The Bottom Line
If you want serious money, you have to get serious about money. You need to understand these fundamentals and never forget them. Don’t let all the garbage reported in the financial media you read, see, or hear confuse you about what money really is. Don’t consume more than you make:save! Don’t spend: invest!
Tilting the Scales
Overall, this is a really good compromise that tilts the work/life balance very far toward “life”. It’s not quite early retirement but it’s also not quite full time work. We could fancy it up and call it “semi-retirement” or something like that if we really had to find a label.
Here’s a snapshot of the first day of the new working from home schedule:
Show up to work at 7:00 am
Walk to school to drop the kids off 7:45-8:15 am
A few minutes off around 11:00 am to make a salad and eat lunch with me while continuing to work and chat
Break for (home) gym time at 12:00 to 1:30 pm.
Return to work at 1:30 pm
Walk to school to pick up the kids 2:45-3:15
Work till 4:30-ish
That’s pretty close to ten hours if you round up. Her daily schedule will undoubtedly vary as the workload ebbs and flows throughout the month. The rest of her first week working from home followed a very similar schedule. So far it’s working very well.
What It Takes to Earn Passive Income
Before we get into the passive income ideas I think it’s a good idea to first clear up a couple of misconceptions. Although the word “passive” makes it sound like you have to do nothing to bring in the income this just isn’t true. All passive income streams will require at least one of the following two elements:
1) An upfront monetary investment, or
2) An upfront time investment
You can’t earn residual income without being willing to provide at least one of these two. Today, I have a big list of passive income ideas you can try regardless of the category you fall in.
Your Friends Should Respect You And Your Choices
Frugal Hound’s friends respect her choices
Real friends who are worth spending time with will respect your life choices. Mr. FW and I have discovered over the course of our extreme frugality quest that being honest with our friends and family about our financial proclivities goes over very well.
Our friends are clued into what we value in life, and they’re respectful of the decisions we make. We take a non-judgmental approach to discussing finances and our friends–many of whom spend money very differently than we do–have no problem with the choices we make. They respect the journey we’re on and we, in turn, respect the journey they’re on.
Finances, they’re so hard! Well, not really, if you take some time to get familiar with the topic. Here’s a great book list to help you do just that.
Since deciding to own less, I’ve experienced countless benefits: more time, more money, more freedom, more energy, less stress, and less distraction.
Owning less provides me the opportunity to pursue my greatest passions. It’s great. And I’ll never go back to my previous lifestyle.
But along the way, I discovered something even better than owning less: Wanting less.
9) Fewer consumer choices = happiness.
Eliminating shopping from our schedule frees up both our time and mental resources for more productive endeavors. It takes a fair amount of energy to spend the afternoon at the mall selecting the perfect shade of turquoise golf shorts. It’s a lot easier to wear what we have–or score something from Goodwill. My goal in life isn’t to be a consumer and I relish how few times I need to set foot in any store other than the store of groceries.
Furthermore as humans, endless choice doesn’t necessarily make us happier. It’s far more likely to stress us out and tax our little mammalian brains. By taking hand-me-downs and other used items, we don’t suffer the worry over whether we should’ve bought the blue one or the red one or the small one or the large one–we take what we’re given, or what we find on the side of the road, and are shockingly pleased with it. And then we get on with our lives. Our existence doesn’t revolve around our stuff.
We spent years going to open houses and investigating the market before we bought our home; adopting Frugal Hound happened only after years of holding off for the right moment to own a dog; we waited to get pregnant until we felt adequately prepared for the challenges of parenthood; I didn’t go to grad school until I secured a way to attend for free; and we postpone every major purchase until we’ve had ample time to explore all of our options.
Abandon Guilt, Embrace Your Truth
While there’s certainly merit in learning from others and sharing our stories, I find that blatant comparison almost always yields frustration or guilt. We only have incomplete understandings of other people’s lives and trying to model our choices off of theirs is naturally flawed.
Hiding her face in shame: not very productive, Frugal Hound
In many ways, I think our culture doesn’t encourage the value of charting one’s own unique path. Although rugged individualism is a tenet of our American ethos, it seems to play out quite rarely. Far too often, we’re all shuttled into the same boxes of expectation and taught to desire the same things (usually material goods) and achieve them in the same way (usually working jobs we may or may not like for our entire lives).
#1: You Can Afford Anything. You Just Can’t Afford Everything.
Don’t tell me your values. Show me how you spend your money, and I’ll know what you value.
Don’t tell me, for example, that you “can’t afford” to travel the globe or invest for retirement if you’re simultaneously buying nice clothes and hitting the bars.
There’s nothing wrong with clothes and bars if it’s a deliberate, conscious choice, and you’re cool with the trade-offs. But don’t claim that bigger goals are out-of-reach. You’re the master of the bills that escape your wallet. Spend with your eyes open.
Don’t utter, “I can’t afford it,” without asking yourself: “How did I afford a decent car, restaurant dining and an iPad?”