It’s not about how much you earn, it’s about how much you keep. Living the kinda minimal lifestyle means that we not only spend within our means, but we don’t spend just because we can. Spending is focused on what we need and not on what we want. For those of us that have gone through the purge and have chosen to live minimally, or kinda minimally, we understand this. Instead of living month to month, we eventually experience a growing bank account. Instead of our homes looking like a surplus store, we have surplus at the bank.
Looking back on my life I was definitely suffering from “keep up with the Jones’ syndrome”. Even as a kid, when a half dozen of my friends had a half dozen different things, I had to have each one of these things for myself. I felt that having these things made me cool. When something new was advertised on TV I had to be the first one with it, you know, to make me cool. Of course my folks were always the killjoy when they wouldn’t buy it for me, but I made up for that as an adult. When I had a job of my own nobody could tell me what I could or could not buy. I had computers, car stereos, motorcycles, and list goes on. I had all the cool stuff and could sometimes not pay my rent. I lived month to month, but I was cool. Do you think I was cool? Do you think people that have stuff are cool?
In 2014 I did the purge. At that time I canceled all cable TV subscription, except for commercial-free streaming. I don’t know if I will ever get over the “keeping up with the Jones’ syndrome”, but at least I am no longer bombarded with professional advertisers trying to sell me stuff. And yes, TV advertising is professional grade manipulation. Advertisers spend a lot of money to find out what makes you buy, and there is no escape, except for not watching.
Occasionally I splurge, but not often, such as recently when I bought a DJI Mavic Pro Drone. While the drone is nothing more than a toy, it does get me out of the house. I’ll throw it into my camelback pack, jump on the bicycle and go for a ride. I’ll find a park and fly my drone. When I decide to splurge the item must allow me to grow financially, or increase my quality of life. My bicycle allows me to get out and get some exercise, while the drone motivates me to do so.
Be careful if you have recently started to live minimally. Eventually you will have money in your bank account, and you will be tempted to spend it. Don’t break down in a moment of weakness. Don’t fall back into the trap where you were before. If you have to, put that money into a bank account that you cannot touch. If you have a 401K at work, start putting more money into it so you never see it. Can you live the same lifestyle if you put 25% of your paycheck into your retirement account? If so, do it, do it now if that’s a good choice for you. Oh, do yourself a huge favor and NEVER TOUCH YOUR RETIREMENT ACCOUNT UNTIL YOU RETIRE.
OK, good blog, a little advice and a little rant and rave.
If you struggled with this issue or can inspire others on this subject I would like to hear your story. Please comment below.