I’ve been reading http://www.reddit.com for a long time. Typically I’d waste time reading useless junk. I mean I still do, but I used to, too. All jokes aside, there is a tonne of great resources on Reddit and tonnes of talented people. Find me at /u/torontosurvivalguide
Below are some subreddits that contain a treasure trove of useful information to help make you more self-sufficient:
I hope you find something you like!
I’m going to preface this by saying that I haven’t conquered all of my bad habits yet and I’m still a work in progress. However, I have a clear picture of where I want to be, and why I want to get there.
As a fairly social person, I used to go out a lot more than I probably should. Go out for lunches, dinners, clubbing, to bars, and more. Now I allow myself to try new things but I’ve cut drinking, most lunches, and dinners out of my day to day. Lunch is a relatively in expensive venture so I allow myself all you can eat sushi, Japanese ramen, and all you can eat Korean barbecue once a month. These are all cheap, delicious meals that I can’t make at home (yet!). These lunches serve as face time with my friends which is the most important thing for me.
I’ll have friends over for a homemade dinner, coffee, and homemade cider and beer. It is a great way to connect with friends and show them that my life isn’t boring after giving up the previously mentioned things. I still make it out to bars as well, sometimes for happy hour drinks or I grab a ginger ale as a treat.
Eliminating your bad habits saves you money, and helps harden your resolve and remind you of your goal. Here are some things that you may want to give up in part or in full:
- Drugs – Adrenaline, Dopamine and Serotonin are free, you just have to earn them
- Smoking – Same as above
- Drinking – It’s bad for you and your wallet. Cutting down is a huge step forward.
- Late nights – Sleep is precious; don’t give it up unless you’re gaining something.
- Shopping – Really consider what you’re buying; you probably don’t NEED it.
- TV/Netflix/YouTube – Whatever your poison, don’t consume too much of it.
On the flip side of things, gain good habits! Here are some examples that I can attest to:
- Get Active – Exercise keeps you healthy, improves mood, and helps you think.
- Reading – Keep your brain active, too. Knowledge is power.
- Exploring – See something new. Exploration is a key human motivation.
- Photography – A creative outlet that pays dividends.
- Meditation – I don’t yet, but there is a lot of research detailing the benefits.
- Education – Learn CPR. Learn a language. Improve yourself everyday.
- Philosophy – Open your mind to new ideas. You might just learn about yourself.
Keep improving yourself! Don’t worry if you take a step back, just keep moving forward!
I’m 27 years old and have lived a pretty comfortable life so far. I moved out of my parents house into a fancy condo. This I downgraded to a big apartment in an older build. Now I am realizing, I don’t want this much space and will find a room in a shared house. This will save me money and help me eliminate possessions.
Going forward, I will not stay in hotels anymore while travelling. Usually I stay in hostels, but I splurge on hotels. I don’t need that comfort at this point in my life, so I won’t spend the extra money required to upkeep that comfort. In hostels I’ll stay in larger rooms with more beds to further shave costs off travelling (my biggest expense).
Walking, biking and transiting to work versus driving has been my life so far. I don’t plan to change this. I will no longer Uber to work unless I have no other option due to time. I’ll walk to the GO station instead of transiting. 30 minutes enjoying a walk through the city is better than spending to sit on a hot subway.
Are you able to trade comfort for additional money in the bank? Determine your tolerance and push your boundaries. You might find you’re a glutton for punishment like myself.
I came across this documentary on Slomo, a man who took back his life from the poorly named ‘American Dream’. By his own choices, Slomo stumbled upon his meaning of freedom and life satisfaction after significant hardship. Listening to him talk about his new found freedom and life is inspiring, and I am glad I discovered a sense of what I want in life. Not everything is clear yet, but I see a light in the distance and I’m working my way there. Enjoy!
There is more to life than working and spending money.
I’ve seen a lot of articles lately talking about how minimalism is only something afforded to the rich. I see where these authors are coming from. When you’re poor, you’re not minimal by ‘choice’. When you’re rich, you can be minimal by ‘choice’. Rich people also have the circumstances to afford sleek minimal furniture, durable clothes to keep a minimal wardrobe, etc.
I would argue against this, however. The more effort one puts in, the better results they’ll get from their minimalism. While thrift shopping I’ve managed to pickup durable t-shirts and clothing that is ‘Made In Canada’. In my short life, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a t-shirt in a retail store that is made in Canada. Now I own a wardrobe made up of robust pieces, that I only wash when they’re dirty or smelly, and hang dry to increase longevity.
By spending more time hunting down sales, checking prices, thinking through purchases, I’ll be able to save a lot of money. Alternately, this money may not going into monetary instruments, but be invested into higher quality needs (a new pair of winter boots, for instance).
I haven’t come up with a good way to quantify how much money I am saving by my new found passion and lifestyle, but I am sure in the long term it will benefit my mentality and my wallet. Minimalism, to me, is more than just saving money. The mental benefits it brings me are far more valuable and I believe you should do things that make you happy first and foremost.
Regardless of what your lifestyle is, move with intent, and think before you spend.
My journey to live with a smaller footprint has been amazing. It seemed daunting at first, but I can’t remember half of the things I’ve recycled, given away, or sold. The fact that I can’t remember is a testament to how valuable these items were in my life.
Onto the main point of this post: agility. Having less stuff makes being mobile a lot easier. Whether this be taking a last minute trip, moving, or changing jobs, having less stuff holding you back is hugely beneficial. I recently was assigned to work out of a client office and realized I was tied down to my home office. I had some plants, notebooks and such that tied me mentally to that space. I’ve moved the plants back to my apartment, ditched the notebooks in favour of taking notes on my mobile phone, and generally made myself more agile.
Continued progress towards living more minimally will make me more agile should new career opportunities arise. I could safely move with about a weeks notice now. I’d like to be at a point where I could get up and moving in about 3 days. It’s an interesting challenge to try and meet and a good reminder not to get comfortable.