Minimalism

Discussion in 'Personal Diaries' started by Bryan Leak, Dec 5, 2019.

  1. Bryan Leak

    Bryan Leak New Member
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    Understanding why I want to take the journey to minimalism will help me stay motivated on my journey, it will help me to know what exactly minimalism means to me.

    Minimalism is simply taking control over your life and distilling it down to it’s most important parts. By seeking a minimalist lifestyle I identified priorities in my life and intentionally tried to optimize everything around those things. So in the end minimalism isn’t about clutter, how I dress, or how to get rid of stuff; It’s about me making room, mentally and physically, for what is most important to me.

    Each are at odds with each other. To adopt all three has it’s challenges. On one hand you are trying to follow the minimalist’s ideas of buying less, therefore using less & being as frugal as possible on all purchases. Add to that the idea of spending money to gain a little return on your purchases. I found that since I neither fly or spend much time pursuing the advantage credit offers me with regards to dining, entertainment or travel, I have conflict.

    I dine out monthly once, sometimes twice or at most three times. I only use a stay in a motel as a result of poor planning or an emergency. As far as air travel, I have a fear of flight, along with the realization that the sights I’m passing up for speed is counter-productive, you miss so much at 30,000 feet & the hassle at the airports are a necessity that I want to avoid at all costs, time wasted as far as I’m concerned.

    Money is part of the deal, I’m not motivated by money but I also don’t want to spend unnecessarily when I can avoid it. When I first got my cards I was diligent in the quest, gaining bonuses for meeting spending limits, but soon found I was purchasing many unneeded items just to meet the goals. It was a costly buy off, and didn’t play out too well with my adoption of minimalism.

    Credit card companies make money when you use the cards, or pay the interest & fees. They don’t want to keep you in debt but do want to keep the accounts active. It just doesn’t work well with my lifestyle. So, I will let others ‘play’ that game.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
  2. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    I don't have much to add, @Bryan Leak, but I want to welcome you to the forum and thank you for posting. I am still in collecting mode, I guess, because I have trouble getting rid of things that I think I may need one day. Every now and then, I think about cleaning house, not in the sense of tidying up, but getting rid of things I haven't needed in the past decade, or that I didn't even remember I had. However, my house is paid for, and I have an attic.
     
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  3. Bess Barber

    Bess Barber Very Well-Known Member
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    @Bryan Leak I really enjoyed your post and totally agree with your concept. When our possessions become a burden, we don't possess them, they possess us. It's as though we become a slave to so many things we don't even need.

    Example I used to collect books. Whenever I moved, I always had to find a place that had room for them. A good majority of my moving boxes were just books. The heaviest boxes ever. This was all accompanied by huge oak bookshelves. One day, I though how STUPID and sold them all. I actually had a 'free' feeling. :)

    Since then, I have edited everything I own.
    Thanks for you post!!
     
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  4. Lon Tanner

    Lon Tanner Veteran Member
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    Welcome aboard Bryan, Good Post. Looking to hear more from you. I am a bona fide MINIMALIST I guess and didn't know it.
     
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  5. Gloria Mitchell

    Gloria Mitchell Veteran Member
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    I agree. I can tell your not doing friends or family any favors in keeping a bunch of crap around. It has been two years and we are still trying to clear out my FIL house.
    Soon as holidays are over I will be getting rid of more stuff. To me it's just in the way.
     
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  6. Micki Pembroke

    Micki Pembroke Very Well-Known Member
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    WELCOME @Bryan Leak SoC is a great place to spend time, great and caring people. Your post is so true to life, hit home in a lot of areas. Again, WELCOME. :D:D:D:D:D.
     
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  7. Micki Pembroke

    Micki Pembroke Very Well-Known Member
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    So happens this week i was in a sorting, donating, and give away mood. Why a person gathers so much, don't know. I do this every so often, to keep things current, some things were important i'm sure at the time, but not so much now. My house isn't packed full of stuff, just don't have the need or want for some things anymore. The credit card thing, another truth, Bryan. My shopping has certainly changed over the last years. Gloria, you are so right in the leaving stuff for someone to sort out after departure, is quite stressful for those friends and family. I hate to say, but my dogs have way too much stuff, but i'll have to leave them to sort their own, wouldn't want to delete anything good...LOL.
     
