Everywhere we turn, we are told to consume. New gadgets, new clothes and new cars are coming out constantly.
Do you really need to buy all that new stuff to be happy? Is it something you really need or are you just doing it because you don’t know what else to do?
I have to admit. Having the latest gadgets is cool, but I also realize that it is largely unnecessary and something I’m going to grow tired of within a few weeks.
Realizing that I can consume radically small amount and be happy has tremendously increased my freedom, because I no longer have to earn a lot of money to support my spending habits.
I was never a big spender, and I’ve always enjoyed saving. Lately I’ve taken it to an extreme. My girlfriend and I don’t eat out, eat meat, buy gadgets or even clothes regularly.
We love it.
I value my freedom more than buying stuff, which is why I enjoy living this lifestyle. I don’t have to have a huge income. I can live anywhere and I can take a vacation when I want because of my minimalistic lifestyle.
I may very well change my lifestyle in the future, but this is how I am living now. Just the realization that I do not have to do what everyone else does is exhilarating.
In order to consume less, I’ve had to develop my awareness and become more aware of my thoughts.
Whenever I feel the urge to buy something big, like a new laptop, I stop, breathe and observe. Why do I want one? Do I need one? Would it really make me happy?
Stopping and asking myself these simple questions will almost always help me realize that I don’t need this stuff and I wouldn’t be happy with a new laptop for more than a few weeks.
Sure, a new laptop would be nice, but it would quickly become commonplace and my happiness level would default to where it was before my purchase.
Studies have even proven that those who win the lottery are happier for a while after their big win, but within a year they’ll be back to their same old self. All of this has made me realize: happiness doesn’t come from things, it comes from inside of me.
This does not mean you shouldn’t consume. I love consuming, but only when it doesn’t get in the way of me living my life the way I want to live it.
Getting out of this constant need to consume to make yourself happy will boost your freedom. It will increase your probability of breaking free from the 9-to-5 because the income you need will drop significantly.
Mental Burdens of Ownership
Not only does consuming less leave you with more income, it also relieves many mental burdens that come with ownership.
I strategically chose an apartment that is close to a store, a buss stop and a train station. This eliminates the need for a car or any kind of vehicle.
Owning a car is nice, but I’m not willing to spend money on one when I don’t need it. It would be nice for my ego, but it isn’t worth it.
Next time you’re thinking about buying something new, stop and ask yourself if you need it. The message I’m trying to get across in is that if you reduce the income you need, you decrease the amount of time it will take to be able to make a living doing what you love.
Ability to Work Less
As I said above, I don’t have to work if I don’t want to. My income is enough for both me and my girlfriend to live on.
This allows me to take extended breaks, but I rarely do. I usually end up working on what I love, which at the moment is this blog. I may, for example, add new content to my newsletter, just to surprise my subscribers and make them happy.
I create products, I answer questions and I write articles. Consuming less allows me to do this without the need to constantly ask for money. I could own all the latest and coolest stuff, but then I’d have to work harder and worry more.
That isn’t how I like to roll.