Minimalism: It Is All About Simplicity

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As we are making progress and reaching out to others we notice a lot of people who are decluttering, for several reasons. It will clear up space in your home, you can sell the items for money and it will help you let go the feeling of ownership more.

Either you do it out of frugal reason, or a minimalist approach, it fits perfectly in a lifestyle where consumerism isn’t the biggest driver to make you feel happy.

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Procrastinating on Your Job? Bad Idea

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When we started invested almost 3 years ago, our first objective was to get rich(er). We started buying stocks of which we believed would reach up to great heights so we would be able to cash in.  Of course, this wasn’t build to last. By researching more and more about investment strategies and how to deal with money, I stumbled on some PF blogs that were talking about a whole different way of thinking than we had at that time.

So, we shifted our focus to the long haul and started investing in dividend stocks. Aiming for a more meaningful and happy life by reaching financial independence, and the freedom to do whatever we choose. In other words, being opportunity-rich and time rich.

I can tell you, that it’s working. And over the years we’ve built up a small portfolio providing us with some passive income. We’re still far from reaching financial independence and it will take over ten years before we get there. The thing is, my objective that motivated me on this journey was the promise that one day I would be able to stop working my day job and could ‘finally’ pursue what I really wanted and when I wanted it. But I’m not that willing to wait until then, in order to pursue the things I like to do now.

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Going Minimal – How Less Can Mean More

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We’re all downsizing, saving and living frugally. The reason for this is to live a life without too much consumerism and building wealth for the long term. We’re at it for about 2 years now, but in the meantime, our mindset has shifted 360 degrees around. We’re not saving money only because we want to get more of it… But because we have certain values that just don’t fit with owning lots of stuff anymore.

If you want to become happier, you don’t need all those extra things in your life. Better yet, you need to get rid of them. It can clear up space, remove worries and move you forward.

The big change is that we don’t feel the urge to save money. We just think of how we can live a better life, and additionally, we save the money we don’t spend.

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What’s The Deal With FIRE in Europe?

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When I started this blog in September last year, I did so with the thought there weren’t much Dutch or even European finance bloggers out there. Little did I know.

I’ve connected with the world of #FIRE through 2 top-notch bloggers out there, Jason Fieber (formerly known as Dividend Mantra) and MMM. When Dividend Mantra was no more, I quickly ended up looking for other blogs and found sites like Dividend Diplomats and later on some others as well. But it wasn’t for after I started Divnomics when I learned how big this community really was.

Still, it looks like the growing flow of FIRE and personal finance blogs has much more ground in the US than in Europe. How could that be, and is it really the case?

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King’s Day: Orange, Festivals, and Flea Markets

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The Netherlands is a rather small country. And also one of the 43 sovereign monarchies that we have in this world.

Every year on this day, we celebrate the birthday of our King. It’s a national holiday, where nobody has to work (yes!) and goes out on the streets. The festive holiday is well known in foreign countries and lot’s of tourists know how to find this little country when it’s the 27th of April. In the big cities, there are all kinds of paid and free music festivals, food stands on the streets and usually, a lot of beer is also involved. For the ones that don’t know it that well, it’s quite a unique happening.

What does this have to do with money? Well, besides some people complaining that having a king is expensive, this day is also the day you can earn some cash on flea markets.

The royal celebrations were first held on 31 August 1885, in honor of the birth of Queen Wilhelmina. Throughout the years it’s been celebrated ever since. Today is in the honor of Willem-Alexander, who is actually the first male monarch in 123 years.

It’s a busy day of the year for some. In Amsterdam, the crowd can go up to 600.000 or sometimes a million people who decide to go out on the streets and canals. Some others, like myself nowadays, are avoiding the big city and take it a bit calmer and closer to home. But it’s a happening like no others, and if you just go with the flow and care to enjoy, it can be a celebration of a lifetime.

Orange is the new black

There is one thing on this day that is perfectly normal to us (well kinda) but not for so many others. Orange is our national color, and a lot of people literally turn orange for this day as a show of pride for the Dutch royal family. Yes, it looks crazy, but so does the rest of the people. There are even all kinds of special merchandising products to fill in on the festivities, like orange beer, hats, wigs, orange pastries and even chocolates in the shape of the king’s head (no joke).

To get an image of how it can look like, I’ve found a rather good video that illustrates a King’s Day in Amsterdam.

Why the orange?

The origins of our national color go back to the 1550’s or just before the start of the 80-year war. Willem of Nassau inherited the French princedom Orange, which was later added to his name as Prince of Orange. During the 80 year war, he needed a national flag, in which he used the colors orange, white and blue. In 1596 the orange turned red, and orange became the one and only national color.

Earning the money

One other thing that is related to this big day, are flea markets. They are happening in almost every city. So there is something with (earning) money involved? Well yes, but I stopped going to flea markets a long time ago. When I was a kid I had my own very spot on a market selling my old toys. At the end of the day, I had a little profit, which made me feel like a little entrepreneur and keep it for who knows what.

But it always a good time of the year to clean up the house and sell the items that are unnecessary. There are some people that are really earning some big money on this day. Where it turns out the average street-seller makes a 90 euro on King’s Day.

When the book of Marie Kondo was published: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a new trend was born. Decluttering and organizing your home. Along with it, the minimalism movement grew worldwide to a new and embraced lifestyle by many. We aim to be partly minimalistic and only to buy items that have their worth. But are not near as minimalistic as how it could be. Still, we too have items lying around that we haven’t used for months or even years.

