My No Spend Year | Michelle McGagh | TEDxManchester


Translator: Amanda Chu
Reviewer: Peter van de Ven Hi. I hope you all had a bullet coffee,
or bulletproof coffee, to keep you going
through the last of the day. Um, okay. So imagine the scene: You’ve had a really hard day at work; you have got to get something
for dinner on the way home; you pop into one of those
mini supermarkets that are on every single corner; you think, “I’ll get some
of that fresh pasta and sauce”; you go in, get your shopping; by the time you leave,
you’ve spent fifteen quid. You’re not quite sure how you’ve done it,
and it’s really annoying. If you’ve ever done that,
you’re not alone. That was me. I wasn’t in loads of debt,
apart from my mortgage. I wasn’t racking up purchases
on credit cards. I’m not a spendaholic. But my money was
frittering out of my account, and I had nothing to show for it, so I decided to do something about it. I decided to stop spending for a year. But back up a little bit. Because it wasn’t just supermarket trips
and Tesco’s that made me stop spending, it was kind of a general discontentment with where my money was going
and my role as a consumer. And it was kick-started
when me and my husband bought a house, and it needed quite a lot
of work doing to it. And we decided to put all our stuff in one
of those really expensive storage units. And we were living out of those
little plastic drawers you get from B&Q or something like that. And we had a few clothes,
our pots and pans, and our bikes. And we’re all right, you know, we’re fine. We’re living an okay life,
a bit dusty in the house. And now and again, we’d have to go
back to the storage unit There was a lot of stuff
in that storage unit. Admittedly, most of it was mine. And it was rammed. I wouldn’t even be able to tell you
what was in the back of it. Until one day, I went there,
and I saw a box, big box, about this big, and on the side of it,
in my own handwriting, it said, “NOT NEEDED” in capital letters. (Laughter) It struck me! Then why the bloody hell did I have it? I didn’t even know what was in the box,
and I still don’t know now. It’s long gone. And I went home, and I googled a really
quite embarrassing phrase, actually. I googled “get rid of stuff” because I needed to be told
how to put things in a bin or at least maybe
be given permission to do that. And as Herb mentioned,
all these sites came up, the minimalist, all these sites came up, these people saying, “I got rid of all my stuff,
and it was amazing, and I feel great, and I’m so unburdened.” I thought, “Yea, this is what I want. I don’t want the big
storage unit for the stuff. I want to live a life
that these people are talking about.” So my husband was totally on board, probably because most
of that crap was mine anyway. We started getting rid of our stuff; we were selling it, we donated it,
we gave stuff to friends and family. And we got rid of about 80%
of our possessions, and it was brilliant. And it was through these
minimalist websites that I found out about “Buy Nothing Day.” Now “Buy Nothing Day”
falls on Black Friday, which for some reason we have imported from the US
even though we don’t have Thanksgiving. And instead of going out
and squabbling with your neighbors for cut-price tellies in the supermarket
or the shopping center, you buy nothing. You spend time with your kids,
you read a book, you go for a walk; whatever it is,
it doesn’t cost you any money. I thought, “What a brilliant idea!
I bet I could do it for a year.” And so I did. The idea of a no-spend year – By giving up spending, it would force me
to live a different life, and it’d address
two concerns I was having. The first one was that I wasn’t
making the most of my money – the embarrassing bit being that,
by trade, I’m a financial journalist, and I’ve spent 10 years telling everyone
what to do with their money, and I wasn’t actually taking
any responsibility for my own. The second thing
was my role as a consumer. I was really sick
of that being my only purpose, that I would go to work for eight hours to earn money to buy things
that I was told would make me happy. But we’re all told, “Buy this.
This is what you need in your life.” That then didn’t make me happy, so I’d go back to work
for another eight hours to earn more money to buy different things
that I was then told would make me happy. Then I was spending money to repair and insure and replace
those things that weren’t making me happy. So my no-spend year
started on Black Friday, 2015, and there are some rules. So I had to pay for the things
I had to pay for. I had to pay my mortgage
and my water rates, my council tax. I also paid my broadband and my mobile
because I’m freelance, or else I wouldn’t be able to work and it really would’ve been
a no-spend year. And I also kept paying things
like charitable contributions. And I had a very small
food budget, or grocery budget, so it’s three meals a day, plus very basic toiletries
and basic cleaning products for house, clothes,
washing powder, things like that. And it would be an extreme way to find out
what I could do without but also what I really needed
to live a happy life. And it was hard going. You know, there’s
no better way of putting it, mostly because I didn’t give myself
any transport budget, so I cycled everywhere for a year
and spent a lot of time looking like … that. (Laughter) Yeah, a lot of time looking like that. But I found – Over those 12 months,
it was a real life, you know, and I learned a lot
in being extremely frugal, and I still had a life. That’s the amazing part. I found so many new ways
to have fun and to socialize and to still be the person I was before. I mean, I live in London, and there is an amazing amount
of free things to do on my doorstep: galleries, exhibitions, concerts, museums. I was just too lazy
to take advantage of them before. I was defaulting
to going to the pub after work, to going out for dinner because it’s easy. And it takes a bit of time to,
you know, find free events. But I always had lots
of nights in as well. Let’s see if this would work. This is me and my friend Kat, who’s going to kill me
for putting this in. This is us mucking around
with free beauty products. We basically raided my cupboards to see if we could find
free sort of face packs and things. It’s of oats and water,
surprisingly a good exfoliator. And, you know, I didn’t actually
think of myself as that vain a person before I did the challenge, but, yeah, I am. Especially because I ended up sort of having what resembles,
I suppose, like a lizard skin because I was so wind whipped
because I’d spent so much time doing this. This was taken in Southwold,
where I managed to have a free holiday. Me and my extremely
understanding husband strapped a tent and our sleeping bags
and some food to our bikes, and we just left London,
and we cycled towards the coast. And we just spent a week
camping on the beach, washing in – well, washing –
being in the sea (Laughter) and sitting out under the stars. And actually, that week was the best week
