I realize that it may seem counter intuitive, but I don’t want to be rich. I have no desire to display an expensive car, own a trophy home, or wear designer anything. Such expressions of worth are worthless to me. I’d rather live a rich life, full of adventures. My latest adventure involves being frugal by choice.
Life’s circumstances extracted me from the professional world. I held on for a number of years, “consulting,” here and there, but for the most part I’m done with it. I don’t want the stress of a high paying job. I’d rather earn less and be happier.
I now think of my professional skills as my back up plan, which is ironic because my current occupation is a former fall back skill. I’m working in food service, as a line cook, in San Francisco. The work is hard, and physical, and even a little stressful at times, but at the end of the day, it all stays there. I don’t carry it with me. And, I get a lot of time to think, and ponder.
So, the money is not great. In fact, technically I’m now a member of the working poor, with a few exceptions. First of all, I don’t pay rent or a mortgage. I’m lucky and thankful to live in a family home that’s paid for. I’m also lucky to have a car that’s paid for. It’s eleven years old, but runs great, and I take public transit to the City as much as possible. For the rest of my expenses, I have a series of strategies to mitigate costs.
Even before I cooked professionally, I was regularly dissatisfied with most restaurant food. It’s hard to pay for something you know you can do better yourself. So now my eating out excursions are mostly for ethnic food, read: inexpensive ethnic food. I also thrift shop, I make due with what I have, and when I do spend money on new items, I tend to get the best quality I can afford. Durability, it’s a thing.
I think I’ve been striving for this kind of focus for a long time. I like inserting thoughtfulness to my purchases. And, by being so frugal, I’m currently able to put almost half of my money towards debt, with the goal of paying it off as soon as possible. But, my motive is more than being out of I debt.
Living a frugal lifestyle is about seeking satisfaction. The more I find myself being satisfied with less, the happier I am. Dismissing self imposed or societal pressures to have all the things is refreshing actually, and by doing so I can focus on that which I really want.
So, be prepared. For the foreseeable future this blog will be about my adventures in frugality, the what, how and why I choose to live this way. Maybe it’ll prove to be helpful to someone else. Stand by.