I have had credit card debt up wazoo. It’s probably worse than what it sounds like. Constantly stressed, working your ass off and getting nowhere.. Feeling hopeless. In short it really sucks. I also got myself out debt though as well.. It wasn’t easy and it took buying and selling 2 different houses, frugal living and 6 years of my life. And my wife’s life. She is a saint for putting up with me in general but then you throw thousands of dollars of ridiculously stupid debt in there .. she deserves better! But anyway! We bought and slowly fixed up a couple houses with the help of friends and family! Couldn’t have done it without them! So now I’m finally debt free and trying to make interest work for me instead of against me. So far it’s working out great. I’ve got a lot to learn and am excited for the future!
I know what other financially responsible people say about living a financially responsible life. Most of those things are:
- NO DEBT!!! YOU ARE THE WORST person in the world if you have ANY DEBT!!!!
- LIVE CLOSE TO YOUR WORK !
- HAVE A SET WEEKLY / MONTHLY BUDGET!!
- EXERCISE REGULARLY!! (healthy life= no doctors = no medical payments = cheaper options for health insurance)
- EMERGENCY FUND!! (3 to 6 months of bills readily available!)
- Never buy a new car.
- Never buy a used car.
- Buy a bicycle.
- Save at least 50% of your income.
- You’re dumb if you don’t abide by these rules.
I’m not perfect and I’m definitely getting a late start on my financial freedom being 28 years old but I know that you do not have to follow all of these rules to live a great early retirement life! If you have the income to save 50% of it that’s GREAT! Do that! Is it a good idea to live close to work? Sure.. but some times it’s just not feasible. I do believe in an e! fund but I’m more along the 3 months for it.
So will some of those rules help? if you can handle them you bet.
Couple of my Journey to the Good Life rules I like to think about a lot are:
- Live within your means. It’s easier than you think. Example: if you make 3000 bucks a month. Spend less than that! Preferably WAY less than that!!
- Make a budget with a ledger in Google sheets or in a notebook so you know how much money is coming in and going out.
- Find out a way to that works for you! What is this? Google sheets? Notebooks? Is it Snowball or avalanche Method ? Is it a bankruptcy method? How much do I save? (When can I retire?) Can I afford a new landcruiser? Only you know. If you need help there are HUGE amounts of knowledge on the internet and in books. GET TO IT!
- Find the happy median between being frugal and being happy! People say money can’t buy happiness but money sure makes certain things easier! (But also complicates other things)
- Travel often, Document it maybe if you’re into that kind of thing, but also live in THE MOMENT! Don’t be on your phone or taking pictures non-stop. Make a point to not be on your phone and keep the camera in the bag. Learn about new cultures from all over the world! Or if you’re not big into leaving the USA then head out on a road trip to some of our fantastic National, State or BLM parks! You won’t regret it.
- Find happiness in things that don’t cost (much) money. Some of my personal examples are mowing the lawn/yard work, hiking, camping, camp fires, walks with my wife and dogs, cleaning the house and garage and organizing / getting rid of things you don’t use at least weekly!
- You don’t have to fully retire early to be happy or do everything you want! My wife and I have full time jobs that we like to finish in 4 days or less so every weekened is like having mini retirements!! Our plan is to be financially retired by the time we’re 45. We will most likely still work part time or at jobs that we like so we can keep our retirement compounding nicely. Also it wouod be nice to have health insurance covered by an employer but we will see where the US is with health coverage in 15 years.
The other hand of all this is maybe you like your job and don’t mind working until your 65- 70. That’s great! Keep doing whatever it is you love to do. Just make sure you’re actually happy or at the very least not unhappy.
Whatever it is you choose just start now or continue living your Journey to the Good Life!