So today when many others are wandering around at flea markets, I thought to use it as a way to start decluttering and place some items for sale online. I already placed a small figurine last weekend to check out how fast it would be sold. And it just so happened that it was sold in 1 day for 30 euro. Sweet! I have found enough other items we no longer need or are lying in the back of a closet for years, which we can use to make others happy with it instead. So today, I use my free time of work, amongst other things, to list these items for sale and check out how much it can bring us.

Have you ever sold items in flea markets or garage sales, or on online listings? Or are you rather willing to give it away for free?

Wanderlust, why do we travel?

Yesterday morning our alarm clock went off at 5 o’clock. Ridiculously early. But for a good reason. Our plane would depart only a few hours later. Bringing us to the destination where we are spending the next two weeks driving around in the West of the US. And here I am writing this blog post…

We planned our trip at the beginning of this year, because due to a tight study schedule from Mr, Divnomics, we can’t find much time throughout the year to leave the country. 

Almost there

On my work I’ve had many coworkers tipping us on what we should be doing in the US. And while I was finishing up the last working tasks, it also reminded me that our last vacation with a duration longer than a week, had been 4 years ago. While we have made some short trips, this one feels really big. Not only because we leave for longer period than normally, but also because of the greater distance. We are currently 8600 km (or 5300 miles) away from our home in The Netherlands.

Lately, it seems like every millenial is traveling to all kinds of far and exotic places, or all over the world at once. I came across an article the other day which told the story of the youngest person to ever visited every country of this earth. He was only 24 when he already had visited all 196 countried. His reason? He just wanted to see more and decided to go everywhere.  

And what does this have to do with financial independence?

Well, on our journey to FIRE so far, it has become clear that spending money on material things doesn’t always add more value to our life. But relationships, having a purpose and certain experiences do.

Traveling is such an experience that can truly add value to your life.

And millennials are THE group of people that prefer experiences far more than others, 6 out of 10 would rather spend money on this than on material things. And what better experience than travel?

In todays age, where internet has connected everything and everybody online so easily, it’s no surprise all kinds off wanderlust adventures pop up. With pictures being shared of far destinations, gourgeous views and adventurous activities on instagram or other social media. It’s no surprise that so many millennials have traveling on the top of their wishlist. 

According to Wikipedia, wanderlust is a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world. 

So where does this wanderlust comes from?
There are numerous reason why anyone should or wants to travel. As with finance, these reasons can be very personal. But overall there are some reasons that just keep coming back:

You can indulge in new cultures

Where ever you go, people live according to different customs. Opening up to different cultures and getting to know them can really deepen your understanding about this little world of ours.

It’s the perfect way to meet new
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It’s very easy to connect to other travelers because you already have something in common: traveling. And locals always know the best places to visit, especially non-tourist places which can be very interesting. Who knows what they can bring you? 

We once got into a conversation with a Texan who did a pelgrimidge by foot from France to Portugal. And he found very cheap accommedation with a klooster in Porto (Portugal). So if we would ever travel again there, we know where to stay and save a bit of money on the same time! 

Food! It just tastes so good

Ok, there are some things we might not want to try. But in general you can find delicious types of food in every country. The special thing about it? It always tastes the best when it’s authentic. Like a home made Italian pasta made by a local family. So where to eat better than in the land of origin?

There is just so much beauty to be seen

We aren’t the typical world travellers. But we know what’s out there, yet to be discovered. What can be normal for one person could be very special to others, like the tulip fields in the Netherlands, a hectic medina in Marrakech or Sakura blossoms in Japan.

We aim to see, discover and learn yet so much more. We’re in no rush, we still have many years ahead of us. 

For the coming weeks we have our first trip on US grounds. Where we expect to experience all kinds of new things. Like enjoying the view over the Grand Canyon, driving through death valley, looking up to immense sequoia trees and visit the coast in San Fransisco. 

The activities on this blog might slow down a bit while we’re traveling around.

But we are sharing our vacation via Twitter, just because we believe it would be a hell of an experience. At least, when we have WiFi. So if you didn’t already follow us on Twitter, just click this link.

While browsing through other personal finance blogs, I’ve read many travelstories. Which is a great inspiration of what’s even possible. Like The Dividend Guy who set out to travel around the world in one year with his family, or Justin from Root of Good who has planned a 9 week trip through Europe (and for very little money). 

We know that for us, it has only just begon.

Do what you love – even if it costs you money

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In the past few months I investing many euros and hours towards getting something I’ve wanted for a very long time: a motor license. I couldn’t be happier right now because last Friday I successfully passed my last exam 🙂

Motorcycles are often considered as a hobby, and a very expensive one, that might not fit with a frugal lifestyle. However, it all depends on what your view on a frugal lifestyle entails.

For us, it means that we are able to maintain a certain lifestyle where we can be happy, do the things we love and having the right balance between saving and spending. So even if something could cost a lot of money, we still pursue it if it’s something we really love and think is worth it.

But what better thing to do to than to list up all the expenses I’ve made to come this far!

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The effects of instant gratification on millennials…

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The millennial generation consists of persons born in between 1980 and 2000. The term ‘Millennial’ was coined up by Strauss and Howe in 1987.

But what makes an individual a millennial? Is it being lazy? The love for travel? The ‘I want to do everything my own way’ attitude? Do we really don’t know how to handle money?

Who knows?

I was born in 1987 and therefore I’m officially placed in the millennial generation (born between 1984-2000), although on the outer end. The strange thing is that I never felt connected with ‘being a millennial’ at all. For a lot of people, it’s the lost generation that is so hard to influence and is doing everything different than what is expected of ‘normal’ people. Are Millennials that much different?

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