Down-stressing is a term that we have invented to help answer the question that we are often faced in the first world.
If I buy that thing X will my life be enriched or impoverished?
Yes, go for it
- it's fundamentally in my price bracket
- It fits in with my lifestyle
- I can devote the time to it, but not excessively so
- The running costs are reasonable
- It really will be useful the day after I have bought it
No - don't buy
- Out of perspective. You are living in squalid accommodation but you are saving for a Ferrari.
- It owns you, you don't own it: Your lifestyle is so constrained by what you acquire that you spend a disproportionate amount of your time on it and nothing else
- It will get stolen! Or Damaged, Or defaced: You can afford it but people will envy what you have and steal it.
- It's so valuable you dare not actually use it
- It's so valuable you can't adequately insure it
- It's so valuable that the merest scratch will plunge you into depression and you will spend much time and effort trying to repair it immediately.
Of course even when presented with these facts, life may not be; oh so simple. Many young single male professionals realise that owning an expensive car or Supercar in London has its limitations, however they go ahead anyway.
It is a sort of extension of the line that we are fed about owning our first car. We are led to believe, by friends, media, and even sometime parents that this (car) leads to a life of freedom, personal expression and sets us on a track to the good life and respect from one's peers.
But when we get the thing (a fancy car in my example) we find that our lives are only moderately improved and the lifestyle comes with a lot of buts and complications.
Down-stressing then is the converse of buying something that is out of your price range and possibly slightly impractical.
Down-stressing means buying something or adopting a practice or habit that is easily financially possible for you. Something that reduces your stress level not increases it. We are great fans of Down-stressing. And so, we leave you with 10 examples from Marcus and Agata's restrained lifestyle:
Husband! Where has our bed gone.
- Agata says: We searched for 2 years for the perfect bed base. In the meantime husband sold the existing base (!!) and now we just have a fancy mattress on the floor, sans base. Actually it is rather Zen.
- You fancy a Ferrari but instead buy a sensible hatchback Audi because in daily life it is just less of a hassle, and it might actually carry your weekly shopping, or luggage to the airport effortlessly instead of on the passengers knees.
- You'd like a fancy Hublot watch, but really your Smartphone does everything. So you don't buy a watch at all
- You like Cashmere Jumpers and Silk scarves, but they are so fragile and need dry cleaning as to be impractical. Choose some Cashmilion instead :-)
- You want to always have the latest Apple laptop and mobile phone, but your current products are already more than fast enough and you, not the product are already the limitation in total productivity equation.
- We though we deserved some Rimowa airport luggage but we just knew that if it got scratched or dented we would be gutted. We settle for M&S travel luggage.
- Despite intense pressure from the whole of Swiss society to spend preposterous amounts of money on Lounge furniture from prestigious brands we instead choose the best of IKEA. We chose something that can take a knock or two and even a wine spill without complaint.
- In the worlds of Sports clothing and Ski/Mountain clothing the sky is the limit costs pertain to some brands. However if possible we always try to satisfy our needs at Decathlon or Wiggle home brands (e.g dhb). We often come out of the stores with everything that we need at prices that have us almost laughing.
- Some Swiss people refuse on principle to shop at anything below the top tier Supermarkets. Conversely we always go first to Aldi and then buy only the items we need but could not there in the fancy Supermarkets. Each visit to Aldi has us stunned at the price differential, sure the selection is restrained, but our smiles leaving are not.
- Marcus quite likes expensive sunglasses. However I keep losing them. I still wince at the multi hundred dollar loses of pairs in a New York Taxi and in Covent Garden. Currently I standardise on Decathlon Orao sunglasses at less than 5GBP per pair. Ultra light and so simple, they just keep on going strong!
So de-stress your life. Use your judgement and common sense to live comfortably within your means on items that serve you, not the converse.