A thought yesterday appeared in my brain like a nuclear reactor exploding. The thought was so intense that it felt like I was staring into the sun. The idea was about how mastering a few frugal tips can help you find your purpose in life.
This is the thought I had:
Work isn’t my problem.
I just don’t want to work for money.
I want to work for meaning and purpose instead.
As I thought deeper on the subject, I realized that this little nuclear thought is the power source that can propel anyone toward wealth and their purpose in life.
Pursuing your passion and purpose in this world can feel like an exciting blast of energy. But we need more than purpose to survive. We also need money to help us pay for the journey to find our purpose.
This is why I am such a vigorous advocate of being frugal, and making wise financial decisions.
I never want to say no when God inspires me to take a risk and do something incredible with my life, because I am dependent on needing more money.
The truth about money is that if you’re wise with it, you really don’t need a lot of it to find your purpose in life. For example, my wife and I have never made over 100K a year, but in the last four years of frugal living, we’ve easily saved and invested over 100K, and we’ve never sacrificed our happiness to do it.
In fact, we spend right around what some Americans would consider poverty level (30-35K) for a year, and we feel that we’re living an AWESOME life filled with plenty of time to find meaning, purpose, and personal growth in our lives.
Our secret is that it’s not our money that makes us feel wealthy. It’s our feelings that we’re doing God’s work with our lives, and that work is more powerful to us than money. That’s where our feelings of wealth come from.
We save and invest our cash so that we can take the risks God inspires us to take with our lives. When you’re financially prepared to take life risks for God, they don’t feel like risks at all. They feel like they’re natural parts of the adventure through life you’re supposed to be living. This is how we choose to live to maximize our feelings of meaning, purpose, and wealth.
Here are three of my favorite frugal life tips to help you save your money and find your purpose in life:
Frugal Life Tip #1: Create entertainment. Don’t buy it.
Almost all of our entertainment budget is free because we create our entertainment with adventures and hobbies.
We’ve found that consumerism leads to depression. That’s why we work SO HARD disciplining our minds to create the experiences we love for free, rather than consuming experiences we have to pay for.
When boredom rears its ugly head in our house, we fight against it.
Come hang out with us in our home, and you will find that we invest a lot of time, energy, and money into collecting equipment that we use to develop our skills and hobbies. Once you have that equipment, you can create as many mental adventures and hours of entertainment that you want for free. We collect guitars, pianos, bikes, snowshoes, roller-blades, art supplies, cross country skis, etc. The list goes on and on. We put a high value on pursuing hobbies that help us grow mentally and spiritually. Doing this saves us money, and makes us happier, more well-rounded people.
If we feel like being social, we go to the grocery store and buy $10 or $15 worth of groceries and call some friends over to eat with us. That sure is a lot better, and more fun, than paying $60 or more for four at a restaurant!
Creating free entertainment by doing the things you love is one of the easiest ways to feel wealthy even if you don’t have a ton of cash to spend.
Frugal Life Tip #2: Buy quality, but find it used.
Fall in love with the sharing economy, and you will open the doors to having great stuff for cheap! You’d be amazed by the quality of stuff that we have collected at garage sales, Good Will, and Craigslist for a fraction of the retail cost. The trick is don’t buy junk. Go seeking for the really nice stuff that you can use to improve the quality of your life.
See the adventure of finding nice stuff as part of your entertainment, and you’ll be able to save even more money.
For example, we fell in love with mountain biking last summer, so I’ve been looking for a new-to-us really nice mountain bike. Nice bikes can run $1,000+, but I didn’t want to spend that much. So I got creative and went searching for the perfect bike.
I looked all winter on Craigslist, but I couldn’t find the one that I wanted. So last weekend, I went out to a couple of biking retail stores just to see what a new one would cost us since biking season in Minnesota is coming up quickly.
I walked into a store, and saw a used bike that a customer had just traded in because he decided he wanted a road bike. It was the perfect size and had only been used four times! It looked brand new. I low-balled a price, negotiated a little, and ended up walking out of the store with a sweet, basically brand-new bike for half the price! And that bike will help us stay healthy while providing us hundreds of hours of entertainment for free this summer. Win in life for us! I even found a cool place to hang it with our other bikes in our laundry room:
The secret to being frugal and happy is finding the hobbies and skills that make you FEEL wealthy, and then shop, and deal-find, until you can find incredible deals that allow you to engage in those activities.
Invest the money you save in a simple index fund, and you will be on your way to wealth.
Use those feelings of wealth to propel you toward your purpose in life, and you will begin finding a fulfilling, healthy, and wealthy life.
Life does not get any better than that.
Frugal Life Tip #3: Maximize Value; Never Sacrifice Purpose.
Don’t see life as a constricting budget; we don’t. We see life as a place where we can creatively find the best values on the way to our purpose in life.
As frugal as my wife and I are, we never feel like we’re suffocating in a constricting budget. We save our money so that we can have more freedom; not less freedom. Our goal by saving is to maximize value, while not sacrifice the journey to executing our purpose.
Rather than being expert budgeters, we take pride in being expert decision makers and value finders.
The truth is, we dissect our decisions more than we dissect our budget. This has been our way to wealth that has worked for us.
We’re constantly asking ourselves before we buy things, do we really need this? Will this make our lives that much better? Is the value that this purchase is going to give us worth the amount of work we’re going to have to put in to buy it?
And then we ask the biggest question that guides all of our decisions:
If we die tomorrow, will we regret not making that purchase or decision? If we will regret it if we died tomorrow, we spend for it no matter what our budget says.
We study our thinking patterns, feelings, and decisions WAY more than we study our budget, and we’re easily on the path to being millionaires by the time we retire. This works for us.
Discipline your mind to be aware of all of the decisions you make, and find ways to maximize the value in those decisions, and you will be on the path to your unique wealthy lifestyle.
Combine your money, with doing God’s work, and you will be on your way to feeling wealthy and finding your purpose in life even if you don’t make enormous annual salaries.
It’s not easy to do. But it can be done if you want God’s life for you bad enough.
Always invest your time, money, and energy into finding what God wants you to do with your life.
Cut everything else out.
This is the path to spiritual wealth.
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