Save. Spend. Splurge.

You’re already as free, happy, and as rich as you want to be

Having more money won’t make a difference, really.

People always think that the more that they save the more they’ll be free financially, which is true to some extent, but it’s also a mental game.

Have you ever really asked yourself what it would take to feel rich and free?


Truthfully I feel pretty rich right now.

Obviously this is in comparison to people my age, rather than people in the media, or the very few 1%’ers at the top who have loads of cash.

…but I am well aware that to someone who has millions, that I would feel “rich” with $200,000 might seem rather ridiculous and laughable.

Then I think:

Hey, maybe they don’t feel rich with their millions because they’re looking at people who have billions.

My solution?

Pretty easy, I gotta say.

Stop looking at people who have billions!! 🙂


It depends.

Here’s the second question that will help: How much do you need to spend each year to live well?

My financial independence goal is a million saved by the time I’m 50 – 55 (that’s in addition to BF saving a million as well, so it’s 2 million together).

With that amount, I will have enough to leave, move to another peaceful and wonderful country in the warm countryside (Spain, Portugal or the middle-of-nowhere-France look pretty good) and retire.


(This is also why I am not too keen on saving and working like crazy, because I will eventually reach a million sooner or later. No need to race to the end!)

I will live until the ripe old age of 90 with this plan (we live long in my family, and I plan on reaching that age), and I will have enough to eat, travel a little and live simply.

(I’ll be old and shopping will hold no interest in me because fashion trends will annoy me and not be cute on an old woman’s body)

A lot of people I know who want to retire want to golf all day in Florida, and travel every year.

Me? Not so much.

I like to travel, but if I am in Europe it will be a lot easier to take a train to visit the continent.

If I don’t have a million saved by then (unlikely) I’ve already worked out that I could pick up a home (a small shack really) that I could fix up and buy for 30,000 EUR in total in the middle of nowhere, with very little paid in utilities (no electricity wired in the house for instance, means 100% savings on using electricity).

Sure, I’d have to go pump my own water, possibly grow some of my own food, and live without the modern amenities I am used to, but it’s a possibility I explored in case things don’t work out.

With that million however, I could have electricity and running water in the house, and live on a minimum that I am used to.


If you truly want to be free, you should already feel free.

Sounds rather chicken versus egg, but it’s as simple as that — it’s a mental game. If you want to feel like a chicken trapped in a coop, working for THE MAN, then you are that caged, unhappy chicken.

If you want to feel like someone who is working to stave off boredom and pass the time in an interesting way, posing as a chicken in a coop, then you are that rather free-thinking, chilled out chicken.

See, in truth, BF and I could probably retire right now if we wanted.

Just one.. small… catch.

It wouldn’t be our ideal retirement.

We just have to leave this country, move to a cheap one (in this case, nothing in Europe fits the bill, we’re looking at southeast Asia for this or India), and live on very little (giving up meat would be priority #1).


I’d be in this goat hut if I wanted to retire now.

Yet I have worked out that it is possible to retire today and live until 90 on what we have saved so far, we just don’t want to do it.

Also, I currently make enough in dividend income from my current investments to live like that (about $6000), without ever having to touch my capital.

See how that frame of mind works?

I can retire now, but not where I want to and how I want to.

But I could do it.


Oh yeah debt.

That monstrous monkey on your back, constantly reminding you that you aren’t really free of the shackles of your lender.

That, has to be $0.

This is the only place I will concede slightly that you are not as free or as rich as you want to be.

To put it into perspective, a beggar on the street has a higher net worth than you do (sometimes in the rare case or two, they even have a higher net worth than most people who look down on them).


But even that, is controlled by you.

You know it is.

You can get out of debt and you are probably working towards it right now.

It just sucks if you think about what you have to do and it might involve doing things you don’t want to do, but it is possible to clear it sooner than what you’re doing with it at the moment.

I once read a blog of a rather controversial writer named “Violet” (a fake name, obviously) a long time ago.

I wish I could remember her blog name!

Once she wrote about how she got out of consumer debt by basically living in the back of her car (sleeping, etc), showering daily at a gym that she paid $100 a month as a membership to, and eating for free at the Chinese buffet she worked at during the night.

She cleared all of her debt (something like $50,000 I want to say?) in a matter of a year or less.

I was getting out of debt myself when I read her blog post, so her story has stuck with me ever since. It’s strange enough to be true. 🙂

It wasn’t an easy life, but she was kind of an extreme writer and an extreme person, and she made the decision to spend $0 on living (self-punishment?) to get out of debt.

