Trading Burritos for my Freedom

Saving money….it’s easier said than done, right?

We all know that we should be saving more but very few of us actually do it. Sometimes things really do come up….sometimes it really is hard because of reasons beyond our control…but most of the time, it’s because you have no reason to save.

It’s like me and getting in shape; I won’t do it if I have no reason to. I’ve played soccer almost my entire life so I know what it’s like to run but I won’t do it if it’s not to chase down the ball or some other objective. Running just for the sake of running is boring.

My wife and I used to run all the time because we had a 5k coming up. Now that the 5k has come and gone, it’s hard to get off my ass. Why? Because the goal of “getting into shape” is too damn vague and doesn’t get me excited. What’s the point of “getting into shape” anyways? But if the goal is to run a 10k, then hell yeah, let’s go running!

So what does that have to do with saving money? Like I said, we all know we should save more but saving more just for the sake of saving is boring. It’s not going to motivate you to change your behavior.

It never motivated me either, so I never did. But that’s changed now.

Instead of saving just to save, I save so I can become self-employed quicker; so I can leave my dead end job sooner. I don’t know about you but that’s all the reason I need; all the reason why making dinner at home sounds more fulfilling than eating at Chipotle even though it tastes so good or why I now always prefer home brewed coffee than Starbucks.

Instant gratification is a bitch. In the short-term, it’s much more rewarding (and a lot easier) to mindlessly order a #5 12-count meal from Chick Fil A than it is to cook. You have to make sure all the pots are clean and then follow instructions to make a meal while you stand in front of the hot stove for 25-30 minutes. Shoot me now.

But every meal that I eat out is just more time that I’ll have to work at my corporate job before I can put in my 2-weeks notice. I’ve been consciously deciding that a burrito at Chipotle is more important than having the freedom that comes with leaving my job. I’ve accepted that a burrito is worth more than no longer having to deal with corporate bullshit and people that are unmotivated and make me miserable. I’ve been okay with trading money and convenience for my time.

That ends now.

I now have a real reason to save; a reason that gets me excited and lights a fire under my ass.

The less I spend on instant gratification that I’ll probably end up regretting a short time after consumption, the sooner I can get to my ultimate goal of being self-employed. That’s a no-brainer!

So how much have I saved during the month of August?

  • My wife and I carpooling to work as often as we can: $20
  • Getting hooked up with a free shirt from my friends at Realeyez Apparel: $33
  • Not ordering a movie from our cable provider: $4.99
  • Not buying lunch/snacks/going out for dinner/splurging at the grocery store: $158.09
  • Switching my wife from domestic partner to spouse on my health insurance: $143.08
  • Not going on expensive dates and hanging out at home instead: $225.50
  • Getting rid of some cable features, Pandora, and WWE Network: $54.35

Grand Total: $639.01

That’s crazy! That’s a lot of savings and it really wasn’t too difficult to do. We mostly just got rid of some luxuries, got more disciplined with eating at home, and figured out cheaper date alternatives.

It’s not what you do; it’s what you don’t do!

What are you doing (or not doing) to get yourself closer to your goals?