Update on the Useless Stuff

I felt I needed to write an update on the Useless Stuff challenge because as November is ending soon, I’m struggling not to buy anything, and I failed.

The other day, I was browsing YouTube videos, and you know how it goes: you watch something, but your eyes are constantly straying to the “recommended for you” section.

So I clicked on another video about a girl who saved 100 000$ in a little over 3 years without a 6 figure salary. She explains in detail how she did it, but I couldn’t watch the full video at that moment because she mentioned a book that changed her finances.

Of course, I’m all pumped up because who wouldn’t want to save $100,000 in about 3 years? I want to know the secrets that she found in the book.

Chloe Morgane - Smart Woman Finish Rich

I headed over to Amazon, and searched for Smart Women Finish Rich. I immediately pressed the “Add to Cart” button. Had it been a Kindle book, I would’ve failed my buy-no-shit-November challenge.

I thought about all the books I already own on the subject of finance. I opened my Kindle app on my MacBook, and searched for “money”, “finance”, “frugal”,”rich”, and “wealth”. I created a collection from the results, and ended up with 34 books to add to my new “Money” collection! I’m sure there are more books that didn’t come out in the search results because the Kindle app searches only titles and authors, not categories.

Wow! I bought 34 books related to finance, and I’m still not a millionaire!!! 😛

Chloe Morgane - 34 Kindle Books About Finances

The thing is, I read only 7 out of the 34 books. One more isn’t going to make me wealthier. All I need to do is read the books I already have. Even better would be to reread the books, learn the lessons, and apply them to my finances.

That was the first time I almost failed at my challenge since I’ve made that IKEA list.

A few days ago, I convinced myself I needed a new camera and lens to shoot my videos. It shoots in 4K, is smaller and lighter than my GH3, and, well… It’s new! I had it in my Amazon cart along with one of the lenses I’ve been dreaming of. I was this close to purchasing it, but I remembered my challenge, and quickly closed the browser’s tab. I avoided a second failure.

But my impulses got the best of me yesterday.

Chloe Morgane - I Bought Word Hero

Every week, I receive an email with book deals from BuckBooks. It’s so easy and cheap to get great reads when you’re subscribed to the newsletter. I succumbed to the temptation after scrolling through the list of all the yummy books they offered me. 1.99$ later, I realized what I’d done. I didn’t even think, I mindlessly pushed the “Buy Now” button.

I didn’t make a big deal out of my failure, but I learned the lesson. If I don’t want to do something, e.g. eat that cake, buy that book, mindlessly scroll my Facebook timeline, I must eliminate my exposure to it.

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I still have 6 days left in my challenge. I must stay vigilant. The buying impulse is sneaky, and the best way to not give in is to stay away from temptations.

Useless Stuff

To follow-up on last week’s post, We Have Enough, I thought I could put myself through a challenge.

Unlike many women, I genuinely hate shopping. It’s hard for me to understand the excitement my friends feel when they shop. I see this activity as a stress inducer, feeling no pleasure whatsoever in giving my hard-earned cash in exchange for a thing that might eventually end up unused after 3 months.

But I’m an imperfect being, and I do sometimes buy things I eventually don’t use. When I do, it makes me feel guilty, and, at some point, I want to get rid of the useless stuff I bought not so long ago.

We/I easily blame the media for this behaviour, and the marketing strategies they use to create needs. As I believe we always have a choice, I think it’s wrong to blame them for our consumerism habit.

The real reason I sometimes buy stuff I don’t need is my habit of mindless consumerism. I convince myself the thing I’m about to buy is going to make my life so much better. About 95% of the time, it ends up being the opposite. The stuff takes space in my home, in my mind, and robs me of precious time when I need to care for it.

Because I love challenges, and because I want to change this bad habit, I will experiment not buying anything for the month of November 2017. I’ll only buy food, and the essential personal hygiene products I absolutely need. I have enough clothes, kitchen utensils, and all the tools and product I need to care for my home, myself, my motorbikes, and my car.

