Every purchase you reject takes you one step close to freedom. And heavy financial obligations can cause you to behave badly at work.
“Every purchase I’m rejecting is taking me one step closer to freedom.”
That was what this headline written by Anthony Moore reminded me.
What does freedom look like? Doing work you enjoy without worrying about the grand total on the paycheck, or choosing to work less because you can. Or even better, using the money you’ve acquired to help people for absolutely no reason at all.
The freedom you seek is decided by the purchases you make.
Recently, I have been making bugger all purchases while being locked up at home. There were three lonely debits from my bank account last month: rent, utilities, food.
Not being able to attend the shopping center and be tricked into a new pair of shoes has been a blessing for a shoeaholic like me.
We all buy junk — even minimalists do so quietly after midnight.
You know you don’t need to buy that new gadget or that ever-so-tempting splurge on a high-ticket item such as a couch. You’re not stupid for buying junk. You’ve just been wired that way by the internet and before it’s silent death, TV.
I have found having a strong reason not to buy junk is key.
You need an override switch. I was speaking to a former colleague, now mentor, who was joking with me about how he earns $500K a year and drives to work in a 1991 Honda Civic. Barry, the guy he parks next to, owns a yellow 2019 Porsche. Barry thinks he’s a sucker and my mentor thinks he is an even bigger sucker. I asked him why that is. He said this in response:
“Because I can lose my job tomorrow and have the freedom to ignore working for a year if I choose. Barry is stuck. He has to come to work to keep his Porsche. And if he has to lie, cheat, steal or burn someone else at the stake to save his Porsche, then he will, no questions asked.
Barry is not a bad guy with his Porsche; he just has to do what he’s gotta do to keep the banker of his back and keep his Louis Vuitton shirt.”
My mentor was close to freedom which meant he went to work with a different mindset. Work was a challenge. Work was a team sport. All of this was possible because of the purchases he decided not to make.
Here is how you can rethink the junk you buy and get your own slice of freedom (not financial advice).
Trade Material Possessions for Real Assets
Barry’s Porsche is a shitty asset at best. He drives it out of the showroom and he has instantly lost a lot of money. Then to screw with his head, one month later, the car company he worships brings out a new model.
All of a sudden Barry’s purchase is out of date The status he has with his new toy is now somewhat depleted. Now Barry has to slave away at work and walk over what he calls “dead bodies” to get the next Porsche with a fancier cup holder. It’s a tough life for Barry.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. The simple shift that helped me was to trade money for assets and fewer material possessions. Because when you buy assets, you stop having to trade so much of your time for money. Assets like stocks, real estate, bonds, digital currencies, or digital assets you’ve created that pay you royalties (like writing).
Trade Buying for Living
Living looks like spending time with people you love and who love you. Or spending time with people who inspire you and are fun to be around.
We spend so much time buying useless stuff that we never have much time left over to actually live our life.
The typical workweek is five days but who says this has to be the norm. My work week is four days and headed towards three. Why? Less spending, so I can work and actually live at the same time. It’s fun to find a completely ridiculous hobby like writing this blog post and do it for the hell of it.
Imagine if you used your creative ability for the fun of it, not because you are forced to so you can buy a leather couch to keep up with Barry.
Trade Spending for Giving
People hate cliché advice which is why I love spreading it.
What brings a stupidly huge grin to my face is having enough resources to be able to give — time, an event ticket, a book, an email — for the hell of it. Giving to people makes you feel good and it’s long-lasting.
Spending money to buy material possessions rarely brings any joy after a month.
Why would you bother to give? Because when you’re on your deathbed you won’t remember all the useless stuff that you can’t take to your new home known as a coffin. What you will remember is all the people you did life with who you attracted into your life through giving.
Giving attracts awesome people into your life. Giving is living, followed by fewer regrets.
What Purchases Are You Going to Reject Today?
That’s the big question. Obviously you can’t reject every purchase. Obviously you are going to own more than ten things because you’re not a serial killer.
The aim here is to reject more opportunities to buy stuff that takes you further away from freedom. Freedom increases when the money you put aside increases and gets placed into real, hard assets.
Do you need all those software subscriptions?
Do you need more shoes or clothes?
Do you need the latest model of phone or laptop?
Could you entertain yourself with a book rather than a Porsche?
Your life is full of financial choices and each one, no matter how small, takes you closer or further away from freedom.
And you’re a kinder person to everyone around you when you’re not held captive by heavy financial obligations that can cause you to behave badly at work.
Choose to buy less junk and you’ll have more freedom than you need which you can share with all of us, through using your creativity.
What purchases are you going to reject today to save yourself from living in a prison?