When I say the lesser option, I’m talking about the option that provides you joy without the extravagance in a way that fulfills a desire or need in a more cost-effective way. Its the option that is chosen with the intent of you throwing yourself completely into encouraging you to be more grateful for the simpler things in life. In many circumstances, there’s usually a lesser option.
I’m purposefully not using “cheaper option” here because that’s not the vibe I’m going for. However, bonus points because when choosing the lesser option, that’s usually the case. Most importantly, I’m talking about sacrifice or lesser value. Choosing a lesser option is only the first part. The second option is embracing the choice fully and being grateful for it.
Allow me to provide some examples in the remainder of the article and tie it all together.
The Lesser Option
Think of the lesser option more as a value-based conversation you must have with yourself. Is what you have or what you’re doing adding value to your life? Or are you following what society tells you provides value to your life? The lesser option exercise is one that you can use in many areas. Heres a few to get your brain working.
- 18 holes vs. driving range – Less time, more deliberate practice, enjoy yourself. That way the next time you play 18, you won’t suck your way through the round which leaves you feeling like golf is a waste of money.
- Airbnb single rooms vs. private houses – Meet the host, save your money, and embrace connection. If you’re only going to be there a short amount of time or just to sleep, what does it matter?
- 1 night vs 2 night stays – Stay Friday night somewhere, spend all day Saturday at the place, then come home at night to sleep in your nice warm bed with a full Sunday ahead of you.
- Camping vs. hotel – If you think you’ll camp more often if you had the gear, use the $140 you’d spend on one hotel night towards getting the needed stuff. Think about all of the sweet camping stuff you could get with just two nights at a hotel you’re only sleeping in.
- Library vs. Amazon – How amazing are libraries!? You can get pretty much any book you want if you’re living in a decent size city. And if fiction is more your jam, then chances are you’re probably not going to reread it.
- Netflix, Pandora/Spotify, MLB.TV (group share), and Audible all combined vs. cable – If you are paying a lot for Cable TV this day and age, you might reconsider. You could get many different things for the same price as cable? Are you really getting value? Lesser here means more fun stuff.
- Multiple sweatshirts vs. one that really lights you up – My Patagonia sweatshirt. Enough said.
- Drive vs. fly – Tricky business. Don’t forget to value your time vs. money. But, you might find a way to make this better such as hitting up multiple places along the way. And by bringing your dog.
- Make a gift vs. buying one – A heartfelt letter has significantly more impact than a $50 gift card or writing happy birthday on that person’s Facebook.
- A 2 bedroom apartment vs. 1 bedroom – How many visitors will you really have? This is your chance to minimize the stuff you have in your life. Think about your bigger goals and how making the sacrifice is setting you up beautifully later.
- A night in with your significant other vs. fancy dinner – Talk about your dreams and the life you could build together. Or skip a fancy dinner and have this discussion over happy hour.
- Family time vs. meeting up with old friends – Family is forever. And if you live far away, the number of times spent together are fewer than you think.
I’m not suggesting that you nickel and dime your way through experiences and purchases. Never compromise your values finding the lesser option.
Your turn. I invite you to take a step back and ask yourself, where in my life has my need for extravagance led me astray? Have I had moments of realization that I would have been happy with something less grand or fancy or new? When in my life have I intentionally chosen the lesser option and experienced greater value and happiness of said experience or object?
If you’re like me, you want a BIG life with sometimes grand options. While the lesser option doesn’t have to be forever, it’s been extremely helpful in our financial life. More importantly, its helped me become a better person in the process of becoming debt-free because the lesser option is rooted in gratitude, simplicity, intention, and following my values.
When you intentionally choose lesser options, you become more grateful for what you have and recognize that your best life doesn’t require extravagant things. You choose to see the best in what you have rather than thinking about what you’re sacrificing. Even better, you’ll notice that when you add these small luxuries (that you’ve taken for granted) back into your life, you’ll feel that newness or excitement again. You realize that you didn’t really need that much to be happy after all.
After all, the simplest things in life are the most extraordinary. And only the wise can see them.