Don't give me poverty, don't give me rich, just give me enough

 In our life that will eventually be exhausted, the most precious thing may be "life energy", and everything we have must be exchanged for it, such as material things, such as money. According to the calculation formula of American scholars Vicky Robin and Joe Dominguez, if a person is 40 years old this year, he has 356,532 hours of life energy in stock. From this point of view, how to maximize the value of each unit of life energy and obtain the greatest sense of pleasure is also one of the profound meanings of life.

The two scholars went on to conduct a series of studies on contemporary people's view of money and consumption. One of the quotes is worth thinking about - "People don't need bulky cars, they just need respect. They don't need cupboards full of clothes, they just need to feel glamorous, they need excitement, refurbishment and good looks. People don't need Electronic devices, just need something of value to pass your life. . . The resulting psychological void is one of the main driving forces behind the desire for material accumulation. ”

So, it's time to look at ourselves. The concept of "thrift" and the corresponding money-saving tips proposed below may become a new way of life for those who want to rationally allocate their life energy: don't give me poverty, don't give me wealth, just give me enough .

This article is excerpted from Money or Life, published with the authorization of the publisher.

"Enjoy Frugal Living"


We looked up the word "frugal" (thrift) in the dictionary and found it to mean: "saving or marked by frugality, such as in the expenditure of money or the use of material resources. " Looking further, the dictionary tells us , frugal has the same Latin root as frug (meaning "merit, virtue"), frux (meaning "fruit" or "value"), and frui (meaning "to enjoy or be able to use"). This will make it clearer ! To be frugal is to enjoy the advantage that every minute of your life energy and everything you can use is well valued.

To be frugal is to enjoy what we have. If you have 10 dresses and still feel like you don't have one, you're probably a compulsive shopaholic—the pleasure of getting it is stronger than the pleasure of owning and using it. But if you have 10 dresses, and you've been wearing those 10 dresses for years, you're frugal. Waste does not mean having too many things, but not enjoying them. To measure your success in frugality, it is not your stinginess, but your enjoyment of the material world.

Enjoy the material world? Isn't that materialism? Aren't frugal people anti-materialists? It's all about your focus. For materialists, the world exists to be used, and often to be used up. Furthermore, materialists measure their own worth by what they have or how others perceive what they have, leading to a never-ending cycle of "more is better, never enough".

Frugal people are sure to get full pleasure from everything—whether it's a dandelion or a bouquet of roses, a strawberry or a big meal. A materialist might drink the juice of five oranges in one go before enjoying a muffin breakfast, while a frugal person might savor one orange with relish, enjoying the color and texture of the whole fruit, and the aroma when peeled. And the juice that comes out, the clarity of each orange segment, the sweetness and sourness that pervades the tongue when the orange segment is bitten open...then keep the orange peel for baking.


Frugality means a high percentage of pleasure from objects. If you get one unit of pleasure out of every material possession, it's frugality. But if you need 10 items to barely feel any pleasure, you're missing out on being alive.


There is one word in Spanish that contains all these meanings: aprovechar (to make the most of it ) . It's about putting things to good use—whether it's a sunny day at the beach or turning leftovers into a new treat. It derives its full value from life and enjoys all the good that every moment and every thing has to offer. You can aprovechar a simple meal, a box of overripe strawberries or a trip to the Bahamas. Aprovechar is not mean, it is a vibrant word, full of sunshine and fragrance. If only frugal sounded so heartwarming .

Another lesson we can draw from the dictionary definition of frugal is to realize that to enjoy something you don't have to have it, just use it. If we are enjoying an object, we are frugal whether we have it or not. For many of the joys in life, using something is far better than owning it and dedicating time and effort to its maintenance. The good news is that today’s young people don’t seem to be as obsessed with owning their belongings as previous generations. With limited incomes on the one hand and an increasing number of on-demand short-term rentals of everything from movies to audiobooks to cars on the other, they question the benefits of owning things in favor of the sharing economy.


Although not literally, being frugal and being content with having enough means that others have more available. It is in this sense that frugality is both practical and moral. Shared resources mean a lower cost of living and a wider range of goods and services available to everyone. Shared resources—from lawn mowers to cars, to guest rooms, to second-hand excess—means fewer resources we have to extract from the planet, burn, or throw away after brief use. By sharing, we will reduce plastic in the oceans, reduce garbage in landfills, and reduce toxics everywhere. From tool shops to second-hand items sold or forwarded online, to lending a lawn mower or cart to a neighbor, sharing a little wealth can enrich the lives of both the giver and the recipient.

