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April 03, 2017

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I guess the idea of "spending money to feel happy and free" never made sense to me. To me freedom means being able to spend all of my time doing what I want, and this requires financial independence to de-shackle from the work-a-day. And while "spend yourself rich" might make a catchy self help book title, it's intuitively obvious the cashflow direction is wrong. Plus if you grow accustomed to living in 'low maintenance' mode, your target number shrinks so your day of emancipation comes all the quicker.

I would focus on the big recurring items for maximum effect. Here in coastal California rents are sky high relative to incomes, so it's worthwhile to consider alternative housing arrangements. This could mean sharing an apartment or renting a room in a house (or garage conversion), or if your job offers an overseas posting with a per diem expat allowance, let your employer pay your keep while you have the adventure of a lifetime.

In terms of daily spend I think it's all about who you hang out with. It's much easier to grow your stash if you surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Yes we're a small minority not easy to find, but well worth the effort because once you build your circle spending pressure reverses direction.

When making choices always keep the long term picture in mind. That ramen lunch may seem cheaper than the green salad today, but if you factor in eventual health effects (think insulin/BP meds) then it's actually an expensive option. On the other hand that lightly used cashmere from the thrift store is a winner, and green to boot.

I got myself out of the house and relieved cabin fever by becoming more involved in my community. Not just taking advantage of free events, but actively participaitng in them. I gladly server food at the library holiday party and I meet everyone at the same time because they all want food. Scooping ice cream for picnics or digging in the dirt at the local school gardens are other ways I spend my time. It makes life more rewarding to give back to the community and then you learn about lots of other free events that are happening.

I like your tips, Mrs. Picky Pincher. The one that resonated most with me was the cheap haircut. I started shaving my head (pretty much out of necessity) in December. I never paid for haircuts prior (Ms. DH was a hair stylist before becoming a stay-at-home-mommy), but now I no longer have to buy hair products. Even better, the amount of time I save from not having to comb my hair in the morning is awesome. Even a little bit of extra time can add up over time. I also like your idea of changing up the scenery as well.

These are all great money saving tips. Sometimes I buy things just to make myself happier about a sad situation. But I realized it needs to stop.

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