we’ll save a ton of money. Not that we have to live without these, but maybe prioritize what is important and enjoy those, instead of having to have everything.

    As for me, I am aiming to live the same lifestyle as I am now when I am retired. So if I can live simply now, it’ll be easier later. Plus, I don’t want to put off all my travels until I am old. I will spread them out through out life.

  4. Emily September 22, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    This is something I REALLY need to work on. Partially because my paycheck is so so tiny. (YAY CHURCHWORK!) Also because now I’m paying off a car, which takes out a huge chunk and I need to make sure I’m spending my money in the right places and cutting back on things I really don’t need. But I’ve been working on it.

    For example… my roommate and I found that we hardly EVER watch TV. Like… ever. So we got rid of cable and went down to just the basic channels. Although, that does remind me that I need to call my internet/cable company… cause I feel like we’re still paying too much…

    I’m also working on paying off all of my debt. Credit card and student loans. Let’s get rid of it baby!

  5. Nicole September 22, 2011 at 9:36 AM

    Since getting married 12 days ago, I inherited about $50,000 in debt from my new husband. The thought of it kind of made me sick, but he is also getting a 5-year old step-son who has a penchant for farting and giving wet-willies, so I guess we’re even.
    Anyway, as soon as I came back to work Monday after the wedding, I started on our new combined financial plan. I am happy to say that yesterday our refinance was approved. Our mortgage payment will go up $50 a month, but we are paying off $22,000 of his debt (car loan and student loan), which amount to $1050 in monthly payments. I am so excited to wipe that debt out, and only paying $50 more a month on the mortgage. Plus…the interest will now be deductible as it is part of our mortgage).
    The next step, is using that $1000 a month in savings to plug away at his remaining debt. I told him yesterday that if he is disciplined and does that, he should have everything paid off within 2 years….just as we will need to start paying daycare and/or buying a new car.
    Hopefully, I can whip him into financial shape! I want to be debt free again!

  6. LB September 22, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    Sometimes it is all about living with less expenses and wanting less. I don’t have

  7. LB September 22, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    Damn squirrely phone, guess it’s time to save some money and ditch it! Jk, needs a reboot and I haven’t wanted to for a few days. Sorry about the half postings.

    What I was trying to say is I don’t have cable, netflix, blockbuster or really a whole lot of monthly expenses and it feels great. Although I guess that is probably mostly because I am completely debt free and don’t want a whole lot of expenses right now. I ditched a lot of the extras to become debt free and work for stuff I really want. Like when I took an awesome vacation to celebrate being debt free and starting a new chapter in my life. :)

  8. cashflowmantra September 22, 2011 at 10:00 AM

    I think it is a balancing act between minimizing expenses and increasing income. The net result is what is important. Too many get focused on cutting to the bare bones and don’t end up enjoying life. Others make a lot and spend it as fast as it comes in. Taking time to focus on both means that there will be extra available for investing and growing.

  9. Tea September 22, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    Downsized my life many years ago, and have never regretted it. I took a hard look at every line of my budget and asked if it was contributing significantly to my happiness/peace of mind. If it wasn’t , it went, if it was, I looked to see if there was less expensive alternative that would make me just as happy. (Skiing was replaced with hiking) I Moved to the city and paid cash for the small house I bought. Utility bills went down, gone was the lawn service, I could manage what little lawn I had myself. With a bus stop at the end of the street, I got rid of the car. No more payments, insurance or maintenance. Discovered that university students rode the bus for free, so I enrolled in a class. Discovered that old people like me get tuition waivers, so no cost for keeping my brain sharp and free transportation in one shot. I have friends who live more extravagant lifestyles, I can assure you, they are not happier. More toys, doesn’t equate to greater happiness. But the upside of all this downsizing is I had more disposable income, and could be flexible and spur of the moment in decisions to spend money, as it was not committed elsewhere.

  10. sillylittleTpot September 22, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    I think that’s definitely an amazing way to look at needs vs wants… and that word cloud is BAD A$$!

  11. Michelle September 22, 2011 at 10:11 AM

    I love this post. I want to need less also.

