Why Practicing Poverty Can Be a Smart Move

Why Practicing Poverty Can Be a Smart Move

Why Practicing Poverty Can Be a Smart Move

In our modern society, deliberately living with less might seem counterintuitive. People have strived for more comfort, convenience, and luxury throughout human evolution. However, practicing poverty, or living simply and frugally before you are forced to, can offer many benefits and prepare you for uncertain times.

Here’s why it might be worth considering.

Why Practicing Poverty is Overlooked

Most people don’t want to consider practicing poverty because it seems like a step backward.

Here are some common reasons why this concept is often dismissed:

  1. Cultural Norms: Society often equates success with material wealth and abundance. Choosing to live with less can feel like going against the grain. Only spiritual zealots chose voluntary poverty.
  2. Comfort and Convenience: Modern life is filled with comforts that make daily living easier. Any kid with a smart phone and $200 sneakers has luxury beyond what kings and queens had historically. Giving these up voluntarily can seem unnecessary and uncomfortable.
  3. Stigma and Perception: Poverty is associated with a stigma. Choosing to live frugally might be misunderstood as not being successful or capable. Many people look outside of themselves to define success.
  4. Lack of Awareness: Many people haven’t experienced genuine hardship, so preparing for tough times might not seem relevant. My parents and grandparents told me stories from the Great Depression about genuine hardship in rural North Carolina. At Christmas, a child might have been lucky to receive a roll of caps for a cap pistol or an orange as his gift.
  5. Fear of Deprivation: The idea of intentionally depriving oneself can be daunting. People fear missing out on enjoyment and pleasure. Social media has used fake celebrity lifestyles to elevate the desires of everyday people.

The Benefits of Practicing Poverty

Despite these reasons, there are significant advantages to voluntarily adopting a simpler lifestyle. Here are some benefits to consider:

  • Financial Security: Living frugally helps you save more money, which can be a crucial buffer in times of economic instability.
  • Resilience and Adaptability: Practicing poverty builds resilience. You learn to adapt and thrive with less, making you better prepared for any future hardships.
  • Reduced Stress: A more uncomplicated life often means fewer things to worry about. Lower expenses can lead to less financial stress and more peace of mind. Every few months, strip out useless subscriptions for unneeded goods and services.
  • Enhanced Creativity: With fewer resources, you become more creative in solving problems and finding joy in non-material things.
  • Environmental Impact: Consuming less reduces your ecological footprint, contributing to a more sustainable world. Remember, you can’t change the world but can improve your personal environment. It feels good not to waste the Earth’s bounty.
  • Stronger Relationships: By focusing less on material possessions, you can invest more time and energy in building meaningful relationships.
  • Personal Growth: Facing and overcoming the discomfort of living with less can lead to significant personal growth and a greater appreciation for what you have. Gratitude calms the spirit.

How to Practice Poverty

If you’re intrigued by the idea of practicing poverty, here are a few steps to get you started:

  • Assess Your Needs: Identify what is essential for your well-being and what is simply a luxury.
  • Budget Wisely: Create a budget focusing on saving and minimizing unnecessary expenses.
  • Declutter: Get rid of items you don’t need. Sell them or give them away. Embrace a minimalist lifestyle.
  • Learn New Skills: Develop skills that can help you be more self-sufficient, such as cooking, gardening, or repairing things.
  • Find Free or Low-Cost Entertainment: Discover joy in activities that don’t require spending money, like hiking, reading, or spending time with loved ones. Walking 10,000 steps a day will help you stay healthy mentally and physically.
  • Reflect on Gratitude: Regularly remind yourself of the non-material blessings in your life.


Practicing poverty is not about deprivation; it’s about empowerment. It’s a proactive approach to living that prepares you for future uncertainties while enriching your life in unexpected ways. By embracing simplicity, you can discover a more resilient, creative, and fulfilling way of living. So, consider trying it—you might find that less truly is more.


Charles Lamm

Transitioning from my career as a lawyer, I've adopted a minimalist lifestyle and delved into the digital world, writing ebooks and reestablishing my online identity, reigniting my love for ceaseless traveling.

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