Stop Buying, Start “Temporarily Owning”
I try not to buy shit anymore. Oh sure, I still gotta buy things like toothpaste and socks. But for the most part, I don’t buy. I “temporarily own”.
Not only has this made it easier for me to travel and start new hobbies, but it’s also saved me a TON of money.
Huh? “WTF is this”, you ask?
Well, basically, when most people buy something, they see it as THEIRS. They own it. It belongs to them for life. And the money they dropped for it is – *poof* – gone forever.
My perspective is just a slight shift in thinking, but it makes a huge difference:
I see everything I buy as something that I’m just borrowing. It’s not MINE. I won’t have it for life or start associating it with who I am. It’s just mine temporarily. And the money I spent on it, is also, only temporarily gone.
And while I have it, I’ll use the hell out of it. I’ll squeeze every single drop of usefulness out of it that I can.
But the moment it stops being useful, or I outgrow it, or it stops helping me live a happier, more fulfilling life…I’ll flip it on Craigslist to someone who’ll get more out of it than I will.
Like I said, it seems like an insignificant difference. But this mindset towards buying has benefitted my life in a bunch of unexpected, really awesome ways:
Save Money (Or Even Make Some)
Alright, now here’s where the biggest love of my life comes into play: Craigslist.
With this “temporarily owning” mentality and the principle of “buy low, sell high” in mind, here’s how I get 90% of the things I own:
1) If you want something, buy it used on Craigslist for LOW.
2) Use it. And when you don’t need it anymore or if you want to upgrade…
3) Sell it on Craigslist for SLIGHTLY HIGHER.
Bam. Not only did you get full use of your item and NOT lose any money, but you even made a few bucks! You basically just got paid to use that item. Baller.
And if you have to sell it for lower, don’t sweat it. Think of the money lost as a really, really low rental cost. Totally worth it.
This also makes upgrading to new items hella easy and cheap. Just think of it as “trading up”. Do you want a newer phone? Sick of your slow computer?
Use Craigslist to sell that shit HIGH and buy the next version LOW.
I’ve been doing this with EVERY big ticket item in my life for the past few years and have saved some serious cash. I’m talking laptops, video cameras, even iPhones. Let me give you some examples:
- Sold a 2004 Macbook Pro with broken fan for $800
- Bought a like-new, 2010 Unibody Macbook Pro for $1200
- Total Cost for a Way Better Laptop: $400 (Fixing the fan alone would’ve cost $300. So for just $100 more, I got a way faster and newer computer)**
- Sold a Canon XHA1 video camera + Accessories for $2000
- Bought a brand new Canon 60D (too new for a good used price) + Lens + Audio Recorder + Accessories for $2176
- Total Cost for a Way Better Camera: $176. Badass.
**If you ever need to repair your shit, check Craigslist first and see if it’d be cheaper to just trade up instead. You’d be surprised by how many people will buy broken stuff. I assume they’ve got awesome repair skills. Or just really suck at buying stuff.
Keep in mind though, this really only works with Craigslist (not scammy, seedy eBay). See, with eBay’s bidding system, the price always averages out to its true market value. Not so with Craigslist. That’s why, if you’re patient enough, you can find stuff for way cheaper. Or sell your stuff for higher.
And since you can also see the item up close, try before you buy, talk to the owner, and pick it up immediately…it’s pretty much the ONLY option for selling and buying used stuff (seriously, f*ck eBay).
Perfect for Travelers
When you travel, if you need something, you don’t have to worry about bringing it with you (sorry, that bicycle’s not gonna work as carry on). Just get there and “temporarily own” instead.
Every time I live in a new city, I get what I need on Craigslist (or the foreign equivalent), use it while I’m there, and then sell it off before I leave.
I just did this in New York with a MIDI keyboard to make music with and I actually made friends with the rapper who sold it to me [LINK]. And when I left, I ended up selling it for $10 more!
Obviously this makes more sense for longer stays, but it’s an option that every traveler should know they’ve got.
Make It Way Easier to Start a New Hobby
When you’re interested in starting a new hobby, the greatest barrier that always gets in the way is GETTING THE GEAR (whether you’re getting into photography or DJing).
You could spend forever trying to find the perfect starting gear. “Oh I want those deluxe features in case I need them someday….but not in that color…and it needs to be cheap, but not too cheap…”
A lot of people never get shit started cause they get stuck in this phase. They put off actually doing anything. Don’t be one of those people.
Say, “Screw it, let’s do it” by temporarily owning instead.
Since it’s just temporary, no need to spend the next 4 months searching for the perfect thing. Just get some beginners shit on Craigslist and you’re set!
