One of the best aspects of the personal finance blogosphere – aside from how ridiculously awesome everyone is – is the fact that most of us share the same general sentiments about personal finance. Our goals, dreams, and thoughts about money all boil down to the same thing: debt is bad; financial freedom is good.
You and I both know that leading a debt-laden lifestyle with a side of bloated-spending just isn’t the way to live.
So we do something about it. Almost every blogger in our little cove of the world wide web is deep in the throes of a grand plan to make their financial dreams come true – whether it’s getting out of debt or becoming your own boss.
So, that’s it; end of story. We know what the problem is and we’re working on a solution. High five!
But… what about those people that don’t share our same sentiments about personal finance? Because – trust me – they are out there.
They are the ones that often whine about being in debt and then go out and buy a new 50 inch flat screen TV (but after that, they’re really gonna curb their spending; they’re gonna get serious this time). We’ve all see it before. Sometimes, these people might even make others, like you and I, feel bad about being financially smart, secure, and stable. And maybe, many years ago, we were these people?
Keep It Simple, Silly
I was reading the review of Trent Hamm’s new book – The Simple Dollar – over on Get Rich Slowly the other day and was amazed at how simply, yet accurately, he described the most basic aspects of minimalistic spending and frugality.
From The Simple Dollar (as posted on Get Rich Slowly):
“Many people associate frugality with sacrifice: You have to give things up. They hear stories about having to give up lattes or giving up eating out or giving up nights out on the town, and it sounds incredibly tedious.
A more appropriate thought is that frugality is an exchange: You’re trading things you don’t value for things you do value.”
“Money is nothing more than a tool with which you can create the life you truly want.”
It’s the basics of personal finance and frugality simplified into just a few words that describe my exact feelings on the topic.
The Personal Finance Epiphany
After I moved out on my own, it didn’t take me long (thankfully) to realize that being frugal and money-conscious would, in the end, be a much better trade-off than buying another crew-neck tee from my favorite department store or another expensive night out with friends (and we still go out, we just do it on the cheap).
However, I think it takes some people a much longer time to have such an personal finance epiphany (I probably have a few too many, actually). And until they have the epiphany, what do we – their money-conscious counterparts – do? I have so many people that I come across in my life that I want to help. I want to show them how easy it is to be financially secure, that all their dreams can come true no matter their financial situation. But, most of the time, it goes in one ear and out the other. It’s so frustrating! Being financially stable will open you up to a completely new life, free of the stress of debt or unpaid bills and full of hope, excitement, comfort, happiness, contentment, stability, and the list goes on and on and on and on… I just hope they figure out how good they can have it sooner rather than later.
Finding The Fun In Free
Last night, I took an awesome, energizing Yoga class. After that, I cooked a delicious meal at home (“healthy” Mexican pizza … yum). Then, after that, I spent the rest of the night on my couch with a good book in the silence of my little apartment (Lloyd was out doing some sort of man thing). I didn’t pull out my credit card once (although, I do pay a gym membership and buy groceries), and I literally couldn’t have been happier doing anything else. I felt so happy, relaxed, and content (of course, that could have just been a contact high from Yoga). I wouldn’t have traded the night for any other activity that comes with a price tag.
In the end, I guess I’m just really happy that, like you all, I turned out to be one of the lucky ones who realized early on that money doesn’t buy happiness.
Do you encounter others who have the opposite view of personal finance from you? How do those with different financial viewpoints affect you in your life?