I have a confession; I once got caught up in living the affluent minimalism life. I stop buying all the crap that I do during school days (a great financial choice). But I looked up to the quality things. In a way I was lucky, I have no hardcore commitments and means to do what I want to do. I have a decent job, no debt and maybe some brains. My minimum is others good.
Yet, my heart wasn’t satisfied, what is the purpose of me buying stuff? I don’t know, I constantly receive marketing content that promises better days ahead, but all I could see is a dying grave.
I have met others who have little commitments. They seem happy and they keep buying when they do not have a true need for money. They move from high street to Coach and then Prada and start dreaming about Hermes. Even after that, they are still buying. Somehow, I know it is a never ending lie cycle. I could have been happier for a moment but being an Asian Chinese, being poor once, being smart, being fearful, being a slave of debt scares me. I do not want to be in the Christian Louboutin shoe even through the banker says I can do installment.
So I try not to buy things I have for a while, or anything for the matter because I already have enough stuff. It wasn’t to save money but to save myself from the illusion that I could shop for happiness and waste my life on shopping.
Soon, a while became a week, a week became a month. And a month became months. Time past fast.
It is not a shopping ban. I still go window shopping and find joy in trying my favorites high street brands and get pokes from my friends. But I stop spending on so many things. And I am happier than ever before.
Why stop spending works?
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it. 1 Timothy 6:6-7
It reduces friction in your life and gives you clarity in this chaotic world.
Think of it, there is no need to save for the dream home, the dream car or the dream bag.
This intentional stop spending helped me:
- Make things useful again. The pretty things that I stash up because it was too “precious” to be used finally come to light. I am loving them in a different way.
- Realized how much things I actually have. I have little things but I still have A LOT.
- Saved up some money. By-product. My main expenses are rent, travel, and giving. Nothing fancy.
- Have time to seek my purpose (yet to be found) and talk to the people in my life. I quit scrolling shopping app.
- Enjoy eating bread with peanut butter spread. When you lower down life expectations, simple things becomes more enjoyable.
Most importantly, it allows me to be a masterful steward of my time and resources.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time- Eph 5
Is this little wants – Frugality?
Maybe yes, maybe not. The word frugality makes it sounds like a pathetic path of deprivation. The truth? I don’t feel deprived. I was happy. I find that I don’t need those things at the first place. And worst, I have not made full use of what I have previously had.
Life is not that painful when you have less and not actually that great when you have more.
Want less is more of a mindset that changes your choice when you make one. We all make decisions to avoid pain and gain pleasure. We are tuned to think that having something is important. TRUTH is They are not.
Look at the advertisement, they scream how painful it is if we miss out the great opportunity to own something. But life is not that painful when you have less and not actually that great when you have more. I know, because I once have to live with RM0.40/day and I once hold premier cards. Yes, life is easier with money but it’s not that much happier or better.
The world is not a scarcity place. When you realized the earth is in abundance of resources and opportunities for all, there aren’t much pain to avoid. Things that you don’t buy today – well, you could buy tomorrow. Money that you don’t have today – well, it will come tomorrow. #have a little faith.
And when you intentionally not spending even if you could so others could have it – frugality or want less is a humbling process.
What spending means to me now?
Exchanging for the value that others create for me and the society.
Things I opt to lower my expectations
Coffee. From artisan coffee to Nescafe. Yes, it sucks. But once I get used to it, it’s bearable. I mean, it still sucks. It will never replace good coffee but it’s bearable. It gets the job done. Some people may not be able to do this because they really love coffee. For me, coffee is more like a drug and generic works just fine.
Delay buying new clothes. I need some time to understood what I truly want. Since I had spent a couple of thousand last year, I could afford to buy later. When my pretty ballet flat fall apart. I wear an old shoe to work and use lint removal to keep my clothes “new”.
Skincare I have been overly storing up trial sets/travel kit instead of doing what matters – using it. I now collect good samples and make good use of them.
Tissue. This is an odd one. I NEED 100% pulp tissue, or 1000 thread count cover sheet, it makes all the difference in the world. Yes, I shamelessly take the good ones from hotels -but I learned to use them sparingly.
Boot Sales I use to try to sell everything that I had extra or not used -want not, waste not. These boot sales, when done with the sole purpose of earning a couple more bucks – takes time, effort and not adding value to my life or the society. I learned that we can be generous by giving some of these things to others freely.
Cool Gadget I thought I need a new Macbook. But Window Surface comes into the picture, I made the comparison and find that the 7-year old Macbook I using is the winning contender. Update: I bought a MacBook! No Regrets!
When do I spend?
Now, I buy 1 or 2 extra things a month. They are things that I want, put on my little wants cap, and still, wants it.
Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I hope this encourage anyone that is still sad after buying the authentic or copies branded bag. Lower down consumerism and live life simply. Wait for the unexpected peace.
And I felt into a rabbit hole of frugality, sort of.