It’s time to share something about my spending behavior. That’s because it has changed a lot over the past years. I don’t have the precise numbers right now, but it is a feeling I have. Due to minimalism and zero waste, my mindset has flipped completely. I see the world differently now. And with this mindset change my spending behavior has changed drastically too. Today I want to share more about that.
A few years ago I used to be in the rat race many people are in today. We work to buy stuff, we buy stuff because we think it’ll make us happier. I really felt like that. I have worked since I was 14 years old and in the first few years I saved all my money for stuff. Literally. I would save about 200 euros for one shopping spree. I would travel to the other side of the country (or another country even: Germany) to go to the Primark and spend all the money I’d saved. The more I bought, the better. I was always looking for the next jeans, the next toy or the next thing I didn’t need. And even though I spend most of my money on stuff: I felt like I never had enough. I would be happy with the new things I bought for a few weeks (or sometimes even days), but that feeling would fade. Then the feeling of not having enough would come back and the cycle started all over again.
Minimalism and Zero Waste
Of course it’s a logical that when you start to adopt minimalism and zero waste, you buy less stuff. If you want to live minimalistic it’s key to stop buying more things. And when you want to live zero waste it’s best to stick to the 5 R’s of zero waste. You refuse most things. But I never really though about it affecting my finances and lifestyle is this way I am sharing today. When I started this journey I took all steps for sustainability. It seems like an altruistic thing to do. But now, years later, I have changed my mind about this. It’s not only good for the planet, it’s great for myself too. I wouldn’t call it selfish, but I did realize that living minimalistic and zero waste is something that makes me feel much better. It is something I do for myself now too.
What is it in my spending pattern that has changed? I stopped adding value to stuff and so I rarely buy anything new (in this post you can see all the new things I bought in 2020, the last time I made up the balance). You’d think that I would then save all this money. I do save money, but I spend most of my money on experiences and food. As I said I don’t have precise numbers, but I would say from all the money I have left after I paid my housing and saved a bit, 45% goes to food and 45% goes to experiences. Let me first start with the food. It’s a trend to spend as little as food as we can these days. Decades ago a much bigger part of people’s income would go to food. Now, people consider it a challenge to spend little on it. I think this is insane. I mean, it’s our source of life. Our diet is the basis of our life. If we feed ourselves with good food, we feel better. Why would you compromise on such an important part of your life? I value my health over stuff. And so, I don’t spend much money on stuff anymore. Instead I spend it on plant-based, organic, local and delicious food. I would never ever want to go back. I rather nourish my body than buy the newest phone.
Experiences over Stuff
Then the second expenditure, experiences. And I think this is just as important as food. The money I used to spend on stuff, I now spend on experiences (well, not right now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, but in a normal situation). This has made me a happier person in general. I choose not to buy a bigger tv or a new jeans. I choose to go to an amusement park with friends, a holiday or a an amazing festival (like you see on the picture on the top of this post). This way I create memories. Remember, experiences over stuff? Where I used to spend money in the Primark and bought even more clothes than I already had, I now make memories. It adds so much value to my life.
All in all, my lifestyle has changed. I no longer value an abundance of stuff. I choose to be happy with what I already have. This has left a lot of money for me to spend and so my spending habits have changed over the years too. Where I used to spend money on stuff, I now spend it on my health and memories.