How many clothes have you got…

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I keep reading about how debt is a huge problem. How people don’t earn enough to get out of debt. Wages are too low. Families, couples and single people can’t save – perhaps due to debt, outgoings, just don’t earn enough etc. Living on or below minimum wage doesn’t help either. Sadly there are millions of people in this boat. Then reading that if you don’t have enough savings to get a credit card for an emergency?! Without going into the detail or pulling in loads of stats; this whole piece is wrong in my opinion.

Just stop. Stop. Think about it. Everything that is raised in the news (about this topic area) is about savings, debt, minimum wage, the breadline etc.

Let’s just stop and forget all of that for 5 minutes (to a lifetime).

For 5 minutes think about consumption. We as consumers, consume too much. I’m talking everything from food, new smart phones, new cars, plastic toys to clothing (and many many more). But why? Think about the behaviour behind it all. The mindset. The reasoning. Why consume so much? Surely it isn’t rocket science? Maybe for 5 minutes if we stopped consuming, or better still, in our lifestyle consumed with 110% purpose and need we’d be better off.

With less consumption comes less spending. Less spending means less consumer debt. Less need for loans, credit cards and financial prison. This would then mean more money at the end of each month, rather than too much month remaining and not enough money.

I am no financial expert. I am not offering financial advise. I have no money qualifications. I did have – at its peak – £40,291.54 of debt: credit cards, personal loan and student loan. This did not include the mortgage. As of today, I have one debt, the mortgage – I see this as a good as repayments are thankfully low. And almost 3 years later I have stayed out of my overdraft. This does make me a real life debt expert, as I faced personal financial chaos. It was my fault. Essentially from what I have learnt, I do have some knowledge of what not to do. The best way to learn in life is via your mistakes. However, don’t let the mistake become too big. It will become a life sucker. I know. I’ve been there. I’m still reminded of it. Oh, and I have not had a single credit card or personal loan in almost 3 years too – I had 4. Never again. I digress.

Why mention it though? Well since watching the minimalists documentary, my behaviour, mindset and most importantly consumption have completely altered. Thanks to my consumption altering, my savings are growing and I have become increasingly happier day-by-day. My worry, anxiety and stress diminished. I sleep far better. I read more. I have more time. I have more space.

In conclusion, I think, we should stop focusing on the debt, wages, savings etc. We should focus more on our consumption, living on less than you take home (earn) and stop trying to be like them. They’re probably up to their eye balls in debt, work all hours and never have time. With less consumption the debt, wages and savings will from my experience adjustment for the better.

Did you need to buy the new smart phone; really need to buy it? How many clothes have you got now, with tags still on?

It’s just stuff

Stood beside three pasting tables, a clothing rail, a rug on the floor and countless boxes of our stuff. Just endless stuff.

I had a moment that I was not expecting. I found myself just saying on repeat: “It’s just stuff. It’s just stuff.” Over and over in my head. It was not me saying it to force getting rid of it, it was that moment of completely letting go. It’s crazy, I was like: I don’t care now,  just get rid of it. It had sat in the garage for a minimum of four months so it does not mean anything to me. It was physically and mentally cluttering my life. Freedom! 

People surprised me lots. They weren’t buying the stuff I’d once given huge value to. They were buying worthless stuff.  My worthwhile stuff was not even being looked at. Maybe moved to one side, but never considered. Out of the 49 DVDs, 3 sold.

We did not clear it all, but maybe 80-100 items cleared. There were probably 500-700 items (estimate) in total. These have have now either been dumped recycled, donated  (to three different charities) or given to our local Scouts. I have found the occasion triumphant to fueling my minimalist journey. I think this is it. This is my turning point. This is my true start.

This is the end to My Frugal Month: Day 10 too. Still have the cash. Still have not spent beyond everything that’s budgeted.

Car boot is full

With day 9 of my frugal month reaching a close so to are our boots. Yes that’s boots as in TWO car boots full of stuff. This is the biggest step in our journey to a minimalist lifestyle yet. I had not realised how much space it had all been taking up. Car boot sale here we come!

Tomorrow’s adventure is now one sleep away.

