When we moved into our apartment in Chiang Mai last year, we noticed that there was only one knife. “Gosh, that will be inconvenient,” we thought. “Better buy another one as soon as we can.”
We kept forgetting about it, until a week later we spotted a knife being sold in the 7-11 for under $1. And we were about to grab it when we realised… hey, without even consciously drawing up a rota for who gets to buy street food that needs cutting and who needs to have slurpy stuff, we’ve got on just fine with one knife. So we didn’t buy it.
A similar thing happened when my watch broke over six months ago. I kept meaning to buy one when I saw one, but after a while I realised that just looking at the time on my phone was fine.
I like to think that the lesson isn’t that we’re tight: we happily spend money on our business and on going to places we really want to visit. The point is that you can always get by with less than you think you need – so if you just delay a purchase for a week or two, you might save yourself from the cost of buying it and the overhead of storing and maintaining it.
It’s entirely possible that the “Chiang Mai knife situation” was taking this attitude too far. But failing to consider what’s strictly necessary is how you end up with a “junk room”, a closet full of clothes you’ll never wear, a storage locker you’re paying $50 a month for, and wondering how anyone can possibly afford to travel the world full-time.