idle time = money spent

September 2, 2008

the first time i noticed it i was 21 years old.  i had a good paying job and had just broken up with my girlfriend.  and for the first time in my life i had money and nothing to do.  i didn’t notice it right away.  actually, i didn’t notice it until a friend came over and asked to borrow a shirt.  i took him to my closet and  i began pulling new shirt after new shirt out of the closet and remarking how i really didn’t like them that much.  that’s when my friend said, “too much free time?”  and it dawned on me… because i had nothing to do, i was going shopping to fill my time and spending money on things that i really didn’t need.  idle time was leading to money spent.

now that i am older, in a career, and have a family, i find myself with less free time and less disposable income.  i don’t go shopping to fill my idle time all that often.  but the subtly of free time still remains.

many of the things that we use to fill our free time (whether it be a holiday, vacation, or weekend) cost money.  we go shopping, see a movie, improve our home, eat out, or continue a hobby.  

now, i’m not saying that we should never enjoy some downtime and i know many hard-working, successful individuals who subscribe to the “work hard, play hard” mentality.  but as i journey to become minimalist, i have learned to pay closer attention to where my money goes… and idle time seems to have a habit of taking it from me.

since my move to vermont, i have learned to enjoy more outdoor activities (hiking, the beach, etc.) that don’t require money.  what are some of the things that you use to fill your idle time that don’t cost any money?  i’d love to know…

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4 Responses to “idle time = money spent”

  1. Michelle Says:

    I know exactly what you mean… lately I have been going online to read blogs and watch free videos instead of buying magazines to read and renting or going to the movies. I also noticed that it is important to know why you are spending the money where you spend it and make better choices. For example, when I was in college everyone would meet up at the Starbucks in Barnes & Noble bookstore. So we would all spend $5 on a drink, and another $5 if we were hungry and it was a social thing. Post-college I found that I still enjoyed going to the bookstore, but now I order a hot tea, or a simple cup of coffee and grab a few magazines or a book to read for an hour or so. The establishment still gets a little bit of my money, and I get some free reading time in without feeling like I have wasted $10 on an overpriced dessert drink.
    Same with going to the theatres. If it is a movie I really want to see then I will pay for the ticket, otherwise I will try and watch it for free online. Sometimes I have been able to watch the film online before it even hits the theatres, so that is always fun!

  2. bullethead Says:

    Super blog…My wife and I enjoy reading your musings, as we downsize our material life.

    Thanks!

  3. caron Says:

    I like to write a blog if I have some free time…but that is probably an obvious answer.

  4. Dasha Says:

    I like to get out of the house on the weekend and when I don’t have any other plans, I tend to just go wander around the city which actually always turns into shopping. I have way too many clothes. Hm, I wonder 😉

    I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to make plans with myself of stuff to do if I just feel like going somewhere for its own sake. Also, I’ve been going to the library a lot. It’s like free shopping! The library is also a great test of your minimalism – how much will you take when it’s all free? I struggle with this sometimes, esp. when going to the central library, which is 45 min away but has soooo many more great books than my local library!


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