Simple, not Cheap

Simple, not CheapI’m not asking you to be cheap – and I forgive you if you thought I was.

I forgive you if, seeing all of the money saving tips on our site, you thought I was just asking you to save your pennies.

So what am I asking you to do exactly?

I’m asking you to Enjoy Life More for Less, by living life on your own terms and designing your life and your business to be much more of what you want… and much less of what you don’t.

Enjoy Life More For Less

Anyone who has been with Life’s Too Good for a while will know that for a long time this was our tagline. I’ll tell you more about why we changed that shortly, but it is still very much our philosophy to Enjoy Life More For Less.

What do I mean by ‘Enjoy Life More For Less’?

To tell you, I’m going to look at some taglines we could have had and why they’re not quite right. I think that will be the easiest way to explain. If you already know, you have my express permission to skip the next 2 headings and move on to the WHY? (very important) where I’m going to tell you why I’m asking you to consider ‘Enjoying Life More for Less’.

Alternative Taglines

  1. “Enjoy Life More. Pay Less” – I could have made our tagline: ‘Enjoy Life More. Pay Less.’ I really like it. It’s much more catchy than ‘Enjoy Life More For Less’. BUT it’s not quite right. It’s not about less money (and as stated above, certainly not about being cheap). Getting more for less could also be about getting better results for less effort. It could mean enjoying life more with less investment whether in terms of making better use of your time or your money (or both).
  2. “Get More Out Of Life” – Getting more out of life is right up our street. There are lots of articles and resources on this site that will help you get more out of life. In MANY ways. SO this would make a good tagline apart from the fact it’s missing something – we want you to get more out of life for less.
  3. “Live The Life Of Your Dreams” – Too aspirational and vague. Though entirely relevant. You will almost certainly get closer to living the life of your dreams by following the content we provide via this website.
  4. “Design The Life You Want” – Probably the closest yet. A bit like enjoy life more (which is most likely the reason you would want to design the life you want), but also missing the ‘for less’ part.

Why Am I Telling You This?

Well, as I think I describe in our book, To The Country We Go and in various earlier articles on our site, this site began as an experiment. So the main reason is because we’re doing it – i.e. we are enjoying life more for less. Much more (fun, return, financial reward, freedom), and for much less (effort, stress, risk, time & money).

It’s no longer just an experiment. The experiment part is still there but it’s no longer the main focus. That’s because where I started with the 2 questions and a goal:

1) Can I build a website
2) How easy is it to make money using adsense on a website

Old Goal: To learn as much as possible about the internet, online marketing and building websites

The questions are largely answered and the goal has changed:

1) Yes I can build a website (and in the process switched platforms from Google SItes to WordPress)
2) It’s very easy to make money with adsense, and I did for some time on this site, but I ditched that because it became a distraction and in my view ‘cheapened’ the site

New Goal: To provide something of real value by integrating my coaching and ‘lifestyle design’ experience to help others via this site

So now we get to the why. To elaborate on that last, revised goal just a little bit – there are a few things I’ve learned on my journey. It comes down to this. You can design a better life for yourself and those close to you. First you have to decide what that looks like. Then you need to make it happen. Making it happen requires some courage and a willingness to navigate obstacles (whether financial or otherwise – for me the biggest obstacle was, and to a certain extent still is – psychological).

You can design a better life for yourself and those close to you.

These things I should be able to help you with. Not only that, I want to help you with them, because I can, because it’s convenient for me to do so, and because I find it interesting. Fascinating even.

Why We Changed Our Tagline

You’ve probably guessed if you read the section above but as the direction of the site has changed from being an experiment to being being more about helping people, the tagline has changed accordingly to try and be a little bit clearer about exactly how we can offer that help.

Simple, Not Cheap

Back to the title of the article.

This website has plenty of articles promoting living a simpler life. That’s because we do live a simple life and we love it.

I have already written a little about how to simplify your life in 8 Ways to Simplify Your Life, though to be honest there’s much more to it than I can even begin to describe in a single article. We also have plenty of articles on slowing down and Mindfulness, all worth a read if you have time.

