186. Doing life with less (summer challenge)

This spring I reflected on our finances and felt a sense of defeat over where I was vs where I wanted to be. I had to acknowledge aspects like lifestyle creep, inflation and inattention to contribute to this.  This prompted me to ask the Simple Squad (Facebook group) to join in a challenge to do life with less this summer. 


In this episode

  • Acknowledging the privilege of doing a challenge like this, by choice
  • Reflecting on the cultural expectations for what we need ‘have/do’ as relevant, acceptable adults in society
  • The lifestyle creep, the new baseline cost of maintaining our life
  • The impact of inflation on our daily lives, in Canada 
  • Joining the challenge in the Facebook group 
  • The different intentions participants have in how they aim to live with less 
  • My weekly goal of living less (the little things matter)
  • Tracking spending


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Full transcript (unedited)

Hey friends, it’s Sean me your nerdy girlfriend, Counselor therapist.ca. I know the podcast is wrapped up for this summer. But I wanted to stop by and share a summer challenge that I’m posting in the Facebook group. So the Facebook group, if you’ve looked for in in the past, yes, it was closed, it is reopened right now, if you want to join, the challenge is called Life with less the life with less challenge. And this challenge was motivated by a conversation I was having with my best friend about debt and managing money and the kind of bigger vision that we have for ourselves financially. And carrying debt, it might be one thing, but in this climate that we’re in of inflation, where everything about life is just so much more expensive. Now, it’s forcing us to stop and consider what we are doing.

So I thought, as we ourselves are talking about buckling down, it’s probably a common experience that a lot of us are having right now. And I wanted to do it alongside the simple squad, that’s the Facebook group.

Now, before I go on about this, I just want to acknowledge that making this sort of thing a challenge, it feels trivial. And it really highlights my privilege. I can think for me growing up, we had to live with less because there wasn’t really a choice. Otherwise, we didn’t go back to schools, clothes shopping every year, we didn’t eat out very often or ever. We didn’t get the fancy snacks. We didn’t go on trips, our needs were met. But my parents wouldn’t have to say what can we cut out what’s extra that we can cut out of our lives because they were already accounting for all of those pennies.

So I feel that, for me to now be an adult and aware that I just want to live in low my means as a way to be a good steward of what I have, it’s a luxury, it’s a luxury to just simply desire this change, rather than naturally having it imposed on me.

So as I talk about the life with less challenge and the things that we’re aiming to challenge ourselves with, I’m a white middle class woman with the privilege to call this a challenge. I’m aware of that. And I acknowledge that. And I think we just need to acknowledge that before we carry on with having this kind of conversation.

So in the Facebook group, we’ve already started talking about this challenge. And we opened up the first weekly thread to share. And I love how each woman is doing this in their own unique way. And I encourage anyone who’s participating to think about what they want from this challenge for them.

As I started thinking about what I want to do to live with less, I reflected on a few things, I reflected on how for me when I started decluttering, eight years ago, I could see how much I had accumulated on default, just thinking I needed all of this stuff to be an adult. And it was sad and disappointing to just see money sitting in my home, not serving me in any way. And at that point, I could see how I had really bought into what the culture had told me I needed to possess to be an adult to be, quote, unquote, an adult.

And that continues in so many more subtle ways beyond just stuff in the house. It’s also in clothes. And we live in such a fast fashion world that keeping up is expensive. It’s exhausting. But we get that cultural message to be relevant, we have to be in style. And that feels like a roller coaster. Right? When really, I just wanted to feel like a lazy river. We also pick up messages from our culture about the activities which we should be doing and all the accessories we need for that the places we should take our kids, the food and drink we should be eating and eating and drinking. Well, that’s a privilege to write. There’s messaging about the experiences we should be having. Does anyone else feel like families are expected to go on way more vacations these days, like I didn’t fly in a plane till I was 21. And now there’s some 10 year olds who have flown 21 times it’s crazy to me, we get the messages about how our homes should function. And look, again, with the pressure to stay up to trend. We get messages about how our health should be taken care of, and the gym and the workouts and the supplements and the accessories and the clothes, all of this to support that one thing.

And all of this becomes a new baseline for us. Just the cost of maintaining our life.

So there is this lifestyle creep that happens, where we have a bit more we spend a bit more and then we’re locked into this new baseline. It’s just the price we’re paying to keep our life as it is. And when I consider the lifestyle creep that I know has set into my life. I think I don’t want to hustle for more money. I just want to need less and do life with less.

