Living on less

When you first start a business, you might be short on cash. Perhaps like me you’ve been making ends meet by budgeting and picking up bits of work here and there. If you’re working and looking to make the transition to being self employed this can also be a worrying time financially: starting up a business often means taking an initial drop in income. Whichever of these scenarios you are faced with, your response needs to be the same.  For a while you’re going to have to live on less.

That can be a pretty daunting prospect.  First, get clear about your own personal life goals. You might find, like me, that loads of material possessions are not top of your list. Despite that, achieving the life you dream of can still need some sacrifice along the way but I’ve found it to be very much worth it.

My story

Back at the beginning of my mumpreneur journey I was a stay at home mum.  My husband Alex worked as a bus driver on a modest wage.  We were both keen for me to spend at least a few years bringing up our daughter Erin and so we committed to living on less.  For almost three years we lived on his income alone.  No benefits, no savings, no rich parents to bail us out whenever we needed.

We survived that period with  a strong sense of purpose, some clever budgeting, and cutting back wherever we could. We learned together as a young couple (22 and 23) just how little we really needed to be happy.  I learned how to budget properly and threw myself into the ‘thrifty lifestyle’.  I even studied the topic, reading books and blogs on thrifty living.  I discovered how to be happy from the inside.  I know that sounds a little cheesey but when I look around I do see a lot of people chasing material posessions and other people’s dreams instead of looking inward to see what’s making them happy.

Fast forward to today. While I am not wealthy I *feel* rich because I’ve come from a place where I’ve had hardly anything.  It is all relative.  If you have no money and you find £10 in the street you feel rich.  If you have £100 in your pocket and you see £10 in the street you’re not going to feel as rich as the person who has nothing.

Taking a leap of faith

So going through a period of living on less should be embraced.  It’s very much part of the journey and you may learn things about yourself that are very helpful later on. You’ll also appreciate success so much more, when it comes.

If you listen to most successful entrepreneurs they’ll regale stories of poor childhoods and the day they ‘lost it all’.  One of the reasons they succeed is a lack of fear of losing it all.  If you know deep down that you can live on less and without all the ‘stuff’ you’re much more likely to feel that you can take the calculated risks to become successful, whether you risk is investing in your business or leaving employment.

Remember the saying ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’? At some point you’ll need to take some sort of leap of faith.

Come back next week for more tips from Erica on Living on Less. Find out more about Erica at

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