I Fell Into A Rabbit Hole Of Little Wants

I have a confession; I once got caught up living the affluent minimalism life. I stop buying all the crap that I do during school days (a significantly right financial choice).  But I looked up to the quality things. In a way, I was lucky; I have no hardcore commitments and means to do what I want to do. I have a decent job, no debt, and maybe some brains. My minimum is Topshop, Zara. My minimum is other’s luxury.

Yet, my heart wasn’t satisfied; what is the purpose of me buying stuff? I don’t know, I constantly receive marketing content that promises better days ahead, but all I could see is a dying grave.

I have friends who have little commitments. They seem happy, and they keep buying because they do not have an actual need for the money. They move from high street to Coach and then Prada and start dreaming about Hermes. Even after that, they are still buying. Somehow, I know it is a never-ending lie cycle. I could have been happier for a moment but being an Asian Chinese, being poor once, being smart, being fearful, being a slave of debt scares me. I do not want to be in the Christian Louboutin shoe even though the banker says I can do the famous 0% installment.

So I try not to buy things I have for a while, or anything for the matter, because I already have enough stuff. It wasn’t to save money but to save myself from the illusion that I could shop for happiness and waste my life shopping.

Soon, a while became a week; a week became a month. And a month became months. Time passed fast.

It is not a shopping ban. I still go window shopping and find joy in trying my favorites high street brands and get pokes from my friends. But I stop spending on so many things. And I am happier than ever before.

Why stop spending works?

It reduces friction in your life and gives you clarity in this chaotic world. 
Think of it; there is no need to save for the dream home, the dream car, or the dream bag.

But godliness with contentment is a significant gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it.

1 Timothy 6:6-7

This intentional spending pause helped me:

  • Make things useful again. The pretty things that I stash up because it was too “precious” to be used finally come to light. I love them differently.
  • I realized how many things I actually have. I have little things, but I still have A LOT.
  • I saved up some money.  By-product. My main expenses are rent, travel, and giving. Nothing fancy.
  • Have time to seek my purpose (yet to be found) and talk to the people in my life. I quit scrolling the shopping app.
  • Enjoy eating bread with peanut butter spread. When you lower down life expectations, simple things become more enjoyable.

Most importantly, it allows me to be a masterful steward of my time and resources. 

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time

Ephesians 5

Is this little wants – Frugality? 

Maybe yes, maybe not. The word frugality makes it sounds like a pathetic path of deprivation. The truth? I don’t feel deprived. I was happy. I find that I don’t need those things in the first place.

Life is not that painful when you have less and not actually that great when you have more.

Want less is more of a mindset that changes how you make a choice. We all make decisions to avoid pain and gain pleasure. We are tuned to think that having something is important. The TRUTH is, they are not. Think about it, how owning a cabinet full of limited edition bags or figurines made you important?

Look at the advertisement; they scream how painful it is to miss out on the great opportunity to own something. But life is not that painful when you have less and not actually that great when you have more. I know because I once have to live with RM0.40/day and once hold premier cards with 6 digits limit. Yes, life is more comfortable with money, but it’s not that much happier or better.

The world is not a scarcity place. When you realized the earth is abundant with resources and opportunities, there isn’t much pain to avoid. Things that you don’t buy today – well, you could accept tomorrow. Money that you don’t have today – well, it will come tomorrow. #have a little faith.

And when you are intentionally not spending even if you could so others could have it – frugality or want less is a humbling process. Money is for me to exchange for the value others create for me and society. 

Things I opt to lower my expectations

Coffee. From artisan coffee to Nescafe. Yes, it sucks. But once I get used to it, it’s bearable. I mean, it still sucks. It will never replace good coffee but it’s bearable. It gets the job done. Some people may not be able to do this because they really love coffee. For me, coffee is more like a drug, and generic works just fine.

Delay buying new clothes. I need some time to understand what I truly want. Since I had spent a couple of thousand last year, I could afford to buy later. When my pretty ballet flat fall apart. I wear an old shoe to work and use lint removal to keep my clothes “new”.  

Skincare I have been overly storing up trial sets/travel kit instead of doing what matters – using it. I now collect good samples and make good use of them. 

Tissue. This is an odd one. I NEED 100% pulp tissue or a 1000 thread count cover sheet; it makes all the difference in the world. Yes, I shamelessly take the good ones from hotels -but I learned to use them sparingly.

Boot Sales  I use to sell everything that I had extra or not used -want not, waste not. When done with the sole purpose of earning a couple more bucks, these boot sales take time, effort and not adding value to my life or society. I learned that we could be generous by freely giving some of these things to others.

Cool Gadget, I thought I need a new Macbook. But Window Surface comes into the picture; I made the comparison and find that the 7-year old Macbook I was using is the winning contender.

When do I spend?

Now, I buy 2 or 3 extra things a month. They are things that I want, put on my little wants cap, and still eager to buy months later.

I hope this encourages anyone that is still sad after buying the authentic or copies branded bag: lower down consumerism and live life. Wait for the unexpected peace.

Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants? – Ralph Waldo Emerson

And I felt into a rabbit hole of frugality, sort of.

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