By Far, this is the biggest life lesson that had a profound impact as to how we’ve become to be who we are today. We lived and breathed getting into, living in and trying to get our of DEBT. It was all so “normal” – the situation that we got ourselves into that is quite common in our western society or as you may have heard before – “First world problems”? It was literally that. When you think about it, getting into debt has evolved to becoming a normal part of life. It is a subconscious way of life that we all seem to be a part of, our society has deemed this to be a ‘normal’ way of living. The constant spending, the continual wanting through the bombardment of advertising, the disconnect between needs and wants and the endless consumerism that it is so ingrained in the Western world.
We know how easy it is to get into debt. We somehow believed that everything is incomplete, not enough or lacking. We seem to believe all the ads about what’s missing in your life and why you “need” certain things to fill the void or to be a part of something or to project an image of success or superiority.
In hindsight, we believe that we subconsciously “buy into” everything we see and hear because everyone else is doing the same. It’s certainly not easy to break the mould, to be different and to be the odd one out. But you know what? we did exactly that. We let go of society’s preconception and challenged the norm because we thought there had to be another way, there had to be a different way of living life. A debt-free life.
How we got into debt in the first place? we thought about the immense “excess” of consumption and how the line between our “needs” and “wants” became very blurry.
(Please note that theses are based on living expenses in Australia)
We saw this as an item that probably set us back the most. We ate out most days, four to five days a week. two to three coffees a day, snacks and lunch out and takeaways for dinner. So in a day? That’s about AU$50 per person (conservatively). When the work day begins it’s all starts with a big rush, so we pay extra for the convenience (rather than waking up early to whip up something at home). When the workday was over we would often find ourselves looking for an easy quick meal out as we find ourselves exhausted (partly laziness).
Between the two of us, it was costing us up to AU$100/day, sometimes more.
So, AU$50ea per day doesn’t sound much when you take into account that we do have to eat… and then the weekend rolls in, which usually costs us more – in a month? it would blow out to be AU$2800.
This was incredible – when we sat down and listed all of our paid subscriptions, it amazed us as to how much money we were blowing off for things that we were not even using regularly. A clear example of a nice-to-have (wants) rather than a necessity (needs). We had gym memberships, pay tv subscriptions, Costco membership, magazine subscriptions, an iPad/mobile phone each.
We found ourselves paying for things and services that were not even part of our day-to-day life or were not enhancing or even making life easier/better for us. These were merely distractions and “fillers” – we found these didn’t add any value to our day to day life.
The unnecessary impulse of buying stuff; from shoes, clothes, gadgets, furniture, the list goes on and on. Thanks to retailers, advertising, social media and online shopping buying stuff have become so much easier. To the point, retailers are offering store cards. The accumulation of buying stuff over a period time found us in a situation we had to pay for an external storage space as we couldn’t fit our belongings in our 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 car space and lock up storage apartment anymore. Yet there was only the two of us living in that apartment. We had our wardrobes overflowing, yet we kept purchasing more stuff.
Saying YES to everything (when we really wanted to say NO)
Social media has forever changed the world, it has also made a massive impact on social expectations and what is the so-called norm now. We made the decision to get off social media a few years ago and have never looked back. Yes, we have missed out on “what’s trending” or certain events that were created on social media platforms. But the true nature of FOMO (Fear of missing out) does exist. We have lived it and have lived without it. We use to find ourselves saying YES to events for the sake of it as we didn’t want to miss out as everyone we knew was going to it. From dress up’s to out-of-town road trips or interstate long weekend trips. The amazing thing we have learnt once we decided to get off social media was that people who truly wanted to reach out actually contacted us rather than just sending a mass invite without giving it a second thought and hope everyone turns up. Yes, we have missed out on certain events as we don’t have social media but we didn’t exactly miss out on anything that we didn’t even know about.
If you have managed to get this far reading this. We haven’t even taken into account our living expenses such as mortgage, electricity, gas, car/s, insurances – these fall under another list as we believe they are more the necessities. What we wanted to highlight are the “extras” that we never pay a second thought.
So… how does one get into debt? Think about the extras, nice to have items and the items that do not sustain for you to live and breath. We created an excessive lifestyle that in order to keep it going, we needed to get credit card/s, personal loans, a line of credits, store cards, car loans, mortgages etc. Welcome to an ever-growing list of “first world problems”. The cycle of wanting MORE in life. MORE of everything. But when is enough – ever enough?The good news is we are now out of this so-called ‘normal’ way of life.
Through hard work, discipline and being brutally honest with each other – we are now out of this so-called ‘normal’ way of life. We were able to strip all of our possessions to the absolute bare essentials and simplify our way of life. The process has brought us closer and has taught us what it means to be content and happy.
Have a think about where are you are right now, are you happy with your current ‘way of life’? Reflect on the “extras” that you have and how you can find out for yourself, when will everything be truly enough for you?