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  8. Bryan Leak

    Bryan Leak New Member
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    Thanks to all who have replied. I wasn't trying to shake cages or spread criticism of those who choose to utilize the rewards programs of credit cards. I found it was a scared cow for most who value the income & challenge. It's just not for me. The timing was critical & I figured I could spend quality time pursuing other personal interests. After the bonuses & taking into account the amount I was making on my purchases were small. I have eliminated most debt, no mortgage, no personal loans, no auto loans & don't fly or travel much anymore. Some things can't be paid with credit so it limited my gain.

    I read about some who use one card to pay off another, that may work but I remember my father telling me 'You can't borrow from Peter to pay Paul'. That comment was from the Great Depression Era. Who knows.

    When I understood what I want minimalism to do for me it was so much easier to declutter. While I went through the process, I would have moments where I would be holding something I never used and trying to justify why I’d need to keep it. Once I remembered the purpose of minimalism and why I was implementing it, I had an easier time letting that thing go.

    The process was the easiest way to kick start my journey to minimalism. Doing this slowly and in a few sweeps seems to be the most efficient. I did about three or four sweeps of decluttering before I was completely satisfied with everything I got rid of, and everything I kept. When I went through the process at a reasonable pace (for example, don’t do it all in one day or even in one month), the transition was a bit easier.

    If you go from a full house to a mostly empty house overnight, it will be a much harder adjustment. It worked well for me to try to hit about 5 areas per week – and I chose small areas, like one desk drawer. Many people like to declutter by the room, so if that works for you start there. Though it takes longer to declutter slowly, it is much easier to maintain a minimalist lifestyle if the process is done slowly and carefully.

    On a more personal note, by making my calendar simpler and less cluttered, I found I had much less stress. I was never able to truly live in the moment because I was constantly thinking about what I needed to do next and if I was going to be late. It stressed me out quite a bit, which is ridiculous to think about now, as I have complete control over my own schedule.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
  9. Gloria Mitchell

    Gloria Mitchell Veteran Member
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    @Bryan Leak ....I for one am glad you posted. We need less the older we get. I have never been to materialistic - a trait that baffles my husband.
    When I was single many years ago I got layed off from my job. Had no charge cars,no car payment, just monthly expenses. Was not a big deal for me but did get a part time job then with unemployment I went on for a year like that... :)Free...
     
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  10. Micki Pembroke

    Micki Pembroke Very Well-Known Member
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    @Bryan Leak No Shaked Cages or Criticism taken here, no worries. Your posts were of great interest. Your head and goals are truly going in a positive direction. :).
     
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  11. Teresa Levitt

    Teresa Levitt Active Member
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    we downsized about 7 years ago...smaller home now..etc...plus...we can afford to be frugal!
     
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  12. Bryan Leak

    Bryan Leak New Member
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    It’s all about appearance for the minimalist. We don’t necessarily own less, but we certainly have less on display. Since it’s all about the visuals, the minimalist is easy to finger: Walk into the front door of our colorless house or apartment and spot bare counter tops, bare floors, and bare walls. I feel closed in when there is clutter on the walls, I removed all the rugs, wear nonslip shoes, tripping is the senior’s worry, & I want to be able to find things without moving things around in my drawers or on countertops.

    Our focus is on green living: reducing our dependence on, consumption of and harm to the environment. We’ll own more — more tools, more land, more clothes — if it means we want for less. You might find us living the homestead life — or at least aspiring to — as our priorities are centered around reducing waste and living off the land as much as possible. Minimalism is sometimes as much about serving the environment as it is about serving the person and their chosen lifestyle.

    We are obsessed with using less, having less and paring down our belongings to only the ultimate basics. Look inside our closet or kitchen cabinets to see a collection in short supply — just enough to last a week or so until the next wash. Waste is not usually at the forefront of our minimalist mind as much as quality and quantity; the minimalist will sometimes toss our old things aside just to procure better, more worthwhile things.

    We do what we can within our means to buy the best thing we can afford; if we’re only going to buy one, it needs to be the best and last forever. I have 3 rules that guide my purchases, they are:
    1. I ask myself what I think it will be worth in 3-5 years at a yard sale.
    2. If I have to borrow it twice, I will usually buy one if affordable.
    3. Have I allowed myself a 48 hour cooling off period before buying this?
    The minimalist embraces a belief that the pursuit of experiences is more universally important than the pursuit of things. So while the minimalist does own very few possessions, it’s merely a symptom of our chosen lifestyle rather than an outcome of any intentional accumulation.
     
