Consuming less is all about improving quality of life—for ourselves as well as for the planet. It doesn’t require a complete conversion to minimalism or living off the grid! All it requires are incremental changes and lifestyle choices that transform how we think about buying and consuming everyday items.
Studies have shown, across multiple countries and cultures, that owning less clutter and being more intentional with our purchases lowers stress and frees us to practice gratitude more frequently.
Like all new habits, learning to consume less will take planning and thought as we change the way we think, spend money, and value items.
In terms of real estate, “sweat equity” is understood as value-enhancing improvements made by homeowners. These improvements might be made to increase the immediate value of the home for re-sale, or to increase the usability, enjoyability, and value of the home to the owners as they live there.
Investing sweat equity into a home is a great option for anyone who can’t afford a more updated, expensive home but has the time and know-how, or willingness to learn, to make value-added improvements.
Does this mean you need to take out a large loan to make a substantial upgrade? Not at all! Simple, lower-cost but high-effort improvements offer the highest return on investment.
Cost v. Benefit
Every decision we make, whether we realize it or not, involves doing a quick cost-benefit analysis: is this thing I’m about to do or buy worth my time, money, or effort? In other words, is the cost worth the benefit?
The process is actually pretty intuitive. But it can be hard to avoid the sometimes-misleading influences of marketing and our own emotions. Mastering this process can make us wiser shoppers who are less likely to waste our money, make bad investments, and regret we ever opened our wallets.