Can I Live on Less?

Written by Karen Bryan

The question “can I live on less?” has been answered for me over the last couple of years. My husband took early retirement in late 2008 and I gave up my part-time day job in May 2009 to work full time on my travel website, Europe a la Carte.

live on less

Me working in our garden

I’d been working away on Europe a la Carte, initially a standard website, since 2002. I finally started to make some money after the Blog launched in 2006. I’d been toying with the idea of working full time on the site for some time. What finally prompted me to take the plunge was the fact that our twin sons were due to finish their university courses in June 2009. When one was offered a job, I felt that the timing was right to make the move and I ditched the day job.

Of course not having to financially support our sons any longer (our other son found a job in June 2009), lifted a huge burden from our household budget. The prospect of living on my husband’s pension and my self employment earnings was rather scary. Fortunately we’d already paid off our mortage, so wouldn’t have to cover rent or mortgage payments.

We did have to be very careful about spending initially and make cut backs like turning down the central heating thermostat a bit, cutting back on car usage and looking for bargains at the supermarket.

Financially, things have gone to plan with Europe a la Carte, as my aim was to replace my day job earnings within two years and I have exceeded that target. I’m still cautious though, as you can never be sure of your earnings when you’re self employed; you can’t assume your earnings will keep growing or even stay at the current level.

However, it’s not just about money, we also prefer our enjoy life more. I work from home and prefer being self employed online publisher to my previous job as a market research interviewer. We have flexibility and time and are able to savour things like a walk in the countryside on a weekday morning, lunch on the patio (weather permitting) and not having to get up at a specific time.

So yes, I can live on less money. We were prepared to make some financial sacrifices in order to achieve our desired lifestyle. It was a calculated financial gamble with the fall back option of me either going back to my previous day job or finding a local part-time job.