4. Thank Your Items for Their Service (Then Give Them Away)
Marie Kondo, the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, offers this strange but effective tactic: Say goodbye and thank you to items that you need to let go of. Sometimes sentimentality is the root of a lot of clutter, so think utility first and ditch the guilt. Thank your old coat for keeping you warm, your kids’ stuffed animals they no longer play with for bringing them joy, and your collection of duplicate computer cables for connecting your stuff once upon a time. Then you can move on. It might also help to think “this isn’t my stuff” when you’re decluttering.
On September 1, I updated my profile picture and perused Instagram briefly. Then I turned off the computer, made some coffee, and read the paper. Social media hadn’t won after all; I had.
“If your truck payment is bigger than your house payment – you might be a redneck”
So heed my advice, men of all ages who are not yet millionaires and wish they were. Your truck may be the biggest obstacle in your way.
The size of your truck is inversely proportional to the size of your wallet. Which one of the two would you rather supersize?
* I speak mostly to men in this article, because they are the primary victims of the pickup truck racket. But women are not immune – they just tend to fall into the “SUV and Minivan” trap more often.
Once you’re aware of the distractions and urges, you can start to examine the causes.
After hours of following temptations online (learning all about cycling and programming, for example), I stopped and asked myself, “What’s this all about?”
It was about fear — the fear I didn’t know what I was doing and was going to screw it all up. I now know it doesn’t matter if I screw it up. My value as a person isn’t tied to my successes or failures. So I closed all the tabs, and decided to focus on one program, and one bike ride. I’ll learn as I do.
I recently visited family in a semi-remote area of Montana. Remote enough that author Max Brooks deems it as one of the only safe zones for people in the zombie apocalypse novel, World War Z. This wasn’t a vacation, though. I did my normal work routine and clocked my normal hours, but they felt different. I felt less stressed, unrushed, and for the first time in a while I could honestly say I was “going with the flow.” I realized it was because I wasn’t being distracted by a device or screen every other second. I was only there for about a week, but I left wanting to take some of it with me. Here are the things I learned and how you can find your own peaceful cabin without leaving home.
How could anyone possibly complain about having money problems, while simultaneously paying tens or hundreds of dollars per month to have passive video entertainment and commercials streamed into their house? People are simultaneously robbing themselves of money and the necessary mental quiet time that is a prerequisite to getting ahead – building skills, meeting people, getting better jobs or starting better businesses.
The average person spends over 95% of what they earn and burns most of it on necessities that aren’t really necessary. We borrow money and drown in the interest payments. We spend most of our energy working directly against our own best interests. Somebody needs to call bull on this practice, because we’re not going to fix it just by raising everybody’s allowance in their retirement years.
Each time we check a Twitter feed or Facebook update, we encounter something novel and feel more connected socially… and get another dollop of reward hormones. But remember, it is the dumb, novelty-seeking portion of the brain driving the limbic system that induces this feeling of pleasure, not the planning, scheduling, higher-level thought centers in the prefrontal cortex. Make no mistake: email-, Facebook- and Twitter-checking constitute a neural addiction.
Many of the strategies for defeating a spending addiction are pretty similar to those that you use to defeat any other addiction. It starts with honesty with yourself and builds to having responsibility toward others and having a plan in place to keep yourself honest.
Overcoming a spending addiction is one of the most powerful things you can do for your own finances. Good luck in your journey if you choose to take this road.