that I had in the entire challenge. And funny enough – something Dan said earlier this morning
in his talk about technology – I didn’t have my phone because
I didn’t have anywhere to charge it. And it was living in the world,
and it was just the best experience, so good that I was actually going to do it
again this year, when I don’t have to. And it was that good that I didn’t
actually mind when this happened. Two days in, lost my shoe
somewhere in Great Yarmouth, mmm. (Laughter) And that wasn’t
the only casualty of the year. This is my jeans by the end –
saddle marks you can see there. And I was a mess, but I was a really content
and happy mess. Although this was a good feeling, this is the first thing I bought. (Laughter) It was a massive round of drinks
for my friends and family, and say “Thank you” for supporting me. It was a good feeling. And it was a massive celebration
that night, you know – I’d done it. People said, “Ah sh-t, gosh,
you can’t do that!” I’d done it, and I’d saved loads of money. I’d saved just over 22,000 pounds. It’s a huge sum. And I didn’t go on a mad spending spree,
like everyone thought I would do. I did something really sensible, and lots of people said, “Uh, so boring.
Can’t believe you did this.” I overpaid my mortgage, (Laughter) finally listening to my own advice –
I overpaid my mortgage, which means that I’ll
pay my mortgage for fewer years, but it also means that I pay less interest
to the bank, which makes me happy, because who likes banks.
(Laughter) But it wasn’t rocket science, you know. I spent less, so I saved more. Of course that would happen
and I would save loads. Because I embarked
on a ridiculously frugal thing to do. But what I wasn’t expecting was the impact it would have on my life
and my attitude and my outlook. And over that year,
I really pushed myself: I did things I wouldn’t have done,
I saw things I wouldn’t have seen, and I met people that I wouldn’t have met and who have become really,
really good friends. And I’ve changed: I’m more outgoing;
I’m more adventurous; I say yes more; and I know what’s important to me, and I can tell you, categorically,
that it’s not things. I mean I used to shop
probably for the same reasons you do – because I was bored, because I was happy, because I was sad,
because I was treating myself, because the thing that I was buying I thought would make me better looking
or more interesting or cooler or just better somehow – that we could somehow buy a better life. And I think that that lie
is really pervasive in our sort of quick-fix culture where we’re told
by advertisers all the time, “Buy this. This will make you happy.” And it will for a little bit of time until your mood changes
because you’re having another bad day or because the thing
that is the thing to buy has changed – the new thing has come along. And if you don’t have the money
for those quick fixes, like I didn’t, you’d start thinking more long-term, you’d start thinking,
Actually what is important to me? And that’s what I’d
like you all to think about: If you have disposable income – and we have to acknowledge there’re people in this country
budgeting right down to the last 50 P, who do not have that income – but if you do, I think you’ve got
a real responsibility to use it wisely. Now I’m not saying you should all do
what I do and stop spending straightaway and cycle everywhere and walk around
with holes in the arse of your jeans. But just think about your money. In this country,
we hate talking about money, for whatever reason. It’s our British sensibilities;
we do not like talking about money. And I think that gives it
a lot of control. I bet people in this room would rather talk to me about their
sex life than their bank balance. But what I’d like you to do
is just start thinking about the areas where you waste money or where you don’t really
need to spend money. There’s probably something
in your head already. I’m not going to make everyone stand up
for some weird sort of confession and admit what they spend money on. I just want you to think about it and then maybe go home
and have a look at your bank statements. Simple thing, two or three months’ worth,
just to find out where your money’s going. I looked at a year’s worth
of bank statements, which is horrifying. I basically spent 400 quid
on coffee in a year, and I don’t really like coffee that much,
not that bothered by it. (Laughter) But the thing is if you don’t know
where your money’s going, you can’t stop it going to those places. And you need to ask yourself – once you’ve found out
where that money’s going – ask yourself, Is it making me happy? But the difficult bit, I think,
is really the next part, which is asking yourself,
What will make me happy? What would you all love to do? Maybe it’s take the kids
on an amazing safari holiday or take a year out to write a book or retrain for a new job, which, according to Volcker,
we’re all going to have to do anyway. Or maybe you just want to put
a couple of grand aside to make sure you have
that emergency buffer to give you some financial security. And once you have the long-term goal, then you can start to decide whether the short-term spending
is worth sacrificing that long-term goal, or pushing that long-term goal
further ahead. My long term goal is, very boringly,
overpay my mortgage. But if I do that,
if I get rid of my mortgage, that means that I know I
don’t have to work until I’m 80 years old, because I’ll have some financial security,
that I’ll own my own home. And working towards my long-term goal
makes me feel like this. So hopefully it will come up. That’s how it makes me feel. So, no amount of short-term spending
has ever made me feel like that, if I’m honest. But it all comes down, you know – That comes down to sort of
reassessing my priorities. Now, I’d just ask myself one question
before I hand over any money. I would just asked myself,
Do I need this or do I just want this? And if it’s need, excuse me – If it’s need, genuine need,
then I buy it. If it’s just want,
I put my purse back in my pocket. Because I actually don’t think
that we ask yourself that enough. We say, “I only need
that new pair of jeans,” and you’ve got three
sitting in the wardrobe. It’s a really simple question,
but it has a big impact. But it all comes down to your priorities. I can’t tell you where to stop spending money
or what to spend your money on. But it’s about deciding whether you want your
short-term thrill that you’ll get, if you’re happy to give up your short-term thrill
of the new shoes or the new phone to achieve a longer-term goal that might
actually make a real impact to your life, that might be a real achievement for you
or change your life totally. I can tell you what makes you
feel like this. I can tell you which one
will last longest. We can all take responsibility for our future, for our money,
and for our own happiness. The only thing I can tell you is that that happiness
cannot be bought in a shop. Thank you for listening. (Applause) (Cheers)

