Tag Archives: Downshifting

Minimalism Actually Maximizes Your Wallet

Pacino

“I always wanted to move up in society…but the higher I go the crookeder it gets.” -Michael Corleone in The Godfather series

Everybody wants to be rich when they’re young. However, as a man ages he begins to notice, as Michael Corleone said in The Godfather III the higher I go, the crookeder it becomes. At some point, it may began to weigh on one’s conscience as to whether stepping on others to rise higher up in a corporate hierarchy and constantly creating problems to create profit are the lesser of evils, just to power a lifestyle of buying things at Walmart and the mall. This is especially true when one realizes most of the money produced by these means is:

  • Shifted up the pyramid into the bank account of a CEO.
  • Materialism and consumerism are not the source of happiness.

Additionally, cutting back on consumption maximizes the potential of any money earned rather than it being continuously tied up in a cycle of getting and spending which benefits others far more than it benefits the person earning the money. You may even go so far as I have, to a complete change in mentality in which one no longer desires to be wealthy, just free. Everything we buy is paid for with hours from our lives. That powerful realization can lead to positive change. A simple yet powerful word can be your best ally in the art of becoming a minimalist. Learn to say no, and say it often. Here are some ways saying no will allow you to say yes to things that really matter.

No

Saying no to waste means saying yes to more important things

The Art of Saying “No”

Refuse to be overwhelmed by consumption. Accumulating things not only fills up our homes with junk and takes up our spare time organizing, cleaning, and maintaining stuff but it also makes us spend the best years of our lives working at jobs (an average of 47 hours a week now!) we don’t really like in order to stay in place on the treadmill.

Refuse to be defined by what you own or drive. The high that comes from a new purchase and thinking what will the neighbors think of me now wears off quickly and the dreary reality of having sunk money into a frivolous purchase will follow you around. Conspicuous consumption, practically the new religion in America was first written about by Thorstein Veblen, a Norwegian sociologist in the early part of the 20th century.

As increased industrial efficiency makes it possible to procure the means of livelihood with less labor, the energies of the industrious members of the community are bent to the compassing of a higher result in conspicuous expenditure, rather than slackened to a more comfortable pace.

Basically, Veblen is saying that as production methods become more efficient, society must become more decadent to keep the economic machine running. Females demonstrably crave decadence more than males, as the oft-cited statistic that 80% of consumer purchases are driven by women proves.

Refuse to buy things because of “great deals” but because of necessity. A great deal is not a deal at all if it makes you spend money that could have been saved or spent on something else. There’s 100% off every purchase that you do not make. People are chained by their desires, and kept on a leash with debt, which drives most Americans into a hole they spend their whole lives trying to get out of.

Refuse to give up on personal goals to buy things. For each purchase you make, there are hours out of your life given to that purchase. For example, the average new car costs 1,150 hours of life assuming a $20 an hour salary. It costs 2,300 hours on a $10 an hour salary. That’s a lot of time. If you begin to look at all purchases this way, this mentality will begin to guide and change your behavior. Focus your time and energy on more worthy pursuits and goals that are intrinsically rewarding.

Refuse to subscribe to the idea material things buy happiness. Beyond meeting basic needs, more money does not buy happiness. Study after study shows this to be true, but people still dedicate their entire lives to being efficient, compulsive consumers. Intrinsic things, like family, friends, a sense of community, and free time bring happiness. Even it is considered antiquated or even anti-American if one does not wish to spend their life making someone else rich in a corporate serf job, refusing to worship at the altar of consumerism brings more happiness than lusting after that next big purchase then trying to pay it off and hang on to it once its bought.

business millionaire

Money piles up when you don’t participate in the rat race

“Yes” to More Money, More Time, More Freedom

Needless to say, money buys flexibility with time and flexibility with time rewards us with more freedom. Once turning our backs on ideology that tells we need to consume, we are what we drive, we can’t pass up a so-called great deal, we need to give up our personal goals to earn a paycheck, and that the only happiness is acquisition, the veil of a century of mass marketing and brainwashing can be tossed aside.

Even in 1899, in The Theory of the Leisure Class, Veblen saw the trends of people giving up leisure pursuits and other important parts of life so they could compete with others with consumer purchases:

Leisure held the first place at the start, and came to hold a rank very much above wasteful consumption of goods. From that point onward, consumption has gained ground, until, at present, it unquestionably holds the primacy. It frequently happens that an element of the standard of living which set out with being primarily wasteful, ends with becoming, in the apprehension of the consumer, a necessary of life. It is much more difficult to recede from a scale of expenditure once adopted than it is to extend the accustomed scale in response to an accession of wealth.

