My Apartment Echoes and That's Okay
The first thing that everybody notices when they walk into my apartment is that my living room is empty, well sort of empty. I have a decorative TV that still hasn't been plugged in to the wall. But otherwise I have no furniture at all, no couch, no rug, nothing. When I talk on the phone people notice that my voice echoes because the noise bounces around the empty room. It seems that everyone thinks that I'm strange for not furnishing my apartment, but that doesn't bother me because I can't justify spending money on furniture.
I'm on a Journey
As you might know if you have read any of my previous posts, I'm on a path to achieve financial freedom; I want to be able to run my life without having to worry about money. Maybe I'll work until I'm 75, maybe I'll travel the world, or maybe I'll open a bakery in another country. Who knows! But the point is, I want to have options. My goal is to be able to make decisions day by day as to how to spend my time without having to worry about the financial consequences of those decisions.
If I actually intend to achieve my goal -and I do- it means that I have to learn how to live with making choices that may seem strange. It means that I have to really think about what I buy before I buy it. If I'm going to become financially independent, I need to build a strong asset portfolio, and I need to do it quickly. In order to get there, I have to make sure that I only buy things that will add value to my life. I work hard to carefully consider each and every purchase and ask myself whether or not it will actually help me to live a more fulfilling life. If the answer is no, I stop immediately because whatever I'm about to buy is a waste of money.
Cutting Frills - And Couches
Since I have started down this road, I have learned to make a lot of material sacrifices. In fact, I've made so many sacrifices that I've cut my spending by 50%! But despite having done this, my life today is exactly the same as it was a few months ago, except that I'm several thousand dollars wealthier. I drastically reduced my grocery and restaurant budgets, almost completely stopped buying drinks at bars, cut back on driving as much as possible and completely stopped buying new clothes! And to fill some of that extra time, I've started exercising much more, reading books from the library and working on this blog!
So if you're wondering why I haven't bought a couch for my apartment, its because a couch doesn't align with my life goals or values. If I were to spend $500 - $1,000 on a nice new couch, it would eat up all of the gains that I've worked so hard to make over the past few months. Even if I were to buy a couch, I wouldn't buy cable and I still wouldn't sit on it! So to me, a couch in my living room is no more than an expensive decoration.
My Paradigm Shift
I truly used to believe that I needed things. I believed that my life could not be complete without an ever increasing number of objects. I was wrong. When people say that money doesn't buy happiness and that no amount of stuff can make you happy, they aren't lying. It took me a while of really thinking about this before I was able to shift my behavior. At first I really did not want to part with my belongings or give up some of my small daily indulgences. But the harder I work to divorce myself from my consumerism, the happier I find that I really am. I'm slowly gaining an appreciation for the things that I do have and value in my life and I'm gaining security from all of the extra money that I have hanging around in the bank.