100 thoughts on “My No Spend Year | Michelle McGagh | TEDxManchester

  • great idea, horrible idea to use it to pay off a mortgage! put it in other investments that will earn a higher % return than the % interest on your mortgage, which the average investment would be

  • Very inspiring speech….I've been doing it for years….But is it me or it's always educated , middle class people preaching this kind of lifestyle, there are plenty of low wage people around who live without overspending because they don't have money to overspend on anything!! They just have enough to live on…My parents did not pay for me to go to university and sure I'm now totally bilingual and own two flats in Paris but it also meant that I'm single (too broke to date) and I have decided not to have kids(can't afford them if I want to be able to pay off my morgages and retire early)….Would love to hear from anyone in a similar position…

  • This is destroying the economy, if everone did this — guess what our economy is based 80% on consumerism. It collapses!!!!

  • Didnt understand whether she had kids ? Pretty easy to do if all your salary is only for yourself and you have no one to support.

  • Interesting talk but this minimalistic outlook will kill Fine Arts. If people are not desiring to pay for beauty, less beauty will surround us as artists need to feed themselves and their families too. It is becoming a very sad, un-inspiring and impoverished world.

  • I have the utmost respect for this lady! I feel like my "costa" coffee and expensive work snacks can be illiminated.. and I certainly now believe living a simplistic minimal life is key!

  • I'm poor so… I do all that stuff but it is not a revolutionary "brilliant" life that this rich girl is talking about. It's a little annoying all those rich people dreaming romantically of poverty like that if you ask me.

