Welcome to Thought Experiment #6.
At the beginning of each second month, a thought experiment question will be tweeted under the hashtag #ThoughtExperiment and everyone is invited to participate with their own posts, these will then go live together on the 15th of the next month (you can still join in after this date). Below is the question asked for this Thought Experiment.
A different opinion is somewhat frowned upon in our clique based society, but some of the greatest minds of all time were outliers. They weren’t scared to go against the grain and stand up for what they believed in. So, for this Thought Experiment, I’d like you to reveal yourself: What opinion do you have that most of your peers do not share?
As always tweet @SavingNinja if you have participated and I’ll add your post to the list below!
Thought Experiment #6
This is a difficult Thought Experiment for me. The question was actually proposed by the wonderful Indeedably, so in essence, it’s kind of like the first Thought Experiment that I’ve taken part in.
At first, I thought that I wouldn’t be able to join in. I thought, “What opinions of mine are different than most of my peers?” I’ve always wanted to be the popular guy, (suffice to say I rarely am) I don’t generally strive for being the “weird one.”
But then it hit me, I am the weird one!
The only difference is I’m generally the weird one in private. I write about weird stuff, I do weird stuff with my money. It’s even weird to read books these days, let alone every day. I am a right strange one in the eyes of society!
Being this strange means that it’s only normal for a few of these weirdities to slip out and disrupt my perfectly conforming demeanor. In-fact, I’ve been dubbed the ‘money saving tips guy’ in multiple places of work. My last company got me a Money Saving Expert pig as a leaving present for god sake.
In my current company a few people have seen me betting on my phone. This mixed with my reluctance to spend money has got them thinking that I’m a broke gambling addict. Not that I’m actually making £1000s per month EW betting. If only they knew the truth of how weird I actually am?
SO, let’s get all of this stuff out of the way. Yes I am weird in the corporate world. Anyone in the FIRE community is, most of the country don’t save anything! Being under 30 and saving 80% of my after-tax income makes me a notch higher in the strange scale. But I’m not going to focus my attention on that during this post. Most of my readers are on their own saving adventures so it wouldn’t provide much of an insight talking about it; you’re all weird!
How am I Different From You?
One view that I’ve always been inclined to is that spending less money makes you happier. And no, I’m not talking about the fact that spending less means you can save more so you’ll have more money later on to make you happier (sure this might work too, if you use the money to buy time.) I’m talking about the concept that spending less will actually make you happier, the process of doing it.
I believe that most things you can buy will only grant you happiness in the forms of instant gratification, not a true everlasting joy. I’m not just talking about the big luxury items like iPads and cars either; I’m talking about pretty much anything.
Buying a bread maker or food mixer? I think you’ll be happier making the bread and mixing by hand. I believe that there’s a certain dark shadow that most contraptions cast over us and that there’s only so much we can include in our lives. It takes us further away from the beings that we are, making us less grounded.
That’s why I’m aiming to buy a homestead and to live off the land, I really think that’s where I’ll find real fulfillment and joy. Maybe I need this escape because I’ve moved so far away from nature in my career (Software Engineer working in London, bit against the grain of what I’m saying, right?)
Buying that bread maker also brings the negative connotation with spending money. You’ve parted with your hard work and time for that contraption, you’ve given it your life essence. When it breaks you’ll feel sad, bringing more unhappiness from the item that you bought.
It’s almost better to just not buy anything, at least that’s what I try to do. Of course, sometimes we need to part with money in order to buy something that we need (at least we think that we need!) Or something that will provide value in our busy accumulating stage of life. And of course sometimes, advertisements will get to us and we’ll succumb to that instant joy (and feel shitty afterwards no doubt,) but less is always the goal we’re striving for…
I’ve written more about how spending less relates to happiness in this post, check it out if you want some real life examples (although it was one of the first blog posts I’d ever written so go easy on me if you see any mistakes!)
Another view that me and my partner share (which is very unpopular) is that it’s better to split all of our expenses 50/50 no matter how our incomes differ. This keeps us completely independent from one another when money is concerned.
Although this technique can be infeasible for some couples, it’s worked very well for us. It unshackles us from a lot of arguments regarding money. I can’t imagine trying to tell my partner that I’m staking thousands of pounds worth in horse race bets whilst EW betting if we shared our finances. I’d also feel a lot worse if a side-hustle I attempted failed.
Keeping this department separate gives us free movement when deciding what to do with our own money. It also motivates us to try harder to earn more if we want to increase our lifestyle.
You can find out more on why we keep our finances separate in this post.
That’s all I can think of that’s worth discussing. Of course, there are a lot of financial topics to discuss which makes me different from 75% (or more) of the population, but that would turn into a book if I delved into that!
What has this Thought Experiment taught me?
That it’s OK to be weird.
In-fact, it’s better to be weird; normal is boring.