Happiness is low overhead

April 19, 2015

“The key to eternal happiness is low overhead and no debt.”
—Lynda Barry

There are many reasons why I was able to become a full-time author when I did. I wrote a good book. (Or at least I think I did, though a few kind souls seem to agree.) I’ve worked hard, worked smart, learned a lot, and sacrificed. Being laid off certainly had something to do with it.

But if I had to point to one reason, and one that’s replicable by anyone, it’s this: low overhead.

Most people don’t realize how achievable a better life is. The key is minimizing how much money you need to earn each month, so you can spend less time doing work you’re not passionate about, and more time doing the things you love.

Fixed costs are a huge part of this. Mortgage/rent. Car payments. Student loan payments. Consumer debt. Expensive habits like eating out, not exercising, driving everywhere, not cooking most of your meals, and/or constantly buying new shit.

I don’t have those. My monthly expenses are health insurance, car insurance, a cell phone, and whatever food and water it takes to keep me alive. That’s it. I don’t even have an apartment—after Wage Slave Rebellion was published, I got rid of my place and have been traveling ever since. All of my belongings are in my parent’s attic, in a friend’s storage room, or in the trunk of my car.

This might sound aggressive to you. It is; it’s also something I’m only able to manage because I have remarkably kind friends and family, and because I don’t have a wife, children, or student loans (thanks, Mom and Dad!).

But I also only have one income. Maybe that’s not the case for you. What would happen if you lived in a smaller house? What if you cooked cheap, healthy meals more? What if you cut most of the expensive purchases out of your life that serve only to distract you, and fill that time with reading, outdoor activities, and fun conversations with your friends?

I’ll tell you what will happen: soon you’ll be spending less than you make. You’ll have money in the bank. That gives you options.

The less you need each month, the more freedom you’ll have. That means you can leave a job you got laid off from smiling—or better yet, you can tell a bad boss to fuck off, quitting knowing you have time to find something better, and don’t need to make much to stay afloat.

Credit goes to Austin Kleon for inspiring this post, though the truth is that I was primed for it by others. I’ll talk about them more soon. For now, I’ll leave you with this:

Low overhead + “do what you love” = a good life.

“I deserve nice things” + “do what you love” = a time bomb.

I’m living the good life. How about you?

As always, thank you for using my Amazon Affiliate link (info).

By Stephen W. Gee

Author of Wage Slave Rebellion, Freelance Heroics, and about two good blog posts out of a hundred.

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