Living With Less

November 19, 2012 | By | 2 Replies More

The North Face backpack

It won’t be long before I’ll be living out of a backpack. I’m actually looking forward to it since one of my goals is to live with a less than 100 items. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m getting closer.

In preparation for my RTW trip, I started practicing minimalism. I’m getting rid of things I don’t need or no longer use. I’ve even applied the concept of minimizing to other areas of my life such as trying to do as less as possible so I can live more.

Over the past nine months that I trimmed the fat out of my life, I’ve accomplished a few things:

  • Payed off 64% of my credit card debt
  • Increased my RTW savings by 45%
  • Lost 20 lbs
  • Living a greener and healthier lifestyle
  • Increased my productivity
  • I’ve learned to be more present
  • I feel more happy

Here’s what I’ve done so far to get these results:

Sold my TV

The first thing I sold was my TV. I barely watched it. I don’t feel the need to escape or relax through watching TV. I even stopped watching the news. It’s too negative.

Since I don’t own a TV, that means I don’t subscribe to cable either. Cable TV is expensive and you can save money by canceling your subscription.

Now I read more. I spend my time on developing meaningful relationships and connecting with others face to face. I go outside and play.

Got rid of my car

Nine months ago I sold my car. I’ve been saving about an extra $500 a month by not having to worry about car payments, gas, car insurance, and maintenance. I also sold it to remind myself of the goal I’m working towards. This was a huge decision for me because I live in a city where the public transportation isn’t as frequent in cities as San Francisco, Chicago, or New York. If I need to use a car, I rent one for the day. If I have to get somewhere in a rush, I’ll take a taxi. It’s still cheaper for me to take a cab once in a while than to have a car payment.

If you think about how much a car costs to the amount of time its actually driven, its an expensive investment.

There are a few good things that happened as a result from selling my car.

I’m on time to work everyday because I’m on a schedule. I start my day with a brisk walk to the bus stop which gets my blood flowing. Since I walk around 2 miles a day, I’ve lost 20 lbs. I have no choice but to exercise.

In order to make use of my commute time, I check my email on my cell, respond to text messages, or read books on my Kindle. I’ve gained time to do more because I’m not driving.

I also made a few new friends on the bus who ride the same route. I learn about whats going in the community through conversations with my bus friends and random people I meet. I have my ears to the streets.

Cut my cell phone bill in half

My phone bill use to be $102 a month for unlimited text, talk, and data. After my two year contract with T-Mobile ended, I downsized my plan to “pay as you go” for $50 a month. I still have unlimited talk and text with a slower data plan, but it serves my needs.

Turned off notifications on my phone and Outlook email

Its easy to get distracted when there is a lot going on at work. Having alerts in my Outlook pop up every time an email comes in distracts me from my train of thought when I write or reply to message. So I turned off the alerts that ding every time a message comes in.

The other notifications I turned off were text message, tweets, and email alerts on my cell phone.

Removing these small distracts enables me to focus and think clearly without interruptions. It feels great. Try it sometime.

Unsubscribed from e-mail lists

While we are on the topic of email, another thing I cut out of my life is from unsubscribing to email lists that I no longer read. This helps reduce a step in deleting emails and speeds up my productivity to plow through my inbox.

Donated the clothes I don’t use

I’ve cleaned out my closet and donated clothes I haven’t worn in over 6 months. I also try not to buy new clothes unless I really need to. I’m fortunate to work in an office wear I can wear jeans and a t-shirt everyday. I have 5 shirts that I wear during the week. The colors are neutral so its easy to match them with the two pairs of jeans I own. By having a simple uniform it makes it easy for me to get ready for work in the morning since I don’t think about what to wear.

Shaved my head

Since I no longer go to a hair stylist, I’m saving $20 a month. I bought clippers for $14 so I’m saving $226 a year by cutting my own hair. Plus, I don’t use hair gel anymore. I use less water and body wash because my hair is buzzed.

Eat smaller portions

I love to eat. Lately I’ve been reducing my portions to consume several small meals the size of my fist. This helps maintain my energy level so my stomach isn’t full. I no longer have the feeling of food coma since I eat less.

Eat all the food stored in the pantry and fridge

I eat the food in my pantry and fridge until it’s all gone so I’m not wasting anything. I buy enough food for a few days. Since I shop every week, I can buy fresh produce frequently and eat healthier. I’m saving a few bucks here and there because I’m not stock piling food.

Reduced bar hopping and clubbing

A night out on the town clubbing or bar hopping can get expensive. I live in Vegas where the prices for cover charge and cocktails are absurd. I no longer want to see my friends on the strip when they are in town because all they want to do is spend money partying.

Instead, I opt for more budget entertainment such as going to free events in town, hiking, or getting people together for dinner. It’s more affordable and I can still have fun socializing.

These are some lifestyle changes I made to save for a RTW trip. Living with less allows me to be present in the moment and do things that are meaningful.

  • What are your thoughts on minimalism?
  • If you are practicing minimalism, what other tips can you share?
  • What steps are you willing to take to make your dreams come true?


Category: Planning

Comments (2)

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  1. Bogdan says:

    Hi! I live with less either but I don’t spend much money. I admire and encourage you for taking this step. I also plan to make a move into this travel lifestyle.
    Bogdan recently posted…Regele si diamantulMy Profile

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