If I like how the challenge goes, I might extend it to December. I will keep you posted in a short note on my weekly blog post.

Do you think I can make it? Have you ever tried a similar challenge in the past? And would you try it with me this month?

We Have Enough

You’re reading this, so I’m assuming you have the Internet and a device to serve you this page. I’m also assuming you have enough of the basic necessities a human being needs to live– food, water, shelter, clothing. We both have everything we need. Let’s pause, and say “Thank you”… (I just closed my eyes and whispered “thank you”)

Being More vs Wanting More

The thing is, we always want more. A better car, a bigger house, a new TV, a new computer, more clothes, more food. We know that this stuff won’t make us happier, it won’t make us more intelligent, nor will it transforms us into a better human.

I believe that being happier and healthier, being a better version of ourselves, are the things we really want. We want to be more, but we don’t have an easy way to achieve this. Let’s be real, being a better human is hard work.

And here’s another problem. We’ve learned to work for money to buy things. We feel great for a few days, or just a few hours after our purchase. So we think, maybe the key to always feel great is to buy more stuff. Isn’t that’s what our western, modern society teaches, and encourages us to do?

It’s everywhere, and everyone talks about their new car, bigger house, and the awesome food they ate at this new fancy-trendy restaurant. As if we were no more than our stuff. I hate that kind of small talk, it makes me feel empty and shallow. I don’t care about your car, your new country house… I care about what makes you vibrate, what energizes you, and the things you would die for.

Small Habits Pay the Most

To try and change my consumerism thoughts and behaviours, I’ve decided to write 3 things I’m grateful for every single morning. People are often on my list, so is my health and all the things I know how to do, like drawing, playing music, and riding my trial and off-road motorcycles. This simple, powerful habit reminds me that my life is plentiful, rich, and it gives me the courage to talk about and be the real things.

Because we have more than enough.

And we are more than enough.

All we’ll ever need is within us.

How do you remind yourself you have an amazing life? 

Action

I’ve talked before about how I have trouble with information overload. There’s always a new book, a new TED talk, a new YouTube video to watch, a new blog post to read.

They all get me excited about making myself into a better person, creating a better video for my website, making my body fitter and stronger, or understanding the needs of my loved ones better.

I know I’m naïve. I thought I just had to consume the information, and my brain would take care of the rest.

Of course, that never happened.

What I try to do now, is to take one deliberate action on the information I consume and practice it until I have absorbed the knowledge. It’s hard, I struggle, because I’m addicted to the excitement I get from starting a new book, listening to a new TED talk, or YouTube video.

And that, my friend, is the foundation of consumerism.

I sometimes imagine I could read the same book over a period of a year. One or two chapters a month. Dig deep, and practice the knowledge until I make it my own, until it becomes second nature, until I’ve mastered the teachings.

Things Hidden Behind Things

I feel blessed for having learned another life lesson.

Last week, my fiancé and I visited a cottage. It was perfectly situated for all the things I enjoy doing. I could go off-road motorcycle without taking the road, go fishing, hunting, relax in nature, make a fire and grill the fish I caught in the morning, paint, take amazing photographs of the sunrise on the lake, and play guitar when the weather wouldn’t permit going outside.

It was a dream come true, and I wouldn’t even have to borrow at the bank to buy it.

My fiancé didn’t see it the same way. For him, it was another responsibility, another place to take care of, and another debt. I listened, understood, and so I decided to let it go. Strangely, it made me happy.

The lesson I learned is that Things we buy are a materialization of our emotions and our basic needs. I don’t really want a chalet, I need to get away, far from the everyday life at the house, and I want to have more time, and share more with the love of my life.

There are many other ways to fulfil my needs, and express my emotions. The desire to by Things is often a signal that a need isn’t fulfilled.

Next time I want to buy something, I’ll pause and ask what need does buying this Thing is trying to fill? Could I fill it any other way?

Do you agree?