There are certainly many ways to reach financial freedom, but unless one got very lucky on a bitcoin deal or in the lottery, the 2 main contributing factors to reach the target are to:
- Increase income
- Reduce expenses
I will write separately on how to create your personal plan and budget to monitor and work on your plan to reach your goal, but today I would like to make a suggestion: You can probably save plenty of hours, days, months and even years – if you are willing to sacrifice something.
Re-define comfort and embrace a minimalistic lifestyle
This is probably one of the single most important decisions which in my humble opinion is absolutely necessary not only to reach financial freedom but in general to de-clutter your life and to appreciate the world we live in.
If you look around your house or condo, your fridge, your garage. I dare to say that 80% of the things that you see around are nothing that you actually truly need. They might make your life easier sometimes or more convenient, but you could most probably manage without them. If you open your wardrobe, there are probably some shirts and pants that you didn’t wear in a long time and don’t plan to wear again any soon. And when you look into your refrigerator, you might notice that most of the things stored in it can be found cheaper and/or in better quality on the daily fresh market. You just bought it in larger quantities and stored it to not to have to go to the market.
What I am trying to say is: There is a high chance that you have succumbed to our world-order and keep buying stuff just as a matter of convenience and/or the subconscious belief that you need all of it. Truth is: You don’t. You truly don’t and realizing this will change your point of view on everything.
Sacrifice and Gain
Let me assure you that once you sacrifice these daily small conveniences, you will re-discover yourself and it may lead you to re-evaluate many other areas of your life. This may go much further than talking about clothes, coffee choices or modern toys (like phones or tablets).
You might realize that you don’t need a new phone every year, a new laptop every 2 years and a new car every 5 years. You probably can use your old stuff much longer without having to compromise in any truly significant manner. Your children don’t need tons of toys, your wardrobe doesn’t need to be quilling over and your fridge really doesn’t need to be that large – or that full – or both.
You may discover that after getting rid of most things, you don’t need a huge house or apartment anymore and if you shift your activities from in-doors (watching TV or YouTube and playing around with your iPad) to out-doors (exercising, meeting friends or even just taking walks) you will discover a new way of life.
Living costs and daily expenses are all about our surrounding, our location. Location is a choice. You may re-consider and change it. It’s not only about the rent, but also about the neighbors, the local culture, the community, well, the taxes. They all influence not only rental and housing prices, but also our living and ultimately our spending habits in general.
One could go even much further as to question whether the country you live in and the nationality you hold is what truly makes your life what you want it to be. Sounds crazy? Maybe, but keeping an open mind and putting EVERYTHING into question is not a crime. It’s just true evaluation of what you have, what you want and what you need to do to get there. As my old Karate Sensei used to tell me: Who you are, who you want to be, who you can be now and who you will develop into later are all different things. You need to recognize that.
At the end of the day, every change has it’s fair share of risks and opportunities. Every time we give up something, we also gain something back. It’s just a matter of realizing and appreciating it.