Selling everything and embarking on our freedom journey wasn't something we decided on out of the blue. It took listening to ourselves, deciding what was important to us, and allowing inspiration to pour in and motivate us to take the first step.
Here's 7 Things That Inspired Us To Live With Less
1. When We Watched: The Minimalism Documentary
Seems crazy that watching a simple film could make such an impact on a couple, but it's the truth! We rarely spend time in front of the TV (never ever ever during the day!) but we saw a post on Facebook about it and we sat down right smack in the middle of a Tuesday morning and put on the documentary. To be honest, we didn't even understand what a minimalist truly WAS when we started watching and we sure as heck did not think this would be a road we would soon travel down. This film most definitely inspired us to live with less. Watch “Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things” here.
2. The Ability To Travel More / Not Be As Tied Down
If you have followed us on social media you will know that we love to travel! We both feel strangely at home in hotels, love living out of a suitcase and have no qualms about long flights to exotic locations. We always say the same thing when any vacation or adventure is coming to an end, which is: “I don't want to go home!”….so why do we then? I guess the answer is we have a mortgage, bills, a mile long ‘to-do' list, and things that need our attention, so we must return (or so we thought). For our lifestyle, we found the removal of a permanent home and all the bills that come with it, allows us to travel a lot more without worry, pressure and stress. Because we are the types of people who don't need the security of one ‘forever' dwelling, we found it was shackling us to a particular location more than we would have liked.
Now with the removal of a mortgage, the interest on that mortgage, property taxes, energy bills, gas bills, water bills, condo fees, cable bill, internet bill, repair bills, upgrade costs and all the other delights that come with home ownership, we can travel more and not feel guilty about it!
3. To Not Take Things For Granted
Have you ever talked to someone who has lived near a beautiful cathedral their whole lives and as you gush about how spectacular that would be they say “Oh! yes, I guess I don't even notice it anymore!”? I think that happens to all of us, and we have certainly noticed it when we stay in beautiful hotels or areas with breathtaking views for an extended period of time. Complacency is exactly the kind of thing we don't want to get in the habit of doing.
We want to stay in a state of wonder, of marvel and of excitement as much as we can. Changing up the view is just one aspect of this. From travelling to less developed countries, we have sure experienced the old ‘don't know what you have until it's gone' philosophy and it makes us appreciate the little things with a renewed outlook.
4. When We Did The MATH
So, we broke out the old calculator with a pen and some paper and a stack of bills and credit card statements. We looked at all of our debts, loans, the interest we has already paid and the interest we would continue to pay in the future if we kept going at the same rate we are today. We made a very detailed budget that took us right up to the age of retirement….And it made us want to throw up quite frankly. We saw that being entrepreneurs, a young couple, and living in today's society had not been kind to our bank accounts. I have already talked about all the bills and debts that come from mortgage related expenses, but we started adding up other THINGS we were spending our money on. Things like new dishware, ottomans, bar stools, mirrors, light fixtures, crystal champagne glasses, art, linens, and other homewares that we were spending TONS on because of our home ownership. It was eye opening!
By downsizing we basically fix all these extra expenditures. We are going to be renting fully furnished places so there are no bills, no reason to buy any types of housewares, and no shopping for those ‘oh, this would look so cute on xyz'.
With the sale of all of these items, plus proceeds from the sale of the condo, we are able to clear off every debt we have. No debt means no interest payments eating our paycheques, which means responsible saving for retirement!
We removed the debt, the interest, the home in which we feel a need to fill by shopping. We replaced it with much more disposable income, more money available to save and the ability to make our budget actually bigger for life experiences.
5. Seeing How Stressful The ‘American Dream' Can Really Be
We have both felt completely and utterly overwhelmed by day to day life. Like someone was reaching out and slowly choking us, cutting off our air supply, leaving us feeling trapped and helpless. The ‘American Dream' promises a lifetime of happiness and picture perfect moments once you get The Job, The 2.5 Kids, The White Picket Fence, The Lexus SUV, and The Green Lawn. But the American Dream didn't send in the fine print along with their dream life brochure, you know, the one that shows you the cost and pressure of that kind of a lifestyle. We feel anxious when we try to keep up with the Jones's. Happiness cannot be measured in what you own, the area you live in, or your social status. It might for just a fleeting moment, but then that accomplished feeling is replaced with self doubt, panic and emptiness. We were inspired to remove this negative feeling and pressure from society as much as we possibly could.
We more recently wrote a blog on HOW we have been downsizing so far (and yes, much more to come on this!)
6. To Donate and Give Back
Even though we already considered ourselves to not be hoarders, we found a TON of stuff we were not using in the least. Things that had value and could be used by others that we just had stuffed away in boxes. Although we did sell a lot of these items to pay off debts and use them for our upcoming wedding, we made sure to donate a large portion of them as well. There is nothing like giving your things away to people who need them that makes your soul light up! Giving back is one of the best ways to be inspired to live with less.
7. To Live a Life We Designed
This ONE thing, above all others, is what inspired us to take this journey. Some people read our story and think we have lost our marbles, and that is okay with us. Others read it and send us emails on how much we have inspired them, which makes us happier than we can explain.
It all comes down to this: We want to design our own life, that is meant for us, that we choose. Not one that has been pre-packaged for us.
Have you been inspired to live with less, downsize, declutter or pay off old debts from our journey? We would love to hear the steps you are taking in the comments below!