Doing more with less

Jacob - Austin, Texas
Entered on February 22, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in doing more with less. During a two year period in the Americorps service program I had the privilege of surviving on a government living stipend which is more commonly referred to as a barely living stipend. The small paychecks made us really, and I mean really, contemplate what we were going to spend our extra, say $7.23 on. I learned to prioritize what I considered important in life and my free time found me learning new trades that saved me money through self reliance. My eyes were opened to the insane amount of waste in our society almost entirely because I viewed that waste as a somewhat old or moldy year round Christmas. As my spending dwindled, life became less complicated and full of knowledge and experiences. I know I am writing this at a time of enormous hardship for many people, but I look back at what I learned through real life budgeting and am thankful for where I am today.

My brother-in-law has a sticker in his broken down vehicle that simplay states, “stay poor, stay pure.” While I don’t wish to stay poor I’m sill not in the position to donate money or goods to those who truly need it. But budgeting money also comes down to budgeting time and through my choice of public service jobs and after work activities I not only feel like I am contributing to society, but it makes me ever so thankful for my lot in life and respect those who are struggling through.

When I think about doing more with less I consider what less actually means. I always end up snowbally the word to encompass natural resources, money, space, anything that is not essential and in the end I am left with what I truly need. I have become accustomed to applying this belief of doing more with less to all my daily tasks, including the words used in conveying my beliefs in an essay.