  12. Well Heeled Blog September 22, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    I want to figure out what it is that I really love and want, and then spend less money on the things that are not as important to me. Which sounds easy, but I’ve realized from looking at my past purchases how many times I’ve bought things or experiences that didn’t really add that much value to my life. For example, a $300 dress that I’ve never worn, even once. A fitness membership that cost $50 a month but that I let 6 months go by without ever setting foot in the gym. A $3 shirt that’s uncomfortable and unflattering. All of this money spent would probably be better sitting in my savings account (which is earning 1% right now. Ahem. Not that I’m frustrated. Much.) So going forward, I’m trying to look at my past “buying mistakes” and make sure I learn from them, and learn more about what areas I really enjoy spending my money on.

  13. Edward Antrobus September 22, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    Then there is the question of what do you do with the extra income that you either earn or save?

    When all the bills are paid, you are spending money on the things you want to spend money, and the debts are paid off and all the savings goals are met, what do you do if there is money left over?

    1. JMK January 20, 2013 at 11:50 AM

      We were in the same boat. We were saving 15% because that’s what we always read we were supposed to do. Great. If you want to retire at 65. I don’t know what your current savings goals are, but if you’re doing the standard 15% and have excess left to play with, give serious consideration to whether you early want to work until you’re 65. We don’t, so we use the ~40% of our income that is unallocated to bump up the retirement savings and pay off the mortgage as fast as possible. Net effect, we’ll be retiring a decade earlier than originally planned. There are lots of places to spend the excess (we do an major trip every year, so we aren’t socking away every available extra dollar), but just because you are meeting the savings goal you set doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reassess the goal.

      1. J. Money January 21, 2013 at 4:02 PM

        NICE!! I def. want to retire wayyyy earlier than 65 too – at least *be able* to retire. I’ll still work all the time anyways cuz I’d just get bored, but you know what I’m saying… At that point I’ll be able to work on whatever the heck I want!

  14. Jen September 22, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    I dumped Satellite (Dish) in July and went with streaming Netflix and Hulu. Dropped the $50 monthly down to $15. I find I watch just as much “viewing time” as I did with Dish, but it’s shows I actually want to watch, not just background noise. It’s also on my schedule, which means I can stockpile a bunch of new shows for a few weeks and have a marathon on MY time. Granted, with the DVR I could before, but I like this better :) Plus, limited to no commercials-bonus!

    I bought a new/used car this year, because the old one was about to give up the ghost. Negotiated the price, put down as much as I could and negotiated down to 2.9% financing. Now instead of 17 MPG, I’m getting 28 on average. Filling your tank after 330 miles is AWESOME and a long-time saver in the end.

    I’ve done without “new” for so long that when I came into money at tax-time, I spent it :( BUT, one was a new computer; mine was unupgradeable and almost 7 years old. The other was the new car. Then I bought a wii (new) and Rock Band (used) but I use the excuse that it’s a workout (which drumming is).

    I rarely spoil myself, but when I do, I go big. Not always a good thing, but sometimes I get lucky and hit the deals.

  15. Ashley @ Everything Finance September 22, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    So true! Ben Franklin has a quote that I can’t find right now about how both industry (making money) and frugality together will make a man rich.

    I got the frugality part down, I’m working on the industry part!

  16. slug | sunkcostsareirrelevant.com September 22, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    This is an excellent way to think about your personal finance. I want to need less too. I think I do a good job of this already. Living beneath your means is one thing. Stripping away all the still unnecessary crap is another.

  17. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager September 22, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    Sometimes I feel the same way, I think when I get nice / expensive stuff I seem to worry about it more. I hate that feeling. I always have to remind myself it’s just stuff and I need to thankful for all the good things in my life that isn’t just “stuff”: health, family, friends, experiences, etc.

