Last tax year my income was eight and a half grand. To my friends on salaries above the £30k plus region, this is astonishing news. They doubt you can even eat on that paltry amount, and have on occasion speculated that I boost my earnings with erotic gob loans to frustrated truck drivers in lay-bys.
The fact is that when pressed about whether their loftier salary is commensurate with loftier levels of happiness, most excessively remunerated drones hesitate to answer in the affirmative.
Mo’ money mo’ problems
Before you label me a judgemental hippy, I endured a well-paid full time career for over ten years so I understand the problem. And I noticed that as my income went up so did my outgoings, on frivolous shiny toys or branded goods and services that supposedly meant exclusivity and a higher standard of living.
Predictably, neither materialised and once the novelty wore off I sought another hit of consumerism to take my mind off the helplessness, like a sober junkie with no more serviceable veins in his cock.
So I changed my life and career radically because chasing more of everything bled my soul dry. Instead I tried doing the opposite – and guess what? Life’s much more pleasant.
How to live below the £10k income tax threshold
The first secret to living frugally (and more happily) is a change in attitude: you must actively decide to earn less. That means knowing how much you need to live on comfortably, free of the insatiable desires above, and not craving any more money than that.
Now would be an opportune moment to note that I believe the redistribution of wealth through taxation is a hallmark of a fair society, and that tax-dodging ubiquitous pop twats like Barlow deserve wasps where their scrotums should be. I’ve paid and still pay many forms of tax as well as national insurance contributions, like every human freelancer should whenever it’s due.
The second secret is more practical: simply spend less so your money goes further. This is based on the principle that it’s often quicker and easier to increase your disposable income by shrinking your outgoings than earning (and working) more.
Here are some tips to get you living frugally:
- Get rid of the car: use public transport or walk and stop being a snob (buses aren’t for poor people)
- Eat less meat: less, not none (I’m not forcing a total hippy lifestyle down your gullet)
- Shop around when you buy: stop being a lazy cunt and paying more for the convenience
- Don’t buy what you can’t afford: that’s what you’d teach your kids (save don’t borrow or cope without)
- Live somewhere less desirable: so what if there are more chippies than coffee shops
- Share costs with someone else: preferably with a partner you don’t hate
- Holiday more: couch-surf with friends and family abroad (this one’s just to piss off your affluent, time-poor friends)
- Make money-saving a hobby: bargain spotting is a game even rich people enjoy (and there are two prices to everything)
- Cancel gym memberships: dust off your bike or get some trainers and hit the canal
- Exercise thrift: make do if it’s not broken or mend it if it is
- Try cheaper hobbies: books vs. electronics, water sports vs snow sports etc.
- Quit trying to buy time/happiness: you make them yourself and it’s free
The standard retort to my frugality evangelism is “I can’t do this because the kids expect organic cos cous” in which case I say get a grip. Parents managed with nine kids and fuck all not that long ago (OK, most of them died but the ones that survived TB did it without hand-picked Quinoa). Or there’s the ever popular “I can’t do that because I have no choice”. Bullshit. Has someone got a gun against your head? Thought not.
You could argue that an underlying theme here is sacrifice: giving up the things you want. But if that’s the price of having more time to yourself (a terrifying prospect apparently) and being liberated from the poisonous side-effects of capitalism, then it’s a small one to pay for being happier.
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