Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Arvind Devalia, speed demon and blogger at Make it Happen.
What’s the one thing you have always wanted?
For me it’s a Porsche.
Like Courtney Carver and many of the regular readers here on Be More with Less, I aim to live a minimalist lifestyle. Over the last few months, I have been madly jettisoning things from my life – from crockery to commitments.
My family thinks I’m crazy not to keep at least a couple of dozen teacups! They can’t understand how I get by on just four.
If you’re a regular reader here, you will know that we don’t need most of the things we accumulate. Excess stuff crowds our space, clutters our minds and separates us from the knowledge of what’s important. And it’s financially draining.
Less is more and clearly less is best. However, I still love my gadgets and my fancy goods – and I crave a shining toy, the ultimate for me, a Porsche.
Ever since a silver Porsche whizzed past me on a Swiss mountain road a few years ago, I have coveted one.
I mentioned this to a friend recently and she was astounded that a supposed minimalist like me would have aspirations of owning a car like a Porsche.
As I said to my friend, being a minimalist is not just about how little or how much stuff you have, but also about having those things that are important to you. Minimalism doesn’t preclude or prohibit indulging one’s desires, appreciating an object of quality or purchasing something at an exorbitant price.
If you are a hard-core minimalist that’s great – but that doesn’t mean judging those people who choose to invest their money and dreams in, say, a Porsche.
Why would I want a Porsche in the first place?
I’ve listed my reasons for wanting a Porsche below. See if you can come with your own reasons for wanting what you want:
- Sheer thrill of speed and excitement. If you’ve ever been in a fast car on an open road, you’ll know just what I mean.
- Having things of the highest quality. Minimalism means fewer things, not cheap or shoddy things. It doesn’t mean that we always have to compromise.
- Not living a life of self-denial or sacrifice, where only completely necessary possessions are acceptable. If an expensive pen, a designer brand bag or even a Porsche does it for you, then why not go for it?
- Experiencing the delicious feeling of abundance that has nothing to do with an abundance of things. It’s an abundant world and abundance is our birthright, or so all the inspiration gurus keep telling us. There’s plenty to go around, though perhaps not necessarily a Porsche for everyone.
- Travel in the best, most comfortable way. Luxury is good, and not against any notions of how minimalists should live their lives.
So should one get a Porsche?
Well firstly, there is so much talk of minimalism and simple living that sometimes I feel people are jumping on the minimalist bandwagon for the sake of it.
Has Minimalism Turned Into A Sick Game Of Keeping Up With The Joneses?
But at what point does a car like a Porsche or indeed any car or other item you want become an excessive luxury?
Look at the luxury products you might desire in your life – and ask yourself some key questions, which will inevitably convince you that you can certainly live without them:-
- Do I really need them?
- Why do I need them?
- Where do they fit in my priorities?
- Are they really affordable?
By these criteria alone, surely a Porsche is an extravagant luxury – and if I want to find true contentedness within myself, I will let go of this desire.
For a start, I can’t imagine my hero and mentor Gandhi wanting a Porsche!
Here’s my guide to help you decide whether or not you should get that luxury product:-
1. Look at your values, priorities and life goals.
Your purchases must be in line with who you are and what you stand for. If it’s a big ticket item, ask yourself if it would be in line with your values, priorities and life goals.
Take some time to think about what you are spending your money on – and base all your purchases on these deeper considerations.
At the same time, remember that you do also want some fun and thrills in your life.
2. Create a long-term financial plan.
This is all about managing your priorities.
Create an emergency fund and also set aside target sums for retirement, taxes, school fees, etc., before you spend on the fun stuff.
An expensive purchase made recklessly now could mean having regrets for years to come. Consider it well, and never make a decision on the spot.
The value of any acquisition is not what you pay for it but the value you derive from it. So ask yourself: Will I derive enough value from say a Montblanc pen, a Gucchi bag or a Porsche to put it above other things on my priority list?
3. Stop competing with others
Never ever buy stuff just to keep up with the Joneses, the Patels or the Cohens. Or whoever it is in your community who are seen as the trendsetters.
If you do this, you will end up in a never-ending game that will become more and more costly. You just cannot win.
Buy consciously and look at the bigger picture – and if that picture still allows you to get your Porsche, then go for it.
4. Ignore the media hype and illusions of grandeur
People identify high-profile, branded, luxury items with prestige and exclusivity and we are bombarded daily with marketing messages about how what we possess says a lot about us.
I admit that I’ve partly succumbed to media exposure and my belief of what owning a Porsche would say about me.
Are you, too, looking for external signs of success? What do you think your “Porsche” would say about you? Will it be a sign that you have “arrived”? Or will you truly enjoy it on its own merits?
5. Look at alternate ways of fulfilling your speed bug or thirst for grandeur
There are various ways of getting the thrills and excitement that you feel you’ll get from your luxury purchase.
For example, you could hire, borrow or steal a Porsche, though I don’t advocate the last method, unless you also want to be driven in an almost-as-fast police car.
Also, remember that your eventual fulfilment from that long coveted item could be short-lived.
6. Make sure you know the hidden costs
Whatever you buy, check out in advance the running costs, if any, of your coveted item.
For example, just imagine the hefty insurance premiums and servicing charges on a Porsche.
And that’s before you take into account the instant depreciation that occurs the moment you drive a new car off the showroom forecourt.
7. Look at the bigger picture
What impact will your purchase have?
For example, the environmental impact of fast cars has already been documented. If you are concerned about the environment, will you still purchase a gas-guzzling vehicle?
Also, luxury items are a temptation to thieves. Will you be at risk of robbery? And will you be constantly worried about losing them?
The way forward
It all comes back to this: what’s really more important to you?
At the end of the day, money is just a tool to help you create and live the type of life you want. If you know what you truly want in your life and that happens to be a Porsche, and you have created the financial means for it, then go get it.
With money comes the responsibility to spend it wisely.
Yes, be careful how you spend your money, and on what. But frugality doesn’t mean giving up on your dreams.
You can be frugal but not give up on some of the things that excite you and make your life more fun.
Just find the right balance between what you want, your motivations, your priorities, and what you can afford.
P.S. And if you ever see me in a Porsche, please check with me immediately to find out if it’s really mine.
Read more inspiring articles from speedy Arvind Devalia at Make It Happen where he writes about how to get where you want – fast.