Frugal Living Could Change Your Life

This is a guest post from MoneyNing, who quit his job to help people turn their finances around by offering insightful personal finance tips. His family is expecting a daughter in one month.

Adopting frugal habits came natural to me, but it wasn’t until recently did I realize what a difference it made. Being frugal literally changed my life.

Many people equate being frugal to sacrificing, and understandably so. Not ordering a drink during dinner when you want to is tough. Not buying a new gadget the day it comes out even though you are drooling all over it takes discipline. And not buying a new car when all your friends upgraded takes a mental focus not many possess.

I know, because I used to wonder why I do it too. But guess what? Frugal living is not sacrificing at all. Trimming your bills may sound like a necessity to you, but having control of your expenses gives you options. I quit my job to work on my business, and one of the main reasons why I was brave enough to take the leap was because our family had minimal expenses. I knew our frugal habits would allow us to live below our means, even if things got tough. Would you feel that way if you had the chance?

Deciding to Give Up the 9-5

I wish I could tell you that I had a million dollar business on the side when I resigned, but in reality, my side business was generating only 30% of the income from my primary job. All I know was that my job wasn’t something I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and my business was something I loved working on. If I could only make the numbers work out, I would quit in a heartbeat.

All of a sudden, those advices about saving X% of your income doesn’t seemed vague anymore. I began to understand. My ability to save 50% of my take home pay meant having my boss breath down my neck daily or being able to work for myself.

What Do You Think about Frugality?

You could argue that it’s irresponsible to quit and do something you love, and it might be:

  • If I had a car payment, I probably couldn’t leave
  • If I had a mortgage to pay, I probably would’ve stayed
  • If I had debt to pay, I was probably tied to my job
  • If I had high expenses, I would probably not make it
  • If I had no savings, it would probably be too risky

Justifying all the luxuries that you are currently paying for is easy, but you may never know what you are missing. As luck would have it, my business is thriving, and I am making more than I ever did in my life while working at home.

The Real Life Changer

We are expecting our first child named Sara. She will be growing up with much more love from her father because he doesn’t have to travel out of state for work 3-5 days every single week.

Frugal living not only changed my life, but hers too. You may not realize it now, but saving those few bucks could change yours one day.

Comments

  1. I thought I was reading my own words! We’ve been frugal with our spending and investing ever since we were married over 20 years ago. Yes, there’s often a ton of pressure when you’re around friends, family and co-workers who seem to have more, do more and enjoy more than you. Let me tell you it’s well worth it in the long run. We are now seeing our friends struggling.
    We almost never buy something unless we need it and then we wait for a sale. I’m handy so unless it’s repair is beyond me…we make it work. Our friends think we’re rich but the truth is we simply don’t spend money like them.
    Careful shopping often allows us to have high quality items at a fraction of what most folks pay. I too was finally able to quit a high paying job which was taking a very high toll on me. I too went down to 30% of what I made before. I’ve had the quality time with my family that so few seem to cherish above money. I too have recently started my own company.
    Find something you love, something you are really good at…and it will work out, if you’re smart…and frugal! Great article
    It’s all worth it

  2. That is a great way to look at frugality. The reduction in “required” income makes following your dreams that much easier. Kudos to you, I hope to one day be able to follow a similar path.

  3. Well said! Our friends think we’re crazy because we want to pay off the mortgage in 10 years vs. 30, but we’re looking forward to the freedom that comes with a mortgage-free life. The mortgage and our generous prepayments come to 50% of our income – so we’ll only “need” half of our income once the mortgage is paid off. To have that freedom in our 30′s would be amazing!

    So no, we’re not crazy. We have a 12-month emergency fund and no other debt. We also can’t take the tax deduction for mortgage interest because we don’t itemize. Small town, small mortgage.

  4. I am an administrative assistant (secretary) and my life’s dream had been to live mortgage free. I worked toward it by paying several hundred extra toward my principal twice a month. Well, one day I received a windfall and used that to pay off the mortgage. I also bought a foreclosure that I rent to a relative. I paid off my car note before the windfall and vowed to never have a note again. I now own three used cars all in good working order. What I want to say is that I never thought I’d be debt /mortgage free but it can happen if you want it. Had I not received the windfall, my home would still have been paid off early because I was determined.

    Friends would say why don’t you buy a new car, you deserve it. I say I don’t want to deserve it if its going to cost money that I don’t want to spend. I live a good life and spend money on vacations.

    Thank you for this article. It reinforces what I already know and helps me to stay on track.

  5. Frugality IS Freedom – simple as that :)

    No mortgage, no car payment, no debt means you can base your decisions on your heart’s desire, and NOT on money :)

  6. We are currently living off of about 55% of our $78,000 gross joint income including our mortgage and extra payments towards that principal. That means that when we pay off our home by the time we turn 35, we will be able to live on about a third of what we make.

    That is a feeling I cannot wait to have. Even though my husband will want to move into a larger home eventually, the months or years we’ll have with no mortgage payments will be heavenly. :-)

  7. It’s amazing to me that people continue talking about the need to go into debt while so many people are able to live on modest income (and saving a ton of money at the same time).

    Keep these stories coming, as everyone will appreciate these success stories!

  8. We’re are at the phase where this month (Feb 2010) we will finally be totally debt-free (no credit card, car loans, mortgage or anything!!!)

    I primarily attribute being debt-free to being frugal! If I spent like my friends, I wouldn’t be debt-free, that’s for sure!!!

  9. Thanks for sharing your inspirational story. You are proof that everything is a choice, and that a choice to be frugal now will bring freedom faster.

  10. I wonder how many of us would spend money on items we really don’t need if we could see the “true” cost…what really pay with all the interest added in.

  11. Add me as another one in this great line of stories! I quit a high-stress job paying $82K / year to open my own office. I work from home and get to spend quality time with the kids. Yes, my income is down to $58k /year, but what I have gained is a stronger family, better health, and the American Dream! We will be done with the mortgage in 10 years and couldn’t be happier with our small house, modest possessions, and dreams of retirement by age 55!

  12. Good luck on your first child.

    I have been getting more and more frugal over the last few years and now my expenses are at a real minimum. The only thing left hindering me now is my debt management plan that I just set up. It’s roughly $200 a month that I could do without.

    However I do work for myself from home and I love my job. I just need to make my business a little more successful and I can start racking up some savings and emergency cash.

    Thanks,
    Forest.
    http://frugalzeitgeist.com

  13. Thanks for sharing this story. Its is so right. If you have no debt you can be a lot more flexible on what you do in life. IE you can take a job that you will like more that pays 20k less a year, because you are not losing a lot in interest due to credit card debt or some other unfrugal behavior.

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