It’s now a few years after I completely changed my life (and my family’s life too). In fact, this is no longer a change of life, this now is our life. It is much simpler but we also live with much more freedom, we have much more time, we do what we like, and we like what we do.

It just occurred to me that given all of the money saving tips on the site you might think that our goal with this site is to help you be more frugal. It’s not. That’s why we call that section get more for less. My goal with that part of the site is to get you a better return – to allow you to be more efficient with your money.

Get More For Less (i.e. not Get Less)

In the Get More For Less section of this site we have over 40 Money Saving Tips. As I mentioned above, you’d therefore be forgiven for thinking that we’ve ‘gone cheap’ – far from it. We (meaning my immediate family and I) never compromise quality but we don’t like wasting money either and this section is all about getting more for your money and being more efficient. In short, getting a better return – any rich investor would like that idea. This is why we called the section ‘Get More For Less’ rather than ‘Money Saving Tips’ – because it’s all about getting a better return for your investment.

Some comparisons:

We recently finished enjoying a few weeks in the Alps – a nice long skiing holiday. On the way back we visited the Olympic village in London and watched a pre-2012 Olympics world championship diving competition. So we’re not exactly skrimping and saving all of the time. Here are some comparisons which hopefully explain the chasm of difference between Simple and Cheap.

Cheap: We can’t afford a skiing holiday
Simple: Go where we know and love (the Alps) rather than a more expensive (read over-priced) ski resort

Cheap: We can’t afford to go to the Olympics / it’s too expensive
Simple: Let’s enjoy an event with a lot of the same competitors at the same venue, but without the annoying crowds, without the overpriced transport and without the overpriced accomodation by watching one of the preparation events. We can then still enjoy watching all of the Olympics on TV where we will see more anyway including the place we’ve already been.

Cheap: We can’t afford 2 cars
Simple: A car is for getting from A to B so I’ll get rid of my Alfa and downsize my car to get a more basic, mechanical car which will be more fun and at the same time I can play around with, learn more about cars and have a go at servicing myself.

Cheap: We can’t afford the gym, it’s too expensive
Simple: Cancel the gym subscription because it is not a good return for our money – instead invest our time and money in what we want to do, when we want to do it (rather than ongoing monthly charges for a gym we hardly used) – i.e. Pay as we go instead

Cheap: Eat rubbish, poor quality food but in large quantities because it’s cheap
SImple: Eat really good quality, healthy food – home cooked to a better standard than most restaurants could deliver. Make fantastic meals and enjoy them – in moderate (healthy) quantities.

I could go on and list hundreds of these comparisons but I think I’ll stop in the hope that you’ve probably got the point by now (if not, please have a browse around our site and you’ll get the idea ;-))

As a side note, Simple often does work out cheaper, but that’s an added bonus. Our goal is not to be cheaper, it’s to be more efficient (in terms of what we want to get out of life – our ‘return‘).

Convinced yet?

OK how are we doing? Are you convinced yet? If some of these things seem trivial, some of them are. It’s the totality of everything together and the concepts behind some of this things that I want you to consider. Moving to the country is not for everyone – but you don’t have to move to the country to simplify your life. Downsizing your car is not for everyone. Some people love to drive a big car and pollute the environment (kidding, sorry, couldn’t resist). Drink less overpriced coffee may seem obvious and I’m telling you nothing there that every other money saving site might tell you – but remember it’s not just about saving money.

Read the advice on this site and apply the things that work for you. If you read a number of the articles, you will find things that apply to your life and make a difference (ideally small tweaks, that make a huge difference – I can give you some really cringeworthy business terms for those by the way) – apply those.

So If you’re convinced, raise your hand. OK I can’t see you and I don’t have one of those raise your hand buttons like in those webinar thingys – so please just leave a comment. That is what’s known as a call to action by the way and is traditionally supposed to be at the end of the post/article – but I trust you not to forget ;-).

