My Evolution from Frugality Blogger to Minimalist Loving FIRE and Value-Based Budgeting
Let’s be clear, the title of this post is ridiculously long. But, it’s accurate. I have changed from embracing frugality to minimalist who is obsessed with the F.I.R.E. movement and value-based budgeting. Things have changed. But, in my view, this change is a natural part of many lovers of frugal living.
In The Beginning
Of my blogging journey, I was dealing with a crazy mess. By the time I had begun blogging about (and reading) about personal finance I was basically desperate for a change. My financial life was also incredibly overwhelming. So, I began to read about personal finance and learned that I was not alone.
But, my frugal financial story truly begins from childhood. When basically every financial decision was framed around the feeling of barely having enough. And, spending as little as possible was looked at as a point of pride. But, really, we spent as little as possible because we didn’t have a lot of money. My parents divorced when I was seven and our finances were defined by constant struggle.
I absorbed that financial lesson and that became my financial reality as an adult. I subconsciously decided that there was never enough money and that earning money was a struggle. It actually took me YEARS to unlearn this financial lesson. Basically, the past 5 years that I’ve spent blogging and changing my financial life.
I also discovered that I had a money scarcity mindset that I had to deal with as well. The thing is, it was a very good thing that I embraced frugality at the beginning of my financial journey. I was literally hemorrhaging money, had debts all over the place, and my life was a freaking HOT MESS.
Helped me regain control over my life and I am forever grateful that I embraced it. BUT, the thing is…I’m not a naturally frugal person. In fact, I am the opposite of frugal. I’m the girl who walks into any store and seems to always find the most expensive item in the store.
I have always preferred nice quality stuff and while I bought a ton of ready to wear items like everyone else…I always preferred the better quality stuff. I have expensive tastes and I learned that I could change HOW I brought things into my life. As I got deeper into my financial journey, the way I viewed money and the actual items that I was bringing into my life changed on a profoundly deep level. Here is what I became clear on:
- Experiences are EVERYTHING to me. Travel, cups of coffee with friends, the occasional concert, and a nice meal out from time to time.
- My shopping habit has been effectively eliminated. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy the occasional purchase…but, I just don’t feel like spending money on things that don’t create memories.
- Spending based on my values has allowed me to effortlessly make the switch to value-based budgeting.
- Financial security is my #1 focus. Period.
As my finances stabilized it became more and more clear that growing my income is the only thing that I really want to focus on. I already have everything that I need. Except, a deep sense of financial security. The kind of security that having a substantial financial reserve would give me.
Time to Get Real
There comes a point when you can only cut so many expenses. While I’m looking at eliminating a little more fluff from my budget, the reality is that it’s now time to really focus on growing income. I love that I’ve cut my overall budget, and now I’m excited to embrace a new financial goal.
Financial Independence…retire…early? For those of you who aren’t familiar with the F.I.R.E. movement, let me drop some knowledge on you. The F.I.R.E. movement has gained some traction in the past 10 years. Adherents do the following:
- Eliminate debt
- Grow income
- Invest like freaking ninjas (Index funds being key)
- Many leverage real estate purchases as a way to grow their income
- Diversify income
- Save on average between 65-80% of their income. I came upon this percentage after reading numerous blog and speaking to people who’ve achieved F.I.R.E.
- Build a like-minded community of F.I.R.E. believers.
The thing is, for a lot of people it feels like they’re either too old (over 27) or not disciplined enough to make this happen. Here’s the thing the official retirement age is between 65-67 depending on your current age. All of the stories that you see online shares stories of 27-year-olds or people who are 32 who’ve saved enough to hit their retirement savings goal and are able to make life choices that are focused on living and creating their best lives.
I think about F.I.R.E. this way: focusing on cutting as many years between the official retirement age and freedom. In keeping with that mindset, I’ve decided to set a new goal:
F.I.(R.E.) in 4
I don’t really want to stop working. But, I DO want to hit my number sooner than later. I feel like 4 years is a great time-frame to focus on this goal. In order to achieve this goal I plan on:
- Continuing to focus on minimalism. I really love it. I have everything that I need. And, quite honestly, after seeing the devastation in Houston my focus is on relationships and financial security. I’m keeping it simple.
- Growing my income. To be honest…I’ve had to acknowledge that I had an undearning (and overspending) issue. The spending issue is basically gone and now I’m super excited about focusing on earning more.
- Focus on growing passive income streams.
Will keep you posted on how things go as time moves on. If you’re currently on a financial journey working to clean up a financial mess-keep working on your journey. It’s amazing to me how much better my life has become as I continue to work on my finances.
My financial journey can be called “slow and unsteady” at best. But, I kept working on things at my own pace. And, while there are moments when I wish that I had achieved many of my financial goals faster, the process that I’ve embraced wil ensure that I won’t fall back into many of the bad money habits that found me broke and stressed out.
The Next 12 Months
Will be very different from this past year which included:
- Rebranding this blog and tweaking its focus
- Reimagining how I can make money as a digital entrepreneur
- Attending conferences as a panelist or as an attendee
- A lot of travel
With the exception of attending FinCon17 in Dallas (or visiting my Grandma) I’m no longer interested in traveling or donig anything that distracts me from growing my business and making more money. Many would consider cutting out travel to be a huge sacrifice, but I’ve traveled more than most people will in their entire lifetimes. Taking a year or so to really focus on my business (and personal life) is not a sacrifice-it’s a smart move.
Also, I’ve noticed that attending conferences can be a bit addicting but that there are a number of people who never apply the knowledge that they are learning from each conference. I plan on writing a post or doing a podcast about conferences and how they can be both helpful and harmful to your business.
The past 8 months have been really intense for many reasons and have solidified the importance of becoming financially secure. I’m excited to embrace this new phase of my financial journey.
How is Your Financial Journey Going?
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