The Weird One

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

Saving Ninja

in-deed-a-bly

Caveman @ DitchTheCave

Mr A Way To Less

Miss A Way To Less

Merely curious

Marc @ FinanceYourFire

Dr FIRE

A Simple Life

Money For The Modern Girl

Fretful Finance

Left FI

Andy @ liberate.life (on Rebo)

James @ Rebo

theFIREstarter

Eyes On The Goal


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!

A present from my colleagues

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!)

Unpopular Opinion

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.

Conclusion

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.

OddsMonkey

25 thoughts on “The Weird One

  1. You paint an intriguing picture of life beyond the rat race SavingNinja.

    The homesteading thing is interesting, a question to ask yourself is how big will it be?

    A homestead might be a farm, though on a small scale. Or it might just be a rural house with a big back yard. I can see how the self-sufficiency aspects might speak to someone pursuing early retirement, but I think it would definitely be one to test drive before committing.

    It appears to be a simple life, but I wonder for some whether it isn’t really a form of buying yourself a job? Similar to folks who use their redundancy pay out to buy into a franchise business.

    I spent on a lot of time on a farm as a kid. At first glance that lifestyle seems ideal. Plant crops at the start of the season. Wait. Harvest them at the end of the season. Lots of idle time in between, right?

    Except the farmer and his family were always busy. Not stressed busy, like the typical rat racing city worker. However there was always maintenance and planning and repairs that needed doing. It could be done today, or tomorrow, but had to be done for the successful operation of the farm. Accumulate much in the way of technical debt, and it compromised the viability of the farm.

    1. I’ll definitely need to test drive it, I might hate it! 🙂

      I’m picturing something back yard style, I mainly want to space for it to be isolated and a blank canvas for building. The growing will probably just be to sustain ourselves not to sell. This is all theory though, I literally have no idea. I guess I want enough physical work to keep me ‘busy’ but not enough to overburden me. I definitely envisage some chickens and pigs too!

    2. My French friends parents have a farm in France, thought its a commercial one, so probably different from what you intend. They have encouraged their daughters to get different occupations as the work is relentless. They haven’t had a holiday in the last 20 years.
      I personally am too lazy to have a farm, I wouldn’t even have a dog because of the commitment involved.

  2. Love the post concept and the celebration of difference. Btw I also find the idea of a more remote, self sustaining existence very appealing too. Not sure if it’s the contrast to my current situation (city, corporate job etc) and if it’s something I would truly enjoy in reality, but I can’t wait to try.

  3. Hi SN

    Enjoyed this read. Been struggling for time otherwise I would have joined in on this thought experiment and I think mine would have been similar to yours in that I’ve always considered myself ‘different’ and a little ‘weird’.

    During my teens, my weirdness gave me some angst so I quite shy and unassuming. It was when I went to uni that I embraced my weirdness and the friends I made allowed me to do so.

    Whilst I don’t have the urge to live on a homestead, I no longer need to spend to be happy, which quite different from some of my friends and family.

    I agree, it is better to be weird; normal is boring!

    Once I FIRE, that’s another thing I’ll be ‘weird’ for! 🙂

    1. Thanks Weenie 🙂

      Haha, same here – the only place I could be truly weird was with online friends, I guess not much has changed?!

      I can’t wait to be the ultimate weirdo when I hit FIRE 😉

  4. I got a book entitled “The joy of tax” when I left my last employer. In my new employer I am using salary sacrifice and paying no income tax ( I also used salary sacrifice in my last employer, but not quite so aggressively). My colleagues moan about having mortgages and then mention that they are about to lease a new car. My car is 15 years old and I have no mortgages ( or any other debt). I suspect I’m definitely weird but I don’t care.

  5. I have to disagree on the spending less money actually making you happier idea. I’d say this is a perfect example of the Pareto Principle being a good rule of thumb.

    I’ve lived on fresh air (by well-off person standards) and it definitely helped to build the FU fund but after reaching that first inflection point of not needing to work full-time any more, the ways in which ‘scrimping’ was limiting my life became more obvious.

    I live cheaply in the sense of having a small house, old car and no expensive hobbies/addictions, but on the other hand, there are a lot of headaches which I tend to just snuff out with money now, knowing that I’d rather be writing code for £lots per hour than pouring the concrete base for my oil tank or spending an hour in the supermarket trying to optimise the shopping bill.

    A big caveat here is that I have kids. A lot of the spending less optimisations that weren’t a pain pre-kids are not worth the hassle any more because the kids didn’t get the memo (e.g. ‘But I don’t like lentils’).

    But whatever floats your boat… 🙂

    1. Hey Andy,

      Maybe it’s just my personality and how I react badly to spending anything. I will probably have to confront it as an issue at some point as I can see it potentially causing relationship problems in the future when/if children are involved. I guess it’s better to be at fault in this direction rather than have an uncontrollable spending issue? I just hope I can bring it up a notch at some point 🙂 Although I stand firm on the bread maker! Ha.

      I’d love to agree with your £lots per hour coding but that’s never been a thing for me. I’ve actually never published my own piece of software (although there are lots of half-finished projects in BitBucket!) I think what this boils down to is it feels like work too much. I’d get more joy from doing manual tasks where you can visibly see the reward, even silly things like tidying the house or taking the bins out – they’re nice for me to do to kind of clear my head (when I’m having a coding meltdown). Maybe this will change when I no longer code for 50 hours per week.

      I definitely enjoy coding, but I’d prefer to be making games (they’re more visually stimulating).

  6. I know that feeling of wanting to get away from the city and move into something that is self-sufficient / at one with nature etc. I’m very much on that path myself – I think the general ‘working’ environment, as good and as exciting as technology brings us new innovation, will be the death of people being over-worked eventually. (Just my two pence!)

    And I totally get where you’re coming from with the bread maker point! For me it’s about a balance of time (which I feel I have very little). I do actually own a breadmaker 😛 and use it twice a week (someone needs to come up with a good way of slicing the bread though – the ‘ezee slice’ is the closest thing I have) and it is now 7 years old. My only issue is that I eat too much bread! 😀

    1. I’m gonna have to get gardening tips from you Jase, you’re garden is beautiful!

      I can’t believe you have a bread slicer 😀 There was a post I read somewhere, I think it was one of MMM’s, which talked about the cost of owning. He made the point that you shouldn’t need an electric mixer unless you are going to use it X amount of times, making the point that only pastry chefs should have an electric mixer, everyone else (who only bakes once per week or less) should probably make do with a hand one.

      I don’t know how many times you need to make bread a week to justify an Ezee Slice :))

  7. I think that being weird is great. Weird people are interesting, usually because they’ve thought about things more and decided to take a different path from everyone else rather than blindly follow the crowd. I usually find that I can learn a lot from weird people as they see the world differently.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *