- We like to be our own bosses. For everything. (I’m suddenly recalling that scene in Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts says, “I say who! I say when! I say who!”)
- I value TIME with my family, by myself, and with friends.
- When we can get to the mountain top of financial independence, we play by our rules. And that(!) is freedom at its finest.
First though, I had to make some changes. Some big changes and some small changes.
Back story: I was turned on to this plan of “early retirement” via Mr. Money Mustache’s blog which details how he and his wife retired at an incredibly young age, by cutting expenses and being smart with saving their money. When a family is financially independent they can work, but they don’t have to. They can choose what they do with their time. Funny thing is although they’re “retired” they’re staying busy and making money on their own terms.
I highly recommend his blog. I read my way through the whole thing in a week.
When I read about their experience, I was hooked.
I immediately started making a plan for how we could do the same thing.
Shit. I was wasting a lot of money though.
The good thing is that I’m making changes NOW, and it’s better late than never. And I gotta tell ya… I’m addicted to this pursuit. Turns out my passion for minimalism is helping my efforts, too. I stopped buying things that didn’t bring value. I raised my standards for what I allowed into my life (including people). I stopped wasting time dealing with so much “stuff” and opened up more space in not only my home, but my heart and mind.
Moved our cell phone carrier from AT&T to Ting.
I started donating and selling things. Big time.
One thing that helped me see how infrequently things were being used in my home was moving. We moved last year and it was an easy way for me to have a specific point of reference for the last time I used something. I looked at some things and thought, “I haven’t used this since way before we even moved!”
One could also have a packing party. (<– Great idea)
For awhile I was donating everything. That was easy. I was so eager to be rid of the reminders of my pre-minimalist life. Fascinating that every time I took a car load of stuff, thinking I had purged myself of all I had to purge, I’d come home and a week later find another car-full of stuff to donate.
When I realized I was ready to free myself of more expensive things like Le Creuset pots (I really don’t need seven of them), my food processor which rarely gets used, my “extra” blender, my extensive knife collection (I really only use three of them regularly), just-in-case clothes/shoes/accessories I don’t wear, like ever, etc.
It turns out that I love having just the things I love. I don’t want or need things that I don’t love. What’s the point?
I didn’t see it that way before though. I mean who does? If we all did we wouldn’t buy so much shit.
It’s like that idea of “if I carry a bigger purse, I’ll carry more stuff, cuz, well, I can.”
Admittedly, in the past when we sold stuff on Craig’s List, it was a “Greg” job. But, now, with so many things to sell (and mostly mine), it would be better if I did it. Shit.
He promised that it’d be easy and very helpful if I took on the job.
Ok. I pulled on my big-girl-who-wants-to-be-financially-independent pants and dove into the land of Craig’s List.
Yes. It was a bit of work, but once I got started it was a breeze. Inspiring and fun.
1. Put everything in one room.
2. Take pictures of everything in nice lighting.
3. Get a cup of coffee because the real work is about to start.
4. Research, usually via Amazon.com, for details to use in ads.
5. List everything on Craig’s list, one by one.
6. Wait for the bites of interest.
The bites started right away. The fun began. People wanted to buy my
shit things. Yeehaw!
I started meeting people to sell my stuff, collecting cash, and running straight to the ATM every time.
Inch by inch of more space. Dollar by dollar into my bank account. Closer to financial independence.
A cool thing happened through the process of selling on Craig’s List. I love seeing my things get new life with other people. Warms my heart. There were things that I was hesitant with which to part because of ego. I pushed forward though and sold, sold, sold, because I wanted the money, because I knew I wouldn’t buy those things if given the chance again today, and because I wasn’t even using them anyway!
We’re headed toward financial independence. We have a plan. Empowering, feels good, feels safe, feels secure. In fact, it’s a relief. I feel lighter and happier than ever. It’s more happiness than any shopping would ever do, which isn’t happiness for me anymore. I value freedom. I ask myself… does EVERYTHING I HAVE serve a purpose that makes sense for my life today?
Although sometimes it seems hard to let certain things go… once they’re gone I recalibrate and I’ve not missed one thing that I’ve let go whether through selling on Craig’s List or via donation. The freedom feels too damn great.
The more something costs the more impact the following can hold true (here’s a popular passage from the book, Early Retirement Extreme, which I heard about on the MMM blog):
When you identify with an object, you’re defined by the object, then controlled by it, and ultimately owned by it. If you relate to your possessions, you’re owned by your stuff, and it will make many of your decisions for you. This trap is not only mental, but also physical.
I look forward to writing more posts about the things I’m doing to become financially independent. It’s one of the best adventures I’ve started.
And, yes, I talked Greg into selling the Mercedes sooner than later. :)