For many people who know me and who have known about my financial missteps and struggles as a freelancer, one of the first questions I get asked upon hearing about how I recently accepted a full time job is, “so are you going to be able to buy more stuff or do more fun things (or some variation of that question)?”
I will admit that when I got the offer for the job, it felt like a dam broke. That dam was my budget, and the water was all of my wants in life: travel, clothes, leisure activities like movies and dining out, more travel, pedicures, etc.
The water behind the dam has been building up in pressure over the years, but like a good soldier, I just kept reinforcing it by reading PF articles, blogs, and books…and figuring out my true wants in life. And so the dam held.
But without the “need” to reinforce it anymore, it started cracking. “Oh shit!”
So why the heck would I work so hard to keep the dam reinforced when I don’t “have to” anymore? Simple. Because I never, like ever, want to go back to having to rebuild a dam, ever again.
So, while we are in the heart of the holiday season and everyone is out shopping in full-force, I remind myself that the best gift money can’t buy is this: financial peace of mind.
When I sit back and really think about what I want in life, financial peace of mind is in the top four with good health, strong relationships with friends and family, and having meaning and purpose for being here on this Earth.
A different kind of wave came over me, and that is the desire to remain as super frugal as humanly possible, even if I can afford new things. And having great inspiration, like my friends The Frugalwoods on The Today Show talking about how they will retire in their early 30’s because of their desire for freedom of not “having” to work, is keeping me really motivated to follow in their footsteps, even if my version of frugal is slightly different than theirs. 🙂
Because I don’t think you can really appreciate financial freedom until you’ve had success, pretty much lost it, struggled to get it back for many years, then finally got the opportunity to rebuild. Trust me when I say lesson learned and I don’t plan on messing that up ever again!
There is no super awesome TV, fancy item of clothing, stuffy restaurant dining, or pillows from Pier One Imports, that can trade places with financial peace of mind.
I owe it to myself, and maybe you do too, to want that gift.