Today’s post is by our regular Wednesday contributor, Catherine Alford!
For the past few years, I’ve been living in a tiny apartment on a tiny island with a tiny closet and not much personal space to speak of.
It was a lot to adjust to at first, but slowly over time, I’ve grown accustomed to my downsized life. I rarely acquire anything new, unless it’s food at the grocery store, and I’ve had to think hard about new things I want to bring inside.
Two years of living like this has totally changed me. I’m not really tempted by e-mails from my favorite stores anymore, and I’ll only buy something if I really, really want it.
The only thing is that being a minimalist is easy when you’re on an island far away from the developed and fast paced world of the U.S.
I know when I move home in just a few weeks, I’ll experience a bit of reverse culture shock, and I’ll have to really rein in the spending.
Here’s how I’m going to do it:
1. Only Shop When I Need Something
Before I moved to Grenada, I used to go shopping just for fun. It’s a great way to pass the time, if you can afford it, but it’s one of the things that contributed to my credit card debt (which I have since paid off.) So, I’m only going to shop when I need something, and I’m going to try to avoid the really serious temptations, like Target.
I know myself, and there’s no way I can go into Target and buy just one thing, so I just need to stay away – far away – until I absolutely have to go for something.
2. Continue to Online Shop
I’ve had to ship things to my parents for the past few years for them to ship to us, things like the soap that we use and the specific type of makeup that works for my sensitive skin. I’m going to keep this up because I know if I go into the store to look for my make-up, I will come out with a new lipgloss or two and who knows what else (just because of the sheer excitement of having a store like that to go to.)
So, by buying what we need online just like we have for the past two years, I can stick to purchasing the one item I need. There’s no reason to get anything extra.
3. Forget the Joneses
I have some pretty fabulous friends with amazing taste. Not that my friends in Grenada don’t have great taste, but we’ve all been living on an island where no one cares about the car your drive or the tags on your clothes.
The US is different, and when I interact with people or notice their belongings, I’m going to have to remind myself of how peaceful it was on my little island where materialism wasn’t on anyone’s radar. I know I’m going to want things, especially because I’ve gone so long without nice malls and access to so many high-end products. Yet, I’m even more committed to my savings goals, so I have to resist.
Ultimately, moving back to the U.S. will be a process just like anything else. I will have to figure out how to fit back in to American culture after living somewhere completely different for a very long time. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of excitement moving back to the plentiful U.S.A., but there’s also going to be some challenges when it comes to spending and my budget that don’t exist in my life right now. I’m ready for it, but I’m sure it’ll be an interesting adjustment!
Do you currently have a downsized life? Or, do you want one?