I’ve always been and always will be a glamour girl who loves beautiful things. I like saying that I am a spiritual girl living in a material world and I think it’s actually a great balance that we should all aim for. It was particular circumstances in my life that created an important mindset shift that allowed me to learn to live with less.
I have been transitioning into a more minimalistic lifestyle for two major reasons. First, I quit my job back in March 2014 and am now self-employed which represents some financial insecurity
Second, as I prepared for my move to Switzerland, I shuttled back and forth between my place and my father’s and had to survive on the contents of a small travel bag each time I stayed at his place. This was perfect preparation for departure day when I had to fit two months worth (duration of my visit in Switzerland) of outfits into a 42″ x 52″ suitcase.
My new life of living with less:
Pretty scary right? In the past, I would have had heart palpitations when faced with the difficult choice of choosing ONE pair of high heels for my two month stay. I realize how silly this seems but for me, having options was always reassuring. Whether I was going on a three week adventure in Europe or a two day weekend getaway, I would basically bring the entirety of my wardrobe.
Going back to the first reason I started learning to live with less. I do want to stress how my new entrepreneur lifestyle has really impacted how I appreciate what I have. When you don’t know when your next cash inflow is coming in, you learn to pass on the impulse purchase you would have made before without even blinking. And although I do miss having a guaranteed income stream, I am so grateful for this period of financial transition. It has truly taught me to savour every item I have and to not just keep moving on to the latest and greatest new piece.
Another lesson that this period in my life has presented is not putting so much importance on “stuff”. Because I had to leave a lot of my personal effects in my condo in Montreal, I had to detach from the material possessions I left there. All that said, I still get the urge to buy things I don’t really need and I think that’s partly because of the type of society we live in. Clever advertisers make you think that if you just get that latest mascara/iPhone/designer bag, your life will be complete.
The trick is to enjoy the material world but not count on it to make you happy.
If you head to the shops after you’ve had a bad day and think to yourself that a little retail therapy couldn’t hurt, remember two things. Number one, those little purchases add up and the amounts you spend here and there could go towards something that is truly important to you like that dream trip, your retirement fund or anything else that will not lose value after the test of time.
And second, the same clothes that gave you a thrill only a few weeks ago are probably going to end up hanging in your closet like all the other and that shiny new feeling that they created will be gone.
You will then have to decide is you embark on the vicious consumerism cycle again or maybe you will be ready to gradually change those spending habits and start learning to live with less. This material girl never thought she would say this but I am really proud of how I have paired down my life.
There is a certain sense of freedom to not be caught in constantly consuming and not having stuff take over your life. If might seem like an impossible task but if I was able to do it, so can you.
I would love to know your thoughts on this topic and if you have had struggles with over spending. I know that several Red Fairy readers are fashion lovers like me so share your thoughts below!
Image by The Scribblers List