On consumerism

Ah, the magical Dior hot air balloon hovering over Galleries Lafayette.  It provides an ironic metaphor as to how my pursuit of things continue to weigh me down.

Other than a trip to a town in Germany, I am settling in Berlin for at least a few months with no other travel plans.  I have been seriously considering going to Venice in November for the Biennial and witness the wonders.  It’s still up in the air.  But, we’re not talking about travel plans.  Instead we are talking about things.

Being a shopaholic…

This has been a complete ire of mine.  Despite my best efforts at being frugal and minimal, I just keep on buying and collecting and receiving all sorts of things.  Things that are no more after being used like the mountainous collection of hotel amenities.  Things that are hard to get rid of like a new Chanel bag.  Things that are seriously not necessary business expenses like two expensive room perfumes that I bought from Harrods, each at the cost of designer perfume.  Also, books.  I love printed books as well as the electronic format.  When I left London I spend who-knows-how-much on a small bookshelf worth of books only to give it away, including books I bought from art fairs now sitting in a friend’s parent’s basement.  And my most conundrum of all – make-up.  As someone who travels around and works from home I have ungodly amounts of makeup.  And bandages, I have a lot of bandages.  And let’s not talk about clothes.  I’ve donated a few things yet after doing a mental check, I managed to have with me five coats, two jackets, three cardigans?! Why so many?!  And, even though I work from home and my time outdoors is largely spent in jeans, I have something like ten stockings and multiple dresses that have only been worn once this year.

…and being shopaholic a digital nomad…

This is what happens after accumulating stuff for over three years since my last digital nomad / expat break to pursue a Masters.  I’ve had far more that I’ve had to shed and I still have some more to go.

The reason why I am in this state of mind is that I am looking at what my options are to store some items while I go to Asia / Australia sometime for about half the year next year.  Bringing everything with me is not at all practical – as I would have books, some ‘household’ items (somehow, I feel like I’m going to miss all my efficient German cleaning products), all my bulky winter clothes, all my electronics (somehow I wound up with two printers – I gave away one to my neighbour) and more to stash away.  If I go down the route of a self-storage solution, I would have to consider the costs as well as make a pit-stop to Berlin from wherever I am to where I am going to pick it up. A bit inconvenient but far better than trying to haul everything across the world and back again.

When it comes to buying and owning stuff I am faring better now in Berlin than before.  But I am still failing.

Ok, so I still have purchasing fails*.  Like the Welton London candle, Cochine room perfumer, the three Chanel skin care products, the massive Lancome skin care set, the leather Ecco shoes, the Chanel skirt that doesn’t fit me but I am keeping it anyway, the crappy YSL sweater that I later gave to my sister, the YSL wallet, the Bottega Veneta wallet that I don’t use, the 20? makeup brushes that I own.  Ok, that list of purchasing fails is still completely embarrassing.  But, I guess it was better than last year in 2016 where I bought and bought way too much skin care, makeup, clothes, designer brands.  At some point I must have had 40 or so face masks, bought from TK Maxx because I was so damn bored.  Much of the shopping has been via sheer boredom, escapism, YOLO, caring too much about impressing people, caring too much about what other people thought of me.  I feel that last year, I must have gone through some odd phase in my life where I felt that I needed to buy these designer brands, either to impress others, or for myself, or just because YOLO and I can.

I really wish I could just be minimal, be more frugal, just being able to resist the shopping and the brands.  Once, I went for weeks (or even months) where all I ever did was check online shopping sites and watch make-up YouTube videos.  Now, I just have personal finance blogs open and I’ve just finished an entire gameplay of Wolfenstein: The New Colossus series.  When it comes to spending, I have two triggers.  One, is my online triggers.  I no longer feel like I want to go shopping with the haul and makeup videos that I watch, although I am watching less of these now.  I occupy my time moreso around studies, personal finance blogs, bumming around Netflix and if/when there is a new video game on, binge-watching a lot of walk-throughs.  The next is offline.  A lot of my shopping purchases have happened while I am either out travelling on holiday or when I am about to travel.

Time to double down on my personal finance.

I have my February savings goals written in a piece of paper, right up high on the shelf so that each time I look up, I see the figure. When I am more comfortable about embracing frugality with more aspects of my life, I want the following for myself:

  • Continue to be in LCOL areas, even further push limits of LCOL.
  • Double down on side-income streams.
  • Stay away from anything considered the ‘L’ word.
  • Go through and sell off my things both accumulated from the few years that I’ve been overseas and the things stashed away at home in Australia.
  • Inject more money into my investments.
  • Clean up some leftover paperwork back in Australia.

So yes, I’m still cozying it up in Berlin and withstand the German winter, then will be heading back to Australia for a short while before I head back to Europe again.