Weltanschauung: Make it yourself instead of consuming it

Oliver Noelting’s Happiness Principle: If you have a need, don’t immediately look for a commercially available solution, but try it yourself first. This creates self-efficiency and saves money.

“Which online portal offers the cheapest travel? Which supermarket has the most attractive discounts, which gas station has the cheapest petrol? If you want to save money, ask yourself these questions. Or not? Oliver Noelting laughs. The 33-year-old sits relaxed on a tree trunk in the forest of Eilenriede in Hanover in the sun. “I would start differently,” he says.

His saving advice: challenge the logic of consumption. Some people bought expensive trips, cars, kitchens, TVs and mobile phones “as if they were on autopilot”, assuming such a happy life could be achieved, says the software developer. “I, on the other hand, believe that avoiding comfort, taking action, creating things yourself, fixing things, feeling self-efficacy brings happiness.”

Live in moderation

Noelting is frugal. Litos means “simple, moderate”. Leavers describe themselves as people who live frugally and set aside as much income as possible to retire early. The idea comes from the USA. There the principle is called “Fire” (Financial Independence, Early Retirement). “Fire” became popular in the 2010s.

The rule of thumb: People save 30 to 80 percent of their income and invest it in wisely chosen investments so they can retire around age 45 and live on their passive income.

Noelting’s passion for saving was ignited in 2013. The perceptive man with the impressive black bun was living in a shared student apartment in Bremen at the time and wondered what his life would look like in the future. Working eight hours a day for 40 years? That didn’t sound appealing to his ears.

When he met Canadian financial guru Mr. Money Mustache’ and the Fire movement, it was all over for him. Excited, he started saving. At his best, he lived on 750 euros a month and thus achieved a savings rate of over 60%.

Those times have been around for a few years now. Noelting, who now works 24 hours a week and also freelances, now has a three-year-old daughter and a second child on the way. He needed a bigger apartment, a kindergarten, life became more expensive.

Kitchen 1000 euros

His principle: “If I have a need or a problem, I don’t ask how the commercially available solution is, but read and try everything myself first.” Noelting has acquired a knowledge of stocks, cooking jam from blueberries picked along the way, brewing his own soap and always buying used furniture.

When he needs new glasses, he researches until his optician is convinced that sensible glasses don’t have to cost a fortune. Noelting bought his kitchen on the cheap and built it himself. Cost point: thousands of euros, including dishwasher. It was given as a gift. The advertiser had written that the flushing effect was bad. Noelting removed a nut on a line – and the plates sparkled.

The IT professional believes that being irrational is a part of life, despite all the austerity. “Once I dipped into a bar with friends, it was expensive but worth it.”

Priorities have also changed over time. Will he really reach retirement age at 40 or 45? Noelting shrugs. Right now it is important for him to spend a lot of time with his daughter. “Of course, that means less profit.”

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