Are you capable of spartan living?
A while back I started learning how to live as frugally as possible. (Which is different from being cheap by the way.) It has become a way of life. When we hear the word “frugal” we tend to think of some middle-aged coupon-clipping housewife or a tightwad dad who lets minor fixes turn into costly repair.
By definition, frugal is described as:
Frugal: – simple and plain and costing little.
This does not mean cutting costs in every aspect of your life. Here, we are speaking in terms of frugal living. This way you may have excess cash flow for life experiences, large purchases, investments, etc.
So how does one apply this spartan way of living to achieve maximum liquidity? Here are a few categories on how to make smarter choices in survival. This will afford you greater opportunities in the enjoyment aspect of your life.
You are likely a bachelor. This gives you an enormous advantage on control of your living situation because you only answer to yourself. You have no wife/kids/family to factor in when making this decision and therefore, you have many options.
- Live at Home – The most frugal (but not always practical or attainable) option, would be to live at home for as long as possible. I understand there is a stigma as a grown man to live at home with family. You will be looked at by others as a failure to launch. Fuck them. YOU are the one who is in control of your finances and this may be the best situation for you to build your war chest.
- Rent the Smallest Apartment You Can – Bachelor pads are supposed to be well, spartan. This means all it is providing you is a place to sleep, eat, shit, and shower. The larger the home/ apartment, the larger your rent, and the larger amount of material items you are likely to have. Find an apartment that will provide the bare minimum amount of space to live comfortably and downsize the amount of possessions you have to the bare minimum.
- Buy Property To Provide Living Space/Income – If you have managed to save a lump sum of money and are now considering something more long-term or “investment” driven, you may consider buying rental property you can live in. While this is much more involved and requires tons of real-estate research, it will provide you a living space that is subsidized. Over time, you will pay off the property and have income as well as a place to live.
Possibly one of the biggest money pits we face is food. A lot of us will eat out every night, go to fancy dinners, not learn to make simple meal preps, etc. the reason that this is so important is because good/ expensive food is an occasional treat, not a right. There are cheaper ways to go about eating as you hammer out the 5-6 day work week.
- Meal Prep – One of my least favorite things to do but most cost saving is meal prep for the week. I do my shopping at a big box store such as BJ’s and buy enough food for the whole week. I typically spend either Saturday or Sunday cooking or making up my lunch and dinner. These meals can consist of any simple items such as chicken, rice, vegetables, soups, etc. The goal is to keep the meals as simple as possible and easy to prepare. Yes, it is tough to eat the same simple things every day. Compared to what I would have spent on eating out all the time, the opportunity cost would be huge.
- Fast Food – Certainly not the best choice, but in a pinch this may be your best option over a restaurant. We are human and may leave our meals home by accident or not be home for a day to pick them up. I try to opt for the “cleanest” thing I can find such as a grilled chicken sandwich with a side salad or a deli that has turkey/chicken/ etc. Once again, sucks but is still better than wasting money that could be used for life enjoyment and improvement on the expensive stuff.
- When You Do Eat Out – Make it count. Don’t go for some shitty place with shitty food that still ends up being expensive anyway like Red Lobster/ Applebees/ Cheesecake Factory. If you’re going to spend the money on this food outing you might as well make it count. Find a restaurant through Yelp or Google before hand that offers an authentic meal as well as a good dining experience. Remember, you’re shelling out this extra cash…make sure it’s worth it.
We tend to place a lot of emphasis on clothing and style as a society. We as men, have a slight advantage here because we have much less need to accessorize, match outlandish colors, and coordinate our hair with our outfits. There are a few basic things we all need though. I’ve narrowed it down to the bare minimum of what should be in your wardrobe.
- A Good Suit – One thing you will always want to have handy is a good suit. If you do not work a job that requires you to wear one each day that’s fine, but the interview for said job or the next one will require you to look presentable when you walk in.
- A Nice Shirt and Jeans/ Pants For a night out or a casual meet up
- Gym Clothes – Anything as simple as a pair of basketball shorts and an old T-Shirt will do. You have to have something to work out in!
- A Pair of Sneakers, Loafers, and Boots – These three pairs of shoes are all I own and they get me through almost any situation. I replace them only as needed.
Work/ Life Balance
This alone is so important. For spartan living you must obviously have some form of work/service/ or business that provides income, but you must also have time for your outside life.
I live by the philosophy that if life were simply about saving and money with no enjoyment, why would be the point? Spartan living provides you a way to minimize your cost of living so that you can maximize your outside life. Some may think it is wise to take on a 60-80 hour work week. That is fine and I’ve been there myself, but you must have hobbies and adventures outside of work.
The ideal would to find a career/ business path that EITHER:
- Provides you enjoyment and fulfillment while you work.
- Provides enough income to live your life and support yourself without working so many hours a week that you burn out.
What I have provided you are just a few examples and ways to implement spartan living in your life. Remember, the goal is to think: “How can I minimize my survival needs to maximize my life enjoyment?”
Material items will never bring as much happiness as having life experiences will bring. Even if those experiences just involve having more free time from working less due to lower living costs. The choice is yours.
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