Keeping comfort, removing excess
There's one thing I have in common with Donald Trump - neither of us gets Twitter. For me it's because I don't really understand it, while for DT it's because he's been banned, so physically doesn't get Twitter these days. I'm half enjoying the silence and half missing the entertainment value of his rants - on balance, I think I'll take the silence.
I set up my Twitter account because I once dreamed that a blog plus a Twitter account would equal millions of readers. Unfortunately it doesn't work like that. Each week, I tweet to share my post, but mostly nothing else. I'm told that's part of the problem, I'm supposed to tweet other things too. But what? Tweeting inanely just for the sake of it doesn't make much sense to me. Of course, lots of people do exactly that, I just choose to try not to be one of them, plus it lets me pretend it's the reason why I don't have millions of blog followers🤣
But there are Twitter people with interesting things to say. I like the tweets from @Route 2 FI and often find them thought provoking. Like this one for example, even if I have a slightly different view.
The idea of deciding to give something up now for something better in the future isn't new, but the tweet does get me thinking. Is it best to live life for the present? If you're going to give something up what should it be? How much to give up? Will it make much difference? My view is to strike a balance between leading a good life now while taking steps to ensure we can achieve our future goals.
I'm not convinced that giving up comfort for a few years is the right thing. It doesn't sound like it's living a good life now and it might be difficult to stick to. Instead of giving up comfort, giving up excess could be a more realistic focus. That seems to be something that many people would agree on and find more manageable.
Many things that we almost take for granted are actually excessive - we don't need them and if eliminated we could save more for the future without compromising on comfort now. Here's a couple of our own examples where we've trimmed excess without compromising comfort:
Sally and I live in a two bedroom apartment. It's only 61m² (650ft²) but that doesn't mean it's not comfortable, it is. At one time, we had a big five bedroom house. It was very nice, we felt that we'd made it, people could see from our house that we were at least a bit successful. But we never needed that much space, we've been just as comfortable in smaller houses and apartments since. What it did mean is that we paid for excess space that we didn't need.
When we were younger, we bought a BMW. Our current Nissan gets us from point A to point B in the same time and the same comfort as a BMW, but at less cost. We were paying a lot of extra money just for an image which in hindsight was quite pointless.
Away from big ticket items like homes and cars, removing smaller excesses can add up and make a difference. Our smaller apartment means we make choices about what to put in our smaller space. For example, we don't need different glasses for red and white wine, one set works fine for both. It's the same for other items in our kitchen, we have the things we use frequently but not the stuff that takes up cupboard space without getting much use. In fact, throughout our apartment, we choose to have the things that matter and forego extraneous items. The smaller apartment makes us consider what makes us comfortable and what things fall into the excess category.
Phone & cable contracts
Going back a few years, I looked at what we were spending on our bills. With our cable TV/Internet provider we had loads of channels that we rarely or never watched, and our phone contracts had unlimited data and roaming which we hardly used. This didn't come for free, we were paying for this excess. We changed our contracts and reduced these bills by 60%. We still got the TV channels we wanted to watch and had no problem living within our smaller data packages supplemented by free cafe and mall WiFi on our phones. We saved 60% just by getting rid of the excess while keeping things comfortable.
These choices didn't affect our comfort or quality of life. We removed some of the excess and kept the comfort.
I'm certainly on board with @Route 2 FI, we should think about what we're doing today and the effect it can have on what our future might look like. But I'm not convinced that sacrificing comfort is the best way - it's not the life I'd choose and it sounds difficult to sustain. Instead, I suspect most of us have some excesses that can be removed or at least trimmed. Doing this will allow us to save, invest more towards our future life and do so without compromising the comfort and enjoyment of what we're doing now. That's a plan that makes sense to me.