5 Real Reasons to Consume Less

Reuse-Reduce-RecycleLet's start out by pointing out that folks today are more aware of recycling goods and taking care of the planet more than ever . And the symbol, accompanied by the phrase "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" is important. Most folks think about the word "Recycle" but the first is actually "Reduce". If you are able to Reduce, then there is no need to Reuse or Recycle. I’m not necessarily advocating that you own less. For me it’s relieving to keep my items limited. But I am proposing that you keep an open mind as to what owning less can actually do for you, both physically and spiritually. Without further delay, let’s get down to it, the 5 reasons why I prefer to consume less. 1. Consuming less saves you money. I know, it seems obvious. If you buy less, you keep more. But think about it. If you have credit card debt or other short term debt and are complaining about money being tight, take a quick inventory of what’s around you. What have you not used in the last few months? The last year? Years? A test that I like to do when I’m in the organizing mood - if I haven’t used it in the last year it often gets the boot (sold or given away). Think about this a step further. Every item that you purchase needs some sort of maintenance. Larger purchases can break down. They need protection in the form of insurance. They beg to be stored. Are you ready to shell out all of those costs? A lot of folks aren’t. In real estate, I’ve unfortunately seen a number of foreclosures happen. It’s amazing to me to see how much "stuff" is left behind. What this says to me is “These items have no value to me. They don’t mean enough for me to figure out how to take them with me.” 2. When you Consume Less, you Have Less.  And therefore more. Again, obvious. But read deeper. What will you have less of? Less things. Less distractions. Less clutter. What will this give you more of? More time. More money. More peace. I can’t speak for all when I say that having less is somehow less stressful. But I can speak for myself. It relieves me to have less to take care of. It relieves me to know that I won’t get buried when I open a closet. It relieves me to know that if I need something that I’ll be able to find it without digging deep. It relieves me to have space and room. It relieves me to be able to focus on experiences and relationships rather than things. 3. Consuming less gives you more flexibility when making choices. Do you want to travel? Move homes? Lower your costs? Just because you consume a lot doesn’t mean you can’t do these things. But if you consume less you’re more flexible and it’s easier to do all of them. Lowering your costs is obvious (see #1 above). But travel is a big one. I can tell you personally that many people I know say “man, how did you travel to New Zealand for 18 months or Guatemala for 6 weeks? A large part of my honest answer would be “Consuming Less.” Most folks take a typical 2 week vacation. Why? 1. It’s what their employer gives them, which I understand. 2. But it’s also because they have to pay for expenses both at home and on the road for those 2 weeks. For a vacation you save up a huge chunk of money to spend for that time period while at the same time having your ‘bills’ back home. When you have the flexibility to travel long term, you actually only have one set of expenses for the most part. Your travel expenses ARE your living expenses. 4. Consuming less can create more time for you. Everything we buy takes a real measurable amount of time to purchase. This means that every item that you choose not to purchase is that much more additional time for you on a personal level. Use it for business, personal life, whatever. 5. If you own less then you have less to take care of. If you have less to take care of, then you have less to maintain. To me this is huge! I don’t own a boat, 2nd car, motorcycle, multiple gadgets, tools, etc. This means I don’t have to fix/repair a boat, 2nd car, motorcycle, multiple gadgets, tools, etc. This saves me time. This saves me money (again #1 above). To me owning less is an upward spiral. I get to save money. I get to save time, which saves me money. I get to have more choices, which can lead to more money and time saving. They are all beautifully interwoven and each item accelerates the others in that upward spiral. Each upward spiral releases earthly anchors and allows me to grow.  

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Grayson @ Debt Roundup January 13, 2014, 3:40 PM

    Great post! My wife and I have worked hard to try and reduce what we currently have around us. We had some years when we just consumed way too much. We know what we did wrong and now are working on a plan to fix it.

  • Holly@ClubThrifty January 14, 2014, 3:00 PM

    Great post! We’ve really downsized our lives over the past few years and have experienced a ton of benefits. Now if we could only convince our toddler kids to be minimalists =)

  • brooks January 21, 2014, 4:04 PM

    Thanks for the comment! Something about what you just said makes me smile. A smile of relief. Working on the plan. It’s moving in that right direction. Man, just feels so good! I’m doing it with you!

  • brooks January 21, 2014, 4:07 PM

    Thanks Holly! Funny you mention the toddler thing, as I just got married (unconventionally of course, post coming soon ha) and I instantly acquired a 7 year old (who calls me Dad2 which I find super funny and cool). Boom! Just like that – 3 people’s things rather than just 1. We’re in the process of moving them in. It’s an INCREDIBLE time to filter the things they have. eBay is booming in 2014!

    My wife mentioned that she hates moving. Ha, I do too. So reason #6 of owning less is so that it’s easier to move! A very real reason! We have an ongoing joke that when we sell my house that we’re going to push to sell it fully furnished — maybe we can include clothing and toys as well 😉

  • jamie flexman February 13, 2014, 12:08 PM

    I can definitely attest to the idea that having less frees you up to actually live your life. I don’t own much these days but I know that if I even had double the belongings I currently have, then I would feel weighed down and miserable.

  • brooks February 27, 2014, 3:57 PM

    I hear you Jamie!

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