Okay, so I've been going down the rabbit hole of frugality for about a week. I'm half stoked and half a little wigged out. Mostly I'm in a little bit of shock from all of the wasted money I've spent over the course of my lifetime thus far (37). I am the queen of shopping and have always thought of myself as frugal-ish until I dug deeper.
I have signed up for my library card and have been using it to read for free after getting rid of Amazon a few months back. I picked up a book called "Meet the Frugalwoods" by Elizabeth Willard Thames. Before that I'd listened to Chris Hogan's "Everyday Millionaires" and Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover." I am now listening to another of Dave Ramsey's audiobooks (for free, I think he'd be proud). The Frugalwoods book (of which there is a blog as well) was pretty eye-opening. Along with the other books about financial freedom, this one in particular, pointed out how to focus on the end goal of retiring early by investing a lot early on, but told through the author's own personal story. Basically, she and her husband saved all their earnings from their 9-5 city jobs and only paid mortgage and household bills, and basic food, all the rest went into retirement savings and they were able to retire before 40. They now have a homestead in Vermont and do what they want. They are still frugal and share with others how they achieve their goals. It was amazing. I think everyone should read it. Some people like their jobs and that's okay, but not having to go to survive vs going because it's absolutely, 100% how you WANT to spend your time is another story. I wrote last week about how I discovered the concept of Financial Independence or early retirement. I wrote about how awesome I was doing financially. And though all of that information is still correct, my eyes have been opened wider still to all the waste I could be allocating to retiring in Hawaii scot-free.
Now, I largely do what I want on most days. That is probably clear from this blog already, but I'm not quite where I want to be. The main reason is financial. I simply don't have the money saved to buy the property I want for my retirement. We are still plumb in the middle of our business here in Florida, and with a dang pandemic wreaking havoc on the economy, I'm skeptical as to how society is going to decide to spend in the coming years. I want to just take all our extra income and put it in our retirement accounts. I'd like to but I'm also wanting to hold on to cash too. Oh man, its been a weird couple of days in my head. I have vacillated from confidence to fear on a hamster wheel of death and I'm exhausted. I've also had to review and cut spending at work (not that this didn't need to be done for a long time) but I don't like being the purse all the time. I totally get that that is a shitty thing to complain about. I totally get that a lot of people would rather have my problems than their problems. But what can I write about if not my stuff man! I also totally get that I'm arguing with myself right now. Being the employer, coming in and denying legitimate and non-legitimate requests because we simply can't is not a fun place to be. It gets people scared, and maybe rightly so. I do know that I cant un-know what I've learned from these financial literacy books. I can't unknow that this woman didn't buy a single article of clothing for 3 years (socks and underwear included). I can't unknow that she retired before 35 because she started at 28. I can't unknow that that is possible for me too. That last part is the part I'm excited about. I really really really want to go to Hawaii, and I know that making money there is about 80% tourism which isn't really happening right now. So I really need to be financially secure if I want to end up there with my family for the long haul. And if I want to travel, traveling from Hawaii as you're home base is no easy feat.
I'm hoping over the years that I can chip away at the materialism that is so deeply ingrained in me. I know that I have all the clothes I'll NEED for the foreseeable future. Right now, my just-say-no policy is easy, it's only been a few days. In those few days though, I've had to empty an online cart or two. I've questioned buying conventional vs organic and which is more important to me right now (frugal vs health, health is still winning right now). Jason and I have agreed to 100 dollars of discretionary spending a month, but every dollar I spend out of want I am feeling cut me a little deeper from my end dream. Jason said yesterday "I guess you finally found your why." I always had it, I just didn't have a vehicle for getting there. Now I do. Unfortunately (or fortunately, I've never been good at differentiating the two in the end) it comes during an unsecure financial time. But I do know this. Spending as little as possible is a good idea. So I have my thread of hope. I have my baseline for operating each day, and right now, I will breathe into it and hold on to this thin reed of hope and move forward in faith. Amen