I Don't Therefore I Can

by Katy on October 12, 2008 · 3 comments


My husband is about to take a dream job that will result in a pay cut for the first year.

Am I worried?

Not in the slightest.

We know how to live on very little.

And it’s actually quite simple. It’s not about all the things we do, but rather all the thing we don’t do.

  • We don’t buy anything new. (I am part of The Compact, a buy nothing new movement.)
  • We don’t buy expensive presents. (Although I give great presents, but they usually only set me back a few dollars.)
  • We rarely eat out.
  • We don’t rent movies. (Libraries!)
  • We don’t have expensive hobbies.
  • We don’t buy a ton of stuff for the kids.
  • We don’t go on expensive vacations.
  • We don’t air condition the house.
  • We don’t spend money decorating the house.
  • We don’t entertain expensively.
  • We don’t pay for haircuts for the males in the household. (Me? I get a cheapo-cut 1-2 times per year.)
  • We don’t subscribe to magazines.
  • We don’t have cable TV.
  • We don’t purchase workplace lunches.

Sound grim?

Absolutely not!

We have everything we could ever possibly need, and then some! 

We watch DVD’s from the library, we eat delicious home cooked meals, entertain simply, shop at Goodwill or simply not shop at all.

Our life is rich. We don’t need to be.

If you’re having trouble living within your means, take it down a notch. Heck, take it down a dozen notches! Stop all the extra stuff, and you may find your life seems more relaxed, more sane, more in control, more happy. 

Less = more.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

alexis October 12, 2008 at 5:39 pm

Congratulations to your hubby! That’s great news!

This is such an important perspective you’re sharing, Katy! I’m sure you’re inspiring a lot of people. I know you’ve inspired me!

Keep up the great work! I don’t always take time to comment, but I’m still reading, and I appreciate your message!


Mrs Green October 13, 2008 at 1:42 am

Wonderful post; I too have a life that is full of riches because I don’t allow my ‘stuff’ to define me.
Hearty congrats to you and your husband; his life will be rich too once he begins his new job. how wonderful he is with such a supportive, loving and resourceful wife.
Give yourself a pat on the back too 🙂

Mrs G x


CanadianKate October 13, 2008 at 6:27 am

With the economic news (from 2007) I’ve been gearing us back expecting the work downturn that is now upon us. Our income for 2008 will be 1/3 of 2007 and 2009 may be even more grim. After the 2001 downturn we had basically no work for 24 months. This downturn could be deeper since it is worldwide (Asia and Europe were our major clients during the last downturn.)

Not only is my income down but looking at my investment account balance, my assets have decreased by 6 figures in the last month. Of course, that won’t be true unless I sell and lock in at the lower prices right now.

So why am I not jumping off my roof (or an appropriately higher building)? That certainly is a bleak outlook. Yet I’m feeling remarkably calm and even happy.

* My house is fully paid for.
* Our expenses are low.
* Over half of our assets were in ‘cash’ (investment certificates, as well as savings accounts) and I live in Canada, the country with the strongest bank system in the world.
* I don’t buy anything new (except for things like the solar hot water system we are putting in to reduce our operating costs and protect against power outages)
* I have low expectations. I don’t have fancy cars, house (mine is all vinyl flooring and laminate counter tops, 1980’s cupboards and finishes, no fancy decorating) and no sense of style (therefore no need to keep up with fashionable clothes. I don’t own a second property or even an RV or boat.

That explains why I’m calm. Why am I happy? Because the downturn will mean less travel and after 2 years of 6 months on the road, I’m ready to relax at home for a while.

Life is good. As my Dad used to say, “I’m on the right side of the grass.” So, like Katy, I focus only the riches in my life.


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