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Richiitis Life

By The Contender @The__Contender

Richiitis Life

Puilaurens Cathare Castle

I haven't posted for 3 whole months! Tut, Tut, Tut... 
  • Response to readers question - what have we been up to.
  • Considered selfishness - get our house in order
  • Richiitis in the west - wasting wealth
  • Ideas to control spending

Whats up?

In response to a readers question, on what our new lifestyle is like in the Sunny SE of France, here are a few things we have been up to:
  1. HEALTH - we have changed our diet to Vegan - after watching and reading up on the health benefits we decided to switch. We have only changed to Vegan at home. When we go to a party or eat out we just try to choose a healthy choice on the menu event if it is not Vegan.
    We are relaxed about this approach and enjoying exploring new recipes:
    1. The food is great and our veggie patch and fruit trees have started providing us with loads of tasty meals.
    2. We are definitely healthier. I can fit in to my old jeans \ more energy!
    3. Our monthly shop we believe has dropped from $550 to $440 for our family of 4. Fantastic - more free money for holidays and the house. Dairy and meat is expensive.
  2. WORK - We have been working hard on our grounds. 
    1. Cutting and splitting wood
    2. Installing a gravity water feed line from our natural spring to the vegetable patch and new poly tunnel. This has reduced our metered water consumption dramatically.
    3. We are in the process of hooking up the well to the house as well and can then feed one of the toilets and the utilities will well water.
    4. We are installing a solar off grid system. This will feed a few "eco" plug points in the house
      These reduced our monthly outlays by a modest $80 a month which can go straight to savings \ fun money.
      If we were to save and invest for the equivalent amonunt.... Before tax we would need ~ $94 invested at a return of 4% this would require $28,000 invested. We have spent ~ $2000, time and effort to set this up. 
  3. PLAY - holiday time in the SE of France
    1. We live in a tourist area full of outdoor swimming lakes and historical castles and market towns.
    2. Our garden is great! Loads of space to entertain and read in the deck chair overlooking the beautiful French countryside.
    3. Each market town has a festival in the summer from Flamenco dancing and Jazz to Pyrotechnic spectacles, wine and local food to name a few.
    4. Holidays are now a short drive to places such as the amazing city of Carcassonne, The mediterranean or Atlantic sea (3hrs in the car) or the Pyreneese Mountains and Spain (2-3 hrs)

Considerate Selfishness

I recently given a book written by Randy Gage where he talks about a form of considerate selfishness as being a good

Richiitis Life

Collioure Fortified Port on the Med - great resturants and beaches

thing??!! WHAT?
It's premise from what I could gather is you need to look after yourself first, do not be a burden on others. Once you are sorted then you can make better choices for the people around you, the community and the planet.
The TRiBe "selfish" approach allows us to be partially self sufficent. We use local resources (wind,sun ,wood and food). Have local holidays. It allows us not to be reliant on others to help us.
Selfishness allows me to write this blog. We can spend time to read, play with the kids, help them with their homework and hopefully pass on some real life skills.
We are free to allocate our time to what is needed from kids, parents, neighbours, garden, house and even start our own business.
If that is what "considered selfishness", compared to being overly reliant on a pay check, government, banks, debt, local shops and piped in utilities, we consider it to be a good thing.

Richiitis

This brings me to the point of today's post which I started penning around Christmas. The "considerate selfish" topic goes nicely with a look at our living standards in the West. Our large average income, compared to the rest of the world, gives us huge opportunities such as "Early Retirement" or spend it!
One of those spend it moments comes once a year - Crimbo??? It is summer holiday time just bear with me please.....
Christmas is a great example of how lucky we are. We go to parties, indulge in food and drink and filling our homes with presents. Did you have a good time? Now here we are in summer time and splashing out on air travel holidays.
“Britons 'to spend £868 on Christmas
Overall people will spend an average of £178.57 (~$270) on food and drink, £29.59 (~$45) on decorations and accessories and £17.02 (~$25) on Christmas cards and postage.
Two-thirds of people expect to pay for the cost of Christmas using savings and 9% said they would use a credit card or loan, but 19% of people admitted they failed to budget for the festive season.”

