The following is a guest post from Martin of Studenomics, where he helps you with launching something right now. Why waste time when you can grab control right now?
When we think of saving money, we get that same feeling in our guts as we do when we think of dieting. Do I have to be miserable all of the time? I work too hard for that!
Nobody wants to be deprived when it comes to spending money or eating food. It’s a horrible feeling. This is why most of us give up. Nobody wants to be missing out on life while everybody else is out having fun.
What’s the fun part of trying to hit financial freedom?
It’s seeing how you can use your creativity to save a buck, but still have a blast in the process.
It’s seeing how you don’t have to feel miserable while saving up.
It’s fun to live a little differently than all of our friends.
Instead of giving out theory, I wanted to share some stories on the topic.
Want to go out without going broke? Do you want to see how you can have fun while working towards financial freedom?
Find friends with similar goals.
You’re not alone. There’s plenty of people out there that want to also save money and have some fun. I find it very helpful to have friends with similar goals. If you guys share similar goals, you’ll never have to feel weird about making plans.
For example, I used to hang out with friends that always wanted to go out. All of the time. I was cool with this, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money every time nor did I want to drink every time.
This made things weird for us. We just had different goals. I would much rather save up for a trip than to go out every single weekend religiously.
I had to finally accept that we just had different goals. We still keep in touch. We just don’t go out every weekend.
I’ve since found friends with similar goals and plans for life. We have a ton of fun. We use our creativity to go out without spending money. We cook food. We don’t have to spend money on bottle service to have fun.
Keep the bigger picture in mind.
It’s far too easy to get distracted in life. Something always gets in the way. Expenses creep up. Wants become needs.
If you want to have fun while working towards financial freedom, you must remember the bigger picture.
What do you want more? What’s more important to you? Retiring in your 30’s or going out every Saturday night?
This will help you get through those days where you feel like you’re missing out. You’re not missing out. You’re not saying no. You’re just saying yes to the bigger picture.
Pick your battles.
There are some battles worth fighting for. Others that just aren’t.
I say that you watch the battles that you fight.
For example, you can’t always save money on everything. Sometimes you just have to find ways to make more money. You have to use your free time to increase your income. This will assist you in your steps towards financial freedom.
What battles are you going to fight?
Stay in shape!
Working out is good for the mind and the body. The process of sticking to a fitness routine will help you in other areas more than you could possibly imagine.
Hitting your workouts and always striving to eat well, you’re going to have other goals in mind. You’re not going to want to carelessly spending money on useless nights out and fast food when you know you shouldn’t be having it.
In my personal experiences, staying in shape has always kept me focused on my financial goals. They just go hand in hand.
That’s how you can have a ton of fun while working towards your financial freedom. Don’t get held back just because you thought you would be deprived if you tried saving a buck. If you want more, Root of Good has an amazing overview on retiring by 33 that you should check out.
Root of Good comments: Martin, you did a great job describing how to live a life that leads to wealth creation over time. Hanging out with people that share your goals and interests is a great way to prevent yourself from spending tons of money on things you don’t want to. Without really meaning to, I tend to spend more time with people that are interested in relatively low cost activities.
I like to have people over for lunches and dinners then hang out at our house afterward. I enjoy these get togethers, and I think my guests have a good time too. Since we have kids, a dinner out with another family could easily run $150-200 (a bottle of wine or two, maybe a few beers or cocktails plus dinner). Maybe I like peace and quiet, because I feel like many waitstaff “intrude” on our dinner party’s meal.
I remember fondly the days of hanging out as a broke high school and college student. Coffee shops, browsing used book stores, bowling, camping, video games, outside recreation, playing pool. Sometimes the best things in life are free. Or very cheap.
Martin mentions keeping the big picture in mind. To me, that means living the good life and not cutting your expenses to the bone to the point of extreme self deprivation. I’ll choose the less expensive option if two different things or activities will give me equal enjoyment. Martin says he would rather save up for a trip instead of going out every weekend. He’s been in Buenos Aires, Argentina for a few weeks living it up, and didn’t spend any more than the cost of a couple months worth of partying hard every weekend. And in the meantime, he’s enjoying a beautiful city and culture, seeing the sights and dining on fine food and drink literally half a world away from the U.S. All accomplished by simply making the conscious choice to focus his fun money on something really awesome instead of the mundane “get drunk and party every weekend”.
If you want to get a start on your next big trip, consider signing up for a credit card or three. You can get free flights and free hotels just for signing up for some credit cards and spending money on things you already buy. A couple of good cards for free travel are the Starwood American Express and the Citicards American Airlines card.
Martin asks: What’s the fun part of saving money for you?
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