Small things can be leveraged into bigger things. At least that’s what I told Mr. Mt when we were first married. We were trying to pay off our debt and start building wealth. We didn’t have huge incomes, so we had to find ways to reduce our expenses. No lunches out. No movie dates. No fancy dinners. No big vacations. “But don’t worry” I would say, “just look at this chart! If we can do this for 10 more years, see how much progress we will have made!” He was only slightly impressed.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that “being rich” was never the goal. We wanted more financial freedom. We wanted to be able to live the life we felt called to live. We wanted adventure.
If you saw our 2016 Net Worth Update, you know we aren’t exactly “rich” but we do have exactly what we were after: Freedom, Purpose and Adventure. In our personal definition of success: we have kind of nailed it.
During this year long sabbatical we decided we wouldn’t invest any money. Honestly this is driving me nuts. So a few weeks ago, we had this conversation: (I’m letting Mr. Mt chime in a bit, his words are in italics.)
Ms. Mt: I feel like maybe we have too much cash. Maybe we could put some of that into our retirement accounts. What do you think? I’m not sure exactly what she said, but I definitely heard her open a door of opportunity. It sounded something like, “Too much money….blah blah blah….what do you think?”
Mr. Mt: We could by a classic car.
Ms. Mt: What?!? NO! That is not what I said at all. She said, “What do you think?” Well, at any given moment I am usually “thinking” about one of three things: food, cars, and….how pretty and wonderful Ms. Mt is.
Mr. Mt: I heard we have too much cash. So that means it’s time for me to buy my classic car, right?
Ms. Mt: (walking away, pretending this conversation never happened).
Mr. Mt: (finding his way to the computer to look up classic cars)
Of course, he found the PERFECT car for sale online about 2 hours later. Imagine that?
Negotiations ensued in our living room. Conversations happened. And we went out to look at this car the next morning.
So here is the thing. For the first years we were married, we did LOTS of little frugal things like never order drinks when we went out. I’m not just talking beer, not even soda. If we did a big splurge, we would split one. Split a soda, people. Saving like $1.79. Of course we did bigger things too. We had a roommate for 3 years. That saved us $700+ a month.
Little things can be leveraged into bigger things. We gave up little things that we didn’t care that much about. In exchange we have been able to travel through 27 countries. Get to the point where we are Work Optional. Take 6 week adventures with our kids.
And apparently… buy a classic car.
Mr. Mt drives this thing everywhere. To the gym, dropping off kids at school, picking up groceries. It’s like he has become a mid-level celebrity. Everywhere he takes the car, folks talk to him. They holler across parking lots. Chat him up. Two (almost) homeless guys even waved him down the other day, and talked shop for 10 minutes with him. Me, being the rather introverted one in the pair, finds no joy in this. Mr. Mt on the other hand loves it!
So what if we split a soda? Or rarely eat out? Always pack a lunch? Installed stock cabinets and laminate counters in our kitchen?
Frugal living isn’t about never having or never doing. It is quite the opposite.
Frugal living is intentionally finding the things that matter the very most, then cutting out or paring down the things that matter less.
Behind every, “Wow, how did you do THAT?” are a 1000, “We didn’t do these other things.”
How about you? Have you found the few things that you REALLY want? How are you cutting out the other less important things to make room? You can go ahead and compliment his car if you want. Just like in public, I’m going to make him respond to all questions and comments. =) See how happy he looks?
And in case you are a hard core number cruncher, we did our net worth AFTER the car was bought. So really the net worth went up $50k, plus a classic car and pop up camper. =) Even now, Mr. Mt is only really impressed with the last two.
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