I went from this:
This is an Old Pontiac I bought for $1000 with an infinite amount of miles.
To the onlooker, I am cheap. In reality, however, I’m frugal. I do not save money at anyone else’s expense and I care about value, not cost. I do not worry about money, nor do I have much of it.
But, I am aware of its power and so I think carefully of its use. I’ve rid myself of most things I consider liabilities and keep only the bare necessities. I own one pair of jeans and 3 pairs of shoes. I sold my phone and bought two, one of which I shared with my father.
This simpler and cheaper phone allows me to work as a software engineer. Even with a mild amount of debt, I can now concentrate on doing what I love, instead of running the endless treadmill of monetary pursuit.
See Also: How to Live a Frugal Life and Get Rich
It felt like a breath of fresh air being rid of a car debt. I was relieved from the pretense of owning a flashy new car and I had more disposable income.
This, of course, was one of the many big changes I made through the course of six months. I stripped myself of many financial shackles, such as paying less interest on my debts. The benefits of spending less are endless, but here are some the highlights on how I transitioned to frugal living.
I Distinguish Needs Vs. Wants
The most important benefit of them all is that I am finally able to know whether I need something or I’m just enchanted by the thought of having something new.
As much as possible, I avoid any type of purchases. If a purchase is necessary, I do it with prior research and I check it against a list of priorities. Sometimes, I laugh whenever I realize that I’m just convincing myself that I need something when, in fact, I just really want it.
I usually avoid feeling regretful by waiting before I actually spend the money. The wait allows me to settle and calm my “materialistic urge”. My most recent example of this was a pottery wheel. I had convinced myself that I loved pottery and a pottery wheel was all I needed in my life.
Money Is My Friend, Not My Enemy
Just looking at credit karma at my location, it shows my credit is 88% better than the average. Though not the most accurate measurement, this number reaffirms that I am on the winning side of the never-ending financial battle. The other 88% aren’t.
If a monetary decision causes me distress, I take a step back. Just like a good friend, some money is always there when I need it. So, for every purchase I’m supposed to make, I put 50% to 100% into savings. That’s not too hard to do when you own one pair of jeans.
I Am free
My fiancé and I recently returned from a trip to Spain and Italy. It’s one of the many benefits of routing money into the right place. We can travel monthly, even though we only make the average income in our poor area.
When we are not traveling, we make meals for our families and friends. We invest all the extra money that could have gone to interest payments or the newest phones. It is vital to be frugal with a strategy and an end-purpose. Our aim is to do what we love and not be a slave of our paychecks.
We have hidden talents that can bring enormous value to someone out there, like this article. It’s something I could not have written if I was still working full-time.
Buying another pair of shoes because they’re 50% off doesn’t mean you saved half the money. It means you lost half in an item you probably didn’t need.
I do not buy anything to portray a better image of myself unless it’s a suit for a job interview. This could be the result of frugal living or the other way around, but the end result is that I am free from having to live for the sake of appearances. I get to route money into things that matter and avert all other cash leaks.
What have you done to put yourself on the path to freedom?