Using Veblen’s model, and as we see happen time and again in a culture that worships stuff, luxuries quickly turn into necessities and one purchase leads to another until people don’t know what they’re doing anymore. Before long, the idea of cutting back, eliminating waste, and simplfying seems preposterous to average sheeple. But minimalists know things are better on our side of the fence. We might not have as much junk lying around, but we also don’t have to spend our time worrying about and taking care of junk, and end up with a lot more money and freedom. Giving up on the rat race may be the most Red Pill money tip there is.

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Tiny Houses: Minimalism vs. McMansion

Minimalism_Housing

Minimalism can mean a more affordable home and much more freedom

Tiny houses are gathering steam as the flight from backbreaking McMansion mortgages grows. In the age of liberated men who are downshifting, going their own way, and otherwise refusing to finance the exorbitance of today’s Anglo female in her quest for a princess palace paid for either by a Beta male or by forcing an evil white man out of his job, the search for the “not too big, not too small” house is leading to creative solutions. Among those include renting, and forgoing a conventional home for a smaller one.

There are some impressive homes the minimalist craftsman can build for himself, including a log cabin for less than the price of the average new car. For $16,350, a small parcel of land and a lot of elbow grease, a man can be a home owner while freeing up enormous resources and time to invest in other, more worthwhile pursuits than trying outdo everyone else in the neighborhood. The statistics from the tiny house movement are interesting, and represent the financial prudence of people who decide to live in them:

  • 68% of tiny house owners have no mortgage
  • Only 29% of traditional home owners have no mortgage/are free of debt bondage
  • 55% of tiny house people have more savings than the average person, with an average of $10,000 in the bank
  • 65% of tiny home owners have zero credit card debt
  • Tiny house people are twice as likely to have a Master’s Degree
  • The average cost to build a tiny home is $23,000 if built by the homeowner
  • The average cost of today’s McMansion is $272,000, that with interest actually ends up costing $481,000 on a 30-year mortgage
  • In today’s America, high property taxes mean you never really own a home as much as you are renting it off the government

Floor plans for a number small homes range from a very livable (for minimalists) 14 x 28 feet to 14 x 40 feet. Some people take minimalizing even further, with models from Tumbleweed Tiny House company that fit on travel trailers. As always, there are pros and cons to choosing this lifestyle. But if financial freedom is priority one, as it is for me, these homes can make appealing and beautiful options, as shown in the photo below.

Tiny_Houses.jpg

Sometimes, less is more as this handsome “tiny home” shows

Concerns

Cockblocking is what the American government does best, so be advised while these homes make beautiful places to live our political friends are once again killing freedom with excessive bureaucracy according to The Tiny Life, a blog about tiny houses:

The issue comes when you look at your municipality’s minimum habitable structure definition. These definitions almost always exclude Tiny Houses from being a dwelling and give code enforcement a strong leg to stand on when it comes to condemning your Tiny Home and/or levying fines.

Beyond the micromanaging government, living in a tiny house will represent a major lifestyle change for the average person. However, for the true minimalist tiny homes provide many benefits. A tiny home owner named Lilah says:

When you have too much space you end up with too much unwanted stuff. Small homes make you own only the most important things you love.

Another tiny home owner, Greg gives us four reasons he chose the practicality of a smaller home in today’s climate of job insecurity, outsourcing labor to foreign countries, and suppressed wages brought on by wave after wave of immigration:

Living simply, having no mortgage, very little bills, [and the] flexibility of being able to move it.

As pointed out before, it doesn’t take much for a man to live on. This is true in many areas of life. The choice to opt out of lifestyles and homes that are appealing only to women is one of the boldest moves men can make. Further, the argument can be made when one owns more house than they can afford: Do you own your home or does it own you? If it is keeping you from doing other things you’d rather be doing with life, maybe you are house poor – poor only because your home is eating up too much of your life.

