Put a value on your time, and start measuring your wealth not in money but in freedom. – The Financial Diet
Hi friends, and welcome to Mindful with Money!
I created this blog because I’ve always been curious about all things personal finance, as well as minimalism, mindfulness, and conscious living – which are all, of course, holistically connected back to you and your relationship with money. You’ll get to know me really well on this blog, but I thought a good place to start today would be to introduce me – or rather, my life – as a whole, and what it looks like.
I’m currently in my 20’s, living in Auckland, New Zealand. I used to work full-time, but now, I work part time/casually and find myself with what feels like endless amounts of free time. Just a year ago, I was working full-time in the Auckland CBD; the regular 9 to 5 in a corporate office environment, and now I can not see myself doing that again – at least, not for a while.
There are a million reasons why you might want to quit the 9 to 5: more freedom, more time, more space for your own hobbies and pursuits. For me, the simple answer to why I left full-time work after 6 years was this:
I wanted to volunteer.
I wanted to volunteer. I wanted to give back. I’d been living in New Zealand for over 20 years, and over this time, I’ve always been immensely grateful for how much help and support we get in this country. There are countless wonderful things we take for granted, like easy access to education, legal help, financial assistance, support settling into the country, and healthcare. I’d previously volunteered for YouthLaw – the legal side of YouthLine – where I helped to take calls and assist lawyers providing free legal assistance and a voice for under 25’s.
When I was working 9-5, I was always tired. I was up early in the morning, riding a stuffy bus that made me nauseous for an hour, sitting in an office for 8 hours a day before riding another stuffy bus back home for an hour. I’d feel like my work, and life, were boring, monotonous, and tedious. (Side note: because of this general tiredness with life, I consumed a ton of pizza and energy drinks. When I left, I found myself eating healthy, going to the gym, reconnecting to my spiritual health, and generally doing what was best for me. You know a choice is right for you when it makes you want to be the best version of yourself!)
One day, I was reading Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight when I came across the power of negative thinking.
What is the power of negative thinking? It’s a helpful tool if you don’t know exactly what you want, but you do know what you don’t want.
My advice for anyone else doing this? Know that you don’t have to have all the answers. Simply start with where you are at, right now. Quiet the noise in your mind, trust your intuition, and listen to your inner truth.
I wrote down:
I don’t want to climb the corporate ladder.
I don’t want to work Monday to Friday, 9-5.
I don’t want to commute everyday.
I want to have plenty of time for my creative work (ie. photography)
I would rather have more time than more money.
Fast forward a few months, and here’s where I found myself:
Working 3 days a week.
Working ten minutes walk from home. Nauseous bus rides were replaced by fresh air, sunshine, and exercise.
Four days every week for the other important things in my life – ie. photography (both paid work and learning for curiosity & pleasure), reading, writing, learning new skills, and other creative pursuits..
..And of course, volunteering!
I had one place I wanted to volunteer: Trade Aid. Their work is incredibly meaningful because they support fair trade – helping to ensure that workers in disadvantaged countries are paid and treated fairly.
At Trade Aid, you’ll find everything you normally buy – like your essentials of tea, coffee, rice, sugar and salt – to luxurious, handmade goods like genuine leather handbags. The difference between buying them at your regular supermarket or retail chain store? You know that everything was made ethically. It’s good for your soul. Plus, did I mention their juicy, organic dried mangoes are delicious?!
After volunteering at Trade Aid, especially for a very busy Christmas, I now volunteer as an Accredited Bureau Interviewer at Citizens Advice Bureau. C.A.B’s work is so important – we help people with everything, from immigration, to money, to employment, to healthcare, to housing, to transport, to consumer issues. I’ve needed C.A.B’s help in the past, once for a property issue and once for a consumer issue, and I think we are so blessed to have C.A.B. in this country!
(Fun fact: did you know that Citizens Advice Bureau started in England during WWII to help people locate missing relatives and get info on the increased complexity of living? Now there are over 80 bureaux in New Zealand – the first was in Ponsonby!)
So here’s what my life looks like now: I work between 4 to 30 hours a week. I could work 12 hours one week, and twice as much, 24 hours, the next. With this much flexibility, I’m able to invest more in myself in other areas. I spend a lot of my time reading books and watching Youtube on mindfulness, happiness, finding purpose, psychology, photography, building habits, spirituality, and of course, personal finance!
When I was working full-time, I always felt like there had to be more. More than just working 8 hours a day, for my personal gain, go home, rest for the remaining 5 hours of the day then repeat – and hope for some free time and energy on the weekend to clean, cook, run errands, and finally do what truly makes you happy.
What ‘more’? You ask. For me, that something more is living for something bigger than myself. Giving back to the country that has given me such a good life. Helping others. Doing something purely for the sake of it, and doing so selflessly.
Why do I volunteer? While it seems like I’ve already answered this question, there is SO much more to it. Volunteering is more than just working for free, and it has enriched me and my life significantly. I’m looking forward to sharing with you why I volunteer – and why you should too – and talk about life working part-time and all its possibilities!