“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
I will spend significantly less than what I earn, and save and invest the difference.
I will give ample time and energy to the small handful of things I care most about, and give minimal time, money, and energy to the other areas of my life that I care less about.
I will work toward a day, sooner rather than later, where I no longer have to work to earn an income, and I will achieve it by saving the excess of the fruits of my labor.
I will work hard with diligence and focus at the work task at hand in order to earn a healthy and steady income that gives me more than enough resources to both pay for those things I care most about and to save for the future.
I will work hard with diligence and focus to discover new income streams and new ways to earn money, so that if one avenue for earning income goes away, I’m not suddenly caught without a way to earn a living.
I will rest my body and mind adequately at night and give myself proper nutrition so that hard work with diligence and focus comes easily.
I will continue to learn more about personal finance and related fields primarily through books and other trusted sources that are focused on quality timeless information and less focused on promoting the hot mutual fund or stock of the day.
I will attempt to repair broken things around my home myself first, so that I may learn something in the process and, often, save myself the cost of hiring a repairman.
I will stay away from name brand products and use inexpensive store brand versions unless there is a clear reason based on personal experience to do otherwise.
I will open the windows instead of running the heating or cooling during most seasons, as my body was designed from birth to enjoy most reasonable changes in weather.
I will make a conscious choice to use as much of the food brought into our home as possible through the processes of consuming leftovers, using remaining scraps for soups and stock, and maintaining a compost bin.
I will consistently choose to do things rather than buy things. I choose to read books rather than to accumulate them. I choose to watch movies rather than to fill my shelves with them.
I will put aside time-wasters such as internet browsing and television viewing if I ever feel I do not have time for the other important things in my life.
I will avoid debt, but should debt find me, I will repay it as quickly as possible.
I will pay off any debts I have in the fastest way possible, which means making large extra payments on the debt with the highest interest rate first.
I will accept responsibility when I make a spending mistake or a financial mistake. When I do, I will reflect on that mistake, understand what caused me to make that mistake, and make the needed changes in my life so that they don’t repeat.
I will appreciate the things I have and the things that are free and not lust after the things that I do not have.
I will prepare most of my meals for myself, so that I can enjoy fresh and simple and inexpensive ingredients and also build the skills needed to prepare them quickly in the future.
I will find variety in my life not through opening my wallet, but opening myself to the widest array of experiences that life provides for us without having to exchange money for it.
I will build deep friendships and other relationships, not with my words or with my purchases, but with my actions. You cannot build a lasting relationship with someone on the back of the things that you’ve purchased or the things that you own, so I won’t pursue that path.
I will second guess every single purchase I consider making, just to make sure that it’s something that’s really worth the money I’m investing in it and whether I’ll really use it enough to make it worth the cost.
I will keep a careful eye on the actual dollars that I spend and be vigilant against spending too much on things that aren’t really in line with the core things that matter most to me.
I will use credit cards as a spending tool to make life easier and to earn rewards, but I will not use them to leverage purchases I could not otherwise afford or have otherwise not budgeted for.
I will use the multitude of free resources that the community provides for me, from the abundance of books and films and audiobooks and other equipment found at the library to the parks and trails and walkways maintained by the parks and recreation department, and make a continuous effort to discover new resources and opportunities that are made available for free in my community and in neighboring communities.
I will enjoy some of the pleasures of life irregularly so that they remain special and feel like a genuine treat, rather than enjoying those pleasures frequently and have them sink into part of the ordinary routine.
I will build and maintain a strong relationship with my wife, as she is my life partner who helps me face all of life’s challenges and makes every single mountain in life that much easier to climb.
I will step back from my desires and ask myself why I have them, rather than simply acting upon them rashly.
I will work to maintain and improve my personal health every single day, as the freedom I desire is best expressed with a healthy body.
I will cultivate that personal health by eating a diet primarily focused on fruits and vegetables while incorporating consistent exercise into my life.
I will choose to walk or bike to nearby destinations rather than drive there in order to both maintain and improve my own health and also save money on the costs of operating and owning a vehicle.
I will work to maintain and improve my mind every single day as well, as the freedom I desire is best expressed with a healthy mind.
I will cultivate that mental health by meditating and also engaging thoughtfully in deep ideas through reading challenging books.
I will teach my children about the basics of personal finance from an early age and make those lessons a regular part of their gradual evolution into independent adults.
I will be a constant example of frugality and good choices for my children and my friends, not through my words, but through my deeds.
I do these things because I want to live a life with little stress and abundant possibility for myself and for my loved ones, and I recognize that, for me, this can only come from the freedom to use my time and energy in whatever way I see fit. A joyous life comes not from spending money and buying things, but from being able to freely choose what I want to do with my time and energy without the overriding demands of employers or the constant need to earn money just to stay afloat.
I do these things because I want to be free and I want to be as secure as I can in that freedom as I move forward.
We are in the midst of a revolution of thought, of education, of opportunity. Through our innovations, the world is more abundant than it ever has been before, with the knowledge of the world and the tools of endless exploration and enjoyment available at our fingertips with minimal cost. The question is, do we choose to use these resources to build a life of maximum freedom or do we let those resources go to waste while chasing a never-ending path of more and more things that bring us less and less pleasure and freedom? The choice must be made by each of us.
I have made my choice. Have you made yours?
“For those who understand, no explanation is necessary; for those who don’t understand, no explanation is possible.” – Unknown