  • Anyone who purposefully hangs hair in front of her eyes is stuck in affect…Not credible in the effort to put herself out there as 'down to earth'….Nope, far from it…

  • I am embarrassingly cheap. A couple of years back Aldi's raised the price of their bean burritos from 30 to 35 cent and, and lower the size from 3.5 to 3 oz. I am not over it.

  • I'm sure we've all bought things that did make us happy. I have a lot of stuff that makes me happy . Not "made" me happy but makes me happy every day. I thought a lot like this woman until several friends and family members died and left a ton of money for other people to enjoy. I decided that this is the material world and I should enjoy material things and not be guilty about it. Of course its within reason and I'm not obsessed over things. Love your friends and family, like your things. My worst fear is being very frugal and dying before enjoying the money.

  • thanks for sharing this. I can imagine it is hard to actually share the discoveries in this topic nobody really willingly wants to talk about. This is inspiring though. I cut my spendings over the year as well, and what I too did not expect were changes I observed in my habits and outlook. This was a cool confirmation and second perspective to hear about – THANKS!

  • I am a big fan of Ted talks but I am afraid this is boring and self-inflated talk. After 7 min it felt like any of Londoners talk, not a Ted Talk.

  • 4:20, "I would go to work for 8 hours to earn money to buy things that I was told would make me happy…that didn't make me happy so I'd go back to work for another 8 hours to earn more money to buy different things…then I was spending money to repair and insure and replace those things that weren't making me happy." 8:15, "It was living in the world and it was the best experience…" 9:50, "It wasn't rocket science – I spent less so I saved more." 10:55, "…that we can somehow buy a better life…that lie is pervasive…buy this and it will make you happy – and it will…until your mood changes…or the thing that is the thing to buy has changed, the new thing has come along." 13:00, "…once you've found out where your money is going, ask yourself 'Is it making me happy?'"

  • Thank you so much for both this inspirational talk and an entire year spent experiencing what it was like not to spend money and the results of this. Your talk was organized, detailed, and inspirational! I can't thank you enough!

  • This is a good message. However, your hair blocking one eye was distracting. When you pulled it back, you revealed your authentic self which was so much nicer for your audience to connect with.

  • I'm doing this exact thing this year… After looking and my husband and I's budget, I realized I was the problem of our spending. I kept wanting to buy more, more more. My family and I decided to not eat out, and no junkfood for the first two months this year. So far we're doing good! And I have vowed to not buy any beauty products, or clothing, or any of those things for this whole year. We've already seen an influx in our bank where we've stopped eating out and we're able to spend extra at the grocery store on nicer foods. And I'm still staying strong to my no spend year. It's going to be a lot of work to resist the temptation to get things, but I'm pretty sure I can do it. In the end we want to buy our first home, so this will be a good start. Thanks for the video!

  • One trick I use for my own spending is "delayed gratification". I made myself wait YEARS before allowing myself to buy my first IPhone. I haven't regretted it. I also wait and do lots of extensive research when buying cars (only buy used — buying a car with a few thousand miles on it shaves thousands of $ off), Bluetooth speakers, furniture, computers, etc.

  • Great video. Identifying needs vs wants is a big start. I always make myself wait a few days or weeks for larger purchases before buying something I want. If I still thinking about it weeks later then I know I want it, but most items I forget about right away.

  • Loved this talk. This lady made me realise that I have been living a frugal lifestyle for almost 11 years now, since with my family we bought a big van, got rid of all unnecessary stuff and went on the road. We now have our own place, have our own home, grow fruit and veg and make rustic signs and furniture from the wood around us. No debt. The reality is that I also don't save any money as our income is small, but this has set me thinking…What would make me really happy is to travel a little before my son is too 'grown-up' to want to go with me…maybe it's time to get an 'outside' paid job for a while…

  • Question: do we chuck our expensive Christmas tree away? Do we need to buy a new tree every year (in uk most use artificial trees) this is the only thing I’m confused about throwing away

  • I had about 4 years of low expending because i was into findom, a fetish that made me have to save money to give to mistresses online. In the beggining, felt great, because i did simples thinks that didnt need money. However, after sometime i got used to it, that turned into a depression.

  • this is great advice I try really hard to rein it in however its so much more difficult with five children half of which are teenagers. I used to be quite frugal out of necessity the last few years we have been very much sucked back into that consumer world. I guess searching youtube for the answers means Im half way there to taking steps to want to change our lives once more. Thank you

  • I paid off my mortgage, once. Then our town was first devastated by a hurricane, wiping out the city infrastructure, Then an oil spill. The air for months, smelled horrible..I then realized, what good is a home that's paid for in a town u cant live in…Im now mortgaged to the hilt, intentionally!

