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

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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


    1. krantcents says:

      I always kept a low key lifestyle. Savings and investing was always a priority. I achieved a great deal because of it. When I retire (in 5 years), I expect life will change and I will start spending! I have been trying to prepare for the change in small steps, but it is hard to change your habits.

      • I suspect I will also have difficulty switching from a saver to a spender. We've eliminated the nonessentials for so long, it's just our normal way of living and I don't miss them any more and don't think I'd really enjoy a splurge for restaurants or 400 channels. On the other hand, spending for travel is my one indulgence, even now. In preparation for early retirement we are building up a completely separate pot of savings to be used strickly for travel, so fluctuations in the cost of living never cause us to alter our travel plans. We have our savings for retirement living, and totally separate savings for retirement travel. I'm sure given my nature I'll still try to come in under budget on the living expenses, but also knowing myself I'll apply any savings to travelling.

    2. I think I never made any major adjustment in my lifestyle since we decided to live frugally. My parents brought us up with a simple lifestyle, buying only what we need. Shopping is done twice a year, when school year opens and during Christmas season. We also lived in a small house with 2 bedrooms, where my parents occupy the big room while my siblings and I share the second room.

    3. Pauline @ Reach Financial Independence says:

      Living like a student years after graduation allowed me to travel the world, buy a 3 bed flat and reach financial independence at 29. The sacrifices of having roommates or no car were barely noticeable thanks to the thrill of the savings progress.
      My recent post 13 money resolutions for 2013: #3 do it yourself!

    4. Wealthnote says:

      This is something I am currently working on. The more I change my behavior the easier it gets. I really faced a big mental block because I would find myself thinking I wasn't as happy without those little perks. Its hard when you first take on a challenge, but the rewards are so great in the end. It helps to just stay focused and know that you will feel great once everything is said and done.

      I tell myself that I want to spend money on something big and meaningful. This helps me avoid all those small wasteful expenses that supposedly give me creature comfort. Traveling the world gives me more than any small comfort ever will.
      My recent post Starting a New Job? Some Tips for Starting Off on the Right Foot

    5. I'm absolutely willing to sacrifice lifestyle now to have a better financial future later. Feeling financially stable is much more important to me then buying “things” or living a fancy lifestyle. At this point I can't really image living life any other way.
      My recent post Reasons You Didn’t Get Hired-Part II

    6. My big thing is I've always kept my rent low – I like having low fixed expenses, it gives you more flexibility. I have minimum standards – I've lived in some small and depressing places, but within reason, you know?
      My recent post Adventures in the kitchen: Mozzarella making

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