May 7, 2009

Soot & Ashes Quote of the Day

"The less you need, the more you can do."

- Me, May 5, 2009

(Hey, I've never had a quote of the day, but I kinda liked that one. Anyone else adhering to this concept?)


les said...

True. People are prisoners of their own lifestyle.

alex3191 said...

Thanks for putting this idea into words. For the last 5 years i've been doing this, without even knowing it :)
You smart-a$$ :)

keith said...

Alex - would it surprise you that I've been practicing this for about five years too, without even knowing it?

It's pretty obvious now though.

When you get rid of your possessions (except for the important things, like your laptop, snowboard, golf clubs, pets) and you have no debt, you can do amazing things.

Until then, you're a slave to stuff.

Most people won't get this. They think life is about accumulating things, so they can show them off.

I'd suggest there's a better way.

keith said...

Here's Ghandi's known possessions by the way (recently auctioned off):

pocket watch
leather sandals

Anyone have a list of jesus's possessions? I think this is it:


eric in vegas said...

Those with no debt can do what they want. It's an amazing feeling having zero debt, cheap rent, money in the bank, and a paid off car. It's heartbreaking when I hear of so many young people that saddle themselves with $400 a month car payments :(.

derivs said...

Yep... walked away from the whole Ibanking thing and sitting on the beach :-)

Anonymous said...

The wealthiest people are not those who have the most but need or want the least.

Anonymous said...

The more you have, the more you have to lose.

Anonymous said...

Keeping your pleasures simple, your needs few (and cheap), your mind open and your wallet closed (most of the time), keeps you free.
Smug Bastard

Anonymous said...

Anyone have a list of jesus's possessions? I think this is it:


you forgot "chalice"

Smug Bastard

Anonymous said...

I've seen a lot of people without much of anything and they didn't look too happy, just sayin' maybe not always true.

But I do get the idea from the western point-of-view, after having much and forsaking it for a simpler life, but you still have to ask yourself, why does everyone wish for all the nice things?

Answer: they don't know the true misery behind it all......

Pissed in New York said...

Good for you Keith.

Not many folks realize this, or can deal with the insecurity of NOT having 'things'.. it defines them. Ass backwards.

Dump the complicating excess, gain an amazing amount of freedom. But people are programed to think it's the other way around. Stuff is advertised to give options. Takes serious balls to be seen as "poor", or aren't part of the material culture norm their neighbors judge them by.

And you know, I think a lot of people don't necessarily want much freedom. Actually scares them. They like their structure, daily routines, TV commercials telling them how to spend money to be happy, micro worlds were they have control and can predict comings and goings. These folks don't do well thinking out of the box, being flexible or spontaneous.

Anonymous said...

Talk about chaining yourself to material things: as I write this my pathetic neighbors have a construction crew blowing out their once cute 2-bed house into a Late to the House Lust Party Plywood Palace. Competing with their braggart friends across the street, say they 'need' it for their weekend retirement. Think they poured their recent entire inheritance into it, are very nervous about the price. Had to cut corners everywhere. Didn't stop them from doing it, though.

Stupid fools. Why the hell would anyone elect to be house poor in this environment mystifies me. I guess their self worth is more bankrupt than their bank accounts.

But, you'll love this one - they have cop pensions, figure their healthcare and monthly payments are rock solid for their future. So not to worry.

Bryan said...

My name is Bryan, and I have the house blood fever. Missing the start of the bubble due to the poverty of grad school, missing the peak of the bubble due to common sense and sites like HP, I have been content to wait, and wait with no debts on the ledger. My wife and I have had the freedom at any time to move away from where we live, and the rent bill while high has allowed a one-car lifestyle.

But we have contracted the house blood fever. There is definitive correlation between the desire for a single family dwelling and the anticipated increase of family members by 50%.

I live where the falling knife has yet to fall all the way, I live where we work in two separate (read:diversified) scientific fields that each are our first, best destiny at institutions that we would not want to leave in the next 30 years.

I do not want a lifestyle: I want the cost certainty of 359 installment payments each of the same amount, $2 off the 360th.

All this comes at a tremendous cost and risk: I am "pre-approved" to liquidate all my assets should I require the full amount of loan requested. (This came as a surprise, as they never fully mention "closing costs" in the "save the 20% down" discussion.) I am getting a buyer's agent. I'm learning about obscene property taxes and the like. Still, the mortgage payment would be less on the house than on the two-bedroom two bath apartment we're in now.

I am placing a tangible prediction on inflation over deflation.

My name is Bryan, and I have the house blood fever.

casey said...

Wealth is about freedom.I am not a slave to a shitty JOB or wallstreet.Don't need a rolex to be cool.A lot of people think if they have nice stuff people will like them and have so called friends.Don't have a lot of stuff and don't need no so called friends.

GenX said...

