04/17/2015 04:18 pm ET Updated Jun 17, 2015

How I Got 'Rich'


I promise that I am not trying to dupe you with the title of this entry. I am not here to give you a get-rich-quick scheme or investment advice. I'm here to tell you how I personally got rich, and it's easier than I ever thought.

Let me first explain the massive shift in thinking that brought me to this new kind of wealth. For years I followed what most people believed were the symbols of wealth; a "good" job, nice clothes, a nice car, a big home. I thought that wealth was defined by having all the material trappings that one sees on TV when they look at celebrities and others who had "made it."

As I started to get older and started examining my life, I began to realize that while I had some of those material symbols of wealth, I didn't "feel" wealthy. In fact, I was unhappy and unhealthy and felt like I had no purpose in life. But hey -- I was driving a nice car!

I had always followed blogs about minimalism and tiny houses and was intrigued by the idea of downsizing and living with less. This is how I became rich. I became rich by keeping my wants few.

A week ago, I downsized, I got rid of all the items that weren't absolutely necessary for daily living or didn't bring me utter joy, and I moved to a tiny little place at the beach. To live at the beach was a lifelong dream of mine, and by scaling down, I was able to afford the move.

Now, when I look around my new space, I see only the items that I love and need. I no longer covet "stuff," in all its various forms. Most of my entertainment is free. I walk or run on the beach, watch the sunrise and sunset, and have found the heaven that is known as the free library!

Without room in my new place, I no longer stare longingly at dresses in shop windows, jewelry at the department store, or household accessories at discount places; there is simply "no room at the inn" for such things.

I've scaled down in every possible sense of the word and this has allowed me to quit my soul-sucking "day job" and run two business full-time, while still leaving me time to explore volunteer opportunities that don't pay in cash, but pay in all the feeling good you can imagine.

Without all the clutter at home, I've found that I've reduced the clutter in my brain as well. Long walks give me time to think and create. I now have time to enjoy life, instead of spending my time trying to maintain it. I have found Holy Grail of wealth which is health; that is, my mental health.

There is no more "keeping up with the Joneses;" and no more comparing my suit to the one my coworker is wearing. There is no more worrying about getting the best table at the best restaurant to impress some random client. There is no more "fluff" in my life.

And all this has made me rich. I am now rich in experience. I am rich in health and happiness. And yes, while I may not be financially rich by most modern day standards, my new lifestyle is saving me money.

Not ready to sell all your stuff and move to the beach? I get that. But there are still ways that you can get rich too.

• Get rid of all the unnecessary stuff, and believe me a lot of it is unnecessary. Physically go through your possessions and get rid of anything that doesn't serve a functional purpose or anything that doesn't bring you absolute joy.

• Get rid of the drama. You will experience a richness of extra time and reduced stress and happiness by weeding out the people in your life that bring drama with them wherever they go. Can't completely axe the Debbie Downers? At least make an effort to spend less time with them.

• Stop comparing what you have/don't have to what others have/don't have. Life is not a competition. No one cares what kind of car you drive or if your Prada bag is from last season. And if your friends do care about these material things, it's time to upgrade your friends.

• Practice gratitude. Instead of focusing on what you don't have, try focusing on what you do have. When I started to be truly appreciative of all that I have I started to feel richer inside. I realized how much I had to be grateful for and how many things I actually possess.

• Measure the things that money can't buy. Health, good relationships, the gift of time, and a sense of peace and purpose cannot be bought. It is in these things where your richness will truly be realized.

Freeing yourself from the material things and the need to keep up the appearance of wealth is as liberating a feeling as I've ever felt before and has helped me feel like the richest woman in the world. I hope you'll soon be able to get rich too!