#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?”
Now not all “boring” people are rich and not all rich people are “boring.” But the more laid back lifestyle you lead could likely lead you to an accumulation of wealth over long periods of time.
When helping folks with finances I always like to show people two pictures of houses. One is a brand new mansion and the other is a modest rambler that was built in the 80’s. I often ask “who is successful?” Of course everyone would pick the person in the large mansion, but when you tell people that person has more than $1,000,000.00 in debt and eventually lost their house whereas the person in the other house has it paid off along with over $700,000.00 in savings and investments it presents a whole different point of view.
The ability to overcome your distractions in life whether financial or not likely leads to successful outcomes. When you can keep your life under control you limit the distractions and stresses in life. Often times we are the ones who cause the problems not everyone else. Sometimes we just need to point that finger back at ourselves for our financial situations instead of pointing at others. Yes there will be some people get rich fast and have the ability to hold on to it, but they are the exception and not the norm.
Finding happiness isn’t simple as stating the obvious: sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll—or whatever the short-term equivalent might be—won’t bring you happiness. Hopefully, most of us either know this intuitively or have figured it out without too much damage.
And it’s not as easy to find as some might say, for ultimately happiness is a combination of many things: current state of being, progress toward long-term goals, social environment, family history, and possibly other factors that are hard to identify.
Number 6: Stick close to home.
This one is debated a lot. Some of the very best deals these days are in cities like Detroit. However, if you live in Oklahoma, trying to buy right and manage a rental property in a city far away is probably not the right path. Later maybe, but not for your first.
You want to invest if possible in your city so that you can drive by your investment a couple of times a month just to see how the exterior looks. It’s also kind of nice to see your investment sitting there, unlike shares of stock sitting in your broker’s safe or on a computer somewhere. You also can check out repairs and major issues and shop for the best service to correct problems. Then you can check quality before paying the bill.
6. PAY WITH CASH
“To help prevent going over your budget, especially when shopping at a mall or store, use cash,” said Daniel Fayette in his one-minute money tip. If your bank account balance tends to get too close for comfort to $0 each month, this is a smart trick to keep your spending on track.
“Having to actually take money out of your wallet or purse helps remind you how much you’re really spending instead of just seeing a number in a bank account go down,” Fayette said. “You can even set a cash limit on your spending by only carrying the max amount of cash you want to spend for the trip.”
hat Frugality Can Do For You
Through talking with and learning from all of you, I’ve gleaned that no matter what precise path you’re on in life, the universal truth is that–without fail–frugality gives you options. The only demographic this doesn’t ring true for are the billionaires of the world–after all, they can pretty much afford to do anything. But for the rest of us, there’s a limit to our spending capabilities. And it’s alarmingly easy to fritter that spending away on seemingly innocuous things like lunches out at work, new cars, manicures, haircuts, and the list goes on…
Our culture makes it ridiculously accessible to spend money and unsurprisingly, it’s the default mode for most folks. Conversely, not spending takes more effort but yields the benefit of putting you in a position of power. Instead of being ruled by your money, you’re fully in control of it. I, myself, prefer to be in charge of most things in my life (Mr. FW can attest to this… ) and so the thought of letting my money dictate what I can do is abhorrent. Yes, indeed, I’m the dictator of my money. It’s not a democracy around here.
I firmly believe we’re all on our own unique journeys and I advocate the philosophy that there’s no one right way to execute your financial decisions or set your spending and saving targets. But there is no denying that frugality makes life easier. Full stop.
What Frugality Will Do For The Frugalwoods
Frugality will enable Mr. FW and I to reach financial independence by age 33. For quick reference, financial independence (commonly abbreviated as FI) means you have enough money saved that you can live indefinitely off the passive proceeds of those funds. For an average family earning a typical middle-class income, frugality is the most important component of becoming financially independent.
Also, imagine the femurs can “get longer” from the center of the bone. If the femur was divided equally in half, they could be “stretched” forward and backward.
Obviously, the bones in your legs don’t have the capability to move like this, but the mental focus and intent of the imagery really sets the hips for a proper squat. Try it out and let me know in the comments section if it worked for you or your students.
Though I don’t fixate on our appearances or how dapperly we’re dressed, it does pay dividends for us to keep our clothes in decent condition. Not needing to replace our wardrobes annually–or even every five years–is liberating from the perspective of reducing our dependence upon consumption and also, quite obviously, an excellent frugal hack.
In much the same vein as we continue to drive our 19-year-old car, use our 10-year-old popcorn popper, and enjoy our used furniture, wearing old clothes is just another way that we flaunt our culture’s missive to constantly buy newer and better stuff. Nope, there’s no need. We’re perfectly content with the clothes we have.
Such a life is not just the quaint habit of a few lucky rich people in a friendly, safe neighborhood. It is the foundation of human civilization itself. We are meant to live in medium-sized groups, to walk between each other’s dwellings, and to collaborate and play freely with an abundance of unscheduled free time. When you start with these basic building blocks of a community, you automatically press your happiness buttons and suddenly start living a much happier, healthier life.
Lessons in Tribalism from my Summer Vacation
This summer, I had an unusually action-packed trip as I made my way through the cities of Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa and surrounding spots in Canada to visit friends and family. With our own lifestyle so bright in my mind, it was fascinating to see how other people live.
3. PURGE RECURRING EXPENSES
If you’re paying for subscriptions to magazines you never read or pay more for your cable bill than you do for car insurance, it’s time to purge your recurring expenses. Spend about an hour reviewing recent expenses, keeping an eye out for monthly charges like cable bills and subscription fees as well as services you could do yourself, like housecleaning. Look for services you don’t use much or could live without and cancel them.
For services you need, contact your service provider ask if there are any current offers, promotions or discounts that you could take advantage of to secure a lower rate. Or, you could try and get an upgrade at the same price you’re currently paying. If you can’t get a deal from your current service provider, shop the competition to see if other companies are willing to offer a discount to give you a reason to switch over. The best part about cutting or lowering monthly expenses is that it’s a one-time effort that will help you save money long term.
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