It’s funny how much you can eliminate from your life once you decide what’s really important. The first thing I did was cancel my Netflix subscription and everything else I didn’t really need. Next I automated my bill paying. My goal was to be able to leave for six weeks without having to worry about anything. I wanted to cut down on the amount of emails and voice mails I received. I decided zero was a good number so I promptly changed my voice mail greeting to : “Hi, you’ve reached Johnny. Please do not leave a voice mail as I will only be checking it once a week from now on. Instead, please send me an email to johnny_something_at_gmail.com or, better yet, send me a text message for an immediate response.” I also put my email to vacation mode – with an auto reply – and created a new email address for immediate response.
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The vacation auto responder said: Message not received, please read for Johnny’s new email address. Hi, you’ve reached Johnny’s email. Sorry I did not receive it. If you have an order to place, please contact: sales_at_yadayada.com If you have any questions or need advice, please create a post at the forums: yada yada / forums at advice_dot com If you still need to reach me, please send an email to my new email address: Johnny_Overseas_at_mail_dot com and I will reply every Monday and Thursday. Overnight, I went from 40 emails a day to 2. The number of voice mails went down to exactly 0, with the exception of my mom who would leave one anyways – regardless of what my greeting said. The calls and text messages I got were actually ones I wanted to get instead of mindless dribble. Instantly I had freed up many hours of my day.
Next, I started selling all the crap that was cluttering my apartment; things I didn’t really need. More importantly, I stopped buying all the things I didn’t need in the first place. It turns out it’s a hundred times easier to save $20 by not buying something in the first place than to try to sell something for $10 on craigslist. The my blog ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ really changed my mentality of how to think about money. With my newly found free time and minimalistic lifestyle I started actually working when I was at work. I stopped online shopping, visiting forums and surfing the web. I actually started making pretty good money. Best of all, I wasn’t spending nearly as much in the first place.
My bank account started looking good for my first trip to Thailand. I had saved up around $3,000US in a matter of months and automated my life to a point where I knew I didn’t have to check email, pay bills or even answer calls unless I wanted to. Until I went to Thailand I didn’t truly understand what living minimalistic meant. Instead of wearing nice clothes, expensive shoes and driving a highend car I was wearing flip-flops, shorts and a $3 t-shirt I bought from the night market. I didn’t need a car as taxis were so cheap and abundant wherever I couldn’t walk to. I found out that René lived in a hotel room and paid monthly for it, contract free. I asked myself, how cool would that be? Not having to worry about furniture, bills or even cleaning up after myself. I didn’t need a kitchen as food in Thailand is so cheap and it’s common to just walk down the street and have breakfast, lunch or dinner. I decided that this easy going, stress free life was definitely for me and during those three weeks back in the U.S. I really pushed the ‘Elimination’ chapter to its fullest: I sold, donated or gave away everything.