“Why don’t we celebrate the things we DON’T have?”

Got this excellent note from a friend, and had to share it today as a reminder that the journey to freedom is as much about the things you *don’t* do as it is the things you *do*.

It might not be as sexy, but it’s still a huge part of the process!

From David Damron:

Random Thought: Why don’t we celebrate the things we DON’T have? We celebrate paying off debt, but we don’t celebrate NOT HAVING debt or NOT HAVING XYZ subscription – My thought is society associates “not having” with the inability to afford versus choice not to…

Yup! Living with “less” definitely isn’t as praised as much as living with shiny STUFF. Nor is living within your means, because who wants a boring life like that??! ;)

It’s stealth wealth at its finest, and I agree 100% that it should be celebrated just as much – if not more – than our decisions that are more visible/talked about openly. Without all the NOs in our lives, the YESes wouldn’t be nearly as powerful! It’s like an amplifier!

So in David’s honor today, I thought it would be worth making a list of all the things we’ve said NO to over the years, whether it’s helped us with our wallets or our mindsets or both.

You don’t have to spend hours on it, but see what you come up with in a quick minute or two. You might be surprised!

Here’s my first attempt at it:

  • I’ve said NO to shopping just because I’m bored
  • I’ve said NO to credit card debt for almost a decade
  • I’ve said NO to magazine subscriptions for almost half a decade
  • I’ve said NO to playing the lottery as much as I used to
  • I’ve said NO to eating out or drinking as much as I used to
  • I’ve said NO to upgrading my phone every year
  • I’ve said NO to upgrading my TV every year
  • I’ve said NO to accumulating more STUFF in general
  • I’ve said NO to cashing out my retirement accounts early
  • I’ve said NO to over-priced coffee and bagels (MY WEAKNESS!)
  • I’ve said NO to being a deadbeat dad
  • I’ve said NO to being consumed with work
  • I’ve said NO to doing things that compromise my integrity
  • I’ve said NO to things that aren’t a Hell Yeah
  • And I’ve said NO (forever) to trying to be someone I’m not

Now by no means am I perfect at these, but you can bet your patookiss it’s helped immensely with speeding up my goals! And feels kinda good seeing it all listed out like that too, haha…

So I do hope you take a few moments to see what you can come up with too. YESes get the needle moving, but it’s the NOs that really turbocharges things! Plus it’s pretty empowering!

Fun little thought exercise anyways, thanks David!

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  1. Slackerjo May 7, 2019 at 6:23 AM

    Okay, the whole upgrade a TV every year thing makes me scratch my head.
    I find hooking up the TV and getting all the cables organized, peripherals connected and working, figuring out the damn remote, to be such a trying task, that I never want to do it again, let alone a year later!
    Thus, I celebrate not having a TV.

    1. J. Money May 7, 2019 at 6:42 AM

      HAH! Amen to that.

  2. Max Out of Pocket May 7, 2019 at 6:38 AM

    I’ve said no to paying for inflated healthcare services without first asking questions.

    1. J. Money May 7, 2019 at 6:54 AM

      And that’s not the most fun or easiest job in the world either! I swear it’s getting more complicated with each year…

  3. [HCF] May 7, 2019 at 6:38 AM

    I would add:

    I’ve said NO to signing a cable contract.
    I’ve said NO to buying a dedicated TV.
    I’ve said NO to becoming a two-car household.
    I’ve said NO to updating my phone until it dies.
    I’ve said NO to replacing my laptop until it dies.

    There is probably more, but that’s all for now :)

    1. J. Money May 7, 2019 at 6:55 AM

      ALL GOOD THINGS!!!! :)

      Totally forgot about cable too – I think we’ve been free now for around 3 years and magically still surviving, haha… Haven’t had to battle a phone rep in ages!

  4. vicki May 7, 2019 at 7:44 AM

    I love this line of thinking! I have been having that closed in, cluttered feeling that I get from time to time so this is a great time to remember and celebrate all the things I don’t have!!
    My list is coming from a single 63-year-old retired female who lives by herself.

