time is money

thoughts about saving money #1

"Consumerism tells us that in order to be happy we must consume as many products and services as possible. If we feel that something is missing or not quite right, then we probably need to buy a product (a car, new clothes, organic food) or a service (housekeeping, relationship therapy, yoga classes). Every television commercial is another little legend about how consuming some product or service will make life better. Romanticism, which encourages variety, meshes perfectly with consumerism. Their marriage has given birth to the infinite 'market of experiences', on which the modern tourism industry is founded. The tourism industry does not sell flight tickets and hotel bedrooms. It sells experiences. Paris is not a city, nor India a country - they are both experiences, the consumption of which is supposed to widen our horizons, fulfill our human potential and make us happier. (...) Like the elite of ancient Egypt, most people in most cultures dedicate their lives to building pyramids. Only the names, shapes and sizes of these pyramids change from one culture to the other. They may take the form, for example, of a suburban cottage with swimming pool and an evergreen lawn, or a gleaming penthouse with an enviable view. Few question the myths that cause us to desire the pyramid in the first place. (...)" Yuval Noah Harari - Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind 

I have never been a saver. I used to live according to the motto: "i have some money on my account, let's buy stuff." I had a credit card some years ago but it got me into so much debts that i had to cut it into pieces and throw it into a fire to "save myself". There was always something i wanted or felt i needed, and usually I finished the month eating pasta because the fridge was empty and so was my bank account.

Then i met Ohad, who is really good at saving and suddenly, i felt a bit stupid and irresponsible for my lifestyle. So i tried to spend less, to not be as impulsive about my shopping and to start saving.

Some time ago, we read an article about mister money moustache and i decided that this is my new challenge to take. Our first step as "moustachians" was to create a spreadsheet, monitoring all (yes really ALL) our expenses, one column for Ohad and one for me. We had no clue about how much money we are using and we were really surprised. Turns out, we were spending a lot more than we thought and  a lot on unnecessary stuff. I became aware of how much money I could save per month just by skipping the extra coffee to go on the way to work (even though I just had coffee at home and would have coffee at work in a bit). I started working on my shopping decisions as follows:

These questions every time i was about to pull out my purse made me better at saving. Another thing i started doing is, to convert the price of things into "time currency". In example let's say you make 10$ an hour, so this really nice pair of pants for 70$ in reality cost 7 hours of your time, almost 1 day of work. Is it really worth it? During the next 7 work hours, think that you are working to pay off those pants. See if you still want them after that.

It's been almost a year now that I am a moustachian. Every once in a while i am still using the "questions before you pull the purse" or the "time currency" to help my decision, but most of the time i just don't feel the urge for buying things anymore. It's a crazy thing that happened to me. I (and all the people around me knowing me well) never ever ever would have thought this possible. The awareness changed my relationship to shopping completely. I became kind of immune to consumerism.

Now you are asking yourself: but what is all that effort good for? Just to have more money in the bank that you are not using...

Well, bottom line it could be called "time optimization". We all work hard to make the money to buy all those things that we think we need. But the time we spend at work is the time we don't spend with our families. If we can live with less, we can also work less and spend more time doing all the other stuff like being with our kids and loved ones, reading, biking, being in the nature, traveling cheap...The plan i am working for is early retirement.

In the next weeks i will share a few tips about how we managed to save significant amounts of money. In the meanwhile, i can warmly recommend you to have a look at mister money moustache's blog. Here is a post that i really liked (bolded texts are links). 

(thanks to Renato for sharing with me the very inspiring video above)