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  13. Lois Winters

    Lois Winters Very Well-Known Member
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    Welcome aboard Bryan. I too, have been downsizing once again. I'll be moving next month and there are a ton of "things" I've accumulated just this past decade that I neither want nor need. There are so many good charities that I have found who are more than grateful to accept my offerings.
     
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  14. Bryan Leak

    Bryan Leak New Member
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    Minimizing my debt, streamlining my budget and managing my diet.

    Item 1 – Over the years I worked my auto insurance for all it’s worth. I think it’s a collusion with the auto industry, repair shops, insurance companies and the dealerships to enhance their bottom line. I never buy glass or comp coverage. You can avoid accidents, save the difference then pay outright for damage when it becomes necessary, ROI is about 2 years.

    If you’re a safe driver, don’t drink also helps, you can beat that game. If you pit your glass or crack it, deal with the glass repair shops for the best deal. They will usually cut the price for no comp. I only carry $1,000 deductible on my cars, reasons I never buy new, usually 3 years old. Most bankers will allow you to self-insure your deductible.

    Minimized.

    Item 2 – When I bought my replacement vehicle in the fall of Oct 2019 I fell for one of the oldest ploys at the dealership. I allowed them to add a warranty to my contract in a weak moment. I sent a cancellation request immediately, 2 months and 1 payment later it came through. On Dec 24th 2019 it was finally posted, lowering my balance.

    It didn’t lower my payment but did reduce the number of months remaining on my contract. Saving me 19 months in payments ($4,300). When the finance manager comes in, it means you have been approved and his/her job is to up sell you more addons without any benefit to you. I watch my accounts daily for problems.

    One other thing I’ve changed is my attitude towards auto paying my accounts. I’ve been paying my Netflix streaming bill automatically for many years now with no issues. I log into my accounts daily, bank, credit card accounts and other accounts that have the ‘gotcha’ possibility. I decided to put a few more on auto pay, for convenience. I would pay my auto and home owners insurance by auto pay but I opt to pay homeowners annually and my auto semi-annually saving the monthly fees.

    My new-to-me auto loan had the option. The payments remains the same now that all the dust has settled. I have to make the payment regardless of my circumstances so auto pay is my ticket. My ISP service is on auto pay along with my wireless (it can change a few cents every month, but nothing that causes major problems). Streaming, auto loan, wireless, utilities and ISP - auto pay.

    Minimized.

    Item 3 - I entered the rewards game a few years back. My error was coming out against the idea of seniors playing the game. I’m still believe that. There were many who took exception to me for attacking their beliefs. Mint.com has an excellent entry against the game on a blog page. Dave Ramsay, Suze Ohrman and Clark Howard all preach against it. Must be some reason they don’t believe that they are worth the gamble. My thoughts are if the few dollars gained are a make or break you thing then you have bigger worries.

    I must’ve been out of touch. Got to remember the advice, 'It's better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt'. I should get that embroidered on a pillow.

    53% of all Americans carry balances paying interest and fees on their cards. Everyone opens them with the resolve to full pay monthly but in most cases that’s not happening. I remember from my gambling days that if you can win 53% of your sports bets you will be rich in a few years. 53% seems small but it can win you the Presidential seat at election time. Activity, impulse buying, debt and chasing rewards are the watch words, the banks win – not you!

    Deciding which were the best of the 7 cards in my wallet, I arrived at the decision to keep my 5% store card, 2 higher limit/older cards (1.5-4%) and the highest limit VISA (2%) for emergencies. I canceled 3 others. I had kept a zero balance prior to the closing date on all. Zero interest, no fees.

    Knowing I don't have to think very hard when making a purchase is worth it. Interesting to me was the followup questions. One was very adamant about the fact that I was a great customer (in his words) and hated to see me leave. Kept offering me incentives or ideas to remain, I stood firm in my resolve to unburden myself.

    An added perk is what closing the accounts had on my budget. Showing revolving balances versus a smaller group with balances are better in my case. I looked at the bottom line and decided I needed to get my budget minimized. When dieting they say if you use a smaller plate it’s easier to resist overeating, gives the appearance of proportional servings.

    Results: Closing 3 cards hurt as evidenced by 1st alert. It dropped my FICO score 6 points, could expect that my overall score will drop by 12 more points when all the alerts get noted. It also affects your score (up or down?) just paying the balance down to zero, which I did when I closed it, the other two had zero balances to begin with so maybe no more drop except for closing the card.