OK OK OK. Just in case you want to be a tough audience, here are a few more benefits to simplifying your life (I could list lots of these too by the way but I’m going to stick to 5 because I really really think you should be convinced by now)…

5 Key Benefits of Simple, not Cheap

  1. Who Wouldn’t Want To Enjoy Life More For Less? – Simplify your life, get clear on what you want out of life and erase the rest. This alone means you will begin to enjoy life more for less. Who Wouldn’t want to enjoy life more for less? You get to enjoy life more = more time, more fun, more money – more of whatever it is you’re looking for for less = less effort, less risk, less stress, less cost. Who wouldn’t want that? There are many many ways to achieve this. Stick with me and we’ll work out the best ones for you too.
  2. Less To Worry About – Removing things you don’t need, whether material, financial, political, social, environmental or any other – means you have less things to worry about. Less to worry about means a happier you. Happier you means better life, better results, more energy, more time…
  3. Wow – What a Tidy House – Have you ever seen a minimalists house? They are always so tidy. Get rid of things you don’t need (we’re talking about physical things now by the way) and you will have a much tidier place. Fdor those of you into Feng Shui, you can re-arrange your furniture to point in whatever direction you want without bumping into things.
  4. It’s Not Just Physical – OK, now we’re feeling better about clearing things out. We have removed the clutter. We feel better. That’s right, it’s not just physical, we actually feel much better. We have more mental freedom. More space in our minds to think about the things that truly matter. Thinking about what to do with all of the junk in the garage took time and energy. Now all that stuff you never would have used anyway has gone, there is nothing to think about. What do you want to think about instead?
  5. Better decisions – It gets easier. It is tough at first to decide what you need and what you don’t. Once you learn how to prioritise what’s important to you, you will continue to make better choices in life. When you have an optimised life in terms of your possessions, use of your time, finances etc you won’t want to ‘spoil’ that and you will naturally get better at optimising your life for the better.

Questions and Actions

OK remember the ‘call to action’? Well this is it. Because of the nature of this particular article I actually want to ask you a few things, some quite simple and some a little deeper. Respond to whatever works for you. By the way, for anyone reading this who would like to leave a comment but doesn’t because they don’t like to give their name or email address, that’s fine but the comment is only left here – it doesn’t put you on any list (though I’d love you to be on our list if you’re interested – go here to learn more about that) or share any of your details in any way. It’s just the wordpress commenting system, your comment just stays on this page, nowhere else and the email address is used for validation, nothing else. It just occurred to me that maybe lots of people don’t realise this – if you still don’t want to comment, that’s absolutely fine – just thought you should know what commenting (as opposed to putting your name on a list) means – for this or any other wordpress site. If this is confusing and you have any doubts, my advice would be, if in doubt, don’t give your name.

I digressed a little there, didn’t I?

OK here is what I want you to do:

  • Leave a simple comment, literally ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to answer the question ‘Are you convinced?’ above
  • Think about the question: “What could I do to remove some of the clutter from my life?”
  • Do you have anything on your mind at the moment that’s really bothering you? If it could help to get this off your chest, share this below or if you’d prefer privately using our contact form.
  • Share your thoughts about the topic in general… do you have anything to add?


Simple, not Cheap — 14 Comments

  1. I agree and Nikki my wife definitely agrees. We could have got a near voyager for thousands, instead we got one for 100’s. Machines have Hugh amount of residual value, far more than the actual price we pay. I like things like the iPhone iPad, I just have some patience and wait for newness to die down, the price will be a lot less. We have to fight the urge to have the latest and the greatest which come at a high price. So high people get into debt to have it!

    • Thanks Ev,

      I couldn’t agree more – waiting for the newness to die down if you can manage it is definitely worth it. Technology is so amazing these days and moving so fast that even buying yesterday’s product you still get something amazing for an unbelievable price rather than paying something ridiculous. I just bought my daughter a flipcam for £50 for example and it’s awesome – but just because it’s a model that’s now a few years old – still HD, still very easy to use, just not the latest and therefore not at a premium price.

      Thanks for the comment!

      a bientôt,

  2. I never knew that there is a big difference between the two. Simple is said to be slight and cheap is more. Hey, I love this post as it helps me on their differences.

    • There really is – and it’s a difference in mindset as much as anything,

      feeling ‘cheap’ can really be a problem but it doesn’t have to be that way (and you still get to save money but have really great stuff – just less of it ;-)),

      glad you liked it (this small post is quite fundamentally what my whole site is about really),


  3. I think you make a great point about the differences between living cheaply and living simply. While similar in some ways, they do have some big differences. I like this post for pointing out those differences. The examples you gave were especially good illustrations. You can count me as convinced then.