  • Could I put Korean subtitle in this video? cause I want to show this for Korean. please set the option that people can add subtitles!

  • Four years ago. In short. First We did not pay the TV licence, as we do not watch TV. ( We have researched this first). Then cancelled our household contents insurance. then got rid of much of our unused stuff that we had not used for the past 6 months. If we 'need' anything (nothing so far) then we would go to the charity shop to buy things much cheaper, but only if we NEED it. It feels great. Done some other things just like Michelle. We feel free and we do not worry about it all. …….. We went on holiday together with what we had saved. We fasted once every month for 24 hours (only drinking water) Lost two and a half stone in the first year. Feel FANTASTIC.. You only live once. Greetings to all. Good video

  • This is great but I think this is an extreme for many, I’d like to get into a comfortable middle in my life of both frugality and buying things I really enjoy like beauty products and clothes

  • I did this as well! I spent an entire year doing exactly the same thing I bought nothing except bare essentials. It wasn’t really a money thing.. it was more about not consuming just to consume for ecological reasons. It was a really nice and quite easy year actually!

  • I srsly came here to learn about how to spent like nothing! I Was expecting her to growing her own veggies!!! but great talk!

  • My husband and I recently moved to Finland from South Africa, and because everything is a lot more costly, we had to seriously change our spending habits. In South Africa we would go to a restaurant at least 2 times a week (or get take out), we would go to a bar and be free spending on alcohol because it was so cheap, and we had 2 cars that ate holes in our wallets (insurance and fuel). Now, we rely on public transport, we cook all our meals and maybe go to dinner once a month (its really expensive eating out here), our free time is spent walking our dog in a nearby forest, and we have cut down on alcohol. I mostly love living like this, only buying what I need ( i have always been frugal with buying clothing and make up etc.), purchasing food that will be eaten, rather than stuff that will just go to waste, and so on. Things I miss, admittedly, are my own transport and the socializing of going out for drinks with friends.

  • I agree wit what she is saying but only to a certain extend; If I would stop spending on everything I don't NEED then I could maybe own a house by the time I'm in my thirties BUT now I just love going out to dinner with my boyfriend, traveling far away countries, feeling confident in those heels I bought, meeting friends at a bar, taking expensive dance classes, spending a lot on a masters degree etc. I fear that if I would cut back on this I would miss my youth in a series evenings at home to then do what? Start a family and also staying at home a lot..

    I want to enjoy my youth and have fun and stories to tell once I am older and many of these things sadly cost money. I love spending money feelings and emotions. And if I don't own a house by the time I'm thirty I'm sure I'll figure it out. I am investing in experiences and education as I feel it should be when you're just starting life

  • Paid off my condo at 37, then my house at 45. Now money comes so easily and quickly because I don't need the money. It is true "To those who have everything, more will be given"

  • Very good talk! It's true that beyond a certain point it doesn't matter how much money you have, but what you do with it that counts. If you always spend more than you earn, it will never be enough. But if you budget and save and spend strategically, you can actually save up for things you may have once thought out of reach.

  • I'm currently on a no-buy year, and it has completely changed my outlook on life. I used to be obsessed with stuff, and now I know I don't need any of that. It's been amazing to discover what's truly important to me.

  • When I moved out I guess I spent the most on furniture and building up my store cupboard. You’d be surprised how many free things you can get on Facebook these days so my bed, sofa and dining table were all free. Just cost me the petrol to pick it up. I still go out but to cheaper places and for lunch instead of dinner. I don’t earn very much so I have no choice but to live this way.

  • Loved this TED talk. Paying off my mortgage years early was a great feeling. I did take one extra year because I did a Masters degree and that made me really happy too. Education is always a great investment. Everything else? Meh!

  • Guess why we are taught to buy things in the constant hope to fill a void… Because our whole society nowadays depends on consumption. Economy and state would break down if we all stopped buying the useless stuff they offer. And I'm not talking about the occasional treats you give yourself.
    Work, consume, die… Reducing your own consumption is the most revolutionary thing you can do. You'll have to get to know yourself and your needs, you save ressources such as water, raw material, energy and hence CO2, but also money. And you might actually be able to reduce working hours and spend more time on the real important stuff. To me this sounds like my master plan towards a more fulfilled life. It's just so hard to "achieve" it in our success-driven society only looking at the outermost shell of the human being….

