Sometimes everything feels like a grind, I work too hard for too little reward and others around me get more for less. For a couple years I was in this state of constant stress, not so much about myself but rather about my position in life – until I realized I have it pretty good as things stand.
1. I realized I already own enough
Ever since that day I pretty much stopped spending money, started saving and most importantly: I started using the things I already own to their potential. This last one proved to be absolutely crucial, I have plenty of things that could entertain me for all eternity on their own: My computer, my iPad, the tools I own and the camera gear just to name a few.
2. I stopped upgrading
About a year ago I promised myself not to upgrade anything unless it breaks or I have a really good reason to. Since then I have funnily not upgraded a single thing, instead of replacing my 9.7 inch iPad from 2017 with the bigger, newer one I instead started actually using it and now I’m in love with how much it allows me to focus.
3. I cancelled every single subscription
The only thing I’m still subscribed to is that annoying Photoshop subscription, but it’s a pretty great tool that seems worth the money for me. Everything else I cancelled I ended up barely missing. Netflix, Spotify, a ten-dollar a month subscription to freepik premium and a bunch of other small things that were only draining my bank account. I got rid of them and now that’s extra money in my pocket month over month. I realized I was needlessly spending at least fifty bucks a month this way, that’s a pretty decent sum considering I wasn’t even using one of them to their potential.
4. I forced myself to dwell over each purchase for at least one day
Looking at my order history I realized that ninety percent of everything I had bought in the previous months were impulse purchases – and that I had forgotten about 30% of them. Sure, sometimes they come in handy but overall I own a lot of junk that seemed like a good idea at the time.
After that I implemented a „not today“ rule for myself and it has worked marvelously. I lost count of how much money this saved me in just a few months, all those little purchases that add up quickly. And once more I have to use that iPad as an example that seemed like a pretty good update as I was starting to use mine – until I held it in my hands and realized it wasn’t much of an actual upgrade.
5. I implemented no-spend months
Coming out of a month without a single non-essential purchase is an incredible feeling. Food, rent, insurance is all that I can’t avoid and even the food budget could be cut a little by not going out for lunch so much.
And again: I realized that the stuff I was spending money on didn’t really matter, that I was doing just fine without.
6. I started doing things that take more time than money
Cooking, building things, whittling spoons and reading (used) books are all pretty cheap for how much entertainment they can offer. Realizing that I actually enjoyed doing all these things I was suddenly able to take my time with them and come out without a single buck spent but many hours of fun.
7. I bought a couple luxury items
Whenever I feel like I need to treat myself to something I just look at my cute little watch that was just expensive enough to feel great and just cheap enough to make it justifiable.
The same goes for my tools, I spent a good 10-20 extra bucks to buy Makita tools over the hardware store brand but because I really wanted them they now make me happy each time I use them. And what’s twenty bucks over the course of a lifetime?
8. I finally got serious about working for myself again
Over the course of the past year I have honestly managed to save thousands of dollars with the sum of these techniques and my bank account is finally starting to grow to a point where I can feel a little proud of it.
And the best thing: Clearing my mind of all the clutter I was finally able to focus on getting my own projects back up and running and finally getting serious about them again. I cleaned up my act, deleted the projects I had abandoned anyway and now I can focus on the ones that I actually enjoy. You’re reading one of them – and I hope you found this post interesting to read.