Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Courtney Carver of Be More with Less.
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” - Mahatma Gandhi
It is no secret that we live in the land of plenty. Even in the midst of a struggling economy, the average American household spends close to $3000 dining out each year. Up to 40 percent of American households spend more money annually than they make, and in 2009, the average American owed $8,400 in credit card debt.
In the land of plenty, we are constantly tempted with more ways to spend: bigger servings, buy one get one free offers, and endless opportunities to get rich quick. Most of us have never really understood what it is like to be hungry or want for a real necessity. Even with overflowing plates, closets full of clothes, and garages stuffed floor to ceiling with boxes of stuff that won’t fit in our over sized homes, there is more evidence than ever before of people searching for more. Clearly, spending more than enough, to have more than enough, does not equal happiness… not even in the land of plenty.
What if we decided to embrace the idea of living in “the land of enough” rather than “the land of plenty?” What if we began to resist the temptation for more and instead, became content with what we already have? How would our lives begin to change?
If you have entertained the idea of living more simply but have never tried before, put it to a short test for a few days or weeks. The benefits you see in the first few days just may be enough to inspire a lifestyle makeover. Here’s a mini, simple living boot camp to help you get started. Give it a try for 10 days and see what changes in your life. You may be surprised how much you enjoy living in the land of enough.
7 Ways to Live in the Land of Enough
- Save Your Money - There is no need for credit cards or therapeutic shopping in the land of enough. There are also no overdraft fees or ATM charges. Just put your cards away for 10 days. Then, keep a list of purchases you would have made if you were using your credit card, or if you were shopping for sport, and take note of the money that you didn’t spend.
- Take Your Time - In the land of enough, you have time to breathe. Stop trying to squeeze so much in. If you are always running late, falling behind, or trying to catch up, try slowing down. Cancel a few unnecessary appointments and don’t schedule any new ones if you can help it. Then, make a little time everyday for solitude.
- Disconnect - Set a specific time to disconnect each day. In the land of enough, there is less need to be plugged in. If you can, commit to not using a computer after dinner or before lunch time. Be mindful of how much time you spend online and are virtually available. Protect your time and your mind.
- Eat Real Food - Only eat food that you prepare. Summertime is the perfect time to eat fresh food – fruits and veggies are often fresh, local, and less expensive than buying them in winter. Do not eat anything from a box, restaurant or drive-thru. While you may choose to eat less by eliminating processed foods, you may find that you naturally eat just enough.
- Make Space – Clear out some space in your house. You don’t need to take on big purging projects during this time to make space. Simplify one room (or even just the corner of one room) and keep it as clean and clutter free as possible. Even if the rest of your house is cluttered, this area can be a great reminder of how you might feel living with less.
- Entertain Yourself – Unplug your TV and plan to enjoy your friends, family, the great outdoors, or a book you have been meaning to read. Do not spend time and money on expensive shows, travel or recreational activities. While the land of plenty calls you to spend more money for entertainment, you already have enough right where you are.
- Say Thank You – As you go through these steps, you will find enough time and space to be grateful. Through prayer, thank you cards, or a kind gesture, share your gratitude every day.
There is no risk involved by visiting the land of enough. Bring your family with you and talk about what you like and don’t like about the changes you’ve made. Based on these discussions, you can decide what changes become a permanent part of your life. If you don’t enjoy living without TV, plug it back in. If saving money makes you miserable, go on a tear at the mall after your experiment.
At the very least, you will have taken some time to determine what is important to you and your family. At the very most, you will be happier and learn that enough, really is enough.