Suhtoshi's Blog

Minimalism For Me

When I was growing up I always loved buying new things. I would instantly spend any money my mom or dad would give me on basically the first thing that seemed halfway interesting on the toy isle. My sister on the other hand was always the family saver. I don’t know why, but she rarely found something that would make her spend her allowance. For me, there was so many thing I wanted to buy. The only thing I remember “saving” for was a $20 pump paintball gun from Walmart.

This want for things continued through my high school job career. I have never had a problem with working, because my obsession for things was realistic on how to get those things. I knew that if I could work and get money, then I could get those new RayBan’s sunglass that I saw the cooler older senior kids were wearing. Side note: The RayBan’s sunglasses I purchased my junior year of high school, I have somehow managed to keep them safe 12 years later. We’ll come back to these sunglasses later on.

Fast forward into college and I am now working on my degree. I took out student loans every year and my parents were very helpful paying for my lodging 3 out of the 4 years and my car note. It was agreed upon in my family, that if we’d go to college and finish, they’d pay for our first car. I was very lucky to have that support. I worked at the local movie theater part time during college for random spending money. I was still wanting to buy more stuff than I could afford. Yet I knew that if I wanted “stuff” I’d need to work to get it. And I continued to do so.

The with two high paying summer internships during college and somewhat modest saving habits, I was able get through college above average in terms of excess spending. I could afford beer, the latest iPhone, and a senior trip to San Francisco. I am writing this not to boast, but to explain both how lucky I was to have the support from my parents/student loans, and the self-motivation to get a degree in an high paying field to satisfy my craving for things.

I graduated and accepted a position at a refinery just outside of New Orleans. I was making really good money. This was in 2014, and being a 22 year old with that kind of job was hard to me to resist spending the money I was making. I had formed no habits on money management or the importance in saving. I bought everything I could. Luckily I was smart enough to automatically put money into my 401k from the start so I never saw that money and had that. Being completely separated from my parents financially felt good I like that feeling of independence. I had no problem working because I new I could buy the things I wanted.

After about 5 years of just buying everything I wanted, I began to realize that I wasn’t actually wanting these things. I had turned an action of wanting into a habit of buying. The things I was buying weren't giving me any satisfaction. I would buy one thing, feel good for a week or so, then it’d be on to the next new thing. The cycle wouldn’t stop. The system of companies creating new iterations of the same thing fueled this impulse. The “latest and greatest” product was just this years newer version that I felt I needed to have. I was tired of keeping up with this. The thing I was buying at any point in time was never enough.

“The gap between more and enough never closes.” Quote on a Jimmy Johns wall in Phoenix.

Minimalism, at this stage of my life, is just realizing that I didn’t want to play that game anymore. This yearly cycle of “new” products, the newest pair of shoes, the newest car, the newest thing at BestBuy; I’m tired of trying to keep up with the latest thing. I don’t know what book I read, or maybe its because I’m getting older, but I just don’t want to run in that race anymore. My spending habits have always aligned with what was cool or new, and I went as far as choosing my college degree on the premise that I would earn a lot of money to buy nice things.

There is nothing wrong with buying new stuff and I will continue to do it. The difference will be that I buy with purpose. Those nice new sunglasses I bought in 2009 have stuck around because they have purpose. I used them. They were nice quality and served a specific purpose. I wasn’t tempted to buy the “latest and greatest” sunglasses because I was already satisfied with what I had. Thats the purchases I want to make. I want to buy things that have a purpose and serve it well.

Making a personal inventory of what I have in my life and getting rid of things I don’t use has helped with my impulse spending. I can physically see when I am starting to collect things I don’t use. Because I got rid of extra clothes/shoes, I can notice when my inventory is getting too large. It sounds cheesy as shit but Minimalism isn’t a destination, it’s a process. A process that lets us filter things that matter from things that don’t. Like all processes I am working on improving it every day. This blog post just serves as an outlet for me to remind myself why I am working toward that lifestyle.

Thanks for reading.

-Suhtoshi