When Kim Nguyen was packing for a move and realized how much stuff she’d bought that she didn’t like enough to take with her, it was a financial turning point.
I grew up in a very frugal household, wearing my older sister's hand-me-downs for most of my childhood. So, when I got my first real job with a decent salary, I splurged.
A career meant an ever-changing wardrobe. And, since I made pretty good money, I also ended up paying for a lot of lunches, dinners, and drinks for friends who couldn't afford to go out, and buying a lot of useless junk. You name it; I bought it.
I lived at home for a while after college where, even though I was working, I wasn't asked or expected to pay rent. I did pay for the household utilities, but my cost of living was very low. Still, I had barely any savings to show for it.
This went on for about five years until, finally, I got ready to move out. When I was packing, I realized how much stuff I had that I didn't want to take with me. I had boxes of tchotchkes that were still in their original packaging, clothes that had seemed too cheap to pass up (but I’d never actually worn), cosmetics that had expired. The list went on. It probably amounted to thousands of dollars worth of stuff—all of which was about to go into the trash or to local charities.
It was an eye-opener. I realized that I didn't want to be such a consumer. Maybe my parents were on to something: Spend money on what you need, so that when the time comes, your savings will provide you with the freedom to live a simple and fulfilling life that isn't bogged down with unnecessary objects and unconscious consuming.
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