When Cedric and I decided to leave London, we came across the big question – what the hell are we going to do with all our stuff? Furniture was easy; it stayed in the flat. The problems began when we started to empty those cupboards and drawers. It was like opening Pandora box.
The piles and piles of stuff we forgot we even had. Looking at dozens of bags filled with things we decided to give away, sell or throw away was overwhelming. As I was carrying my old life downstairs, bag after bag, one thought was running through my head: “We paid for all this unnecessary stuff. With money, we worked so hard to earn”.
It reminded me of something that Jose Mujica, ex-president of Uruguay said: “When you buy something you’re not paying money for it. You’re paying with the hours of life you had to spend earning that money.”
I realized we let ourselves to be sucked into a spending spiral. The more we were earing the more things suddenly seemed absolutely necessary to have. Spending was fun; it was easy (hello, Amazon Prime). And most importantly, it worked as a stress release after a shit day.
It was only after we decided to seriously start working on making a change in our lives, that we saw clearly how fucked up our relationship with money was. How it blocked us, how it convinced us that we could never afford to live life on our own terms. Because we needed all this money, right? Exactly this amount and not a penny less, our monthly bank statements were proof of that. But the reality was that we only really needed enough to cover our non-negotiable expenses and the rest was just a frivolity. Nice to have, but not necessary.
To change our spending habits and relationship with money, in general, wasn’t easy. Living in a big city and with 24/7 access to the internet, the temptation was always there. But in the end, it was about the simple choice between what we wanted right now and what we wanted our future to look like. And how much we were willing to sacrifice to make it a reality.
One of the tricks that saved me lots of money was asking myself “Do I really, really need it?” before every purchase. Because it turned out that 90% of the time the answer was “no”.
The final step – getting rid of all those unnecessary stuff before the move felt liberating. It’s when I promised myself that I’d never again let myself fall into the “earn more to buy more” trap…
If money is there at the top of the list of the things that stop you from building the life that you want, I encourage you to have a long hard look at your spending habits and answer this question – How much of your hard work and precious time do you trade for the things you don’t really need?
And what could you do with this saved time and money instead?
Go on that dream trip?
Buy and read more books?
Look, it’s not about suddenly stopping all your expenses and live on a diet canned beans. It’s about taking steps to become your money’s master, not a slave.