My Frugal Month: Week 1

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There was a massive high-five, whilst the shopping list was being written tonight. We totally made it!

The end of My Frugal Month: Week 1 is done. £30 put in an envelope seven days ago and still there is £30. It has been a mixed week, but the end result is successful. Nothing spent from the envelope for this week. One day at a time. Seven in total. Zero spent. It proves that it is possible.

We have taken the decision to split the £30 between the remaining three envelopes. So we now have £40, £30 and £40 in our envelopes. Although, My Frugal Month is not like other methods, ours is specific about living off one salary. Can we do it for a month? If we can then how much can we save? The end goal is all about the potential second child – no news – and how we can survive on one wage. It is doable. One week down and it is a great boost to morale.

You think that it is not possible, because you have lived everyday up to this point; off two wages. At the same time living with and for worthless stuff, clutter, endless consumption, debt and mindless thoughtless existence. Now; everything is thought through. Every gear change, litre of fuel that goes in the car, every slice of bread, every ale – gave alcohol up for lent too – every chocolate bar, every t-shirt and every-single-thing that you consume, you question: is this worthwhile?

My Frugal Month: week 1, has, definitely been made easier to succeed by asking this question everytime: is this worthwhile? Even when I have been at worked. I’ve questioned; is this worthwhile? is it adding value? I am quickly coming to realise that the combination of ‘the minimalists’ and ‘Dave Ramseys’ principles and teachings could easily be the perfect two. We’ve been living a more meaningful life the last few months, but this new-found frugality added to our minimalists journey is tremendous. Live on less than you make. Simple. Isn’t it?

One day we’ll reach a point of the debt free scream (clear the mortgage) – I did a mini one when I made my last ever Student Loan payment – and a more “polished” minimalists lifestyle.

This is my frugal month…

 

Saving withdrawal symptoms

Making preparations this month for living off one salary next month. Due to the adjustments I have been making in preparation, it feels like I have saving withdrawal. I have saved a bit, but not the 15-20% level I had wanted this month. 

In preparation for having another child (no big news yet) we’re looking to see what our month would be like on one salary. With the other salary not used, that’ll be saved for the maternity leave. Hopefully giving a more comfortable time with the next child.

Living a more minimalist lifestyle and not consuming worthless stuff. Living off one salary should be achievable. We’re not high earners, we make do. We have seen an improvement in our spending and reduction of worthless stuff coming into our home sInce January. 

If we manage next month on one salary, we’ll try the following month and so on. Essentially practicing this way of life whilst we’re lucky enough to have two incomes. With the cushion, if things were to go bad, we can right ourselves and become balanced again. 

Anyone else got minimising fatigue?

Nearly four months since watching the documentary: ‘Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things’ and there is an element of minimising fatigue kicking in. It’s not fatigue towards the minimalist lifestyle journey I am on, but the decluttering of worthless stuff. I do look at each item and question: is this worthwhile? This helps the decluttering process, but my garage is full of boxes for a carboot sale. I’ve donated numerous things and recycled lots; mainly clothes. 

Looking around the house I get a feeling of clutter again rather than space or clarity. I either need to step back and relax for a bit or hit a part of the house hard. Maybe the book shelf or study again? Perhaps there are some quick wins there? It might be the digital storing of DVDs that are creating this feeling?

When I first started there were lots and lots of quick wins. Now the pace has slowed and I desire to find more wins. I think the slow-down is due to the DVDs: 1-2 an evening. 

I get a kick out of minimising. Living a more worthwhile minimalist lifestyle is the goal. Just need to refocus.

The DVD collection.

The collection of DVDs I have kept for so long as if they were like ornaments, are being minimised. It’s going to be a slow process as I have tens, if not hundreds of them. However, I can already feel the effects of the first three I have digitally stored and put in the donation box. These have definitely been space grabbers!

I think I’ll find several that won’t be digitally stored. The main focus though, is they have not been watched for years. They gave reasoning behind one factor of why debt came into my life. That’s why I hadn’t been able to part them until now. I realise now they physically aren’t worthwhile. They are physical and mental space grabbers. I was physically holding on, not now. Mindless consumption.

Make that four I’ve digitally stored. And counting.