I was looking through my closet recently, and when I couldn’t find the shirt I wanted, I thought to myself, why do I have all these clothes? I’ve never been one to care to buy trendy clothes or even what I thought to be a large wardrobe, but when I really sat back and thought about I certainly had far too much.
With the pandemic changing the workplace forever, I took a closer look at what was in my closet and what I was actually wearing. The conclusion I came to was very little. I likely had about 20 polo shirts, 20+ collared dress shirts, and roughly 20 sweaters I could wear to work as well. Throw in some workout gear and other shirts for more “around the house” wearing than work.
Looking at all the “work clothes” I had, I realized that I could get rid of most of them. My company has already told us that we basically don’t need to come to the office at all anymore, so “work clothes” now mainly consist of gym shorts and t-shirts. I do plan on being in about twice a week at most, though. So, figuring that I could squeeze in a load of laundry with no problem during the day now, I figured the need for all these clothes was minimal. In fact, most of the shirts and sweaters were over ten years old, and I hardly wore any of them.
Even if you factor in needing to dress up more in my personal life, I hardly needed that many nice clothes. Unless I had an unbelievable social life, which I don’t, I would be able to get by with just a few of each of my nicer clothes.
The number I came up with was six. Six types of each clothes formerly known as work clothes, should be more than enough. With my average of two days in the office per week, that would get me through three weeks, more than enough time to get them washed if needed. Even with the occasional social event requiring me to not look like I just rolled out of bed, six articles of clothing would be more than enough.
I quickly rounded up the oldest and most unnecessary pieces of clothing and shoved them into a garbage bag. The look on the face of the church I donate to was priceless. “You don’t need any of this?!” they asked. The truth is I don’t need it, and I don’t want it. Looking at my now much emptier and much more organized closet, I already felt so much better.
So what’s the point of me telling you about how I got rid of most of my wardrobe? Well, I’ll tell you.
I started investing almost ten years ago now. I wish I had started sooner, but I digress. I’m lucky enough to have to start my investing during the longest bull run in the history of our country. Yes, there was a minor blip when the pandemic first hit, but I didn’t panic and didn’t sell anything. As we all know, the market came roaring back, and I’ve more than made my money back on that.
With this bull run, I’ve seen my net worth explode—well over one million at this point. My salary has continued to increase, and I have more money than ever. Do I feel rich, hardly, but do I know I’m well off? Yes.
With the rise in my net worth, I’ve noticed another phenomenon, It seems the more money I have, and the higher my net worth gets, the less stuff I want. It seems backward, right? The whole point of having money is to get all the fun stuff, not to me.
Ask anyone that knows me when it comes to getting me a gift. For one, I usually tell people not to bother at all, and I honestly mean it. I’m not trying to be rude or to sound ungrateful, but what do I need at this point? Nothing really. It’s all just extra stuff.
If they insist, I have one rule, it can’t be permanent. The last thing I want is something else I feel obligated to use, find a place for, and more than likely never get around to fully enjoying. My typical suggestions are scotch, coffee, and hot sauce. Why those, you ask? Well, for one, they fit my only rule; none are permanent, I can consume all three, and then they are gone. Secondly, I know I’ll enjoy any one of the three. I don’t need another gizmo or gadget or shirt or toy or whatever. Scotch, coffee, hot sauce, that’s the plan.
Back to my main point. More money, less stuff. My goals aren’t just limited to clothes and gifts. I typically find myself trying to simplify and declutter my life in any way I can, and I’m frugal, to begin with!
Well, Mr. Simplify Your Life, what do you want to do with your money then?
Here’s what I really want my money to be used for, to buy back my time. Yes, time. No, I can’t go on Amazon and do a search for more time and find a good deal (at least not yet, right?). But, I can use the tools in front of me to stop trading my time for money, aka, my job.
One goal of mine is to retire well before 65. I’m currently on pace to retire easily by age 50-55; that’s 10-15 years I’m buying back.
Another recent wrinkle in my life is I’ve decided to become a franchisee. I won’t go into the specifics, but obviously, the goal here is to make more money. With that money, I open a second location, then a third, and work for myself. I can run my budding business full time if all goes well, leaving my day job in about two years! Now that’s a good use of my money.
This will allow me to use my time as I see fit. For example, spending more time with the people, I care about, no offense to any co-workers, and doing things I want to do.
So do I want more money? Sure do, but do I want more stuff? Hell no. Scotch, coffee, hot sauce, and time, that’s all I need.
Jeff is a fan of all things finance. When he’s not out there changing the world with his blog, you can find him on a run, a Mets game, playing video games, or just playing around with his kids.