Tumbleweed

“If we gave up being so attached to stuff, we’d have the time and freedom to follow our dreams.” -Becoming Minimalist

Renting Vs. Owning

The debate over owning a conventional home versus renting is rarely settled. It really comes down to the individual to make the decision. One can examine the pros and cons of renting vs. owning and decide if renting is right for them. Renting pros include:

  • Flexibility to relocate
  • No responsibility for maintenance and repairs
  • Financial predictability (set cost each month)
  • Ability to choose less square footage, discouraging materialism
  • Avoid being trapped in an upside down mortgage
  • Avoid being trapped with a depreciating asset (if the neighborhood goes south)

However, renting also presents its own set of cons:

  • Not building equity
  • No tax breaks
  • Can’t decorate without owner’s approval (Ed: Who cares?)

Of course, buying a conventional home is a much bigger responsibility. As we have seen since the 2008 housing market crash, contrary to the myth housing values do not always go up. Pros of home ownership include:

  • Building equity
  • Tax breaks for homeowners
  • Freedom to decorate as you wish (with exception of locations with homeowner’s association micromanagement)
  • Ability to use home as an investment/rental property in the future

In the last generation however, as the U.S. moves towards the figurative if not literal abolishment of private property as detailed in the Communist Manifesto, home ownership is not the pot of gold it once was. Here are some cons:

  • No flexibility to relocate
  • Paying for your own maintenance
  • Paying property taxes (which are becoming very high in some places)
  • Homes can lose value
  • Adjustable rate mortgages can mean big jumps in housing payments

For me, there is no question renting was the only way to go as work in the media has become very unreliable over the past decade. A mortgage would have entrapped me, forcing me to take jobs I did not want until the house was sold once I realized how corrupt the media was and wanted no part of it anymore. Moreover, most homes had much more space than I needed or wanted as a man, which would only have encouraged me to fill that empty space with materialistic junk I did not need. Just before the housing crash, I almost got a mortgage because I thought it would be a good financial move and make me more appealing to women looking to start a family. Since those clueless Beta days, I got wise to Red Pill theory, indulged my Sigma side, and walked off the corporate plantation. I realize signing that mortgage would have been a colossal mistake.

Single family house on pile of money

15 to 30 years on a mortgage or freedom…it’s your choice

My Experience

I have been living out of 3 suitcases while traveling the world. I would have never had this freedom with a mortgage or a house tying me down. I thought selling and leaving my stuff behind from a one bedroom apartment behind would kill me, but it has done nothing but liberate me. In fact, minimalists don’t have less, we have more. These are only a few ways I have been liberated by giving away, selling, or trashing everything I had in my apartment.

  • Not worrying about things breaking, getting lost or stolen, and if something breaks I have cash in the bank to replace it.
  • Not chained to an employer because I “need” his salary to pay my bills.
  • Freedom to move around to different locations and rent furnished homes (very cheap to do abroad).
  • Freedom from the need to impress other people.
  • Freedom from chasing the momentary high that comes with a new purchase.
  • Freedom for being a Beta male slave paying for more house than I need to impress or keep a female

The house I currently rent abroad is very small, and very simple with only 3 rooms. It has a combined living room/kitchen/dining room, a bedroom, and a bathroom. I absolutely love the place.

Once we stop learning to let our likes and dislikes be controlled by others, we can pursue what makes us happy rather than what makes those around us (especially women) happy. Minimalism means purchasing housing based on necessity, and nothing else. People invest so much of their lives and themselves in acquiring things, as if those things represent their personalities and their value as human beings. This has led to shallow lives of cutthroat competition to be king of the suburban neighborhood. We have become the embodiment of Stanley Johnson in the iconic Lending Tree commercial from the late 1990s.

I’m Stanley Johnson. I’ve got a great family. I’ve got a four bedroom house in a great community. Like my car? It’s new. I even belong to the local golf club. How do I do it? I’m in debt up to my eyeballs! I can barely pay my finance charges. Somebody help me!

Rather than pursuing Stanley’s McMansion in a great neighborhood and then becoming one of Lending Tree’s debt slaves, a man can choose to forgo the princess palace and live in a smaller home, or rent, among many other options that will present themselves once the Red Pill man has deprogrammed himself from chasing the “prescribed lifestyle” foisted upon him by women, society, marketers, and the government.

We as men can choose to go our own way with housing, not just with women and relationships. For many of us, the choice between minimalism and a McMansion has never been clearer.