I have been receiving thoughts of the day from my best friend now consistantly for 8 years..I wish I would have saved all of them as it would have made a great fun book. I look forward to them every morning.

Mammoth said...

Less = More

Anonymous said...

I saw a terrific bumper sticker oval today:

More Wags
Less Bark

Think about it.


gutless and lazy said...

It's a philosophy I've had for decades. Learned it from hiking and backpacking, esp. in the Sierra Nevada. Travel light, pack light. Ultra light. Years and years ago I also adapted it to every day life.

Learned it from this guy, Ray Jardine. People call it the "Ray Way". Read some of his books on hiking. You'll catch on fast. You'll be amazed on just how little you really need for a comfortable 2 week hike on the Muir trail. And to be completely satisfied in life.

For hikers, his stuff is must reading. Now get out their and bag some peaks you lard butts.

Formosan said...

It's the best philosophy.

The more you have, the more you worry about things.

Anonymous said...

you mean....

"Less is more"

Anonymous said...

keith said...

When you get rid of your possessions (except for the important things, like your laptop, snowboard, golf clubs, pets)...

Thanks for mentioning pets. Too many assholes consider them disposable. Makes me sick to my stomach.

gutless and lazy said...

Ray Jardine's profile link, not entirely obvious from the home page:

An amazing life.
Now go take a hike!

Anonymous said...

I have some friends that have so much stuff

that it actually creates it's own problems

they have so much, that they have to store a lot of it outside

The weather, critters, sun is starting to take it's toll

Old things have to be moved just to make room for new things

This stuff lives and breathes just by the sheer maintenance

borkafatty aka the pig said...

couldnt have said it better myself

Anonymous said...

"Most people won't get this. They think life is about accumulating things, so they can show them off.

I'd suggest there's a better way."

I generally agree. However, everything man does is solely for purposes of attracting mates. Even if you are married, you still want to bang someone else and/or at least have someone be attracted to you.

Along this line, the strongest attractants of woman are power, money and appearance, the latter lesser in importance as the amount of power and/or money increases. It also helps to be tall and have a nice head of hair.

How does one appear powerful and/or wealthy? They buy shit and show it off.

So, in the end, it is really all about biology.

Yeah, many will not agree or say that money doesn't matter, but that is simply because they are stupid and/or won the trifecta - they have no power, no money and are ugly. Alternatively, they are probably banging someone ugly as very few attractive women do not care about money (and, if they tell you that, they are full of shit).

Think about it, wars are all about power and money - and all just to attract women.

And, I bet that Gandhi was not banging a bunch of hot chicks.

Anonymous said...

And, if you do not believe me, just look to the animal kingdom - the males are always the more decorative sex - they have to show off to attract mates. Man does this by buying shit and showing it off.

And to prove my point, buy your woman some somewhat expensive jewelry (like $5,000.00)and see what happens - will she refuse it because it doesn't matter to her or will she keep it, proceed to fellate you and then show it off to her friends?

Anonymous said...

The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed -- for lack of a better word -- is good.
Greed is right.
Greed works.
Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.
Greed, in all of its forms -- greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge -- has marked the upward surge of mankind.

Gordon Gekko

Single said...

And for those of you who don't exactly know how to go about getting into zero debt. Pick up Dave Ramsey Financial Peace, follow the eight baby steps and you too can be debt free.

Anonymous said...

I think you all are confusing the symptom with the cause.

Lack of possessions don't CAUSE you (free you) to do amazing things. Otherwise homeless people would be maestros and spiritual leaders.

It's all in your brain. Free your brain, free your mind, then you will see physical possessions as anchors and chains. And cast them off.

That's how it works.

Otherwise, if you take all the possessions away from someone they will try to re-accumulate them. Fill their lives with lots of useless crap to keep them company.

Anonymous said...

NOW you tell me

Anonymous said...

Good quote, fits right in with my "LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS" and "the more 'stuff' I have, the less happy I am" sentiments.

And also fits with the following story, which I carry around with me:

Guy decides he wants to go on a safari in the jungle. Hires a local "primitive" as a guide.

The tourist walks into the forest with pith helmet, binoculars, camera, gun, canteen, satellite phone, boots, change of underwear, bug spray, water purifier, food, aspirin, band-aids, antiseptic, etc, etc, etc.

What's the guide's equipment? A loin cloth and a knife.

The get about two days into the wilderness and the tourist is REALLY dragging. Sweating to a full soak, panting, stumbling, itchy, eyes stinging, etc, etc, etc.

Guide stops to let the guy catch up, and when he does, he asks the guy:

"Does having all of that stuff make you happy?"

Anonymous said...

Jesus possessions--don't forget the gold lined wooden cup! The cast and crew of "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" came across it when they were filming the movie...

Anonymous said...

THe more ammo you have the more friends you will have in the coming Hitler-Obama months ahead.