  18. Jen @ Master the Art of Saving September 22, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    I’ve been dabbling with this a bit lately but I haven’t actually taken action on anything yet. I need to get going though. :-)

  19. Maria Nedeva September 22, 2011 at 4:38 PM

    Hi J$, long time no speak…but I am back in good ol’ England and freezing. I like this post…and I feel pround of you for wiriting it. Yep, I say that the way the welfare state is going I have no other choice but to become very wealthy. But I have been working very hard on ‘mastering my wants’; not simply on wanting less money. In fact (now this is going to sound like shameless self promotion but it is not) my most popular post is an exercise for figuring out what I call ‘protected wants’ – these are the things that if you stop getting you are likely to feel deprived and fall off the wagon. Strangely, after I did it I stopped buying these things either – the fact that I allowed myself to have them broke the cycle of craving.
    Look after self – and I’ll skip the poem. Would have loved to go to the conference but still recoverying from the Atlanta jetlag.

  20. J. Money September 22, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    FYI — No one really brought it up, which kinda surprised me, but I def think it’s still important to HAVE FUN and keep some bills that make you happy (like the cell phones, or tvs or netflix’s, etc). Personally I don’t want to cut out EVERYTHING, but I do think it’s smart to cut out the biggies that you don’t really care for. Like the large debts and bills like mortgages etc. Though if you’re not using any of those “fun bills” or don’t care for them anymore, then by all accounts – kick those suckers to the curb!

    @SMB – Oh wow, well having zero debt is def. a good base! Just be sure not to cut out *everything* you like ;) That wouldn’t be fun. But if you’re not using stuff, then yeah keep cutting away!
    @Romeo – Hah! Damn straight, son – gotta get that cash flow up! (love your name btw. Not sure if it’s real or a nickname, but either way it’s dope)
    @LLF – For sure – I like that mentality a lot of not pushing ALL travel till later in life… who knows how we’ll be health-wise :(
    @Emily – Yes! Knock it all out! Cuz guess what happens after that? You have all that debt money as extra!! Which you can then use towards stuff you really care about – whatever that is :)
    @Nicole – Hahahhahaa…. omg. Best first paragraph EVER. (so much so that I just tweeted it!). But yes, let’s hope it all gets worked out soon :) That’s not too shabby for just 2 years. Congrats on getting married!
    @LB – Yeah debt-freedom!!! Keep workin’ it!
    @cashflowmantra – Agreed. Well said homeboy.
    @Tea – LOVE IT. Perfect example right there. If you ever want to write about your experience, or how it’s affected your life with tips on how the rest of us can do it, by all means email it over: j @ budgets are sexy dot com. Would love to read it :) And then post it up for others to see!
    @sillylittleTpot – Haha, thx. Wish I could say I made it myself ;)
    @Michelle – Then start! We all start somewhere :)
    @Well Heeled Blog – Hi friend!! That’s a great way to start figuring out what really makes you happy and what probably doesn’t. I think I hear another blog post in your future ;)
    @Edward Antrobus – A nice problem to have :) I’d think you’d use it to better other people or in ways that help you expand your horizons (for example – instead of traveling in US only, maybe now you try Europe or Australia even? Or you take classes on stuff that interests you? Or maybe you up your % of donations from 10% to 15%?). There’s always ways to spend or save your money wisely. And if you don’t have a goal right away in your face, you can always hold onto it until you figure out what to do with it :)
    @Jen – HUGE fan of spoiling yourselve every now and then. I think that’s important to keep you sane and on track. No one wants to go hardcore 24/7 and just live a miserable life w/ more pennies in your pocket. So I’m glad you shared that with everyone :)
    @Ashley @ Everything Finance – Nice! That Franklin is a smart man… you see what he said about this blog up there at the top? ;)
    @slug | sunkcostsareirrelevant.com – Yep! You got that right, friend.
    @Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – Oooh you just reminded me of something similar w/ that… whenever I had a much nicer car, or pair of jeans, I was ALWAYS worrying about messing them up! And it took away from all the joy and everything else that came with it. So I def. agree w/ that one – I’d much rather not worry than have something that nice.
    @Jen @ Master the Art of Saving – At least you’re starting to think about it :) Most people never even reach that point, haha…
    @Maria Nedeva – Why hello friend! Yes, long time indeed – pleasure seeing you here again :) Thank you so much for the kind words on this post, I feel kinda proud of myself too! I’m trying to get into the habit of putting things down as soon as I think them (rather than waiting till later to recall everything) and this was a good example for me of doing it the right way. So yay! And we’ll miss you at FINCON :)

  21. Jaime September 23, 2011 at 12:08 AM

    Hey J I honestly think people wouldn’t feel so squeezed if it weren’t for debt and if they had savings. I also notice how I, my friends, my bf, and others around me buy luxuries but then months later we don’t use most of them.

