The Problem of Not Wanting Anything

by Andy Hough on September 17, 2017

The fact that I have almost no desire for stuff makes it easy for me to be frugal. It isn’t a sacrifice to not buy stuff that you don’t want in the first place. An example of my lack of desire for stuff is being unable to spend Kohl’s Cash. Last month I had $10 in Kohl’s Cash to spend from buying stuff to resell. The Kohl’s Cash was expiring soon and I couldn’t find anything to resell so I decided I would just buy something for myself. I couldn’t find anything in the store I wanted and ended up letting the Kohl’s Cash expire unused. This month I received another $10 in Kohl’s Cash for my birthday.  There still wasn’t anything I wanted to buy. I ended up buying a pair of pants even though I already had enough pants. I have very little closet place so when I get something new I need to get rid of something old. I did have one pair of pants that are over 10 years old and looking kinda grungy. They weren’t acceptable to wear to work, but I could wear them when I wasn’t concerned about my appearance. (Which is most of the time.) Since I got the new pants, I retired the old pants. Even though the pants were over 10 years old and I only paid about $10 for them it still seemed wasteful to get rid of them.

Although this lack of desire is a positive when it comes to spending money it is a negative when it comes to earning money. Making more money doesn’t seem to have much benefit for me. Last year I made about $20k and this year I will make about $40k. Doubling my income seems like it should lead to a better lifestyle, but I can’t think of anything I can buy now that I wanted to buy before and couldn’t afford.  Most of the additional money I’ve made this year has gone towards paying down my student loans or retirement savings. Those are both things that should benefit me in the future, but they don’t improve my life right now.

I actually think my quality of life was better last year with the lower income. Although I had less money I had a lot more time. Perhaps I put too much value on my time. It isn’t like I am doing much with my free time. Yet, once I have made enough money to pay for what I consider my necessities I have almost no desire to work for more money. During tax season there are plenty of opportunities for overtime and I rarely work overtime since I’d rather have the time off then the extra money. That is basically like paying $30 an hour for my extra free time. Since there isn’t anything I want to buy with that $30 an hour though, using it for more free time seems like a reasonable deal.

I’ve been trying to think of things to spend my additional money on that would improve my quality of life. The additional money has led to me spending a lot more money on restaurants and fast food.  That isn’t really leading to an increase in my quality of life. In fact, eating all of the fast food contributes to health problems that could end up killing me. And once I’m dead my quality of life will be nil. I need to find something else to spend my money on. If you have any ideas I would love to hear them.

 

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Naomi September 17, 2017 at 10:54 am

Andy,
You enjoy hiking. Maybe travel to different places in the United States. Maybe National Parks to hike as the fees are minimal. I would enjoy reading about your travels within the US and how you keep those expenses low.

2 Jon September 18, 2017 at 9:40 am

I spend on travel. I still travel frugally (or try to), but I almost never regret that I spent money experiencing other places.

3 Isabella September 18, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Ramp up your student loan payments?

4 Andy Hough September 18, 2017 at 6:59 pm

Naomi – I do like to hike. Having the job doesn’t give me time to hike. Hiking doesn’t cost much so I could do that even at a lower income.

5 Andy Hough September 18, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Jon – I do like to travel. Having the full-time job restricts my ability to do that. I know I shouldn’t complain too much since I was able to go on a three week trip in Europe this year. Since I’m pretty good at travel hacking I think I could travel just as much on the lower income.

6 Andy Hough September 18, 2017 at 7:03 pm

Isabella – Paying down my student loan faster would be a good use of my extra income. Even at my increased income it would take almost 10 years of paying half of my take home income to pay off my loans. And that wouldn’t do anything to increase my quality of life now.

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