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7 Steps on the Road to Minimalism

Road

40% of happiness is based on activities we choose to do, minimalizing demands on our time and money will help us have more power to choose our activities

Henry David Thoreau had the right idea: I make myself rich by making my wants few. But, modern man continues to drown himself in a plethora of gadgets, cars and McMansions he can’t afford, going to work at jobs that increasingly demand more than 40 hours a week out of his life and mentally and physically drain him, taking the joy out of living. Ironically, drowning our sorrows with stuff only makes us feel even more sorrow when we have to watch money come in and money go out every month, powerless to stop the machine.

Do we really  own the things we buy or do they own us? Today, it would appear most people are slaves to fashion, slaves to gadgets, slaves to fancy cars, and slaves to their McMansions. 2,500 years ago, Chinese philosopher Confucius told about the virtues of not judging our self worth with what we own:

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

In the 21st century, there has been an underground movement away from lives of consumption and consumerism, one termed minimalism. Contrary to its name, minimalism is not about deprivation. It is about focusing our energy on things that really make us happy. Since cutting down from the fancy apartment and two new cars I “owned” when I was a materially rich but financially broke cog in the corporate wheel, to today fitting everything I own into 3 suitcases with money in the bank, I must say there is truth to that statement. I am focused on things that really matter to me rather than acquisition. The Minimalists blog goes on to explain the concept of minimalism:

Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.

You do not have to go live in a cave or in a yurt to benefit from minimalism.

That doesn’t mean there’s anything inherently wrong with owning material possessions. Today’s problem seems to be the meaning we assign to our stuff: we tend to give too much meaning to our things, often forsaking our health, our relationships, our passions, our personal growth, and our desire to contribute beyond ourselves. Want to own a car or a house? Great, have at it! Want to raise a family and have a career? If these things are important to you, then that’s wonderful. Minimalism simply allows you to make these decisions more consciously, more deliberately.

With the basic concept of minimalism explained, here are 7 ways we can simplify and minimalize our lives.

Kitchen

Minimalism is about focusing on the things that really make us happy

The List

7. Stop doing so many things at once. Work follows people home, and they’re often chatting with friends, checking work emails, doing household chores, and several other things at the same time. Health Day reports this is one of the most insidious drivers of stress in our lives, and cuts the quality of the work we are doing.

“Because of all of the new electronic gadgets like cell phones, tablets, and other personal digital assistants, multitasking has exploded,” says David Meyer, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. “Doing several tasks simultaneously may seem like the height of efficiency – and it would be, if a person had more than one brain. In the real world, multitasking actually wastes time and reduces work quality,” Meyer says.

We are no longer living life as much as we have turned it into a problem to be solved or a product to be purchased. Slow down, unplug, take time to stop and smell the roses. Downshifting to a less hectic lifestyle can help reduce stress and improve overall quality of life. For most, this will mean creating a long term plan to first extricate themselves from debt slavery, then downshift to a life they can more easily afford, with the eventual goal of working less in a pursuit one truly enjoys but that might not make as much money. One of the bright spots is once this goal is realized, the newly minted minimalist can tell their boss to Take This Job and Shove It.

6. Cut screen time. We now spend an average of 11 hours a day on various electronic screens. Between the computer, tablet, TV, and smartphone, 68% of our waking hours are spent immersed in fantasy, mental masturbation, or working on screens. This is obviously too much time and it is taking us away from family, friends, the outdoors, and other worthwhile pursuits. Here are the average times spent on various devices, as reported by Nielsen.

  • Live TV: 4 hours, 51 minutes
  • Radio: 2 hours, 43 minutes
  • Smartphone: 1 hour, 25 minutes
  • Internet on a PC: 1 hour, 6 minutes
  • Time shifted TV (Tivo, etc.): 33 minutes
  • Game console: 13 minutes
  • DVD/Blu-Ray: 9 minutes
  • Multimedia device (tablet, etc.): 7 minutes

Of course, as with any study that averages usage your mileage may vary. Personally, I have not had a television in my home since last year. Anything I need to watch, I can watch on my tablet or PC. Going by the average, that has freed up around 35 hours a week (almost a full work week!) for me to read, write, and research.

5. Kill debt with a vengeance. Because of consumerism and materialism, which has implanted the idea of buy this and you’ll be happy into the minds of the masses, most people are financially totally out of control. Nearly half of all Americans would not be able to pay their bills if their next paycheck didn’t deposit, and two-thirds do not even have enough in savings to cover a $1,000 or even $500 unexpected expense or emergency. Rather than making excuses, what it really comes down to are priorities. Statistics tell us 81% of households below the federal poverty line somehow have managed to acquire cell phones and pay the bill each month.