I don’t know what much what it’s like outside of Canada but in Canada, we’re experiencing an increase in everything. Inflation and inflation is impacting interest rates, housing, groceries, groceries, big time, gas vehicle prices. Even something I was buying bacon for dinner the other night and I already tried to keep meat as like a condiment and not The whole core of the meal, but I bought some bacon and I put it on the pan, and they noticed that there was less bacon in the package. So it had gone up in price. And now there’s less than the package. And I remembered something I saw on marketplace, CBC had just done a reporting on this, that the amounts and packages is being reduced. So is something to think about because it is impacting, like, even our dinner and what we’re eating for dinner.

So this lifestyle creep where we might be working now to support this life of luxury, that it doesn’t even feel like luxury anymore, because we adapt to it, we just adapt to this new baseline. And maybe we don’t have time to even enjoy it anymore. Because now we have to work this certain level to pay for all of these things that just feel necessary.

This lifestyle creep. Paired with the increased costs. I’m sure it’s just hitting everyone. It’s highlighting our need to live with less. And yes, something that people everywhere all over the world have to do every day.

I wanted to start this challenge for the summer, and starting it at summer. sounds counterintuitive. Because what about summer plans? Summer is a time kind of like Christmas, where there’s seemingly no rules. And in summer, we’ve got the snacks, the road trips, the vacations, the stopping for ice creams and more snacks. floaties and every kid needs new sandals, bathing suits, goggles, floaties, because they popped all the old ones.

So summer is a time where the budget has traditionally been let go in our case, and also a time where I don’t know me personally, I’m working less because all of the kids are at home. So summer doesn’t intuitively feel like a time for limitations and tolerating this discomfort. But I just say to myself, If not now, then when?

So as I mentioned, we have this conversation going in the Facebook group, I’m sharing questions to prepare. And we just started this Monday, our first weekly thread, where we’re sharing our updates, Insight goals for the week. And just reading through the comments. There’s just a real nice range of thoughts and intentions. Some people are wanting to do live with less by being less busy somewhere wanting to do less scrolling less screen time. Some people want less stuff less clutter. Some people want to shop more mindfully, less Amazon shopping lists, grocery shopping lists buying in bulk.

And like I said, we’re going to each week have a thread where you can share your week is going you can share what you’re saying no to what you’re going without you can share what you’re saying yes to you can share what’s working or just your insights. ‘

This week, something that I shared is I’m looking for little ways to go with less. And one of them it sounds trivial. But guys, I think the little things do add up and they do matter is one thing I’m doing is moving away from using my favorite condiments every time like my favorite expensive condiments, and one of them is cashew cream that I make from raw cashews. I have it for breakfast every morning. Sometimes I have it for lunch. Sometimes I have it on nachos for a snack later. So that’s expensive, though, right? cashews are expensive. So I’m swapping out maybe just olive oil and sea salt and maybe a different condiment, maybe no condiment. also noticing that I’m making a shift from pricey or makeup or toiletries where the no name brand is just fine. So it’s making those little choices. That’s something I’m being consciously aware of this week.

For us, we’ve also gotten back to tracking our spending, I think this is really, really important. If you want to change how you spend money, you got to know what you’re spending money on. And one strategy I’ve used in the past and shared is the fun, cheaper free envelope budget. I’m going to link her video in the show notes to that. And for us, we don’t put the money in the envelope. But her strategy for tracking spending, I find it really helpful. And that’s one that I will use whenever I want to get back to tracking our spending.

So these are just some of the ideas I hope to share more ideas insights over the summer in the Facebook group and in the simple Saturday’s email. So sign up for this simple Saturday’s email, if that’s something that you’re interested in.

If you are feeling interested in this challenge, if you have thoughts on it, I would really love to hear from you in the Facebook group, come in there and share. What do you feel like you have an excess of in your life that you don’t want, it isn’t in line with your values, your priorities, especially? What are areas that you want to practice living with less. And my vision for this challenge is that the Facebook group becomes a place where you can share and get motivation and support. So I do feel like it’s naturally just worth saying this as well. If you have joined the Facebook group or plan to please don’t be a bystander, please be a participant, engage in this be community for someone else and they can be that for you. Because it is so encouraging for me as a host of this challenge as the host of the Facebook group to share a post and see engagement and conversation around it. So I really encourage you to engage with this

All right. As I mentioned, I will be wrapping up the podcast for the summer. I hope you’ll take an opportunity to scroll through the archives of all of the podcasts episodes on the simple on purpose podcast. And there’s a Spotify playlist I’ll make sure to link to where I’ve grouped the episodes by different topics. You can also search the blog I think I mentioned this in the last episode. If you scroll down to the very bottom of the blog, if you’re looking on your phone, there’s the search box that you’ll find at the bottom search any topic that you’re interested in, and places to find me over the summer are likely Instagram Stories, not Instagram posts, I really given up on making Instagram posts part of my life but I will share stories and in the Facebook group as well as that simple Saturday’s email that comes out twice a month. Alright friends, I hope you have a great summer and I hope your summer is simple and on purpose.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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