    I celebrate no cable subscription, no credit card debt, no debt of any kind!
    Living in the south on the water, I celebrate having no boat! No swimming pool. ( I had one once and they are fun for a while and then… just work)
    I celebrate not eating out more often. Major savings, there.
    I celebrate not spending a dime on tobacco or alcohol, no lottery no casino . (No one else buys it for me either :)
    I celebrate not spending ANY money at all on having my hair done professionally from someone else since I was 20 years old. I am 63 so major savings there. ( I am a professional
    hair stylist and retired teacher)
    I celebrate no manicures either.
    Well, this could go on forever.
    I celebrate not having to buy bottled water because I know how to change my own filters!!

    Thanks again!

    1. J. Money May 7, 2019 at 11:23 AM

      Excellent swapping in of “celebrate” there! Makes it much more positive sounding, which it is! :)

  5. MK May 7, 2019 at 9:13 AM

    I’ve said NO to the satellite tv.
    I’ve said NO to coloring my hair.
    I’ve said NO to a smarter phone.
    I’ve said NO to dryer sheets.
    I’ve said NO to other people’s opinions and embraced my singleness.

    1. J. Money May 7, 2019 at 11:23 AM

      Every now and then we talk about starting a dating service in our community… They have one for everything else, why not finance nerds?! :)

  6. Becky May 7, 2019 at 9:55 AM

    I’ve said NO to trading my 12 year old car until I absolutely need to replace it!
    I’ve said NO to not packing my lunch everyday.
    I’ve said NO to guilt about buying other people presents (the thoughtful gifts I do give are good enough).
    I’ve said NO to saying “I’ll just stop for fast food”.
    I’ve said NO to worrying about what other people think.
    I’ve said NO to breaking $20 bills for small, random purchases (if I don’t have a $5, then I won’t buy it).

    1. J. Money May 7, 2019 at 11:24 AM

      Cool hack on that last one!

  7. Nacho May 7, 2019 at 12:04 PM

    I have the same weakness. Asiago cheese bagel toasted with cream cheese and a good pour over coffee lol

    1. J. Money May 8, 2019 at 6:27 AM

      *mouth waters*

  8. Nita May 7, 2019 at 1:33 PM

    Easier than I thought :
    I’ve said no to cable TV.
    I’ve said no to shopping thoughlessly for new clothes.
    I’ve said no to an exotic vacation every year (that one’s hard)
    I’ve said no to trying out new restaurants and delicacies every time (that one’s even harder… I’m a foodie)
    And I’m trying hard to say no to the temptation of the bagel, and I definitely say no thanks to you for mentioning that :P

    1. J. Money May 8, 2019 at 6:35 AM

      Haha… it’s the small things in life!!! :)

  9. Rachael May 7, 2019 at 7:44 PM

    I sorta do that, only what I like to do is list out everything I really want to get, and then sometimes, if it’s been a few years and I still haven’t gotten them, I check in with myself to see why not. Usually it’s because I haven’t actually saved any money for those things, so two or more years later, I’m still no closer to getting them. :P But sometimes, I add up the cost of everything I want to get, and I think to myself that if I had bought all of that by now, I’d be (insert large dollar amount here) worse off than now. So no, I don’t have the things I want yet, but I either need to start actually saving for them so I can get them someday if they are a priority still, or I need to be grateful that I don’t have them because I’m technically just that much richer for not having spent all that money! I guess it’s two different ways of looking at something….

    1. J. Money May 8, 2019 at 7:56 AM

      Haha yup!!! Spavings at its finest :)

      Totally adding this to our next “savings ideas” roundup – love it!

  10. Adam May 8, 2019 at 8:09 AM

    This reminds me of the top item on the to-do list I share with my wife:

    Never climb Mount Everest.

    So far, we’re batting a thousand!

