My journey into minimalism and debt-free living, like many who go on to offer support and advice to others, is a journey of transformation, a pendulum swing of lifestyle choices, from one of extreme consumption and excess to a pared-down life of simplicity, frugality and minimalism, a journey from unhappiness to a life of almost complete fulfilment in every area of my life. A voyage whose experiences I have learnt so much from and would like to share with the world.
Generated through a life of excess, just over ten years ago, I was unhappy, overweight and over £44,000 in debt. Having ended a long-term relationship, like many, I attempted to buy the happiness, which I had lost, through the purchase of shiny new gadgets (laptops, camcorders etc..), designer-label clothing and exotic travelling experiences, all fuelled by borrowed money provided by the all-too-willing to lend High Street banks. However, these purchases were all just Band Aids, on a wound that needed stitches not plasters. I had subconsciously filled my life with short-term pleasures, which like a match, would offer an explosion of light in my life, only to burn out as almost as quickly as it had ignited. What I needed so badly was a candle, a slow-burning light that would guide me to a happier, more-fulfilling life.
Fortunately, I soon found my candle, in the form of my beautiful wife, and in the process rediscovered what truly made me happy. The years that followed saw the weight fall off, the debt diminish and the traits of excess metamorphose into moderation and restraint. Habits are hard to change, and it has been a long journey on which there have many lapses, a moment when I have been unable to resist the temptations of the latest must-have item, but unlike in my previous material driven life, the guilt and feeling of wrong doing has been enough to react and undo what had been done (returning or re-selling an item).
Over time, supported by my wife, other minimalists such as Leo Babuta, Joshua Becker and The Minimalists (Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus) and utilising both the wealth of financial advice available online/in book stores and my own skills which I had developed whilst studying Accounting and Economics at University, I became stronger in resisting the consumerist temptations that surround our every waking moment whilst simultaneously fostering a greater appreciation of the simple things in life, I became freeminimalist.ru.
Skipping forward to the present day, I live a modest but truly contented life. I surround myself with only the most important possessions and allocate my time purposefully, spending my time and money consciously on items that will only add value to my life. I am fortunate enough to work in a very morally fulfilling job, teaching young children at a local primary school and in my free time, now void of the time-stealers from the past, I write and develop this website, www.thedebtfreeminimalist, which I hope, like my day job teaching, will inspire others to leading a happier, contented life.
With regards to health, I am now fitter (at the age of 33) than possibly any other time in my life, every morning, as the sun is rising, you can find me either cycling (40 km to work and back) or treading the paths and roads of my home village, Cringleford. For me running and cycling is my meditation, an opportunity to quietly reflect on life whilst enriching my health.
Like many, I earn only a modest income, so my recovery from excessive debt is a slow one but it is a rehabilitation that is almost complete. There are no miracle ‘clear your 60k debt in 12 months’ suggestions here, however it is a system which is focused on long-term wealth creation, a path that I (and my family) will benefit from for decades to come.
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