I was working in Shanghai this summer, and my boyfriend and I went to the bookstore just because we were missing reading something in English. While I was reading a book on the factory conditions of China, he was reading Rich Dad Poor Dad. I grew up seeing the ads for this book in the subway. I quickly decided to order a copy off Taobao.
In the book, it talks about how the poor are poor because they spend their things on luxuries trying to appear rich. It hit me. All these years, I remained poor because I couldn’t control myself. I was too busy keeping up with the Jones, cluttering my room with more than unnecessary things, while my bank account remained uncluttered and pretty much empty.
I decided then and there that I was going to stop buying wants and only buy needs. I wanted to keep traveling around the world, and I wanted to just take the basics with me. I have no need for the extra things in life.
After two months in Shanghai, I returned to Canada for school. I did really good at not buying any needs while I was at school up in Thunder bay (it also helped that I did not have access to a mall. All I did was hit the gym and watch netflicks for fun). The biggest expenses besides food and rent, were buying a heavy duty jacket ($180) for the winter and treating myself to a salon ombre ($140)
However being back in Toronto, my old spending habits slowly crept back in. I still only bought things on sale, such as clothes and maybe one or two new pieces of makeup. However, I think the lowest point came when I went out 30 minutes before a friend gathering to buy a new set of clothes. Who am I trying to impress? None of my friends came dressed up, and one was even sloppily drunk. I could have stored away the money. I comforted myself by telling myself, the clothes are good and I can reuse them a lot during my practicum.
The other day, I was out shopping with my family and my boyfriend’s family. I came across a really good book. Do Less by Rachel Jonat was great. The book talked about having less clutter in your life in exchange for financial freedom. The book talked changing the hobby of shopping, for having more time to do more fulfilling things like running, knitting, painting, or doing my nails. Although this holidays my visa bill is twice the amount I thought it would be, I did not make any large or unnecessary purchases such as a designer bag. I did not go shopping online on ebay, and I only bought one sweater during boxing day.
I think that next year, I will not go boxing day shopping. It’s a waste of my time. The sales I got the days before boxing day were better anyway. I wasn’t crowded or rushed or digging through disorganized, X-large shirts.
I am disappointed in myself in treating myself to wants, such as a black and also a white fur jackets. The same jackets cost 70$ in H&M and I bought mine for 16$, including the 30% employee discount from work. I wanted this jacket since the summer. I think that several months is a good time for wait for an item.
I also bought a pair of earrings, some shirts, two sweaters and a scarf. Each item did not cost more than 10$. But these are wants, not needs. So I still felt disappointed in my life. I can’t dwell on this though. I can’t return sales items but I can hopefully learn. It’s all a learning experience. All those lipsticks I thought in Shanghai that I never got around to opening because Christmas gifts for my friends. At least I did not have to waste time and more money on finding them gifts. So I hope I can learn from my experiences. And living in Toronto is filled with expensive temptations. I’m pretty happy to leave the city life behind. So that way, everyday expensives just stay as once in a while luxuries.