Now let’s consider our real situation in the west. Stand back and look at us from the eyes of the rest of the planet.
Richiitis Lifegivewell source 
“New Data Show 1.4 Billion Live On Less Than US$1.25 A Day”

So that £868 ($1300) spent on Christmas can pay for almost 3 people in the developing world for a whole Year (1300/456 = 2.85)!

There are 60 million UK residents. Let’s assume half are spending this money. That is 90 million people fed clothed and sheltered in the developed world for a year if we gave or Christmas money away….
Looking at us through the eyes of all those people living on less than 1$ a day we must seem unreal. I suppose most don’t know but if they did what would they think?
Just look at the graph above , the life satisfaction index for the Rich world flattens out at 7. This equates to around $30,000 of income per year for the west. People in countries where income is $10,000 dollars or less are just as happy.
Are we spending and wasting too much?

Spoilt TRiBe

In my previous post I outlined our current spending in the region of $21,600 per year (for 4 of us) a whopping $18,600 more than a working couple from Vietnam! What does that extra income give our TRiBe?
What we consider important goods and services that make our lives much easier. We have lots of machine workers such as the washing machine, taxes (roads, bins, police etc.), motorised transport, access to good education and health care. (around $10,000)
We can easly buy food from around the world at a cost of around $6,600 per year. The rest is entertainment, housing decoration and holidays (around $4,800). Hardly necessities.
We try to be frugal... In perspective even if we cut down some of our discretionary spending it is still +100's percent higher than the majority of the planet.

Being thankful for our lifestyle

Yet being “frugal” in Western speak in this day and age still relates to a much higher standard of living still.
All of the extras are not really needed, they are indulgences and sugar highs. Losing them would make little to no difference to our Life Satisfaction.
We need to “Count our Chickens”, “Reflect on how lucky we are” and “understand things could be much, much worse” than worry about trivial things.
Living simpler from food to entertainment makes a lot of sense to our well being and contentment. Taking away temptations and yearnings are be good for us in the long run. If we stand back and have a good look at ourselves isn’t it obvious eating ourselves to death is just plain stupid?
“I’m looking at the man in the mirror” – Michael Jackson

Work too hard for too long, to pay for more stuff,  stresses ourselves and damages health.
Why live in a polluted environment. Why consume junk cluttering and over stimulating and ploouting yourself. Utimately this impacts everyone around us. It has a resourc, energy, transport and ultimate disposal cost.
Presents are meant to be an exception to the norm. Treats are treats because they are infrequent. Entertainment is more stimulating when it is new, infrequent and different.
This is why delayed gratification is MORE SATISFYING and makes you HAPPIER.
Being healthier = MORE ENERGY to do interesting and fun stuff enriching our lives.
So if we in the west can stop acting like spoilt brats perhaps we would all be happier and healthier instead of consuming ourselves into debt, unhappiness and early death?

Ideas to simplify, be frugal save and be healthy

  • Track all your spending and keep supermarket receipts
  • Each month calculate what you have spent on key areas such as food, transport, entertainment then CRITISISE you’re spending.
    • Did the item really make a difference to you happiness? (e.g. could the film be rented instead of bought?)
    • Was the spending really necessary? (e.g. could you have walked instead of taking the car)
  • Look in detail at what you have spent of food – how much of it is actually healthy? – Try to choose the foods that are good for you and go shopping with a list. Only go food shopping after you have had a filling meal.Consider a whole foods diet as it has been identified as a way to prevent chronic diseases (see the Book The China Study and film Forks over Knives) 
  •  If you can live on less you can retire on less - be a considerate selfish person and go for early retirement. Living on less means 
    • you need less saved money for retirement or 
    • a lower return on more environmental friendly income
    • It opens the opportunity to work for a much lower income, working from home or less hours. 
    • Perhaps working for yourself on a planet or human friendly business idea

Try considered selfishness today??!!:)
Peace, prosperity and happiness
CoNTeNDeR
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