    If we were more conscious about our spending especially our wants/luxuries, then we would actually have more money and be more satisfied. Sure we would have less things but I like to think that we would be happier because those things would be more treasured and used often instead of forgotten.

    I used to sometimes go to garage sales with my parents and there would be tons of stuff being sold. So I think buying too much is a widespread phenomenon at least in the U.S.

  22. J. Money September 23, 2011 at 9:52 AM

    Oh, for sure. We love our stuff here in the U.S.! :) Once we realize we don’t *need* it all, as you mentioned, things get much more smoother for us… well, at least for me!

  23. Eric September 23, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    I have lived by this for a number of years. I can’t cite the quote, but I remember it as follows.

    “There are two ways to make a man wealthy; Increase his income or decrease his wants” – ?

    I try and trim expenses, especially reoccurring ones, whenever possible and looking for value over price. We have no cable TV, are a 1 car household ( paid off ), did not upsize or cash out our mortgage ( will pay it down or off in the next year or two ), went to pre-pay phones ( even the stock AT&T iPhone can go prepay ), 1 TV, try to eat at home, and much more. Yeah, I still have NetFlix which is a monthly expense, but the rest of my equipment for OTA HD and DVR were all one time expenses ( and on sale ). How many people can honestly say that they spend $100, or less, a month on internet, netflix, 1 home phone, 1 basic cell phone, and 1 iPhone. Most people I know spend 3 or 4 times that amount and most of it goes to waste.

    It makes for a very low-stress lifestyle. Goodness knows I have enough stress as it is with two kids. I would like to think we are rubbing off a little on the kids, they value their toys and books a lot higher than some of the other kids their age and in return we tend to buy them higher quality stuff.

  24. Eric September 23, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    Ha… I think I found the original

    “There are two ways of being happy: We must either diminish our wants or augment our means – either may do – the result is the same and it is for each man to decide for himself and to do that which happens to be easier.” -Benjamin Franklin

  25. Edward Antrobus September 23, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    J, I’ve had this conversation with several people, and when this surplus comes in (looking at almost $2000/month when the mortgage and debts get paid off around the end of the decade), a very good chunk of it is getting donated.

    All the other things you mentioned, those are the standard answers. But they aren’t appealing to me. Especially the travel. I don’t like traveling, I only do it to visit family. Spending hours in an airplane or car to go somewhere where I don’t know anyone or a good place to eat, it really boggles me that people find that fun.

  26. J. Money September 24, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    @Eric – Oh yeah, good ol’ Benjamin Franklin. You see what he said up there at the top of my blog? ;) That’s incredible you might have your mortgage paid off within 2 years!! Jeeeez, that’s all kinds of awesome. I’m unveiling our mortgage payoff plan on Monday – so excited!!! First time (besides our refi) that I’m taking it serious… I can’t stand the thing, haha…
    @ShoutOut99 – Oh cool, will check it out thanks :) I thin I actually OWN that “Your Money or Your Life” Book! Haha… haven’t read it yet, but I always hear good things.
    @Edward Antrobus – Haha, guess it takes all types huh? :) There are a ton of other things you could do with it too, outside of donating, but all depends obviously on your hobbies and lifestyle, etc. If you have kids, you could save for college and/or anything else you want for them. Or even help out other family members that may need it. You can always find a way to spend your money, but not as easy to make it ;) Or should I say, not as *fast* to make it, haha… super fast to spend it if you wanted to!

