Is Downsizing to a Simpler Life Possible?


With predictions of upcoming economic woe in the US perhaps this is a good moment to reflect on what you would do if the economic landscape changes greatly and you need to cut back significantly on your lifestyle.

Some people predict huge downsizing in the future, with many of us losing our jobs and our homes as well as seeing our savings affected. Hopefully none of this will happen but let’s allow our minds to wander a little and see if we could cope with a forcible downsizing. What would the good points be?

More Free Time

I don’t want to take a glib approach here, because it is clear that losing your job and having to do something different would be a major problem for anyone. However, perhaps I can use my own experience here to show how it can work out reasonably well in non financial ways. I used to work in a bank. It was a pretty decent job if rather boring. The problem was that my wife isn’t from the same country as me and she wanted to go home to start a family in a more familiar setting. Now, as she is from a country which we might kindly class as “developing” going there together meant downsizing in one way or another. In the end, we did it and we started off by running a little store out of our home. This meant a big drop in our standard of living but we began to spend more time together, eat long lunches round the table and do all of the things which we couldn’t do when I worked in a bank. Maybe some of the people who are forced to downsize will find that working so hard to earn a lot of money wasn’t really making them happy anyway.

A Healthier Life?

Could downsizing be a healthy move as well? In the past, when people have talked to me about doing this voluntarily they have usually mentioned trying to lower their stress levels as being a major part of their decision. Life is stressful for most of us but not everyone looks at the right ways of trying to solve this problem. Having a job which sees you work a lot of hours every week in order to pay off big loans is something which is bound to cause you stress from time to time. Not many of us would willingly give up our comfortable house and decent job but would it really be so bad if you were forced to do it? The initial period of feeling that you are losing control would obviously be one of the worst periods of your life but don’t you think that you would bounce back and feel a lot freer of stress at some point?

A Chance to Change

Overall, what this kind of situation could give us all is the chance to change parts of our life. Sometimes we need a helping hand to do this when it comes to things we feel that we can’t do without. This is what happened to me and I suffered at first through the downsizing I had to undergo. It is a blow to not have a job you can be proud of and to not have some cash in the bank account. However, my experience tells me that people tend to look for the positive side of each situation and that most of us would cope well enough if the economy caused us to rebuild our lives in a simpler way.

Have you ever considered whether you could live a simpler life?

12 Responses to Is Downsizing to a Simpler Life Possible?

  1. Arnel Ariate says:

    I’ve always considered living a simpler life so I won’t have to be a slave to my day job. I think living a simpler life, the kind of life that won’t force you to work like a slave for money, is possible. You just have to think hard and maybe contemplate, on what things in your life are most essential to you. Living a simpler life with less financial stress is actually my dream, and I am slowly getting there. 🙂

    Thank you, Robert for linking to Money Soldiers. I appreciate it a lot and I love your blog.

  2. Mark Ross says:

    I think we are living a simple life now and it’s been great for us for quite some time now. It may be hard not to get what we want all the time but it can all be worth it in the end.

    • Robert Bell says:

      That’s good to hear Mark. There is no sense of sacrifice in doing this, is there? In fact, it is pretty liberating

  3. Robert, than you SO much for sharing your story. We think about this often, as Rick really wants to be home more. He’s pretty good about keeping it to 40 hours a week, and he has an early start/end time, so that helps, but we home school, so often it’s hard for him, knowing the kids and I are home all day when he’s at work and would rather be with us. We’ll see what 2014 brings in terms of our goals in this area…..

    • Robert Bell says:

      Thanks for the comments Laurie. I think that sometimes it takes something unexpected in your life to force you to look at things differently and make the changes you have always secretly wanted. I hope you find the way of living which suits you in 2014

  4. dojo says:

    Most people think that only big paying jobs are good and a ‘thriving’ lifestyle (even if it means big debt, too). Once you’re forced to re-think your way of life you might find out that less money doesn’t mean poverty or unhappiness. Sure, you’d need to give up some of the things you considered ‘vital’, but the results, as in your case, might really amaze you. More time with the family is not something to be ignored and it can help for a better family life.

    • Robert Bell says:

      It is hard to think like that in this consumer driven world Dojo but deep down most people know that you are right.

  5. Working in theatre, I’m used to unemployment and sudden changes in income. When I don’t have work, I find I’m much healthier as I have more time to work out and prepare food. I also devote more time to my side hustles- babysitting, blogging, and recently selling some of my stuff on ebay. Once you know how to adjust it’s easy, but it definitely helps to have a plan and an emergency fund in place.

    • Robert Bell says:

      Thanks for the story Stefanie. It is easy to think that you need to work in an important job to be happy but it simply isn’t true

  6. Simplicity as they say is the ultimate sophistication and a simple life is not only beneficial to the pocket but there is a marked improvement in the quality of life as well. It shifts our focus from materialism to quality relationships.
    I have made a conscious effort to live a simple life…I find am more relaxed, happier and productive. Something I’d definitely recommend to more people 🙂

    • Robert Bell says:

      Thanks for the comments Simon. living simply is something I would recommend that everyone gives a try at some point

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