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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A frugal confession. . . .

So, with the colder weather and the looming threat of rain on many days, I've returned to my Max (lightrail) commute. This keeps me warm and dry, and is quicker than the bus from my house; I get to work on time each and every day, and arrive home a little earlier in the evenings, which is nice.

However, there is one thing about the Max that also holds my interest. Each morning and evening, I pass an Oregon lottery sign, which indicates how much the current lottery winnings are (today, it was $25 million). This generally sets me off on musing about what I would do with that kind of money. Assuming, after taxes, I came away with half of $25 million, my usual fantasies involve paying off my own mortgage and those of my family members, waving 'buh-bye' to my student loan debt, buying a reliable car, and traveling my tush off. Sigh.

Although I haven't bought a lottery ticket in ages (they don't fit into my frugal budget), I often feel a twinge of guilt about even fantasizing about winning the lottery. Do I really need to be a multi-millionaire to be financially independent? NO. It sure is fun to think about, though!

As usual, I came across a relevant article that discusses the many ways those of us earning an average income might be sabotaging our ability to become "millionaires" in our own right (or, at the very least, financially independent). Here are some examples of habits or beliefs that might be hurting your finances:

  • Needing to drive a fancy new car. I've often made mention of my 13 year old clunker. I still drive it because a) it runs (mostly) and b) it's paid for. I do still fantasize about a shiny new car, but my long-term financial goals simply don't include a car payment at this time.
  • Starting too late. I regret not saving and investing from the first day of my first job at the age of 16, but I also like to remind myself that at least I eventually started.
  • Not appreciating the value of learning. I often feel like I've been in school since I was 5, and actually, that is kind of true. There have been very few years in which I wasn't pursuing some sort of advanced degree. And hopefully, all of that work will pay off in terms of higher salary and more leisure time.
  • Needing a large house. One of my first posts discussed a conversation I overheard on the Max, in which a man was talking about his giant house. This is one area where my attitude has changed. Rather than striving for a larger house, I would love to get into something smaller, more energy efficient, and more importantly, cheaper!
I'll probably continue to lose myself in fantasies of winning the lottery, but will keep in mind the knowledge that it is within my power to create a financially secure life without winning millions of dollars!

1 comment:

marci357 said...

I have $2/month "budgeted" for entertainment, ie, lottery tickets :) And that is just what I consider it - entertainment. Actually, some months I'll pick up a ticket and some I won't.

While my car is only 8 years old, I bought it (a subaru forester) for 10 yrs or 200,000 miles, whichever came first. Now that I am at 8 yrs and 114,000 miles, I think I'll just keep running it til I no longer feel I can depend on it. I rarely go out of town, so am not worried much about it. It should go to 200,000 miles, and now that I live in the town I used to go visit every weekend, (kids here) I am no longer putting the miles on it like before.

I doubt now that I will ever buy a new car again - probably just a newer used one!

Like you, I am enjoying the small home I have - all 1010 sq ft of it :) But I do wish it had 3 bedrooms instead of two, as the 2nd bedroom is dedicated to the toys and bunkbeds for the grandkids and I don't get to use it for anything else. Guess I just need to get rid of more junk :(

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