Frugality is the balance we seek. Frugality is the ability to efficiently harvest happiness from the world in which you live. Frugality is proper use, that is, the wise management of money, time, energy, space, and possessions. Goldilocks in the fairy tale put it just right, she said, "The porridge in the small bowl is neither hot nor cold, just right." That's what frugality is--no more, no less, nothing wasted, nothing thrown away. It is like a clean machine, smooth and flawless, simple but elegant. It is the magic word, "enough," the apex of the satisfaction curve, the beginning of a full, learning, dedicated life.


Keep this in mind as you explore ways to save money. We're not talking about being stingy and stingy, or being stingy and saving money, we're talking about creative frugality, a way of life that gets maximum satisfaction from the first unit of life energy you expend. .

 Now that you know that money is your life energy, it doesn't make sense to waste it on things you don't like and never use. Recall the calculations we did earlier, and you'll recall that if you were 40 years old now, the actuarial table showed that you only had 356,532 hours of life energy left in your inventory. That may seem like a lot right now, but when you're near the end of your life, those hours will feel very precious. Take advantage of them now so you won't regret them later. To maximize our income from paid employment, but also to accumulate other forms of wealth such as friendships, connections, and skills, we need to do both throughout our lives.


Ultimately, this creative frugality is an expression of self-esteem that honors the life energy you put into material possessions. Saving every minute of life energy through careful consumption is the pinnacle of self-respect.


# 10 tips to save money #

  01# Don't go shopping  

You don't spend money without shopping. Of course, if you do need something in the store, go for it, but don't just shop for the sake of it.


Don't use shopping as a reward, consolation, or entertainment. Choose not to receive promotional emails, or at the very least filter them out of your primary inbox, to reduce the temptation to be tempted by offers. Be fully aware of the medium and figure out who is paying for what you read so you can recognize it at a glance when you see a covert ad. Most importantly, make a rule: buy only what you need. It's like building a muscle -- your frugal muscle, which builds up over time, and soon you're not going to be impressed by targeted ads anymore. Not only will you save money this way, but you may also save your sanity and maybe even your soul.

  02# Live within your means  

The concept is so outdated that some readers have no idea what it means at all.


Living within your means suggests that you wait until you have the money to buy something, and it gives you the benefit of avoiding paying interest. It also gives you a waiting period during which you're likely to find some of that stuff you don't want at all. The bright side of living within your means is that you will use and enjoy everything you have for full satisfaction, whether it's your 10-year-old car that's still great, your favorite coat, or your old house. It also means that you can ride out the tough times when the economy hits.

  03# Cherish all  

We all have something that we hope will last forever: a body. With a little attention, proven preventive measures can save you a lot of money.


Extend this principle to all of your possessions. Sew up torn clothes, re-soles old shoes, replace old hard drives on computers or add more memory.

Many of us have lived long enough to live in abundance and have lost the thought of caring for what we have. "A lot, anyway," we told ourselves. But that costs money. And, in the long run, it's not necessarily inexhaustible. We need to shift the way our brains think about repair rather than replacement.


  04# Until it wears out  


What's the last thing you really broke? If it weren't for those fashion ads, we might have been enjoying the basics in our wardrobes all the time.


Another way to save money is to consider whether all or part of something could be used for another purpose before throwing it away. Old dishcloths and worn-out clothes can be used as rags, old magazines can be used as art material, and creative DIY life tips abound online to help you reuse everyday objects.


People who are already very frugal should pay attention to this: using a thing until it wears out is not about exhausting your energy for it. If your car is always causing trouble and taking more time to fix than it does for you, buy a new one. If you have knee damage from wearing running shoes that have lost their resilience, buying a new pair of (discounted) shoes is much cheaper than knee surgery.


  05# Do it yourself  

Granted, our electronics have become so tech-savvy that it's hard for DIYers to figure out how to take it apart and fix it. For example, where in the past a car was a machine that a backyard mechanic could fix, today’s car is a driving computer that can do everything, including self-driving, and requires professional technicians to maintain it.

