Everyone dreams of escaping the rat race, however, many expats leave their country of origin to create a new life in Thailand only to end up in the same situation: living to work instead of working to live. Here are a few tips to escape the rat trap so as to have more time to explore Thailand and also have more freedom in your life.
How Stuff Ends Up Owning You
The rat trap of life, which ends up with you working the maximum amount of hours you can without having a breakdown, then desperately rushing around paying bills and doing chores in the little free time you have left is depressing. A big step in cutting down this crazy never ending stressful spiral is to simply not hoard so much stuff. We are persuaded to buy things we don’t really need all the time by advertisements and hype. By selling off your unneeded possessions through websites that specialise in trading in your local area or via ebay etc, you can get rid of useless items that need constant upgrading, repairs, or need to be cleaned or generally looked after. Therefore, you spend less money and also make a profit by getting rid of non-essential household items. Initially when you buy something you assume that you are the owner of it, but think again; let’s take a pool table for example . . . if you bought a pool table you would then have to clean it every week and if you don’t play on it often you will feel bad because it was expensive, so it is now controlling you by taking up your time with having to play on it regularly to avoid guilt and to clean it. A good practise to develop a minimalist mindset is to get rid of one piece of clutter or sell off one unneeded item per day. That will be 365 unneeded items per year eliminated from your life! Giving you more space, enabling you to live in smaller, cheaper accommodation requiring less housework, plus freeing up some valuable time.
The BS of Keeping Up with the Joneses
Competitiveness is a part of human nature, but keeping up with the Joneses by having the latest model of car or latest version of an iPhone is straight from our low-level basic gutter instincts. Most people buy stuff to impress people they don’t really like. You will really free up a lot of your time and save money if you resist this by not giving a %$#! what people think. After all, you will end up with the greatest symbol of real wealth when you end up working part time and waving them off to their full time jobs.
Although it is hard to escape the rat race completely, especially if you have children or are supporting someone, it is possible to limit the rat race’s unpleasant effects on your life. One way of doing this is to take a close look at the essential items in your home that you are maintaining and ask yourself if they are really essential? A television for example is seen as essential in most households, but is it? You can use your tablet or computer to watch movies instead, where you would save on cable/satellite membership fees. Is a computer really essential? You can use a tablet to type up documents, surf the internet and to work upon. Or, if you just use a computer for surfing the internet and sending emails, you can just use your smart phone. Is your car even essential? Could you move closer to work and walk to work instead?
Who is Your Wingman/Wingwoman?
A big factor in attaining more freedom is when you can save 20-30% of your income to invest, save or deposit into a pension plan. Having emergency savings behind you not only makes you feel more confident, but it also makes you less of a slave to employment, as you are not relying on your employer out of fear of running out of money immediately if your workplace shuts down. If you are single you only have to take care of your own mindset, but if you have a partner make sure that they support you as a duo team in saving. If you are with someone who spends money like water and craves a bigger house, newer car or a wardrobe full of designer clothes you may want take a long good look at your existing relationship.
Passive income is a very good way of supplementing income to be freer in life. There is a lot of hype on the internet about how easy passive income is to obtain, although apart from a few lucky individuals, passive income usually requires a lot of initial work. However, if you write an ebook, make an app or even film an amateur movie for instance, you will have passive income flowing in for the rest of your life. You may even hit the jackpot by writing a best seller, putting together a killer app or creating an indie movie hit. The odds are better than winning the lottery, let’s put it that way.
Rat Traps in the Rat Race Game
Below are a list of traps common in the rat race game:
- Working you into the ground, ending up with paying out large medical bills and eventually an early death.
- Ending up spending most of your relationship with your partner via Line or Facebook.
- Divorce because you haven’t got the time to work on building a solid relationship.
- Succumbing to peer pressure to get as much, or more gadgets and latest stuff than your friends, neighbours and enemies.
- Eating rubbishy junk food or convenience foods because you don’t have time to cook or sometimes don’t even have the time to sit down for a proper meal.
- Ending up posting every little thing you do on Facebook in an attempt to build some kind of virtual life where you hope to be seen as actually having real fun living.