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Being a minimalist-minded man with money
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jakester318 Offline
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Being a minimalist-minded man with money
I love to travel. When I was about 22, I went everywhere I could go when I was in the Marines. But then about 6 years later I got married and swallowed the bad pill of marriage in America: mortgage, expensive vacations, car loans, and credit card debt. So my travel plans got put on hold for nearly 10 years. I'm free from a toxic marriage now and on my own. For the first time in 10 years, I'm enjoying living a life that is both very simple and enjoyable at the same time...I'm making my highest income yet and my expenses are at my lowest. I am saving nearly 30% of each paycheck and traveling two times a year to places like Romania and Poland, with many more to go. I'm 37 now and I've learned a ton about financial responsibility and achieving my goals. The main lesson is that you need to learn to live with little: be a minimalist. In this thread I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned in my lifetime with some of you younger guys.

First off, you have to learn that every dollar you earn is important because it is symbolic of your labor. You give sweat and part of yourself to earn a living. That said, you want to value your money and your labor. Don’t treat your money foolishly, just like you don’t treat your labor foolishly. Never give your labor away to someone who won’t reward you accordingly. In the same way, don’t spend your money on things or people that won’t bring value to your life.

Secondly, know your expenses intimately; spreadsheet your life so that you have a handle on what your fixed monthly expenses are. Most people have no idea what it costs them to live their lives each month…they may think of a figure in their head but they are usually 20-30% off of the real figure. Rent, lights, cable, internet, cell phone, car payment. Once you organize all of your fixed expenses and know what they are, then you should focus on your variable expenses. I always advise friends/family to download 3 months worth of bank/credit card statements and categorize each expense to figure out what it is for. Tally up all of the fixed/variable expenses that you have over the 3 months and then compare them to what your income was for that same period. If you spend more than you make, you are doing it wrong. First and only rule of personal finance: never spend more than you make…ever.

If you find that you are spending more than you make each month, start to make changes. Is your rent more than 30% of your gross? Consider moving into a cheaper place. Is your electric bill high? Don’t keep the lights on or run appliances that are a drain on your electricity. Do you have a home phone and a cell phone? Get rid of the home phone, you don’t need it. Do you have cable but never watch TV? Scrap it and get something like Hulu or Netflix, where you can watch shows you like. Is your car payment more than 15% of your gross? Well, unless you are living in your car, you should think about downsizing to a more affordable car or a used car with more miles but equal reliability. If you are making less than $30k a year and your car payment is more than $300 a month, you’re doing it all wrong. You can’t afford that type of vehicle nor should you be financing it.

As for variable expenses, are you doing out all of the time and spending money you don’t have? Consider cheaper forms of entertainment. If you are trying to meet girls, be prepared to make an investment in doing things with them but sacrifice in other areas outside of that. Don’t each shit food all of the time at McDonald’s. Instead, find a good local restaurant that serves big portions of food for around $15 where you can eat 2-3 meals off of it. Make a dollar stretch. Don’t buy name brand products at the grocery store; buy the store brand shit instead. Look for sales on things you need instead of being impulsive and just going out and buying stuff without researching the better deal first.

You should also include goals into your finances. Are you looking to travel more? Plan for that trip and determine how much you’ll need to save and where you can cut costs in order to achieve that. Are you looking to be able to go out more and dress better? The same principles apply. Be pragmatic and thoughtful about your finances and become a more minimalist-minded man who is good with his money. Being a real man also includes being a good steward of what he has.
07-08-2013 07:56 PM
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Being a minimalist-minded man with money - jakester318 - 07-08-2013 07:56 PM

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