Purpose – the purpose of this paper is to present and discuss the transformation model living with less, for possible use in consumer behavior research and marketing research.design/methodology/approach – the model resulted from the phenomenological field research which was conducted among 15 voluntary and involuntary downshifters. The study used an experiential point of view, inquiring about concrete experiences and practices following a financial decrease of at least 20 percent.findings – results indicated a consistent pattern of change independent of voluntary or involuntary downshifting, or of the amount of reduction. The study also found that living with less was primarily a life matter instead of a purely financial matter: reorganizing expenses meant reorganizing life. The resulting transformation model is a prototypical reconstruction of this multi-layered change process.practical implications – the model may offer an interesting direction for future research, either applied, or theoretical. The detailed description of the seven stages and of the barriers and stimuli in the process could be used as starting points for consumer behavioral change in marketing research.social implications – results present fruitful insights to cope with the consequences of the economic crisis that hits growing numbers of consumers.originality/value – instead of focusing on the construction and reconstruction of personal lives through consumption, the research inquires into what happens when people are confronted with limited financial possibilities. Moreover, the issue is studied without a priori valorization, such as poverty or deprivation. This approach offers new theoretical perspectives.