4. Possessions are a prison. Too much stuff drains our bank accounts, our energy, and our attention. There are also the hidden costs of ownership of each item we buy, and often one purchase leads to another and another of endless accessories. The most valuable things in our lives usually aren’t things, but experiences. A quote from the Classic Grumpier Old men film, flawlessly delivered by the great Burgess Meredith illustrates this idea.

Well, let me tell you something, Johnny. The first 90 years, or so go by pretty fast. Then one day you wake up and you realize that you’re not 81 anymore. You begin to count the minutes rather than the days and you realize that pretty soon you’ll be gone. And that all you have, see, is the experiences. That’s all there is. Everything! The experiences! You mount the woman, son. Or else…send her out to me.

Ask yourself, when in life have you felt the best? Perhaps on vacation, free of the burden of things and obligations and clutter. It’s just you, the beach or a backpack, and a girl or some friends. Why not adopt that mentality every day?

3. Declutter. The average American is bogged down with an incredible 300,000 items in their homes! Get rid of something you don’t need every day. Fill a trash bag full of junk that is cluttering up your home and your life each week. Have a garage sale. Donate stuff to Goodwill. It is important to make the mental transformation towards realizing that junk we own is not making us happy. Declutter 101 instructs us on how to get started:

At the outset, adjust your vision downward from the big (cluttered) picture, to zero in on one small, solvable clutter problem. Clear one counter, de-clutter one shelf, or bring order to a single drawer.

For me, nothing felt better than watching space open up and junk going away once I started the decluttering process. And contrary to my worries, I didn’t miss any of what I tossed.

2. Live off only what you need. In 5 short years, I went from being in debt up to my eyeballs to saving 66% of my income. I stopped chasing the fantasy put into our minds by advertising, conspicuous consumption, and product placement in everything from local TV to movies. The 1999 film Fight Club (based on the novel of the same name) contains some fantastic quotes about this concept:

We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like. You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis.

We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.

After being run into bankruptcy by being socially conditioned to chase a consumeristic lifestyle, pedestalize women and finance their wasteful spending, and trust that my employer would be there only to be kicked to the curb when their revenue went south, I discovered:

It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.

Bankruptcy, that word Americans are so terrified of, actually turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. It forced me to change my habits, stop buying crap I didn’t need, stop being a walking wallet for women, and start living on cash. The end result? A 180-degree turn in my financial situation in just a few years.

1. Become un-busy. Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist tells us the personal and societal cost of turning ourselves into what Herbert Hoover aptly named Happiness Machines, cogs in the wheel of a waste economy:

But is the state of busy really improving our lives? Certainly not. Statistics indicate 75% of parents are too busy to read to their children at night. There is a rising number of children being placed in day cares and after-school activities. Americans are having a hard time finding opportunity for vacations these days. 33% of Americans are living with extreme stress daily. And nearly 50% of Americans say they regularly lie awake at night because of stress. This is a problem. We have become too busy.

Not only can we downshift with the things we choose to buy, we can also downshift with what we choose to do with our time. An important word to learn is “No.” No, I won’t work at a job that requires more than 40 hours a week of my time. No, I don’t need that new tech gadget, the old one works just fine. No, I won’t bring my work home with me. No, I won’t watch so much television. No, I won’t let advertising make me run myself to death trying to finance a lifestyle, girlfriend, or wife that I cannot afford.

The_Happiness_Pie

Psychological studies of happiness reveal it his very little to do with material circumstances and everything to do with freedom

Less Stuff; More Time, More Money, More Freedom

These 7 steps are a good starting guide to a downshifted, less materialistic, but freer lifestyle than we have been conditioned to pursue. For making these decisions, you can expect nothing but criticism and derision from the sheeple. But, Dave Ramsey, Realtalker he is explains the genius of this philosophy:

If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.

Rather than being consumed by overworked, underpaid, and material worshipping people, we can choose to pursue lives that free us to pursue nobler things that are more fulfilling and give us intrinsic happiness. Chinese writer Lin Yutang reiterates the wisdom that other men quoted in this article have given us:

Those who are wise won’t be busy, and those who are too busy can’t be wise.

Take control of your life. Do not let materialism, debt, overwork, or women take it from you.

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