It’s been a little over two weeks since Alix and I (and Lola the cat) moved to Oakland, CA. and one of the things that struck me recently was how good life is out here.
There are trees everywhere, and panoramic views of the fog rolling in over the bay from our rooftop. It’s everything I could have asked for and more. –’More’ being the Whole Foods a mere five blocks from the cheapest apartment I’ve ever rented in my life, one that also has 13 windows that all look out on the hills over Berkeley.
Anyway, I just want to share with you an observation that occurred to me as I was lying awake tonight:
You can live like a prince on a lot less than six-figures a year.
One of my goals with my minimalist business was to generate six-figures of income by the end of one year. I’m pretty much certain at this moment that whether or not I continue to pursue that goal this outcome will happen. However, making that much money doesn’t need to be a requirement to live a good life.
My current income level is more than enough to support everything that I do.
So many people live their lives waiting. They tell themselves, “if only I had a million dollars, I’d do X” (X being what you wish you’d do with your life.)
After my experiences from the last year, I’m convinced that this is simply an excuse to not face the fact that doing what you want is difficult and involves sacrificing a couple of huge expenses that you don’t really need anyway.
Simply put, doing what you want involves killing a couple of “necessities” in order to actually live your life in the name of minimalism.
Here are a couple of things that you need to give up to live like a prince on less than six-figures a year.
1. Give up your car.
I’m convinced that I’d never have been able to achieve this life if I was also making car payments, insurance payments, and $3.15 a gallon on gas. Cars rule our lives financially, and they also make our cities inhospitable. Oh! cars also kill people (and squirrels.) Give up your car, and you can allocate $5,000-$8,000 a year to living like a prince. What do you have to do to live without a car? Move to a place where you don’t need a car (these places are better anyway.) Get a bike, it’ll make you healthier. In most places in the United States the money you spent on your car can cover the rent on your prince’s palace.
2. Give up your storage.
I’m convinced that I’d never be able to live this life if I was also paying for storage. So many people insist on renting or mortgaging a space that is 5x the size they need to store junk they never use. Our apartment in Oakland has 13 windows but only one bedroom. This is possible because we don’t need three spare bedrooms, an attic, and a two-car garage to fill up with junk we don’t use. The storage industry has profits in the billions of dollars because people own more than they can even keep in their oversized houses. Lose the junk, and you can live like a prince on less than six-figures a year.
3. Give up on entertaining yourself until death.
One of the final remaining elements of this equation is eliminating most forms of expensive, and especially subscription, entertainment. Destroy your TV, cancel your cable, stop dragging yourself to the movies every Friday to see the latest Hollywood rehash. What matters in your life is experiences, and by experiences I’m not talking about how 3D the glasses made them look. Most good things in life can be experienced by putting on your shoes and walking outside.
4. Give up the idea of trading time for money.
My last article was so successful for a reason: two weeks of vacation a year is a crime. They call it wage slavery for a reason, and it’s the slavery part that I need to emphasize here. When you opt-out of trading time for money, and begin to instead contribute value to the world, you have a chance to begin to reclaim the time you deserve.
Tim Ferriss has a term he uses called The New Rich. A lot of people misinterpret this term as referring to money. Let me let you into a secret that is obvious to a select few: it’s not about money.
The New Rich is about paying yourself with time and mobility to do what matters to you.
I can’t take everyone by the hand and physically remove the junk they don’t need from their lives.
I can’t come to your house and drive your car to the dump or stop you from buying a new one every couple of years.
Why can’t I? because I’m too busy wandering around the magnificent San Francisco during my 80% spare time.
The decision to be free is one you need to make for yourself. Only you can change your consumption patterns in order to live like a prince on less than six-figures a year.
You don’t need to be a millionaire to make this change, you simply need to simplify your life in order to focus on the important.
If you have time, I want you to check out a remarkable blog I’ve been reading by Eric Heins. He’s a young leather worker who decided to simplify his life in order to live and work from anywhere. Read the blog from start to finish, it’s guaranteed to inspire: The Barter Project.
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