Guest Post: Consumer Happiness Wears off Fast

Every week I invite a fellow simple-liver to tell us about their lifestyle.
This week, Dianna tells us about how minimalism transformed her attitude to consumption.

Dianna Williams lives in Columbus, Ohio, USA. She is a creative, with web graphic design, photography, singing, ballroom dancing, improvisational acting and writing among her many talents. Dianna blogs about minimalism at www.theminimalistmarch.com and inspires friends, family and people across the world with her journey.

How would you describe your simple-living lifestyle?

My simple-living lifestyle is a work in progress. Earlier this year, I read about The Minimalists, Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, and I got to meet them earlier this month. I realized that many of my ideas fall in line with the minimalist lifestyle. I already focused on having quality relationships and experiences, and I had begun to recognize that the happiness involved with buying something wears off fast. I am slowly decluttering my possessions, and I am evaluating what gives my life value.

What was the one significant moment that made you realise you needed to simplify?

Last year, I made the decision to go back to college, which involved decreasing my work hours and salary by 25%. As a web designer, I was making good money; however, I seemed to spend more than I made. And it never seemed as if I had enough money. When I added up my expenses, I found I could still pay the bills even at a lower salary. And I also realized how much money I wasted. I was spending a lot of money on stuff I didn’t need.

Have you had any important realisations about your past consumerist habits?

I have realized that it pretty much stinks to wear a skirt that I bought with a store credit card of which I am still trying to pay down the balance. In the past, it was like wearing a lie. With every bill, there was the constant reminder that I was wasting money, and I was wasting money that wasn’t even mine. I could never save money when I knew it was owed. So in order to address the desire to spend, I must evaluate and validate the purchase: Do I have a practical use for the item? Will it improve my life and add value?

What has been the biggest positive effect(s) on you through living a simpler life?

I am just beginning the journey to a simple life, and one of the biggest positive effects so far is that I don’t feel weighed down. Having too many things is a burden, especially when it’s time to cleaning. Having debt and mismanaging money is also a burden. In both instances, there is no chance to get ahead. The changes I am making now are helping me to breathe a sigh of relief. All of the little changes are going to add up to many positive effects.

Any words of recommendation for those thinking of simplifying?

Through my own experience, I know that decluttering the things I accumulated was overwhelming and stressful. But I had to remind myself I didn’t buy everything or get into my situation in one night. I couldn’t expect the change to be instant. So my advice is to set little goals and remind yourself that change is good. With change, you will rediscover true happiness.

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