Along the way, I’ll be exploring ideas like minimalism, escaping the rat-race, logging off from the screens and resisting the pull of 21st century consumerism.
It won’t be easy.
Email: claire (at) wantless.co.uk
Photos (C) Want Less. I am not a qualified financial adviser (as you will soon work out), so please seek professional advice on debt and investment matters.
Somewhere down the line, things got messed up. I’d gone to university, got a good job, found someone to settle down with and somewhere to do the settling.
But by my late twenties, I was deep in debt living a lifestyle I simply couldn’t afford. What mystified me was that I couldn’t see where my money had gone. No wardrobe full of designer clothes, no flash car, no big house.
What I did have was mountains of stress. I’d taken a promotion to pay my bills, but ended up in a job which gave me panic attacks. In my precious leisure time, I wound down by idling away hours online or drinking with colleagues. I bought expensive holidays to ‘de-stress’ in the few weeks off I had a year. Contributing to wider society meant sending cash once a month to a charity.
Eventually, when my debts reached £15,000, I realised something had to change. I didn’t just need to cut back my spending and pay down my debts. I had to look at the lifestyle I’d been living and work out what was going so wrong.
I’ve made some big changes in the past year or two but my journey is only really beginning.
Along the way, I’ve been reading up on a lot of different ideas which claim to give some answers to one or more of the problems I faced. Minimalism, financial planning, simple living, mindfulness, old-style frugality and escaping the rat-race through super-early retirement.
Some of these might work for me, some might not.
But a common thread seems to be emerging: question ‘normal’. Question your consumption, question what makes you happy, question how you spend your time, how you earn your money and what you do with it.
The demands of 21st-century consumer living aren’t serving us. The jobs aren’t allowing us time to live our lives, and the trinkets we buy to cheer ourselves up only really force us into working for the next pay cheque.
It’s time to break free. It’s time to want less.