Lifestyle Becomes Less Important When You Have a Bigger Purpose in Mind

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extreme frugality, frugal mindset, saving money, lifestyle, cheapskate

The following is a post by MPFJ staff writer, SK. SK writes about the reasons we get into debt, changing the patterns that get us into debt, and examines small business ownership and real estate investing at her blog, American Debt Project.

People are subjective, especially when dealing with themselves. For example, it always surprises me when someone describes me as tall. I’m 5’8, but I never really think much of it and I never feel tall. 

I’m reminded again of how subjective we are towards our own situations when people think I am sacrificing a lot to achieve a better financial situation. A friend recently commented that, “You’ve done so much that I wouldn’t be able to do. I wouldn’t be willing to give up that much because my lifestyle is comfortable and I really enjoy it.” But, I don’t think that I have done much at all! Sure, I gave up a really cute apartment to move closer to work and rent a room in a house. But, by saving over $700/month, I am freeing up money to pay off debt faster. I will also be carpooling and saving money on transportation. My boyfriend is living apart from me, which is the hardest part, but we promised ourselves we are doing this for the next 6 months so we can enjoy a lifetime together. Getting to see each other every weekend is not nearly as hard as if we lived too far apart for quick visiting.

I used to think I could never give up any aspect of my lifestyle that would mean:
  • Not living in my own place (like renting a room or having roommates)
  • Not being near the beach
But, I did it anyways. I was renting before, and there are still rules and restrictions involved. I loved our little apartment and having my boyfriend and dogs to come home to. But, we were living in a neighborhood that was too far from both of our jobs.  I started a new job in December that was further east, and it was taking me 1.5 hours to get home. We both took temporary rooms in order to save money and be close to work.

Even though I joke around that I am “basically a migrant worker now,” my sacrifices still seem minimal. I live in a huge house and have all the same amenities as before. My rent is a tiny fraction of my income for the first time in my life. I’ve always been very lucky and very comfortable. Lifestyle is fun and all, but I don’t need to be comfortable and pampered every step of the way. The majority of people in this world live much, much harder than I do. 

In some ways, this is lifestyle design too, because I am excited to change things up and see if I can achieve my goals faster. Life is an adventure, stepping out of the norm can help you discover new possibilities. I don’t mind this stretch of sacrifice. I think it will lead to a bigger reward in the end.
How about you all? How important is lifestyle to you? Have you made a change that you didn’t ever think you would be willing to make?

Share your experiences by commenting below! 

    ***Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/56223083@N06/5514150673/sizes/l/in/photostream/