I, Nick Pierson, have been a consumer for my entire life. Other than breathing and eating, it might be the skill in which I have the most experience. So, I want to share with you some of the lessons I have learned during my nearly 24 years of consumption. These tips will cover all the basics to Maximize Your Money and to be a Smart Consumer (not like those mindless sheep that are totally bought into consumerism).
1. Never Rent
Look, if you know that you are going to need something, then why wait to buy it? If you will have to rent it (or worse: borrow from a friend), then you should just buy it immediately. You will save money this way because you are just giving away your money whenever you rent.
Instead, buy the item immediately. This way you won't have to wait in line to rent it and you will have your own personalized, just-for-you item.
2. Don't Get Rid of Old Things
Did you just buy something new? Maybe a clothing item or some electronic? DON'T GET RID OF YOUR OLD ONE. Look, I know it is tempting to get rid of the item that you just replaced, but you might need it again some day.
What if you drop your new laptop? What if your new shoes get stolen? What if your new phone gets a cracked screen? All of these things can easily happen, and you will be left without a backup.
Instead, hold on to all of your old things. This way you won't have to rent a replacement while your old item gets fixed (remember, renting is bad) or pay enormous fees for expidited shipping because you cannot live without your new thing for more than a few days.
Plus, you have storage space right? Because you should...
3. Prioritize Storage
Storage is really important and helps reduce clutter. If you have to leave things out then it clutters your living area and we all know that external clutter leads to internal clutter. It is best practice to have a space for everything to belong, so that your mind can focus on more important things.
More storage space also makes it easier to buy the important things in life. If you always feel "full", then you will not have room to buy important items that you need. For example, it is a good idea to have storage shelves for tools that you might need to fix your home, car, or whatever keeps needing maintenance. Why buy these tools...?
4. Fix Things Yourself
Paying for maintenance is super expensive. Home maintentance is expensive. Car maintenance is expensive. Even mending your clothes can be expensive. However, most of these costs can be completely replaced.
Next time you think of taking your car to the shop, consider whether or not you can fix the problem yourself. There are tutorials on YouTube for almost every task nowadays and anyone is capable of following along. You might need to buy some specific tools (and a garage!) but you will save money in the long run. Just think of all the money you would have spent taking your car to the shop.
This applies to almost every item in your life that needs maintenance. Instead of paying someone else who knows what they are doing to fix your precious items, buy the tools yourself! You should have plenty of space for them anyway – we talked about storage already, right?
5. Single-Purpose Tools Are Better
I think this one is self-explanatory. Single-purpose tools are almost always better than their multi-purpose tool counterparts. It is much easier to be good at one thing than many different things. Do we want the best experience or just an okay one?
6. Optimize for Experience
Do you think that you do your best work on a cramped laptop? Do you think that you can live without a comfy chair? What about wireless headphones so that you don't have to fuss with wires every morning? What about a new tank top that helps you sweat less at the gym?
You might be able to live without something better, but should you? Think of the time (and energy!) you could save by buying something better. Settling for subpar means that you are less excited for your activities, which means less motivation. It is also physically harder, so you will be slower and be less efficient.
Always buy the best. The gains might seem marginal, but consider this: They are compounding. We all know the power of compounding interest over long periods of time.
7. Your Home is Your Community Space
If you are currently meeting your friends at a bar, or at coffee shops, or going out to movies, then you are doing it wrong.
Every time you go out for drinks, food, movies, or whatever, you are spending money for nothing in return. Instead, buy things to create a community space in your own home.
Maybe put a pool table in your basement? Definitely try to buy a house with a kitchen island (don't even think about renting an apartment). You might also need more kitchen supplies for all the cooking you will be doing.
If you like watching movies, have you considered buying a projector? You can get them for as cheap as $800 online. If you have a group of 8 friends, and you all pay $10 for movie tickets, you will pay off your projector in just 10 movies. Also, consider charging your friends money to watch movies at your place to pay off the projector even faster.
8. Buy A Car
I know driving can be stressful and that it is more dangerous to drive and that it is healthier to bike, but it is worth it. Buying a car means getting places faster. Getting places faster means doing more with your life. Do I really need to say more?
9. Create Incentives By Investing Money Upfront
Want to lose weight by running more often? Buy yourself the best clothing, shoes, a wristband, and maybe new headphones (wireless!) to make your run as easy as possible.
Want to go to the gym more? Buy a yearly membership. Don't waste money on single-month memberships. You will save more money in the long run by paying for a year upfront. Plus, if you pay for a full year, now you have to go.
Want to learn to play Piano? Don't bother renting, borrowing, or taking classes at a music store. Buy your own piano. All the guilt will encourage you to play more and follow through with your dreams. Also, remember what I said about doing things yourself? Don't pay for an instructor. Just watch free YouTube videos.
10. Memories Are Important
Any time that you travel and find a neat marketplace or maybe you even found a niche local store – go in and take a look around. You want to remember the experiences that you have and there is no better way to do so than buying a souvenir. Proudly display it on a shelf in your home (don't forget to own shelves!) and you will be able to look at it every day.
If you follow all these tips, then you will saves loads of money. Pat yourself on the back for avoiding consumerism. After all, you are only buying things you need that will save you time and money in the long run.
Plus, after enough time, you will have everything that you could ever need. Wouldn't that be freeing?
If you want to be a Smart Consumer, definitely do not read Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki. It is absolute drivel.
P.S. This was satire. I hope it was not too subtle.