Brain Change

Focus on life through a simplified mind

Can you make the move to digital?

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”

Antoine de Saint-Exupe

You should not have a single CD left in your house!  The pile of plastic boxes with silver discs inside has plagued us long enough.  It is time to eliminate another needless space waster.  Will you be able to rid yourself of these?  I did.  Well not quite but im close.  Here is what I am doing..

 Two days ago I was trying to figure out the next step on my journey and I read a post by Sara Raush at her website Life more lived.  Sara mentioned going to digital with all your movies and CD’s and I was all in.  I have an entire crate of Compact Discs in my garage.  (around 200) and I also have around 150 DVDs.  I began to understand that I could place all of this information onto one sleek, sexy, portable hard drive.  I would eliminate approximatley 350 possesions and still retain the same amount of information.  What could be better?

So after walking into my local Radio shack and purchasing a portable hard drive.  I began to load CDs into my Itunes and save them over to the hard drive.  After loading all my discs onto the drive i put them up for auction on E-bay.  I am trying to recoup the cost of the hard drive with my CD auction.  I also believe time would be better served by selling them as a lot vs. trying to sell them individually.  Next step… load all my movies onto the drive and auction them off as well.   Any movie  can then be watched over my laptop, of course its not a big screen TV with surround sound but I could watch a movie I wanted pretty much wherever and whenever I want,  I will have portable media over my computer.  Start thinking about what you could eliminate.  After my DVD’s are gone I am going to try to go paperless with bill payments. 

What else could you move to digital?

Have you had any luck reducing clutter in your life?

I would love to hear your stories.  Use the comment button to share them.

Please share this with your friends if you think it will help.

November 3, 2010 Posted by | decluttering, minimalism, Personal Finance, simplicity | , , , | 4 Comments

Credit card no more

Three days ago I locked up my credit cards.  My wife and I decided to no longer carry a card and use cash only.  Am I crazy for no longer packing a card for “emergencies”?  I do not think so.  In short here is why I think we made a great decision.

It is to tempting to pull out your card for impulse buying and non emergency spending.

Yesterday I was going to take a friend to lunch,  I stopped when I realized I no longer carry a credit card with me and I had no cash on me.  Yes i went out into the world without cash or a credit card and I survived!  The result?  I could not take my friend out to lunch which may have cost me some good conversation but it also saved me around $25.  I am not advocating never buying a good friend a meal I am just saying since I didnt have my card or cash on hand, I ended up keeping $25 more dollars of my next paycheck to myself. 

You spend more when you use plastic

When I am at a restaraunt paying for a meal with a card I usually add the standard 15% tip regardless of the service and for small price meals i have even placed a standard $5 tip on my card for a $10 meal.   Dave Ramsey who wrote the Total Money Makeover explains that your brain does not associate what the “real” cost of goods are when you just write a number down and place your signature on the dotted line.  Dave mentions that there is  pain associated with handing over cold hard cash that forces your brain to challenge the value of the item or items you are buying and you will find by using cash you will not  “need” all the extra items when you hit the grocery store. 

But I have the self control to watch my spending on my card

No you can’t, the siren song of retailers, the marketing juggernaut of credit companies, or the rationalization of your own mind will in fact entice you to make a simple purchase here and there and you will slip.  One month you will wake up with more on your card than you can afford to pay.  And you will be stuck with items that probably didn’t provide you happiness and continue to accrue interest on top of the original purchase price.  The only cure for this cancer is to cut it out.  Stop using credit at all costs.

So with what I have just outlined until further notice I will be using cash only along with a debit card and only buy the essentials.   This I hope will help us further along the path of reducing consumerism that has plagued us for all of our life.  And help us focus more on what really matters in life.

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October 6, 2010 Posted by | minimalism, Personal Finance | , , | 2 Comments

A small switch in thinking

In life where you focus your energy seems to enlarge itself.  Rhonda Byrne, from where I get my inspiration for this post, in her book, “The Secret” tells us that the universe returns to you what you put out into it.  That what you think about and invest your mental energy in the universe moves, people, places and events in order to fullfill your focus. 

Why is this “secret” important?

I will use my own experience as an example:

Imagine being buried under a mountain of debt and the only thing that you can think about is your debt.  How to get rid of it, being ashamed of it, wondering what happened to get yourself in this mess?  It can be overwhelming.  There are in fact many strategies to use and many books written on the subject of personal finace that we can talk about later for the sake of this post I would like to keep it to my own experience in trying to use “The Secret”. 

I happened to be thinking about my debt one day when I realized “what if all my focusing on my debt is only increasing situations where I may have to stay in debt”.  I made a point to change my thinking from always wondering how to get out of debt, into thinking about Saving, how to save, automated savings, what to save.  As well as income, How to generate more, what I could sell, what services I could offer.  A strange thing is beginning to happen.  I now have more cash in savings than any point in my life!  This only after a few months of changing my focus from Debt, (which I believe is a scarcity mentality) to Saving and Earning, (which is an abundance mentality).  I have been able to sell,donate several things around the house as well as earn top bonuses  and monetary awards in my carreer.  And you know what?  I believe you can as well.  Focusing on abundance remove barriers from your mind and opens new possiblitys instead of thinking “I can’t” you beging to think “How can I?”

September 9, 2010 Posted by | Personal Finance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Who is responsible for you?

We humans, each of us individually are  ultimatley responsible for our own well being and financial future.  It is not the resposibility of our family, employer, or government to take care of us.  Each of us need to take talk up the yolk and educate ourselves daily to improve the skills that will support us in life.

September 8, 2010 Posted by | minimalism, Personal Finance | , , , , | 1 Comment

Cleaning House

I set up my auto savings today an additional $50 every two weeks will be deposited for quitting nicotine.  Just saying the word nicotine or tobacco or smokes or chew is enough to make you want to say Hell with it one wont hurt.  It is amazing how addictive the substance is to actually make you talk to yourself in third person rationalizing that it is ok to do it.  It may also be another entity but that would be for another post.  

Began cleaning my office throwing away perfectly good crap that I will never use.   It is very hard dissecting what I absolutely will need.  In the back of my mind I am still hearing dont throw that away you may use it someday.  I am having to forcefully make myself to throw stuff out.  I am going to have to make several passes at this cause I still find my desk stacked up with a bunch of stuff. 

I have not started my list of essential items that I would like to keep my life in possesion of.   I do not know if I am ready to limit my life to a few  possesions that I really need to live.  I have a lot of sentimental items that i would not know what to do with.  Guns, knives, cards.  What do we do with these items?  I know they are not essential to life but isnt the point of life to get experiences? If you have a card your father wrote to you and it makes you feel good when you read it, do you keep it? Or toss it because it wont benefit you.   I must think deeper on this issue to see if I really want to become a minimalist.  I dont want to do it for the environment but im sure it will help.  I want to do it for the  freedom it could bring not being chained to items.

Mortgage, Car payments, Credit Cards these are all opposed to reducing mental anguish in your life and can only increase stress.  I have found that focusing on these things only magnify their importance therefore magnifying the problem you have yourself in with Debt.

I am now focused on building savings.  As I focus on depositing money into my savings account for some reason I seem to have more money to deposit.  For those of you who have read “The Secret” you know why this may be happening.

For now more passes on ridding clutter, actually doing exercise, eating healthy are top on my agenda for the next few days.

August 18, 2010 Posted by | decluttering, minimalism, Personal Finance | , , , , | 3 Comments

   

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