    1. J. Money May 8, 2019 at 9:56 AM


  11. Christine May 8, 2019 at 8:38 AM

    I didn’t get a chance to reply yesterday but this had me thinking all day! Just recent no’s…
    —No to buying something at Sephora just because they sent me a coupon (that’s a savings of probably $50)
    —No to having someone rebuild a gate for our deck…$600?! Are you kidding? I’d rather have no gate or use rope for crying out loud.
    —No to the multipack of printer cartridges ($75) that I don’t need. They didn’t sell the singles ($16) at Staples so I waited and bought later.
    —no to Chinese food on Monday…though I can’t say we did that well on Tuesday. Oopsie. Why does delivery need to be so easy and so expensive?!?

    On that topic, I have added up what me and my extra spendy husband spent in food—in and out—in April and it was RIDICULOUS. So that’s a no we need to exercise. He’s going to Costco today….God help me. :-)

    1. J. Money May 8, 2019 at 9:58 AM

      Haha… maybe you should forward this post to him ;)

      glad it made you think!

  12. Sam May 8, 2019 at 8:59 AM

    – I’ve said NO to cable TV for more than 10 yrs
    – Ive said NO to way too busy social life with people I didn’t really know (reduced social life to a very small circle and couldn’t be more happier with the free time, free mental space and company)
    – I’ve said NO to buying lunch often (so easy to get sucked into it)
    – I’ve said NO TV on weekdays
    – I’ve said NO to caring about others’ opinion of me
    – I’ve said NO to many people when they wanted to use me for my money, my brains and for their emotional comfort
    – I’ve said NO to new car until I really need it (driving around a 19 yr old car)
    – I’ve said NO to spoiling my children by buying unnecessary things for them
    – I’ve said NO to mindless rituals in religion and do it in my wayvrhats meaningful to me
    – I’ve said NO to keeping up with the Joneses by getting out of the Joneses circle – Now we both don’t know each other

    1. J. Money May 8, 2019 at 9:59 AM

      Very smart removing yourself from people who don’t add value to your lives – that’s not exactly easy to do!

  13. Minimal Millionaire Mom May 8, 2019 at 11:53 AM

    I’ve said NO to:

    -expensive gym membership and YES to yoga (mostly at home) and working out outdoors.
    -Cable and YES to less expensive streaming services.
    -debt and YES to saving.
    -food waste and YES to saving money and reducing impact to the environment.
    -many non reusable products and YES to reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, napkins and bags.
    -magazine subscriptions and YES to free digital magazines from the library.
    -latest tech gadget and YES to squeezing life out of my old electronics

    1. J. Money May 9, 2019 at 6:14 AM

      Good addition of the “YES”s there!

  14. Nina May 9, 2019 at 5:21 AM

    Good idea!

    I’ve said NO to:
    – countless items I like or want (despite having the money to buy them)
    – eating out on a regular basis
    – fancy hotels
    – debt (we had a car loan, which has been paid off, but that has been the only debt we’ve ever had )
    – upgrading things when the old stuff still functions (furniture, clothes, gadgets)
    – not knowing where our money goes / how much money we make & have
    – throwing things out before trying to fix them

    1. J. Money May 9, 2019 at 6:14 AM

      That 2nd to last one there is key :)

  15. Dan May 10, 2019 at 6:04 PM

    I don’t have a car payment
    I don’t have cable
    I don’t have alimony or child support!
    I don’t have health problems or big medical bills

    1. J. Money May 13, 2019 at 6:42 AM

      Good one on #3 up there! :)

  16. Peter Horsfield May 14, 2019 at 9:28 PM

    Be better, not Bigger

    In life I believe we are given signs. In fact I literally saw mine walking to work. “Better, Not Bigger” flashed before me as the bus turned the corner and speed off.

    Since then this “simple” message changed my perspective of life to its core; rippled through my business dealings, relationships, health, experiences and goals, to what I believe and doing so helped me to reveal the more authentic me.

    1. J. Money May 15, 2019 at 12:32 PM

      Bad ass, man!! 3 simple words that mean so much! I dig it!

      1. Peter Horsfield May 15, 2019 at 9:49 PM

        Hey buddy the Great Barrier Reef is still here. With the exchange rate there are bargains galore. Be well J.

  17. Wholesome Wallet September 20, 2019 at 3:19 PM

    Ha ha ha….we all have a weakness. You need to work on your overpriced coffee and bagels. I love coffee and bagels.