Location: Kent, UK
“Live more, spend less.”
I’ve spent the last 24 years commuting from Kent into London where I worked as an Office Manager/Personal Assistant in various companies. I’ve always had a passion for travel and gave up work in February 2013, at the age of 42, to pursue my dream of moving abroad and will be moving to Fethiye in Turkey in April 2013, along with my two elderly cats. Although I’ve been lucky to see a lot of the world already this, hopefully, will be the start of many years of travel and experiencing different countries, nationalities, ways of life, food and everything else that comes with getting out there and getting involved!
What “living simply” means to me:
Living simply means, to me, budgeting and living with very few material possessions. Since I made the decision 6 or so years ago to cut down on my spending and pay off my debts I’ve become a bit of a scrooge and like nothing more that having days on end where I don’t spend any money. This careful spending, along with a small inheritance I received 4 years ago, means I am now completely debt free – no mortgage, no loans, no credit card balances. I even got a book signed by a TV presenter who does a show about saving money where she wrote ‘to the girl that probably knows more about spending less than I do’! Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t stopped buying things completely – for example, I answered these questions using my new laptop – I just think purchases should be thought through and not impulsive – if you want something, walk away from it, if you still want it a few days later just ask yourself ‘Do I need it?’, ‘Can I afford it?’. If the answers are yes then go ahead, treat yourself.
For a majority of the the first 12 years of my life it was just me and mum and we had barely any money. In fact I only found out once I was an adult that she missed meals so that I could eat. This led me to become a big spender when I eventually started earning a decent living, purely because I could afford it, but the novelty soon wore off and about 6 years ago I decided to sell my DVDs at work for £3 each – I made £900 and put this towards a holiday of a lifetime. At that point I realised memories and experiences were far more important than the latest DVD or CD.
As I mentioned earlier, I am moving to Fethiye in Turkey next month. I’m moving to a fully furnished apartment so my challenge is to downsize my possessions so that they fit into just one or two suitcases. I am also selling my flat, fully furnished so what I get in those suitcases will be it. End of story. Since my epiphany 6 years ago I’ve regularly decluttered and, as the years have gone by each decluttering session has resulted in less stuff being disposed of as I’ve learnt all about what I do and don’t need in life to make me happy and am now only surrounded by the essentials. Mind you, there have been some tough decisions – a cuddly toy I’ve had for twenty years caused some anxiety – I don’t need it but I like it although it is too big to pack. So I had to ask the question – will I truly, really miss it and I came up with ‘no’ so off it went; hopefully some child somewhere will be enjoying it’s cuddles as we speak. Also, I won’t have a regular income once I move so simplicity absolutely has to become a way of life.
I truly believe that possessions don’t make you happy. I know it is easy for me to say as I am lucky enough to be able to choose not to buy things, I’m sure someone who lives on the breadline would disagree with me. But all those DVDs, CDs, books, clothes etc weren’t the things that made me smile. Now I smile at the things I’ve done – rafted the Grand Canyon, jumped out of a plane, sat cuddled up on the sofa with my two kitties, gone for long walks with my mum. It is these things I will remember when I get older, not who shot who in the latest blockbuster.
So, to that end, the motto I now choose to live by is ‘Live More Spend Less.’
Follow Sian’s adventures on her blog, sianinturkey.wordpress.com!