There are many ways to learn basic life and survival skills, including websites, books, online courses, adult education classes, and an ever-expanding world-wide knowledge base teaching people how to make or repair all kinds of things—YouTube. Every failure can serve as an opportunity to learn and empower. Of course, some things are much cheaper to replace in time than to constantly repair, but if you're curious or want to enhance your abilities, or just don't want future generations to deal with your rubbish, you might as well learn it online.


  06# Anticipate Needs  


Pre-planning your purchases can save you a fortune. With enough advance planning time, you may be able to get what you need at a cheaper price. Make a list of things you expect to need in the coming year, and figure out their brands, features, and general price range.

Use the tools of your favorite promotion site, online retailer, or classifieds site to receive notifications when the items you need are in stock or drop in price. Be prepared to jump at the chance to snap up, that will help ensure you get what you need at a discount. For more expensive items like a car, computer or cell phone, wait until next year's model launch, when you can get this year's model at a steep discount.


Anticipating your needs also eliminates the biggest threat to frugality: impulse shopping. You may have heard of Parkinson's Law ("The amount of work increases to fill the total time available to do it"), which corollaries: "Demand increases to cover whatever you want to buy on a whim."


  07# Comprehensive Research  


Research what you're buying. Read reviews, reviews and ratings from review sites and online buyers. Determine which features are most important to you. Don't be obsessed with specials and pick the cheapest item without thinking. Durability is probably the most important thing in something you plan to use every day for 20 years. A long-lasting kitchen pot can (and probably should) replace several specialized cookware (such as rice cookers, slow cookers, Dutch pots [illustrated], deep fryers, and spaghetti pans).

But if the item is only used occasionally, you might not want to spend the extra money on a premium product. Knowing what your needs are and what categories are on the market will allow you to make appropriate choices.


You can also judge the quality of selected items by carefully examining them with a good eye. Are the seams of a garment tight? Is it locked? Is the fabric strong? You'll be a professional materialist—knowing things like the back of your hand and being able to see the probable lifespan of an item, just as a forester can see the age and history of a fallen tree.


  08# Reduce costs  


There are many ways to get what you want at a lower price:


Shop around: Deciding where to buy something comes with trade-offs such as convenience, choice, support for the local economy, and environmental and social justice considerations.


Bargaining: You can ask for a discount anytime, anywhere. If you don't enter a tiger's den, how can you get a tiger's son. Haggling is a time-honored tradition, and the price of any consumer product is usually inflated.


Buy second-hand goods: As the saying goes, "A's arsenic, B's honey", this sentence also inspires us to use the "free recycling network" or "zero purchase program" to get second-hand goods without spending a penny.

  09# Change the way to meet the demand  

According to the substitution principle, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways to meet a need. Conventional economics would have you believe that more, better, or something else can satisfy almost any need. But does a novel experience necessarily need to be found in far-flung places?

Remember, substitution as a frugal strategy isn't about lowering the level of happiness, it's about making sure I get exactly what I'm looking for, but spend a little less, or spend nothing at all. I'm not limiting myself, I'm really focusing on myself.

Donila Meadows pointed out in her book Beyond the Limits:

People don't need bulky cars, they just need respect. They don't need a closet full of clothes, they just need to feel glamorous, excited, refreshed and polished. People don't need electronics, they just need something of value to pass their lives. People need identification, belonging, challenge, recognition, love, joy. To try to satisfy these needs with material things is to build up an irrepressible desire to find unsymptomatic solutions to real problems that can never be eliminated. The resulting psychological emptiness is one of the main driving forces behind the desire for material accumulation.

Substitution is not restriction, but liberation. It is about letting go of assumptions and habits, examining the richness of reality, and choosing from a variety of pleasures within reach.

  10# Follow the 9 steps of this plan  

Hundreds of thousands of people have successfully completed the steps in this plan. These people find that doing all the steps transforms their experience of money and the material world. It's the switch that saves them money, not tips. The slight shopping addiction is gone. Self-denial and self-indulgence give way to self-awareness, which ends up being a greater pleasure. You can treat this plan as a series of tips or advice, or let it work its magic by following the steps. These steps are a whole set of strategies for dealing with money and material things, changing your habits by changing the way you see things. They complement each other and together push you forward.



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