    Second card reported to CRA’s as closed did raise my score up 26 points. Reason was it was opened less than 6 months ago. It helped my overall credit limit because of the low threshold $300 every time I charge $100 groceries at Walmart it was reported that I had exceeded more than 10% of my credit limit which dinged my score. I closed the 3 lowest limit cards.

    Minimized.

    Item 4 - Snowbirding has its downside, cooking for one. I’ve found that things that are conveniently packaged are best for me. I’m not a French trained chef or for that matter a gourmet snob. I can eat the same basic meal for months, to me eating to live rather than living to eat is sound reasoning. I find that the easier it’s for me to prepare the better. I discovered in my research that Amazon has some pretty good canned items that can go a long ways to a quick meal. And, delivered on my porch.

    Pureed sweet potatoes, refried beans, frozen sausage patties ($.33 ea) give me my protein I need. Eggs are cheap and pretty hard to screw up. Oatmeal* is another cheap, healthly meal. I can pour the milk out of a carton as good as the next person. Heat them in a paper bowl in the microwave. No pans to wash, actually can use plastic untensils but I opt for the normal tableware. I have normal blood pressure so the salt content is low on my alert list. I drink tons of coffee, usually my only beverage of choice, once in awhile a glass of water.

    * I prepare my oatmeal the easy way, start with only old fashioned oats and/or whole steel cut oats. Using a quart size wide mouth thermos put 1/3 C dry oats in, then add 2/3 C hot water, I use a stand alone water heater. Pour in liquid, close lid tightly, in 7-8 hours (next morning) you will have perfect oatmeal I then add my choice of sweetener, cinnamon, whole millk (I use half n half) and 1 tablespoon of cashew butter. Heat in microwave for 2 minutes, stir and eat.

    Minimized.

    Item 5 -As a result of dealing with my health issues over the years I bought into a lot of the hype that makes up the opinions of proported experts, the internet is loaded with many opinions some good most bad. I come to the conclusion that what works for me is what works for me. I have become less enamored with others and their expert advice. One that comes to mind and has been my focus as late is the varied opinions about the food we eat. Nothing processed, low salt, low fat follow this diet expert or that health nutritionist. BS, over the years even the government officials have been way off base, take eggs, coffee, saturated fat,,,etc. Everyone was wrong or so it appears now. We are a nation of unhealthy inhabitants. High blood pressure, diabetes, overweight despite all the advice we should have been listening to.

    I was of the opinion that canned foods were unhealthy and we should be eating natural, what the hell is natural? Nothing is the way mother nature intended. We add hormones to our food chain, GMO’s herbicides, chemicals to make them grow bigger, faster and more abundant. Everything we consume has had hands on from one source or another. With acid rain nothing is natural anymore, we eat what is put in front of us. My question to anyone who gives what they think is sound advice has never had a meal out.

    Have you ever been to a Costco, restaurant supply store or many of the warehouse big box stores, hell there is even Amazon and it’s half million items that can be delivered to you door. Everything is processed, it’s a major part of the human economy. Every franchise eating establishment gets their supplies from some processing outlet. Even most items that start out fresh have been quick frozen for storage and convenience.

    Minimized.

    Working on my Budget, I now have the 3 credit cards mentioned and the one retail Amazon card.

    Card 1 pays a 1.5% cash back on everything. I’ll use that for my annual expenses I budget using my tax refund to fund. The total that includes, property taxes (both auto and home), insurance (again both auto and homeowners) my CostCo, AARP, ambulance and auto tags. Estimated expenses is $165 monthly. $2,000 annually.

    Card 2 @ 1% cash back for purchases and 4% for dining. I pay my monthly fixed utilities, estimated @ $185 monthly. Keeps the card active and costs about $.60 less to use it to keep it active. $2,200 annually.

    Card 3 @ 2% cash back is used to fund my travel to and from my snowbirding location, my lot rent and meals in transit and I will use it to make necessary living expenses not budgeted for. My total estimated expenses is $250 monthly. $3,000 annually.

    Total amounts I will put on my 3 cards runs about $600 which is about what I figured would be the average expenses for the month. My disposable monthly income from SS is just shy of $2,000.

    The Amazon retail card @ 5% will be for my online purchases. Estimates are a crap shoot.

    Minimized.
     
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  15. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    I've had enough of finding things I never knew I had :rolleyes: spring will bring forth a good clear out, I've only toyed with
    it in the past, throwing out little bits - well this Spring a good overhaul, o yea
    Welcome Bryan :)
     
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