No more excuses, just go.
Then when you’re ready to move up (or move on to something else), just flip that stuff on Craigslist and get whatever suits your new skill level. And by then you’ll also have a better idea of what “deluxe” features you’ll actually need anyway.
This makes it so much easier to just TRY new things in life. You don’t have to worry, “Am I serious enough about this to make an investment?”
Dude, no investment necessary! Just temporarily own that shit and give it a shot. If you’re not feeling it, just flip it on Craigslist. Treat life like it’s a Costco free food sample!
With the mentality of “temporarily owning”, you can stop worrying about BUYING and focus on what’s really important: DOING.
Give the Finger to Materialism
“Temporarily owning” also helps you battle America’s #1 mental disease: materialism.
Seriously, it’s such a big problem, we never even think about how obsessed with stuff we are. It’s weird when you actually think about it:
- As a nation, we define ourselves and others by our purchases. We see stuff as an extension of who we are. That we ARE what we BUY.
- We think buying all this crap will help fill an empty void in our lives. And when it doesn’t, we’re convinced that we just need to buy more, more, more.
- We believe that those who have more things, have happier lives (hint: NOT TRUE)
- We attach ourselves so much to our purchases, that if we lose them, we’ll start bawling like we just lost a loved one.
- And having shit is so important to people that they’ll put themselves into debt, cutting themselves off from opportunities like traveling and EXPERIENCING LIFE, just so they can have the shiniest car or biggest flatscreen.
I think Tyler Durden says it best: “The things you own, end up owning you.”
I mean, c’mon people, is this not @#*%ing BATSHIT INSANE?
When you start “temporarily owning”, it becomes much easier to see the light.
Since you’re just borrowing things and not OWNING them, you never start associating that stuff with you are in the first place. You healthily detach yourself from the things you buy.
They’re not an extension of who you are. They’re not a part of you. They don’t make you complete.
They’re just TOOLS that we USE to help us live more awesome lives. That’s it.
And as soon as they stop being useful to us, it’s time to pass it on.
Remember this: “You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your f*cking khakis.” – Tyler Durden
A Great Intro to Minimalism
Once “temporarily owning” changes your relationship with materialism, you might be tempted to take it even further…
Minimalism is basically the practice of getting rid of everything that you don’t really need or use. Simplifying your life. Constantly striving to own LESS rather then MORE.
It’s essentially the anti-materialism.
Now, why in the hell would you want to do that? Well how about:
To cut down on this endless cycle of want, want, want.
To fully appreciate what you DO have.
To consume less (TV, blogs, Youtube) and to create more (art, friendships, babies).
To not be mentally burdened and physically imprisoned by tons of unimportant crap.
To live a more location-free, travel friendly lifestyle.
To change your focus from HAVING more to EXPERIENCING more.
Look, it’s pretty simple. You’ve got one life. And it’s a short one.
So you can choose to spend your limited time and energy on the things that really matter (spending time with loved ones, having new experiences, living life), or the things that don’t (stuff).
The choice is really damn obvious for me.
And in the end, that’s what all this “temporarily owning” stuff comes down to.
It’s a mindset that I was forced to adopt at first. Since I love to travel and try new hobbies but I’m not filthy rich, I had to start “temporarily owning” out of necessity.
But after growing into this mindset over the past few years, I never want to give it up now. If anything, I want it to keep growing.
I never want the things I own to own me.
And the only thing that I truly, fully want to own is my life. The rest? Eh, I’ll eventually flip that shit on Craigslist.
I took this picture with the video camera I traded up for, the laptop I traded up for, and a bike I just got off of Craigslist. See? I’m not playing around when it comes to this shit!
I’m back in sunny Santa Monica now and truly digging the vibe out here. I’m definitely in more of a productive, healthy mode right now and this is the perfect place for that. No seriously, everyone in my building is either a yoga teacher or crossfit trainer. That’s Santa Monica for ya.
I’ve been hella busy ever since I arrived, getting swamped with a ton of film work. But I’ve still made time for the most epic game of King’s Cup ever played (let’s just say my life was saved at the LAST millisecond), HARD Summer music fest (Boys Noize killed it!), and…oh yeah…GOT MY MOTORCYCLE LICENSE!
Yessir, your truly is now able to legally ride a frickin two-wheeler! Don’t worry though, I like my life so I’m ALL about the safety. I’ll be puttin’ around in parking lots and suburb streets for a little while to come…
Oh, and yes, I got my motorcycle off Craigslist. C’mon, what’d you expect?