One of the recent Daily Stoic emails was a reminder to “live below your means”. This is something I remind myself to do regularly as well.
Although I’m no Scrooge, I chafe at the thought of spending money on unnecessary things. At the same time, I also subscribe to Ramit Sethi’s idea of “living my rich life”.
My main guide to spending money is understanding the why behind my spending.
The Daily Stoic article talks about Julius Caesar, who “was constantly spending money he didn’t have to impress people he didn’t respect”.
What’s the point of that?
I like putting my money into things that make more money, that enable the creation of new experiences, that create some good out in the world.
The article also cites Cato, who wrote in his book On Agriculture, that “a farm is like a man”.
“His advice to the aspiring farmer is to build a house within their means—to put your money into your farm, into something that generates returns, not something that impresses your neighbours or assuages your ego.”
Cato said, continues the article, that “it was better to cultivate the selling habit, not the buying habit”.
“Selling meant you were making, buying meant you were consuming. How does a business succeed? By things going out the door, not in the door.”