Mr. G and I are very frugal folk.
We’ve been “frugaling down” for years. Here are some examples of how we’ve cut expenses:
- We switched our cell phone provider to Republic Wireless, a fantastic alternative that is perfect for us. Our bill is currently $30 per month.
- We buy used clothing from resale and consignment stores whenever possible.
- We used cloth diapers with all of our babies.
- The fantastic public library system in our area is where we get all our books.
- We share a Netflix account with extended family.
- Meal planning in advance and only buying what we need for the week.
- Mr. G takes leftovers to work for his lunch whenever possible.
- Rarely eating out. When we travel, we take picnic lunches with us if we can.
- Do-it-yourself haircuts at home.
- Paying cash for our minivan. We don’t carry an auto loan.
These small changes have made in a big difference to us.
But after a few years of this, I became frustrated. No matter how much I trimmed the grocery budget, it felt like an exercise in futility when looking at the big picture. We still weren’t able to increase our savings or budget for any of our long-term goals.
There weren’t any more sacrifices we were willing to make, considering our three kids and the childhood we want to give them.
Frugal is good. Frugal is right. Frugal is even cool.
But frugal is not enough.
And this is a hard truth.
The fact is: you will never become wealthy by clipping coupons. You won’t get there by eating beans and rice or buying second-hand.
You just won’t.
I don’t want to keep scraping by until we die. I want to move forward. I have big dreams. We have goals for our family, and for our future.
So here’s the crux of the matter.
It’s been made abundantly clear to us that if we want to break free of the grind,
Paula Pant (love her) expressed this very thing recently. She said it this way:
The truth is that a low income is extremely limiting. You cannot shrink your way to greatness; you can only frugal down so far.
She explains that yes, frugality is essential. But, it’s only half the equation.
You have to do both.
1) Earn more.
2) Spend less.
So, yes, we are still more frugal than average. But moving forward, we are brainstorming ideas for how to increase our income.
Our littlest will be in school in a few years. This is heavy on my mind. I didn’t establish much of a career before having children, but I could go “back to work” in some capacity. However, after repeated cost/benefit analysis, Mr. G and I have determined that’s not the best option for our family.
Instead, as a mom and homemaker, I pride myself on my resourcefulness and creativity. So, my gears have been turning for months.
Earlier this year, I was hugely inspired by Chris Guillebeau’s book Side Hustle. He’s a non-conformist who uses his extensive experience to write about pursuing the entrepreneurial life. If starting a small business from home is something that’s ever appealed to you, I highly recommend giving it a read.
Making more income doesn’t have to mean delivering pizzas at night.
But it doesn’t have to.
The FIRE community is a creative bunch. I love to read about the vast spectrum of brilliant solutions these folks have dreamed up. They’ve discovered viable ways to make money utilizing personal passions and unique ideas – ideas that create cash flow and increase long-term wealth.
So Mr. G and I are working on this. We do plan to make real estate investment a big part of building our wealth. But I also have some projects in the works that I hope can also contribute to the pot. Maybe I’ll tell you more about those soon. Things are still simmering, but when they start to get hot, you’ll be the first to know!