    When it comes to living simply instead of living cheaply, I think I best do that when I’m traveling. I’ve cut out some of the more unnecessary expenses that don’t add much value to my trips in order to make sure I have enough money left over for my next one. For instance, I’ll stay in hostels with little amenities for simpler way of traveling. Saves me money on stuff I really don’t need anyways.

    • You’re absolutely right Steve and I’m glad you liked the article.

      Travel is the perfect example where keeping things simple really pays off.

      Plus not to labor the point, when you do keep things simple and cut out all excess, it means the things you do invest in you can really invest in, both in terms of buying quality if you need to and enjoying, appreciating and taking care of those things.

  4. Thanks! I think at this point in my life I’m still at ‘cheap’. Although I am and have always tried to achieve ‘simple’. There’s a fine line between the two.

    • Hi Sabrina,

      Thanks so much for stopping by & commenting!

      … and you’re right there is sometimes a fine line between the two. For me, simple always feels right – the savings you make by living simply are made by improving your life rather than feeling that you’re missing out on things because you can’t afford them or have to. You’re absolutely right though – sometimes this is a fine line.

      I like to think of it as cutting out waste or excess. Then I feel really really good about it, mentally even more than financially.

      take care & best wishes,

  5. Great Article Alan,
    The difference between cheap and simple. Yes yes yes of course i agree.
    You give some good examples of experiencing life at a lower cost. Life is too short to NOT experience things because you want to be cheap..
    It’s one of the things i tell people about moving abroad. We chose Marseille because of the affordable cost of living but still can experience the rest of Europe and live our lives. But…. i think you have to be in the right state of mind to accept this kind of paramount shift in thinking. It’s not for everyone. I know my friends back home would die without their porsches and bmw’s and country club memberships but yet they envy the fact that we are living abroad. You can’t always have it all. I digress.

    • I love it when you comment Annie – it’s like you read my mind!

      I could have given 100 more examples and I thought it might make for an interesting post just having lots and lots and lots and lots of examples… but then they’re all over the site and I just wanted to post the article in the end as I had other things I wanted to write.

      Aaaaaanyways, I have the same questions from old colleagues and friends, they think somehow that I will ‘grow out of it’ – like my new life in the countryside is not something serious. My little car, walks in the countryside etc are all scoffed at occasionally by my some of our old friends in London but then when I mention TOTAL FREEDOM and they have to go to the same old job the next day, they’re envious. You’re right, you can’t have it all but I have to honestly say some of the luxuries (which in a lot of cases I now see as ‘excesses’) I don’t think I’ll ever really miss.

      I choose life … Nature … FREEDOM!!


  6. I love your posts about money saving and living it cheap. Any extra cash never hurt any body. Yes, I am convinced, we could do with a lot of decluttering. Sometimes we bring in things and we never use them and that is where the problem starts, though we don’t realize it then. I loved the comparison of cheap and simple. Make so much sense.

    • Hmmm – thanks. Though you kind of raised the very thing I’m concerned about and the reason I wrote this post.

      Cheap is OK as long as it’s concerned with getting a better deal.

      Cheap is not OK if you feel cheap, feel you have to be cheap or if it compromises your quality of life.

      Simple is better than cheap (and happens to work out cheaper anyway).

      • There is huge difference between simple and cheap. Simple saves money and helps you grow; but cheap actually makes living difficult. I remember a neighbor was was financially well but still cheap. She was over 50 and had bad knees but insisted on walking long distances to save on my car money. Though small walks was recommended for her; she walked way too much for groceries and all. She actually had a lot of knee trouble later on which restricted her movement highly. That was how cheap lead to difficulty.

        • Sooooooo right Hajra,

          The story about the financially well but still cheap woman makes me laugh – I have a couple of relatives like that.

          At the end of the day, health is most important – unfortunately with this type of people, they start to put up the money they should have been long ago when it’s too late (health-wise).

          Great example Hajra, thanks for the comment & apologies for taking so long to reply…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *