The Freedom in Living Below Your Means

As I have mentioned in other posts, I have deliberately arranged my finances so that I am saving almost 50% of my take home income. Why do I do this? Sure, I would also love to live in a new and modern home (without sharing with a homestay), have my own car, and stay in luxe hotels while on vacation. However, these desires are not greater than wanting to grow my net worth, and focusing my spending on the things that really matter to me, and retiring early.

This week, my partner and I have been dealing with a sick animal. Our precious cat Juliet has kidney disease at the age of two. We’ve been watching the costs of her overnight stays, testing, and medical procedures add up. While we are conscious of costs, we are not in a position where we have to deny her care because of costs. The reason why, is that instead of squirreling money away into my savings accounts, I can direct this excess money to pay for Juliet’s care.

If I had a monster bi weekly mortgage to go with my desired modern home, monthly car payments for my dream sports car, and credit card balances from my last luxury vacation, this would not be possible. An emergency and unexpected expense could break me financially. If every one of your earned dollars was already accounted for, you could not:

  • Take a sabbatical to take care of a child or a sick loved one.
  • Donate money to a cause you really believe in which has an urgent initiative.
  • Accept a lower paying job after you got fired, because your budget wouldn’t balance.

When every dollar is spoken for, there is less freedom and flexibility in living your life.

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The other thing you can’t do when every dollar is spent before it is earned is retire early. No, instead, you must continue to trek to work, because there is no room in your life to bump up your savings. You must continue to work to the detriment of your health and personal fulfillment. You must pay others to take care of your children, mow your lawn, and file your tax returns, because you don’t have enough time to do so.

The irony of money, is that, it’s most worthwhile when it’s not spent. The freedom doesn’t come when you spend it, but rather, when it’s available in your bank account for a future day.