I may be one of the “Joneses“, but I certainly don’t keep up with the Joneses.
I’ve never been a big consumer, shopper or trend follower. That is not to say that I do not or have not had any luxury items, because I have. I’m not a big consumer type. It’s just not me.
However, paralleling off of my creating extra income series, I’ve decided to take it up one notch towards simplicity and practical living. Before I had a family, I was a jet setting type of girl who could fit most of her important things in a bag or two. I spent a lot of money on experiences versus things. This damaged my savings. Now with a Husband and daughter, I’ve encountered the opposite: a tendency to spend more on things. Hence, why I am putting a little more of firm hand on the pocketbook.
I’ve decided to center in on mindful purchases. If it can be bought second hand, we do. If we can go with out that thing, we do. If we can lower our standard of living, with a specific goal in mind, we adjust.
Work + Buy + Repeat = Slavery to “stuff”
Reading the Millionaire Next Door for the second time has reminded me how much I have messed up; economically and financially in the past. Not only did I have a free ride to undergraduate school and STILL manage to get into student loan debt (obtaining study for a profession I have never used in my life) from graduate school prematurely, I never saved as much as I could no matter how much I earned.
Re-reading that book has helped to renew my mind towards the reason as to why I have kept frugal habits and need to not ever revert to a comfortable, over-consuming suburban citizen.
Living a life of over-consumption feels empty and robs you of time and freedom that you can have doing more of the things you love in the future. Choosing to live in economical simplicity allows you to build wealth, gain more time and my favorite: make money work for you.
According to the author, Stanley, many Americans are living and working to pay for things. They are working for money instead of making the proper lifestyle adjustments to make money work for them.
The quickest ways to build wealth from his studies are such:
– Forget the “save 10% or pay yourself 10% first” 1950’s saving tip. He advises to adjust your standard of living down to 1/3rd of your income. Save 50% of your income in order to accumulate wealth.
– Invest in major investments. Investment accounts paying dividends, 401K’s, stock, virtual currency (Bitcoin…. yas!) etc. Instead of financing or leasing a car, pay your savings or an investment account of your choice that money. Concentrate on generating investments that bring in returns instead of liabilities such as high cell and cable bills, car notes, store credit cards and high interest rate mortgages.
– Live seriously below your means. Stanley and his partner found that the most common millionaires do not look like millionaires at all. They drive economical cars that aren’t flashy, live in an average middle class neighborhood, their children typically stay in public school… hell, they may even bike to work everyday. Those who are truly wealthy do not look rich, because they actually are rich in the real world sense of net worth.
I know that the real characteristic of accumulating wealth is wisdom and simple living. We don’t have too far to go in that aspect, my Jones family and I, because we are pretty frugal to begin with. We are a one car family (and even to this day I regret us financing a 15K vehicle), my husband occasionally bikes to work, we don’t have cable, and we shop thrift. I know that we can improve more to increase our savings and supercharge our investments and businesses by eliminating our student loan debt and riding ourselves of that financed vehicle.
The only thing that I do not like about living a lifestyle tailored to accumulating true wealth is that people look at what you have now and judge you. It’s not that I give a damn enough of what people perceive about me enough to get into debt and kill my savings account, it just saddens me that people are like that. I find this more common among black people. Many are notorious for basing you off of what you drive, where you live and if you’re wearing designer clothes.
I may be biking to work or driving a beat Toyota, but I do so by choice and that says nothing about who I am. I know where I am going.