Reaching financial independence (FI) isn’t easy. No one should ever think that it is not will it be quick. I was at me dentist appointment and was taking with the dental technician. We got to talking about work and the economy. She was thinking about moving closer to the dental office but the housing was too high even to rent. I told her about a couple of things I did that helped me to afford housing which she has actually done in the past. We both agreed that bottom line it takes sacrifice.
Do you want to make sacrifices? If not, you’re not going to get far in your journey. No one wants to give up anything but in order to gain something, you have to give something. When I look back reflecting on some of the sacrifices and decisions I made, almost all had some financial benefit.
I remember early in my career I had a co-worker who was older with a family and a home. I always ask him if he wants to go out for lunch. Almost every time he would say no because he always brings lunch to work. One time I asked him how come you never want to go out for lunch? He says, I have a family to feed, I have a house to pay, I have a car to pay…I can’t afford to go out to lunch. It never hit me until a number of years later, he was actually right! I started to pack lunch to work, one day a week to now every day of the week. Yes, it does save you money. Yes, I do miss going out to lunch and socializing. Yes, I do hate preparing for lunch. Yes, my lunch sometimes isn’t very good. Yes, packing lunch does get old. Yes, it is a sacrifice.
Working odd shifts
I worked third shift at an internet service provider (ISP) which meant it was the midnight shift. Not that I really wanted to work midnights, I wanted to get into a certain field and this was the only opening. It was great in the beginning. Third shift received extra pay. Since it was a 24×7 business I often had to work on holidays which meant holiday pay. Financially, it was good but it got old after a while. Yes, it was tiring going to work at midnight. Yes, I didn’t get to see my friends because when they were working I was sleeping. Yes, I didn’t have a social life. Yes, I had to say no many times when invited to certain events because I was tired or I had to work. Yes, it was a sacrifice.
Moving back home
Moving back home to my parents really helped me financially. They welcomed me with open arms. I could stay as long as I wanted. They didn’t even ask me to chip in to pay for the utilities. It was like I was back in high school. I saved so much because of this and eventually bought my first condo with the money I saved. Yes, I had to constantly check in with my parents when I went out. Yes, I didn’t have any private space. Yes, I had to live under their rules. Yes, I felt like I was treated like a teenager. Yes, it was a sacrifice.
Find a roommate
With my first condo I had a spare bedroom. I decided to rent it out. It had helped me with my mortgage payment and helped me save throughout that experience. I also had a short period where my family and I lived in someone’s basement and a friend’s house temporarily while my single family house was being built. It worked out but definitely was not as comfortable as having your own place. I did save by not having to pay utilities, home insurance, property taxes, and everything that came with owning a house. Yes, it was inconvenient. Yes, your private life might not be as private. Yes, it was a sacrifice.
Do it yourself (DIY)
Do it yourself (DIY) projects and routine tasks means you exactly what it says. You do it yourself. There’s so much that I saved by doing things myself. Majority of the time when you pay someone to do something whether it’s fixing your car, repairing something in your home, installing a ceiling fan, or anything you pay someone else to do, the biggest cost is the labor. If you can cut out the labor costs, that is money back in your pocket. When it comes to DIY, there will be a learning curve, your comfortability, and possibly a minor investment into tools and equipment. Other factors to consider is time. If you don’t have the time or need something done right away, you may not be able to DIY. Some projects that I DIY are
- Installed backsplash
- Installed stone wall
- Installed wood trim
- Hardwood flooring
- Toilet replacement
- Replaced garbage disposal
- Mount TV on wall
- Replaced sump pump
- Lawn cutting
- Tree planting
- Installed ceiling fans
- Built a fence door
- Installed blinds
- Changed brake pads and rotors
- Changed car oil and transmission fluid
- Rotate car tires
- Plugged holes in car tire
- Wash my cars
- Change car battery and wipers
I did have to buy tools and equipment to do many on my list but it still was less expensive to do that than hire someone. Plus this has given me experience to be able to do future projects. Yes, it is time consuming. Yes, it is scary at first. Yes, I had to research a lot like watching YouTube tutorials. Yes, I did have to call in an expert to fix my mistakes a few times. Yes, it is very tiring. Yes, I had to sideline my other hobbies. Yes, it is sacrifice.
Reduce your expenses
Once you understand where you spend your hard earned money on, you can start to identify where you can reduce or eliminate expenses. There could be things you are spending on that you really don’t need. Here are a list of expenses I reduced or eliminated
- Cut off cable TV (I only have internet)
- Got rid of home phone service
- Changed cell phone providers
- Changed insurance providers
Yes, it was inconvenient. Yes, it took a while getting used to not having cable TV. Yes, it was a sacrifice.
Put money towards investing
From my first full time job, I took advantage of my employers’ 401K plan. I took the maximum contribution amount and it has grown a lot over the years. I’ve had multiple jobs and never forgot to roll over my 401K with me. I opened 529 plans for my children’s college. I have a real estate property. Investing was tough but it reaps rewards in the long run. Yes, it was difficult putting money aside for retirement. Yes, I had less money in my pay check. Yes, investments do go up and down. Yes, it is a sacrifice.
This just doesn’t apply to your financials. It applies to everything you do whether it’s studying, sports, social media, traveling, dieting, exercise, and so on. Anything to get ahead, bottom line it takes sacrifice. If you are interested in following my journey, email subscribe to get alerts of latest posts or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
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