I spent almost one month in Thailand/Australia/Singapore in december.
One of the most shocking and surprising discoveries I made during my trip was that I spent less money while traveling, compared to how much I spend while I’m working 9 -5.
This got me think really hard about why.
During the trip I could spend my 24 hours exactly as I wanted every day. I had all the free time I could ever dream of.
I visited the most beautiful places in the world, I had time to meet friends and even do all kind of fun activities. Every single day!
I had an amazing month traveling and I felt really grateful for every hour spent, and to my surprise it all costed me less money than I spend in a regular “boring” month back home.
How is this possible? Is it really true that I can have more time and more fun while living the life of my dreams? And in the same time spend less money?
Going back to 9 – 5 after my vacation
I’ve been working for almost 3 months after my vacation.
All the activities I had lots of time for during my trip are now reduced to a bare minimum.
Reading, writing, meet friends, workout, enjoy the sunset etc.
All these activities are free, but they take time.
Isn’t it weird that I what I want most in life costs basically nothing, but somehow I don’t have time to pursue them fully?
Every week I exchange my precious time for money I don’t need.
Financial independence means a lot to me because it allows me to take back my time.
These days I’m saving like a mad man to become FI. Every month I invest aprox. 60 % of my salary, so basically I could live of only 40 % if I stay at home.
If I’d “lived” on the road I think I could’ve lived out of 20 % of my income, aprox. 1000 $ every month.
In many ways this idea is extremely appealing to me.
By living on the road I could have reduced my FIRE-number from 600.000 $ USD to 300.000 $ USD, it would allow me to take back time earlier and I could see new places and try doing some freelance writing jobs if I wanted to.
But then there is family and friends. They’re getting older each day, and I want to be around them. I also love to stay where I live and the nature is beautiful here.
I feel lucky to say that I only got five years left before I quit the rat race if I choose to live in Norway.
5 years with hard work and exchanging my time for money.
Optimizing my 5 years left in the rat race
I spend ten hours every day for work related tasks. This is to much.
So at the moment I’m trying to optimize my life to get more time available in my current lifestyle.
Daily I have a 45 min commute each way, and after sticking with this for almost three years, it’s time for me to make a change.
Right now I’m in the middle of a job interview process for a job thas is only 4 minutes walking from my apartment.
And it is also 5.000 – 10.0000 $ higher salary!
I know the answer probably in the middle of the coming week, and even if I don’t get the position, I do for sure know that I will apply for other jobs in the neigborhood!
Embracing minimalism and working less
Have you ever thought about why you work 8 hours a day?
And how much work you actually get done in these 8 hours?
The 8-hour workday is really profitable for businesses, not because how much work an office worker gets done (an average worker gets three hours of effective work done), but because the employer keeps the workers free time scarce.
When free time is a scarce in life, it means that the worker bee automatically will pay a lot more for reliefs and “things” to try to boost their happiness levels.
This is ironic because studies has showed that you don’t get more happy over time when you buy new things.
A shortage of free time makes us procrastinate, watch more TV and its commercials, which again leads to buying more things. And the end result is that we get poorer both in money and time.
The culture we live in is designed to make us tired and dissatisfied with our lives. Our solution to the problem is to buy more, because we feel like we have to fill that gaping hole inside us that’s getting bigger for every single day.
We feel like something is missing.
The solution is to embrace minimalism and work less.
How often do you say: “When I get …. then I will be happy”. Or if I just work 1 more year, then I will go on the vacation of my dreams.
What would happen if we wanted less? Wouldn’t we be happier if we were content with what we already have? Then there would be no more objects to strive for. And therefore less stress and less working in the rat race.
You could be living the life of your dreams if you just wanted less!
What I mean by working less is that you should stop trading your time for money.
If you work on something you love, I don’t define this as work.
I spend probably 10 hours a week on blog related tasks. For some people this may feel like dreadful work, but for me this is enjoyable.
When I blog I often enter flow mode and let my thoughts and creativity flood. I love it so much that I wish I could spend even more time on it.
Every day, you chose what to do with your 24 hours, just like the rest of us.
You did what you thought was smart. But you know you could have done better things with your time and money.
Save up some money and quit, then do what you love.
More spending = less time
We spend money to cheer ourselves up after a long day, to reward ourselves because we managed another week, to celebrate victories, to fix “problems” and to escape boredom.
What would happen to the economy if everybody just stopped buying unneccessary things? Wouldn’t the economic system collapse?
The reason that the economic system is so healthy, is because we are unhealthy. We are depressed, have an higher BMI than ever before and on top of that there is pollution and a major climate crisis.
And for the economy to stay healthy, we have to keep up with our bad habits.
The 40 hour work week is big business for keeping us dissatisfied and where we solve our “problems” by buying new things.
The more money we make, the more we spend. It’s not that we suddenly need to buy more just because we make more. But because we can, we do it.
It’s quite difficult for us to avoid increasing our rate of spending every time we get a raise.
But remember that by increasing your spending, you’ll have to be a part of this hamster wheel forever.
If you say that making more money than you need is the most important thing in life, you will spend your life completely wasting your time.
If you only chase the money, you will be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living.
That is to going on doing things you don’t like doing forever. Which doesn’t make sense.
Is this you?
Some years ago, this was me.
I’ve always questioned this, but I didn’t take any action before january 2018.
After years of reading blogs about people doing what I wanted to do, I finally took the leap and started my journey to financial independence my self.
Still not convinced that Financial Independence is something for you?
Wait? You don’t want extra time to pursue your interests and have more options in life?
Well, I’m not forcing you. And no one says you have to quit your job either, it’s all about opportunities and more freedom.
Come and join me when you are ready, I will gladly teach you what I know!