Stock UP.

tick, tick. tick...

Mike H. said...


You've hit a high note with this quote. I've practiced this for a lot of my life as well.

How's living in the Smart Car working out for you?


Anonymous said...


Ghandi existed.

Jesus? not so much.

Lady Di said...

"Less is more"
In the material sense, yes.

Was a minimalist for years, then I did a very non-minimalist move and had 3 kids. Kids create a lot of clutter - toys, bikes, snowboards, sports gear, violins, a cello, books, school gear, the list goes on and on. Half the crap I didn't buy - they're gifts from relatives. I do feel like a slave to their stuff at times, and hope to one day return to a clutter free life.

keith said...

I don't think it was his chalice. Anyone know?

Mike - I was reminded today of how much I enjoyed NOT having a car to worry about. There's something called the "MOT" you have to pass every year here, before you then pay your road tax. You go to a shop and they do a subjective test and then tell you all the things you have to fix, otherwise you can't keep your car on the road.

Total. F*cking. Scam. Definitely the auto repair shop lobby keeping this scam going. I'm trying to figure the way out of it - second opinion, more reputable shop, government shop, something.

Didn't have to worry about crap like this without a car. I'll be selling it as soon as I get back from touring

keith said...

I do like having a few limited things that let me do things - i.e my ipod, my snowboard, my bike, my golf clubs. All nouns that let me do verbs. So I'm not saying I have no stuff. Just limited stuff.

I'm thinking of getting an amazon kindle, if I can read newspapers that way (a financial times over here fyi is $3 a day) - especially if I can read newspapers that way when I can't buy the physical copy (i.e. in eastern europe). Anyone have one yet? And no, reading a paper online is nothing like reading a real paper. I want to see the full pages, not just a specific article.

I like the idea of all your stuff fitting into a car. Once it gets beyond that, might have too much stuff.

On the idea of having stuff to attract mates - guess it comes down to the type of mates you're looking for.

Go to Scottsdale, you'll see what I'm talking about.

Anonymous said...

On the whole attracting mates idea... the reason why women were attracted to Gandhi was because he had political power. He was a type of a cult leader. Granted, his Pakistan-founding sidekick, Jinnah, had millions of actual Pound Sterling, Parisian suits, and a virtual harem, but that was needed for him to get his political leverage, during the British departure, whereas Gandhi did it based upon a cult of personality.

Now, as for the average guy, he's clearly no hypnotist and/or world leader therefore, needs to show something for women to be attracted to him. But I say.. if a guy's got some cash and isn't trying to be a political leader, don't bother with women at all. Spend that money on Australian or South American brothels and enjoy yourself, drama-free.

Anonymous said...

Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility. -- Sigmund Freud

Pissed in New York said...

Anno 5:15 said:
"And, I bet that Gandhi was not banging a bunch of hot chicks."

Well now. That's certainly a thought to mull over today, Anno.

But, er, you DO sound a little bitter, eh?

bottom feeder in philly said...

Married 17 years , 2 kids 11 and 16. Bought the house 15 years ago for 140k. 2000sq ft. Nice enough, we could afford more but why?No car payments. Never had them, never will. Never spent more than 300 bucks on a TV, my eyesight sucks so why do I need HD? Bought our furniture at garage sales, auctions, or fire sales. Might actually have to replace 20 year old kitchen table if anyone is selling one cheap. We do have a motocross addiction, and my 16 year old and I are starting to bring back a mitsubishi 3000gt vr4 to go road racing with. Bought the MX bikes used off friends for cash, same with the car. Travel to the races in a 79 winnebego I bought for 900 bucks. Having just as much fun as my buddy and his 100k outlaw motorhome. Go to the jersey shore 2 times a year and hang out on my buddies boat(it's great to have friends with boats) Go to the poconos for 2 snowboard trips a year(stay in friends pocono cottages cheap). Wife goes on the occasional shopping spree, but only when things are 60% off or better. Never pay retail for anything. Very little credit card debt. The debt we do have is business related not consumer debt. Biggest mistake I made was opening a used car lot. I have to be here 50 hours a week and not making much money. Made enough off rental property to support lifestyle, and realize I need family time back so looking to get out of car business over next 6 months. Possesions mean nothing to me other than the toys that allow me to spend precious time playing with the kids. We live in a keep up with the jones' type neighborhood and APPEAR to be the poor white trash of the neighborhood, but I'm sure have a much higher net worth and without a doubt enjoy life to the fullest. It's not what you own but what you do with it that counts.
Bottom Feeder in Philly

Anonymous said...

Money is a thing. Both rich and power worry about it. Constantly.

SeattleMoose said...

Reinforces my conviction that renting is the ONLY thing that makes sense. All my furniture I can carry myself.

I can go ANYWHERE!!!

No being tied to any hill-billy party neighbor or declining neighborhood or country...for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Ghandi existed.

