“FREE123: Freedom In Less” is a new monthly step-by-step account of pursuing financial freedom by pursuing less: Less stuff, less complexity and less spending. The purpose is not deprivation but to achieve more financial goals while experiencing contentment and purpose. Take a look:
You know that happy place we all have where just being there is enough? For me that is in Kauai Hawaii, on a beach, with a 84 degree sunny day (every day seems 84 degrees and sunny to me there). When I am there, just experiencing the beauty, I am content, happy, joyful and grateful. To say the least, when I am there, I want nothing else. It is simple and I am content. Then I got to thinking: Why can’t I experience that simplicity and contentment more often? Like at home? In my everyday life? The answer is I can. And a simple contented life would greatly enhance my goal of financial freedom.
The Goal: Purposeful Simplification
For the next season in life, I am going to purposefully simplify my life by finding freedom in less. Less stuff, less complexity and less spending as a means to reaching my financial freedom goals and find more contentment and purpose. The hypothesis is that living on a frugal budget with clear goals and a renewed focus on reducing consumption will lead to more contentment and true freedom.
What I learned in September 2015
This month the total dollar savings by consciously living a simpler, more contented lifestyle was over $730. And frankly, it was quite easy. Take a look at each area of savings with brief commentary:
- Saved $36 this month just by making my own delicious coffee as opposed to Starbucks. My coffee is from Hawaii, happy place, is more convenient and on demand. Why wouldn’t I do this all the time?
- Saved $125 by being smarter on date nights. My wife and I try to date every week. Her happy place is a local movie house and eatery that includes a cold drink after the movie to discuss what we saw. Why do the expensive restaurant thing all the time when for far less we can spend quality time doing what she loves. Let’s face it, when she is happy we are ALL happy.
- Saved $125 driving less! Gas money saved! Being more efficient in my errands, business travel and being more home entertainment focused saved us almost four tankfuls of gas.
- Saved $320 this month JUST NOT BUYING STUFF from our discretionary spending budget. Spent just $150 on school supplies, batteries and a dance outfit for our daughter’s dance class at school. No shoes, clothing, drinks, Amazon impulses, etc, etc, etc. Guess what? I don’t miss a thing! We are doing just fine.
- Saved $125 in family dining (eating out) by leveraging our daughter’s passion for cooking. Instead of going out for comfort food or splurge on something because we don’t feel like cooking, we asked our 12 year old daughter to make one meal a week and it was awesome! First, our daughter loves it, second, the food is great, she is quite a good cook, and third, we saved easy money even though we ate like kings, and queens.
- Last, let me tell you what we DID do instead of spending the money. We entertained at home (puzzle, game night, crafting), we had friends come over for conversation and laughter, we enjoyed time reading on the back porch now that the furnace known as the Texas summer is over and we just spent some time together as a family. It was awesome and easy. I can’t wait for more next month.
January’s FREE123: Freedom In Less Summary
I think we are on to something. By purposefully reducing spending and busyness we have actually gained time, contentment and freedom, not to mention saved money toward our financial freedom goals. There is a catch. I can see that it is possible to go too far and become isolated or anti-social. So the quest will be to balance the freedom lifestyle with involvement in our community. I am up for this challenge! And next month I may track hours saved as well as money so we can share both components of true wealth!