Over the last month, I’ve been re-reading Your Money or Your Life slowly and carefully for the book club, and it definitely again shifted the way I think about a lot of things, as I wrote about in the conclusion.
One thing it made me realize is that I already have all of the things I really value the most. I have a loving wife, two great kids, a nice home for them to live and grow in, plenty of options for entertainment, a website that I truly enjoy spending hours each day writing on, a job I deeply enjoy, and an extended family that I cherish. What else do I really need?
At the same time, I make tons of little decisions each day that deny this basic fact. I spend money on stuff I don’t need. I lust after new video games when I already have many that I’ve not mastered. Often, I don’t eat nearly as well as I would like to, justifying it in various unnecessary ways.
When I reflect on those two facts, I really get unnerved. I really do have a strong grip on my financial life now, so it’s not a concern that I’m not saving enough money. It’s more a concern of am I really living my life to the fullest? When I do something dumb like eat fast food or buy a video game with a pile of unbeaten ones at home or buy a book at the bookstore when I can just request it at the library, what exactly am I doing? In some way, on some level, I’m sabotaging my future for something I don’t really need.
Well, right now I’m deeply inspired to take it head-on, so I’m going to commit to a few things for the month of November that’s going to be really challenging for me. Here they are.
First, I am going to refrain from all unnecessary spending for the entire month. If it’s not necessary, I won’t spend it, period. No fast food. No games. No books. No anything. Every time I get an urge to buy fast food, I’ll go home and prepare something there. Every time I want a video game or something for entertainment’s sake, I’ll just play something I already have. Every time I feel the urge to get a book, I’ll simply read one I already have or stop at the library. The only exception to this is if I buy a Christmas gift for someone else, or elements to make such a gift. No. Extra. Spending.
Second, I am going to take care of a list of five personal chores around the house that I have just simply been delaying for various reasons. Here they are, in all their glory:
1. I am going to clean and sort through all of my clothes, eliminate all but a minimal wardrobe, and get rid of the rest.
2. I am going to go through the remaining boxes from the move and eliminate most of the unnecessary clutter that resides in them.
3. I am going to go through the remainder of my books and reduce my personal book library, excluding books I directly use for The Simple Dollar, down to 50.
4. I am going to prepare in advance fifty family meals worth of food, which is especially vital with my wife nearing her return to work after the birth of our daughter.
5. I am going to completely clean out the remaining unsorted paperwork and integrate it into my filing system.
Note that each of these tasks will aid in my personal financial situation in some way.
Finally, I pledge to write ten truly great posts for The Simple Dollar. I tend to go through waves on here, periods where I feel like I’m posting great stuff and other periods where I don’t feel it is as good as it could be. Part of that comes down to commitments to single posts – do I put in the work to make a single post really great, or do I just post it and let it go? Most of the time, I take an idea, flesh it out in my mind, then just post it quickly and move onto the next one, but during November, I’m going to take the time to craft ten individual truly great posts. I won’t mark them, but hopefully you’ll be able to recognize them.
These are my commitments for the month, an outgrowth of reading Your Money or Your Life. Hopefully, it inspired you to make some changes as well.