Jesus? not so much.

well, check back in 2000 years and i bet people will doubt the existence of Ghandi.

Anonymous said...

"well, check back in 2000 years and i bet people will doubt the existence of Ghandi."

I believe Einstein had alluded to exactly that...

"Generations to come, it may be, will scarcely believe that such a one, as this, ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth."

Anonymous said...

Thoreau said it well also:
"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone."


Anonymous said...

"Don't begrudge me a bit of oil."

Diamond Dave said...

".. buy your woman some somewhat expensive jewelry (like $5,000.00)and see what happens - will she refuse it because it doesn't matter to her or will she keep it, proceed to fellate you and then show it off to her friends?"

LOL. Believe.

Anonymous said...

"Well now. That's certainly a thought to mull over today, Anno.

But, er, you DO sound a little bitter, eh?"

Baby, don't hate the playa, hate the game.

Anonymous said...

Stuff is an amazing thing. I lost my home and everything but two cars and about three changes of clothes in the Cedar Fire in San Diego in 2003.

Five and a half years later I have a garage and outbuilding full of crap. (About half of that is cabinets, doors, carpet and such that I have picked up - used - to fix my fixer upper.)

What inanimate object hmmm other than the papers that are important for existance. Since the fire things don't mean as much, I have lots but I really don't care if I lose them they will come back.

Someone once told me the more you own, the more it owns you.

Anonymous said...

My Sarah Palin porn pictures

Anonymous said...

Amen on the Pets comment.

My dogs are the most patient, loyal, unconditionally loving friends in the world...

How people can leave their pets because they are moving is beyond me!! If you can't give a dog a forever home, then dont ever get one!!

long beach,ca said...

my lifestyle gives me the luxury of leisure time. TIME to do what I want to do with my free time.

Mike Hunt said...


I'd recommend you really shop around. Maryland used to have the same scam going. The key is to find someone who will take a little extra cash or a six pack of beer and then let you skate by. I'm sure you'll find that person with a little effort.

We are born into this Earth with nothing and will leave with nothing. Collecting stuff and wealth is nothing more than a game and a waste of time.

However the game feels very real. I remember when I was working for a recently public company 10 years ago in the dot com bubble- I became a paper millionaire in unvested options. I didn't change my lifestyle but found myself obsessing over the money. I literally couldn't sleep. Well the stock crashed and my paper wealth became worthless. I could sleep again.

Maybe that's why we shouldn't worry about obama spending like a chump. We'll all be broke in the end. Who cares. Nothing to lose. Easy to sleep every night!


Anonymous said...

Jesus's life impact split history in two Ghandi not so much.

Anonymous said...

Jesus's hood:

Nazareth had a population of about 300 people. It basically consisted of several extended families.... All of Nazareth fit on about ten acres of land. There were no public buildings. There were no paved roads. There were no sewers. Half the population would have died in childbirth. Of those that survived, average life expectancy was thirty-something. No one in Nazareth was dressing for success. They would have one set of clothing, and the best they could hope for was to avoid dying or falling into debt.

"And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate."

Smug Bastard

JAWS said...

Just about anything on this site is my quote of the day.

So are a lot of the comments.

My husband has store rooms full of really important stuff. Sometimes he visits them and brings things home to lay in the garage and pretend he's young again; like his canteen. Just like a dog does with an old rag. Sure, he's really going to get up early one morning and drive out to the desert to collect rocks. He's 70. He can't even get up before 9. That canteen just lays there. He buys cold cuts and cookies in preparation for the packed lunch for the rock collection trip, then he eats it all before dinner.

I have 2 cars paid off, one property paid off, and CD's spread out all over the West Coast; no store rooms. No stuff. Just a snake in the grass waiting for the final tsunami - Option Arms and Alt-A's.

Lost Cause said...

I like this idea very much.

Anonymous said...


yu been skooled said...

"I'm poor, and I justify it to myself by making flimsy if-then-ergo dogmatic statements."

You are a clown, I see you, I know you...

But your pathetic words sure are entertaining to read.

Chirade you are...

Anonymous said...

As long as you are using the stuff you have ,its important stuff.The minute you stop using stuff you have ,than it's just a storage problem . I like to hold on to old books I have in case I want to read them again ,but they are still a storage problem .

But ,I don't look down on any item that strikes ones interet at any time . The point is that a item has no meaning once your not relating to it anymore .

Mike H. said...

Research the kindle before you go out and buy one. I talked to a lady who was using one on a recent flight to Japan. She told me she buys e-books on Amazon for about 70% the physical book price.

Seems like it's not so easy to get news and magazines on the kindle. It will read pdf files though.

If you end up taking the plunge andd buying one, do let us know if you are satisfied. Seems like it's missing a lot of features for me.

If you could store and cache webpages while tracking other links you will check out later then the value would go up dramatically.