I worked a lot in my 20’s making a good chunk of money. As a result, I spent frivolously. Money was going out faster than it was coming: a 7th pair of shoes here, an iPad 2 there. Society taught me that buying things would make me happy. It didn’t. All it did was force me to work myself into the ground, setting off a vicious chain reaction:
I lived in LA for 6 years and all I remember is working. Work was my life.
As I entered my 30’s I didn’t want work to consume the rest of my life. I wanted to become less dependent on work and the only way to do that was to cut down on the hand that feeds that dependency: overspending.
You don’t buy things with money, you buy things with hours of your life.
Debt is insidious. It’s debilitating, yet socially acceptable, which makes cutting down on overspending a challenge. The strategy that helps me the most is asking myself two questions before I buy something:
Am I willing to sacrifice hours of my life to buy this?
Time is our most valuable asset. Sacrificing life to work should only be reserved for necessities.
What is the real reason why I want this?
This requires courage as what you may find can be ugly. For me, I realized that I spent frivolously because I felt insecure and unhappy. I thought buying things could fix that, but I now know material possessions can’t fix this and never will. Being brave enough to accept this reality is the trump card I use to nix overspending.
Asking myself these questions helps me avoid destructive spending. Of course, I’m not perfect and I do splurge sometimes, but it’s far more under control now.
Thanks to less spending, I’m able to work half as much, while still making enough to live comfortably. This has opened up so much time for me to focus on the most important things in life: health and relationships.