How to Handle a Lifestyle Downgrade

How to Handle a Lifestyle Downgrade

Petrol is now at R22 a liter and it’s said it will reach R40 soon. A lot of South Africans do not have much to downgrade from their lifestyle but there are many more, like you, who can make a few adjustments to handle the rising prices of EVERYTHING.

We all go through times in our lives when we are less prosperous or have access to fewer material goods than we previously had.

The war in Russia with Ukraine affecting the global economy will potentially force many of us to figure out how to live differently and with less. And this comes at the back of COVID-19’s economic war on us.

It is much more difficult to downsize your life than to grow your lifestyle. Bigger lifestyles creep up on us as we add goods and services incrementally over time. When we have to give some of those up to stay solvent, it can hurt. It can cause depression and anger. But it doesn’t have to do so.

Here are some suggestions on how to handle a lifestyle downgrade. They aren’t professional psychological advice, just common sense approaches to keeping a quality life with less.

Find ways to cut that don’t matter to you so much.

On the way up, we added things that we no longer use or care to have. Getting rid of those things and charges can simplify your life and save you money.

Perhaps you don’t get to the gym enough to make the fee worthwhile. Why not substitute a new and more exciting physical activity instead? Bike riding, hiking or in-home training are all possibilities.

Maybe you are tired of always eating out at restaurants. You hate the time spent, the fatty choices, and the crowds. Try skipping a meal out, maybe even try skipping the meal itself! At the very least, find an alternative that works for you.

You can also do a treasure hunt to find those silent money suckers we all have. Small habits, such as turning off the lights, unplugging appliances, and turning down the geyser can shave rands off your expenses with no impact on your quality of life.

Substitute better quality activities for the things you cut.

If you do have to give up something you love, look for a new activity that you want to try, which is less expensive but satisfying to you. Instead of taking the kids to a professional ball game, go play ball with them. Instead of vacationing at Disney World, try a camping expedition to a nearby state park.

Find ways to make your hobbies pay you (or at least for themselves).

Let’s face it, hobbies can be expensive. If you love yours, see if you can find a way to make it pay for itself. Sell items you make or give lessons to someone for a fee or use them as gifts or marketing freebies for your business to attract new customers.

Set a goal and work towards it.

Quality of life is greatly enhanced when you are accomplishing something important to you. What have you always wanted to do? Figure out the steps you need to take to get there and start working through them.

De clutter your space.

Over time we accumulate stuff. Stuff is fun when new and different, but it costs money and it can cost money to maintain. Plus it takes up space, needs to be dusted, and gets old and uninteresting. Why not let someone else discover the joy of your stuff? Sell it or give it away and take a tax deduction. Your home will seem larger when you do.

Choose your attitude, don’t let it choose you.

You can influence your thoughts and emotions. Focus on the positive, not the bad stuff. Studies actually have shown that your focus determines your direction. Think about the positive side of your life and you move towards it. Think about the negative and it draws you down.

Photographer: Adrian MacDonalds