Standard of Living Vs Standard of Luxury

I’m a big fan of minimalism, reducing clutter, being debt free, and living below your means. I think most of us spend too much time buying stuff we don’t need to impress people we don’t like. I believe we can greatly improve our quality of life by reducing our consumerist/materialist habits.

I just read a great little book on this topic that I got at the library called Lose 200 Pounds This Weekend (if you click on the image or the links it will take you to the Amazon page where you can get the Kindle edition for FREE).. If you need the motivation to get rid of stuff and remake not only your physical space but your health and happiness, I think you will find plenty of it in this book. It’s not a how-to book, it’s a how-come book. It will tell you WHY you should declutter but won’t really tell you how. For that I recommend The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which you can also get at the library or on Amazon.

Anyway,  Lose 200 Pounds This Weekend had a good comparison of what it means to have a high standard of living versus a high standard of luxury. From the book:

A High Standard of Living Is:

  • Freedom
  • Good health
  • High self-esteem
  • Being debt free
  • A stable family
  • A satisfying marriage

A High Standard of Luxury Is:

Having all the conveniences and comforts we think will eliminate effort and strain – those gadgets and extras of all kinds they keep coming up with and we keep accumulating.

Big difference, right? Personally, I think the high standard of luxury is a trap. You will never get to the finish line and you will never appreciate what you have because the whole point is the new, the missing, the unattainable. Yet that high standard of living can be had for a steal! All it takes is commitment to focusing on the things that really matter and bring high levels of return. Usually those things take time, effort, and intention, not money. They are things that will continue to pay you back for years to come and won’t lose their shine, their trendiness, or their cache a year after they have been purchased.

Lose 200 Pounds This Weekend is 16 years old and talks about concepts that have now been defined by neuroscience and psychology and can be found in many modern popular science books and articles. Clearly, before science took interest in habits, spending, and happiness these topics were still important and the behaviors were the same. So if you want to read how an insightful guy described things that today would be labeled “hedonic treadmill” or “choice architecture”, give this simple and down to earth book a few hours of your time and prepare to be inspired!