I knew I was addicted to shopping. I openly confessed to owning more possessions than I really needed. But for 3 months, I still hesitated to give away my stuff. I clung onto junk that wasn’t worth selling, stashing it away in my bulging closets.
If I can’t get my money back anyway, I thought to myself,
I might as well keep it all.
One day, as I was tabulating my next rent payment, I stopped to think about the burdensome expense of rent. Here I was, a person who claimed to be frugal, yet I was shelling out $1000 each month just to pay for my large apartment. I never cared about expensive housing, yet rent alone was accounting for half my budget. There was a huge discrepancy between what I valued in life and what I spent my money on.
Sometimes the most expensive part about shopping isn’t the cost of the item itself—-it’s actually the cost of caring for it. Every possession I owned required space to store, and storage wasn’t cheap.
Most of my apartment was effectively just storage. I didn’t do this intentionally; it just sort of happened. Because I owned so many possessions, they were indirectly competing with me for living space. The more I shopped, the larger my apartment needed to be.
Once I grasped this, I started giving away everything I could get my hands on. My family and friends were confused, understandably enough. I gave perfectly usable, expensive items, including a food processor, blender, vacuum cleaner, microwave, and wireless router. In my eyes, they were just dead weight. The faster I got rid of it, the quicker I could downsize to a smaller apartment to save thousands of dollars with no effort at all.
By early December, I was down to a single backpack’s worth of possessions. A family friend held a few suitcases of belongings for me, just in case I had any regrets. I found myself with no car, no bicycle, no furniture, and no spare clothes. I also had practically no more bills.
Today, instead of paying $1000/mo. for rent, I’m only paying $200 [while traveling in Taiwan]. That translates into a total savings of $9600/yr., just by giving away stuff I never used anyway.
Downsizing can work for you no matter what stage of life you’re going through. You can downsize even if you have a family, and you can keep your job, too. Just sell your house and car, give away your possessions, and move to a smaller apartment. Live with less so you can focus your life on what really matters.
It can mean the difference between a life of debt and one of financial freedom.