Sometimes we speak of “living below our means” as if it is an arduous practice that requires us to stifle our desires and make tough decisions about what we should not buy. This is one way to look at it but when it comes to budgeting there is a much easier perspective to take. Living modestly because you want to.
In the weight-loss and body building oriented book The Four Hour Body, author Timothy Ferris talks about the power of just paying attention. People who weigh themselves daily tend to lose weight whether or not they engage in any other behavior change. Without consciously trying to “eat better” or “exercise more,” by paying attention to what you are doing, you end up making better decisions. The best part is that it feels “effortless.” When you are aware of your weight daily, you naturally make better choices without trying.
My mother once asked me, “If all my friends jumped off a bridge would I do the same thing?” Being the snarky teenager I was my response was a sarcastic, “I probably would.” Years later as an adult (not two weeks ago) I actually did jump off a bridge because all of my friends did it. Since I am here to tell the tale it means things did not end badly, but my first time bungee jumping was almost entirely because of peer pressure. In our youth, peer pressure affects us differently. It is often direct pressure to do a particular thing. Once we have grown up, it often comes in a more subtle form.