  • "Do I need it, or do I simply want it?"
    That's the question I've also been asking myself since 2014 every time I consider buying something, and it has completely changed the whole shopping game for me. When you stop and make yourself that question, you come to realise how few things we actually need. Loved this talk.

  • I'm on 'low buy' trying to do 'no buy'. But instead of getting rid off my stuff I'm reusing, repurposing , and upcycling the items I already own. I don't think it's fair to throw it all out or donate and have somebody else to deal with my 'junk'.

  • Miss Michelle emphasized that our source of happiness is not in things but in relationships we value and nurture.

  • Her blouse is distracting me from listening. It looks weird and doesn’t fit right. But good speech.

  • Cant concentrate on talk… Anybody else annoyed by her hair falling in her face? She should have combed it to her left but pushed it to her right so its sticking straight down. Maybe because I spend my money wisely already…no I think it was the hair.

  • This makes me want to challenge myself more with why I spend, however I thought it was interesting that she said she found herself saying "yes" more.  I was picturing all the times I would be saying "no."  Having to always say "no" to Happy Hour with colleagues, birthday dinners and other celebrations at restaurants, paid events that friends ask if you want to attend with them and so on. Has anyone done this and had any negative impact?

  • thanks for the message. no amount of short term spendings can amount to the joy of achieving a long term goal. needed this

  • Good talk and lots of great comments. Some folks, though, fixate on "What are you saving for?" It's understandable that many folks need that kind of motivation to not spend, but better if we could all realize that materialism and overconsumption are destroying the planet. Simply consuming less for environmental reasons and the commonweal can also be a worthwhile goal – with personal savings and the new lifestyle and independence that comes from that as a bonus.

  • I think this is my default setting…I detest spending money on myself for non-essentials, lol. I do have a guilty pleasure which is my book collection. The majority of my spending money goes on raiding charity shops and 2nd hand book stores.

  • Yeh it's called 'being on the dole and unable to work due to mental health and unable to get a disability pension therefore all you can afford is basics..' 2 years now for me I have bought nothing but food and shelter and internet. My pants have holes in them now though.. I have to claim on my superannuation to buy things I need now like dental work and pants.

  • I stopped and deconstructed my desires. For me, I found that I simply wanted to want “stuff.” I didn’t actually enjoy or use the things I thought I had to have. Instead, I would research and watch YouTube to satiate the “want,” knowing that my personal desires wouldn’t be satisfied if I actually possessed the “thing.” It has helped me find a great deal of freedom in recent years. Perhaps this idea can give you pause to get inside your own materialistic desires.

  • I didn’t even own a credit card. I bought a nice used car, cash. Humble apartment. Bought some of my clothes at goodwill. Never ate fast food or at restaurants. Vacation was a tent, and a fishing pole. I always had money.

    Then… I got married.

  • What are you guys spending your money on?
    Other than rent and utilities, my only expense is food/groceries :'(, without visiting any restaurants.
    That's cause I love food!!

  • I don't have a career yet. I'm not financially independent from my parents yet. I definitely want to live as frugally as I possibly can get away with- including trying to grow my own food if I ever get the opportunity to.

    I will also say that there are systemic issues with our economy at the moment that are making it harder and harder to be financially stable. The whole "millennials are poor because they buy coffee" accusations are so…. Frustrating. Sure, it has a tiny bit of truth to it, but it's blaming individuals for a systemic problem that is not really our fault.

  • I laugh about people putting their low value stuff in storage units. Even I was paying $50/month to store a $500 travel trailer that I stopped using. So it has been parked on the side of my house for the past 5+ years with a car that I have not used for 2+ years in front of it. I save everything and I'm drowning in it. 20' x 20' garage is so full of junk, boxes, etc. probably less than 10 percent of it will ever be used again but I don't know which 10-percent. I usually can't find what I'm looking for anyway. But my junk is my identity, I hate buying anything that I previously bought. I have tools that I've had since I was 12 years old. I'm good at not spending money but my wife can't go a day without Starbucks or go a month without buying an airline ticket and accommodations to travel someplace that she doesn't need to go. So my thrifty lifestyle becomes completely irrelevant. I earn about 50x what I spend which is about $5/day on average.

  • I think it's fine to buy things you "just want" as well as the things you need. It's okay to value your own happiness. But not all spending is on necessities and wants. Sometimes, I'll buy something and then realize I neither want nor need it. Those expenses are worth eliminating.

  • When I went to Uganda with school, we lived very simply. Didn't wear eyeliner and didn't shower for a week. Still happier than ever. I volunteer for Coventry Climate Action Network which is free and makes me very happy.

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