I’ve met a number of financial planners in my travels all trying to help me save money. Some planners are good, some not so good. I’ve heard about mutual funds, government bonds, sure-fire-shares, and the latest in “ethical funds.” I hear how much I need in the bank to expect a happy retirement, how much I should be saving, and how my interest in world peace (pun intended) will never earn me the money I need.
What I never hear is this one simple piece of advise to save your money – I’m about to give you for free.
As you may know, financial planners earn their income through commissions on the products they sell you. It’s in their best interest to persuade you that buying something will earn you something – because it will earn them something. “Spend money to make money” – that old adage. You’re spending money while they’re making it.
If you want to save your money and increase your net worth, there’s one tip that transformed my life more than any other. And it didn’t come from a financial planner.
Everywhere I go, I hear from people who just can’t save money. Many earn a healthy income, yet they live pay cheque to pay cheque. They get a raise but they still run out. They just can’t get ahead. What are they doing wrong?
When you look around at your friends, are you envious of what they have? Are your friends envious of what you have? Do you turn on the tv and see all the stuff you don’t have yet? If so, you aren’t alone.
Do your ears perk up when you hear that magic four-letter word, “sale”? At Christmas time, do you catch yourself looking at things you want when you’re “supposed” to be shopping for your loved ones?
I’m no expert on financial planning, but the best advice I have ever been given, the number one tip that changed my life, didn’t come from an expert.
The advise came from someone who had nothing. She lived in a tiny hut, ate mostly rice, had never owned a television and had never gone further than a few miles out of her village.
We had talked about a number of topics and came around to the “fact” that my society, middle-class Canada, has “everything they could ever want,” yet “constantly complain that they don’t have enough!” (My words, not hers.)
She smiled wisely. “You don’t have everything,” she said.” “You just have Every Thing, and Things mean nothing.”
She went on to say that she lives a “simple” life, a life we have been indoctrinated to see as small and pathetic. She boiled my “complex” existence down to this: “You work to earn, earn to spend, spend to live, live to work. And repeat.”
Her advice to me, the secret to her happiness and the transformation in my understanding of the fabric of my society, was simply this:
To save money, just stop buying all that useless, stupid shit!!
Everywhere we look we are told to “Buy!”
Every flat surface advertises shit you don’t need – if you needed it, they wouldn’t have to promote it. We literally eat it up.
We believe; that blue shit in a bottle will get us laid, that clothes make the man, that shoes make you beautiful, that buying this, that and those will make you better than everyone else that’s fed the same lies, buys the same shit, and believes they are just as special.
Now, I’m not suggesting you stop buying everything, I simply say this:
Buy the shit you like, but like the shit you buy.
Take time to appreciate what you have, and more importantly, to pat yourself on the back for the time you have sacrificed at work to afford what you already have.
If you really want something, buy it. Then take a day or two to enjoy it before you buy the next thing you “really” want. It’s amazing how much money you can save by not spending it!
Remember your kids, nieces or nephews on Christmas Day who love the gift you got them right up until they open the next one? They forget all of the previous gifts because they’re distracted by the new one. We are no different, as much as we like to think we are.
Just because you earn money doesn’t mean you have to spend it, despite what economist “experts” tell you. The economy will do just fine without you.
Here’s a few simple rules I follow:
- If I will be embarrassed to sell it in a garage sale, I don’t buy it.
- If I’m buying something because it will make me cooler, more popular, or happier, I don’t buy it. That’s just the media talking. The companies that make all the crap own all the magazines! (That’s Vertical Integration).
- If the product isn’t local, ethical, or organic, skip it. This one saves me thousands!
You and I are victims of a massive propaganda campaign. A campaign designed to keep you spending so you have to keep working. You keep working, shopping and running out of money so that you stay distracted. You don’t have to be an expert to see this.
The System doesn’t want you retiring, having time off, or having a chance to prioritize your life. Mindless consumerism is a trap intentionally set to distract you from the hamster wheel you were born into. It’s time to get off and rest.
Save Money, Put Your Wallet Away
Put your wallet away, prioritize your interests, and save your damn money by simply not buying all that useless, stupid shit.