  27. Matt September 26, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    You nailed it! This is probably the best post I have read of yours. Decreasing our expenses, consumption, and way of life causes us to rely less on money. The same amount is still coming in, but we will be less dependent on it.

  28. J. Money September 26, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    Thanks!! It was brewing in my mind for a little bit, so I was glad I could get all the thoughts out okay, and when it was fresh :)

  29. Project Management Tools That Work (Bruce) September 26, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    My epiphany happened years ago (ahem, decades) when, deep in credit card debit, I realized that if I could afford to pay interest then I could afford to pay cash and it would be cheaper. I just had to get ahead by first getting out of debt and then saving some money. In the spur of the moment I took out my credit cards and cut them up. Whew. Done. Ouch. My mindset was transformed (panic!) and I thought more about how much everything cost, how many eggs I had in the refrigerator, how much it cost me to buy groceries each week (super cheap if I cut out the meat) compared to eating out regularly, etc.

    I’ve never gone into debt again except for buying cars or homes in which I put down a large (saved!) down payment and pay off the balance in about half the allocated time. I still use credit cards, but they get paid off every month.

    So another big cost many folks can reduce is for credit. The trick was, for me, to go super frugal for over a year and get paid off, then only purchase something if I have the money right when I purchase it. As soon as I buy a car, I immediately start to save up for the next car ten years from now.

    Finally, admit to oneself, if applicable, that buying things is often to make us feel good when we are not feeling great. Bad habit, stop it!

  30. J. Money September 27, 2011 at 2:04 AM

    Nice work! That’s great man, love hearing real-life (and positive) success stories like that – thanks for sharing it with us :) I agree – buying things CAN be a bad habit! Esp if you’re picking up stuff that’s not that important to you to begin with. If you spend the money, make sure it’s on a priority :)

  31. Diana September 29, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    I was searching for a way to save money…while paying off my debt! found my solution..started couponing 3 months ago!..and absolutely love it. No more paying retail price for anything..and realize you can get most things for free! I’m not an extreme couponer but I do stock up on the things I really do need (like pampers!) This website has changed my life! http://thekrazycouponlady.com/krazy-this-week/ I’m down to my last small loan, should be done in a month or 2..and my school loan, which i know takes time…

  32. EnergySage October 3, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    It’s smart to look at both sides of the equation–saving more and making more. We’re biased, but a great way to do both is to install a clean energy system. They save a lot in energy costs and deliver fabulous ROI. In some cases, if you generate more energy than you need, they can also produce revenue. Not bad! Check out: http://www.energysage.com/blog/clean-energy-smart-investment-or-big-expense

  33. J. Money October 6, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    @Diana – Awesome!!! Love hearing stories like that – even though coupons bore me to death! haha… well, except online coupons, those are hot ;) Keep rockin’ it!! You’ll be debt free in no time! (And I agree – Krazy Coupon Lady is awesome — was fun seeing her on TV!)
    @EnergySage – Haha, yes – you guys are biased ;) But it doesn’t mean you’re wrong! Thanks for stopping by my friend.

  34. Shopaholic Savers October 11, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    I really like this article! My boyfriend and I try to minimize the amount of money we have to spend in order to be able to spend our money on what we want to spend it on. I also write about it on my blog. I find that it keeps me more accountable. I recently wrote about how we were able to use our money to pay cash for a cruise! Some of my frugal tips have worked better than others. Making homemade coffee creamer actually cost us MORE money, but doubling our milk saves a lot. If anyone is curious this is where I wrote about our cruise http://shopaholicsavers.com/?page_id=796 :)

  35. J. Money October 12, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    Haha nice! I’ll click over and check out your blog – thanks for popping in :)

  36. Brian October 14, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    Believe it or not, it IS possible to live without a cell phone (and accompanying bill). I’ve never had one, and never intend to.

  37. J. Money October 14, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    I believe it! Not as easy for a self-employed traveler though — it really does become my business’ life line ;) Esp now that you can do email and work on ’em.

  38. asdf January 19, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    Everything is superfluous, just starve to death for free.

  39. J. Money January 21, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    well that’s not as fun