In attempts to become financially independent, I have noticed an underlying theme. Saving money means letting go of convenience. This has shown up in just about every aspect of this journey so far, and is one of the most difficult habits to break. Prior to this life change, I rarely looked at the price of anything that I purchased. Which is embarrassing to admit. Keep in mind that I rarely purchased items over $100. However, when it comes to groceries, eating out, and small purchases, it all adds up. I now go a little further out of the way to save money on groceries and even try to create a great meal with what is on sale. Ideally, my husband and I attempt to food prep our dinners (and sometimes lunches) every week. It hasn’t always been easy to stay excited about the same dinner every night of the week, and I have to constantly work on not caving to Chik-fil-a on the way home. By being mindful of what we prepare for the week, we are also making healthier food choices. In reality, healthy food can be just as delicious as the fast food/unhealthy take out that we crave, but yet again, its not as convenient and you have to put forth the effort. There is also a trend these days to have “click list” or other modes of grocery delivery that will cost additional money. Alas, another luxury I am not privy to. However, I know a lot of you moms out there depend on this convenience for your own sanity. So I am in no way shaming you for this being a life line for you! I just have fur children, and therefore, time to walk into the actual grocery store.
Now that I have ditched my fancy modern car, I have had to let go of other luxuries as well. I no longer know the exact air pressure in each tire at all times or the temperature outside. No more back up camera. Goodbye Bluetooth. No hands free key fab entry. The gas tank is much smaller which means more trips to the gas station. Despite the fact that I enjoyed these luxuries when I had them, it is all worth it to no longer have a car payment. One crucial adjustment has been finding a way to still listen to my Pandora stations and books on audible during my long drives for work. My first attempt was to buy a special tape (for my fancy tape player) with attached auxiliary cord that worked great. For two days. Then it sounded like nails on a chalkboard. Then I just tried putting my phone on speaker. Unfortunately, it is so loud inside my vehicle while on the interstate that I had to hold the phone up to my actual ear. With Tennessee’s new hands free law, I had to quickly move on from that option. Now I have a charged Bluetooth Bose speaker that sits in the driver-side floorboard and it sounds great! Success! Just took a little effort.
A great feature with my old 4-runner is that I have a trailer hitch. I love to bike ride and heavily researched an affordable bike rack. Typically, I would go to one store and get what is most convenient. Now I need what is affordable, safe, and durable. After using some of my precious time off to visit three stores, I ended up purchasing my bike rack online with SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED. So instead of having the convenience of being able to purchase and use my bike rack the same day, I now had to be patient and put it together. A great feature of going to REI or a local bike shop, is that they will often assemble and install your bike rack for you. So another aspect of saving money is learning how to do and fix things on your own. Thankfully, I am pretty accustomed to this having grown up in a household where it was just my mother and me. I was used to having to figure things out on my own. However, until now, I never realized how much I had gotten used to paying for things to be done for me. So today’s project was to put together this bike rack. Overall, it wasn’t too difficult of a task. Although, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t get frustrated and almost give up several times. It took longer than it probably should have and I was dripping with sweat by the time it was over, but I did it!
With having to give up some efficiency and convenience, I have noticed how it has forced me to slow down. I now have to carve out the time to put together a bike rack, go to a more affordable grocery store, come up with recipes, meal prep, and drive a less “zippy” car. I have also enjoyed acquiring new life skills along the way. I can honestly say that I used to think I was grateful for what I have, but I truly lean into that feeling more and more each day while on this journey.
“Michael, are you having money problems?” – Oscar
“Monkey problems. No, I’m not having monkey problems. Why would I have monkey problems?” – Michael Scott