I went shopping today. I bought a whole new wardrobe for my new job. Dress pants, dress shirts, dress socks, the works. I also bought Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and Captain America shirts because I’m a nerd, and I wanted to add some fun to my rather bland wardrobe. I want to buy a new pair of shoes, too, but I didn’t today because I wanted to look online for those. There’s a certain style I like, and I want to see what’s out there. I also finally bought myself a good car charger for my new iPhone, so I don’t have to worry about my battery when I’m driving. Eventually I’ll buy more stuff for my car, but at the moment, it’s not a priority. All in all, I think I’m going to look pretty good at work and casual Friday’s will be fun with my new tee’s.
I’m not a big shopper. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a minimalist by heart. I don’t dislike the idea of shopping, especially when there’s stuff I actually need; I dislike the idea of adding unnecessary items to my life. Stuff I don’t need or want makes me feel constricted. I’ve certainly relaxed my views on my minimalist philosophy over the past few years, and there’s definitely things I want, but at the end of the day, I use most everything I own. That is my definition of minimalism. I learned this from the Minimalists: pack everything you own in boxes, and over the next thirty days, unpack those things you actually use. Whatever is still boxed up, pack it in your car and donate it. You don’t need any of it.
I went a year and a half without a car. For the most part, I turned out okay. There were times during winter when I walked to work in sub-zero temperatures, but I didn’t die. A car would’ve been nice, though. I bought my second car last month, and my life has definitely been nicer because of it. It also made my new job possible. I don’t need a car charger. I could always pack an extra charger to charge my phone wherever there’s a power outlet, or better yet, I could always bring my MacBook and charge it from there if I was ever out. But a car charger has made charging my phone a nicer experience, and it’s for sure going to be used a lot. I bought my MacBook Air to replace my very old Dell desktop computer; I bought my iPhone because I needed a phone; I don’t have a TV because I don’t need a TV, even though I may buy one soon because it’ll make watching TV from my laptop a little nicer; and I just recently started hanging posters and pictures on my wall because living with empty white walls was getting to me. I mention my tech because they’re expensive. My iPad was my last real unnecessary purchase, but for what I use it for, it’s made my life nicer.
Instead of buying cheap things and replacing them very often, I try to buy things that’ll last me a long time, so I can win out financially in the long run. I could buy a $100 knife that’ll last me a lifetime or buy a $10 knife that I’ll have to replace once every year or two. Which brings me back to the new pair of shoes I want to buy. My $220 firefighting boots are the only footwear I’ve ever purchased over $110. They’ve been through three years of stepping on hot ash and hiking for miles on Montana’s steep mountains, and they’re still in great shape. I want to recreate that with my next pair of nice, dress shoes. Of course I have to budget for this, but I try to budget for everything. And yes, I do use an application for that: YNAB.
I believe a nice life is about priorities and filling it with only the essentials, whatever those may be for you. Simplify as much as you can, and what that may be will become clear.