I’ve always been frugal, partly because of necessity and partly because of it being my second nature. When I came across MMM’s blog back in 2016, it was an eye-opener for me. I felt like this is what I was meant to do. The only hurdle — while I was already living the extreme frugal life, I didn’t earn enough to save more than 40-50% of my income which most of the other frugal FIRE bloggers were already doing. And knowing that sucked!
As frugality worked in my favor in this FIRE journey, lately I’ve been thinking of other aspects of life that bode well with the FIRE thought process.
This might sound way too millennial way of thinking but if you even spend watching 1-2 videos on YouTube you’ll come across thousands of recommendations on how we’ve messed up the world. There’s too much plastic in the sea, not enough drinking water for everyone, way too much income inequality in almost every country in the world. This certainly is not the world one wants.
We all consume too much of everything. Be it food, clothing or unnecessary electronics.
I’ll start with food first. Our bodies weren’t meant to consume food constantly. Our bodies also weren’t meant to consume so much carbs. Look at any cuisine and every single one of them have been dominated by carbs — rice, bread, pasta, noodles. You name it. Carbs have dominated our staple only since the invent of agriculture. Agriculture really changed a lot of things. From hunters we became farmers. This also meant that we changed our eating habits. When we were hunters, we’d eat possibly once every few days when we could catch a prey. When we turned farmers, this drastically changed our diet. Instead of eating once in a day or two we started eating more often.
Since agriculture is relatively new, only few hundred year old, our bodies haven’t adapted to such lifestyles.
When we eat now, mostly carbs are turned into glucose, we do not deplete our fats from where we gain energy. I’m not going to pretend I know everything about this but I’ve been doing Intermittent Fasting for the last few years now and it has made a difference. I don’t believe I’m at my optimal best yet. I follow 16:8 diet where I still have two meals. I’m down from three meals to two meals. Do we really need so much energy resource in the world of abundance and immediacy. If you really need energy, you no longer have to go out to hunt or gather. It’s easily available literally at a click of button.
It’s directly affecting our health as we are always over eating. But there’s other side to it as well.
Globally we are over producing. It’s not only affecting the environment, it’s also unequally distributed. There’s absolutely no reason for anyone to go hungry in this day and age. If we all wanted to, everyone would always have enough food to live. Imagine everyone in India gets food on table even if you aren’t a politician who can buy an entire meal from politicians canteen.
Everyone can move on to solve for the next problem statement in their life.
Growing your own food
Another aspect of living sustainably is growing your own food. It’s mind-blowing how much one can grow in a small space. There are tons of videos of people growing veggies on their terrace or balconies. If you have even 200sqft of space you can grow a lot of food. I’m not saying that you can be 100% reliant on your own garden but you can certainly replace at least 50% of your grocery item. And it would even be healthier than what you get in the marts.
I’ve been following minimalism since the last ten years or so. I have a problem, I cannot buy anything unless I do at least ten hours of research. Deliberating over even smallest of purchases means I buy slow and I buy less. I don’t really own a lot of clothes, gadgets, among others. Buying less also means having to maintain less. I don’t own a car – which means I don’t have car insurance, don’t need a sinking fund for repairs and maintenance, don’t need to think about buying a better version few years down the line.
If I were truly honest, the monetary aspect of minimalism is only half of it. I’m more thankful for the mental bandwidth I save on it. My peers will spend so much time figuring out the car they want to buy, the insurance they need to choose, among others. I can instead spend that time reading a book or running this blog.
I don’t want to keep on blabbering that this is the right way of living. To each their own is how I roll in my life. However, it’s important that we start thinking about how our way of living is affecting the world in general.