Own nothing. Control everything.

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Living with little is the antithesis of modern thought. From the moment we are born, we are told to buy, to satisfy our every desire, never to be satisfied. Yet to live well, you don’t necessarily have to earn more, but you can also want less or… learn to spend better.

After all, not everything that has value in life has to be expensive. Often, the best things, like the time you spend with your loved ones, are free and have more value than the (sometimes useless) gifts we buy.

Here then, is that living with little could be the solution to the stress of too much work, of the need to buy things that seem indispensable only in appearance.

Living well with little: the Kakebo method

Living with little can be easier depending on where you live, whether in the city or a small town, in the centre or the suburbs, in northern or southern Italy.

It is obvious, for example, that living on 400 euros a month is more feasible in a small town in the south than in the centre of Milan but, other things being equal, you can live anywhere even with the bare minimum if you learn to:

  1. manage your finances conscientiously;
  2. and don’t be conditioned by money-pin advertising techniques.

Let’s start with point number 1.

Money management

A very useful method to save money comes from the masters of a minimalist life, the Japanese, called Kakebo, which means “account book at home”.

In Japan, everyone uses this system, even children, who, from an early age, learn to keep track of income and expenses.

After all, in the era of credit cards, easy one-click purchases from your mobile phone and ubiquitous advertising that pushes us to buy, losing track of what we spend is extremely easy.

Practical advice for living with little

The Kakebo method, therefore, starts with guidelines and advice to spend less and avoid the superfluous:

1. Set a goal and make a list

If you want to live with little intention, alone is not enough.

  • Choose what your monthly budget is for each expense category, for example, basic necessities, free time, culture, etc .;
  • Make a list of the things you need before going to the supermarket and avoid buying on an empty stomach — it is scientifically proven that when we are hungry, we spend more;
  • Set a weekly, monthly or yearly goal of how much you want to spend and how much you want to save.

2. Wait 10 seconds

Very often, we buy things impulsively, not thinking. Whenever you’re in a shop or at the supermarket, and you find yourself putting an item on offer in your cart, thinking you might need it, count to 10, and then ask yourself again if you need it.

If you can’t find a valid reason to buy it put it back. Maybe tell yourself you’ll come back for it the next day; you’ll see that, in most cases, you won’t.

3. Wait 30 days

If you get excited every time Amazon shows you the latest tech trinket or book you Googled an hour ago, slow down.

Give yourself 30 days, or even a week, and see if your desire to own that item stays the same — and if after that time you feel you still need it, buy it.

4. Avoid debt… like the plague

If you use credit cards, pay off every month and avoid spending more than your limit.

Avoid taking out loans or financing at all costs unless necessary. Don’t be convinced by seductive advertising slogans such as “it’s less than a coffee a day” or “it’s yours for only 200 euros a month”.

Fixed monthly expenses create stress, and you may still have to pay the consequences of a choice made several months or years earlier. Remember, debts and instalments to pay are like chains that prevent you from fully enjoying your freedom.

5. Don’t bother saying no

In the most diverse situations, from the Sunday market to our financial advisor’s office, someone always wants to sell us something.

And to do this, they will do everything to lower our resistance and convince us to sign or take out our wallet, even if only for a few seconds. Well, in these cases, you need to be strong and know how to say no.

Remember that you will have to sacrifice something every time you make an unnecessary purchase, possibly having to give up something necessary later.

6. Minimize and get rid of what you don’t need

A study in the United States found that most people use only 20% of their clothesSimilarly, most of the objects we own have no emotional value for us but, quite simply, very often, we possess only to possess.

And you’ll easily realize this by taking inventory of every item in your house — old jeans in the closet, knick-knacks, kitchen utensils, beauty products — and wondering when you last used it.

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