How Refusal Welcomes a Life of Riches

Feb 18, 2013

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“To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”

-e. e. cummings

The world with all of its intriguing people, adventures and destinations will always be offering something more, something we haven’t done or something we hope to someday see, try or become. However, a life well lived is one of refusal.

What? Didn’t I just share that the world offers us endless options, choices and life journey’s? Yes, and that is why when we discover the path that works for our contentment, our passions and our purpose, it becomes much easier to not be distracted by what won’t fulfill us.  The key is to get to know ourselves.

At first glance, a comfortable, fulfilling life may appear to be quite expensive and require masses amounts of money, but the more I inquire, observe and experience, the more I realize that people who are genuinely living comfortably and financially secure lives are those people who say no. People who don’t purchase everything that they can, but instead purchase what they need and tuck away the rest in a stellar investment fund or savings account. Examples: adhering to a capsule wardrobe instead of purchasing the new trends and latest accessories every season or taking one grand vacation every year and simply going on day or weekend trips to nearby destinations the rest of the year.

A few months ago I finally came up with the slogan I have been trying to properly put into words to describe what living a simply luxurious life is all about. With some help from those who have known me long before the blog began, the slogan “Refined living on an everyday income” came into fruition. Based on my personal experience and observations of others with little or ginormous sums of money, those who appear to be swimming in greenbacks can feel just as strapped and stressed as someone making $30,000/year if they continually expanding their lifestyle to live the way they think they should.

Simply because one has more money does not mean they live a more contented life. While there is a minimum one needs to live comfortably, there is a maximum ($75,000) at which point once reached, earning more does not make you any more happier.  Ultimately, it comes down to how we handle the money in which we have earned.

After all, when we know who we are, what we need and can do without, we are better able to say no thank you to offers, temptations and societal expectations that don’t line up with our priorities and way of living.

As E.E. Cummings reminds us in the above quote, living life on our terms, terms by which we are most comfortable, is a constant battle of saying no, turning away from temptations and keeping our hard earned money in our pocketbook when we don’t need to be spending it (even though retailers would love to have us think otherwise).  However, the clearer you become about what direction you want to take your life and what goals you want to achieve, the easier it becomes to know whether or not you should say yes or no. Because based on my experience, when you’re uncertain of your direction, even the slightest breeze can empty your pockets and slow down your progress or alter your direction entirely.

One of the most satisfying gifts of solidifying where you want to go is that saying no to what you don’t need becomes quite easy which leaves more of your energy to be put towards what will propel you further and more quickly to your goals.

With patience, perseverance and diligent focus, a content and fulfilling life is possible no matter what your income.

Have a wonderful start to your week everyone, and always remember with each choice our future is revealing itself to us.



Image: (1) source

12 thoughts on “How Refusal Welcomes a Life of Riches

  1. I recently discovered your blog and I loving it a little bit more and more each day that I visit. It would be nice to tie the blog into a more personal tone, to humanize it a bit. I think it will allow for a deeper connection.

  2. Great reminders! I am still working on all of the things that you talked about…always a work in progress!

    It’s interesting that the maximum salary was capped at $75,000. While I know this is a general point, I think that the amount can differ significantly depending on where you live. I live in an expensive city (Toronto) where real estate prices have skyrocketed in the past several years…where the US has had a major housing crash or stagnation in many areas, Toronto has been rising continuously. To live directly in the city, you are looking at $600,000 easily for a semi-detached home and $800,000 plus for a detached. Many “normal” looking homes cost over $1M without a problem. And many condos seem to cost even more simply on a per square foot basis. It is not possible for me to afford an actual home on my income alone at the moment, and I do have a good income. So I am a part of the condo life right now, but you can see that $75,000 will stretch significantly further in terms of affordability and the way you live in one city versus another. Even if you are living in housing that you can technically afford, mortgages are large in this city no matter how you live (unless of course you are extremely well off, but we are talking about the everyday person’s income), so there is overall less income at the end of the day each month for other activities.

    1. Stephanie,

      I completely understand what you are talking about. I found that number interesting as well ($75,000). Do read the article that it links to as it provides a more detailed explanation (from NYTimes). As always, there are exceptions. I think most importantly it is when our needs are met with a bit of wiggle room that the height of happiness based on income tops out. Simply making more money doesn’t increase our happiness as it is how we live our lives and spend or save that money that dictates the happiness outcome.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and points about Toronto. Very interesting.

  3. “Refined living on an everyday income”…I love that. Great post. Saying no to what you don’t need is amazing advice. I know all too well that as fashion lovers/bloggers, we tend to gravitate towards those material things that we think we need or just really want. It’s not always the way to go.

    I love the quote at the beginning and lovely photo as well 🙂

    xo Azu

  4. I started consciously living like this after reading the book “Savvy Living” (I think that was the title???).
    I now don’t buy anything that has not been ear-marked to be bought; no spontaneous purchases for me anymore. If I tell you I “bought” the UK out of recession in the 90’s, you will understand what journey this has been for me 😉

  5. I fell into this lifestyle. Accustomed to shopping incessantly wjile living in the NY metro area, I find Miami is less conducive to shopping. Just avouding traffic is enough to put a stop to mindless shopping… I am happier, and more contented. My needs are fewer, and my wardrobe is minimalist!! For the first time in my life I am able to save.

  6. I’m on a very strict savings budget this year for various reasons, and I hate the “friendly” harrasment I endure at work for declining dinner invites (that oddly enough never even come to fruitation anyway!!), however, not only is it an issue of money, but it is a huge demand on my time especially when already I work a full shift that day and with the demands that comes along with going back to school.

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