Are you willing to go that far? I wouldn’t. I don’t think you would either.

…but that’s what she did to get out of debt so she could feel free again.

I myself was about $60,000 in debt but I did kind of maneuvered the consulting system I was in to achieve more or less the same result of near $0 in expenses, except I lived in hotels and ate restaurant food.


Ever think that once you get the perfect job, the perfect partner, the perfect outfit, the perfect.. WHATEVER, your life will be complete?

You are just setting yourself up for failure with such expectations.

Perfection doesn’t exist, just as how searching for the answer to happiness and financial independence or stability doesn’t either.

It’s in your mind in terms of how you expect your life to be — how much you plan on spending and where you want to spend it.

If you expect big, grand things, expect to spend in a big, grand way.

If you want simpler, smaller things, then expect your spending to act in the same way.


You are already as happy as you want to be.

You are as financially secure and as rich as you want to be.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it is mostly mental.


Someone with absolutely nothing in the slums of Calcutta or the favelas of Brazil, finds happiness and joy in life in what little they have.

The simplest thing makes them happy.

Then I look at someone like my brother who has a McMansion, 3 kids, 2 luxury cars, private schools, lessons every week up the wazoo for each of them, huge walk-in closets, a maid who comes by weekly to clean, a full-time nanny, eating out 3X a day (they don’t cook in that fancy kitchen)…… but he feels like it’s never enough.

He feels poor and he is unhappy (or not as happy as he’d like to be).

He feels like he isn’t rich enough to retire (has close to a million amassed as a net worth, if not a million already), and he feels like it is never enough.

From a quick observation, it’s because of 3 things:

  1. They spend too much — $15,000 a month is a normal thing for them (no vacations included)
  2. They want too much — She has an everlasting list and closets full of clothes with tags on
  3. They aren’t happy — They buy the kids iPads rather than really spending time with them

All of what they’re doing is to fill a void inside of them.

An emotional void that they think needs to be filled with a ton of stuff, but in essence, they just need to cut out the nonsense and the non-essential.

He thinks needs more money, but what he needs is to stop spending excessively, so that the money they earn is more than enough (which it is).



  • Nightvid Cole

    Living in the back of a car is much easier in some climates than others, obviously – but I doubt I’d be willing to do it more than a week or so in any climate that actually exists (Perhaps a bit longer if I had a lot of camping gear, etc.)

  • Tania

    It is my goal ot move toward a simpler lifestyle as well for all the reasons you talk about above. I get what you’re saying about meat. I’ve started to eat more veggies from the yard and in general trying not to waste as much store bought food as I usually do. I’ve finding it’s cheaper when I stick to a few homegrown and a few local farm grown veggies/fruit diet. I still get protein from eggs, cheese, beans and nuts but I spend a lot less on lunch/dinner since I’ve started to be conscious of it.

    We do need a certain minimum amount of resources to live but beyond that it is all in our perspective. Have you watched The Queen of Versailles? It’s on Netflix and it played on Bravo this past Monday (it will replay on 5/3rd and 5/4th). Prime example of how the American Dream can be a never ending vicious cycle. How having more just makes you want more unless you put a stopgap on it and pay attention. I could write pages and pages about that film. It’s about billionaires who are highly leveraged but the lessons could easily be applied to middle and lower class incomes as well. The guy is a time-share magnate that could take me down a whole other path about people get sucked in by time-shares and incur debt for vacations, basically.

  • anna

    That’s so interesting that you and your brother are so different in terms of financial viewpoint, but I suppose the same could be said for my brother and myself. I love sunny San Diego, but wouldn’t mind moving if it means being able to live more comfortably and within means. I don’t know if I could move out of the country, though, I would miss loved ones and I tend to stick to what I know. I admire the few like you who have that adventurous spirit!

  • Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle

    I have debt and it weighs my spirit down. It seems I am missing a lot and waiting to start life because everything is on hold because of the debt.

    I would not be happy living in the back of my car and I need to enjoy life more because no matter how much you save you just never know what tomorrow may bring. Save and be responsible but don’t forget to live.

  • Tim

    I know what you mean…a lot of stuff lives totally in our head. I worked it out once, I could leave my job today, but it would require small town living and staying put during the winter months. I could do it, but it isn’t my ideal. So I work and keep saving for now.

    Your missing blog name…would it be Violent Acres ( The story seems familiar.

  • StackingCash

    Ah, I have mixed feelings with this. I totally get where you are coming from in regards to having happiness not coming from money but within. I also always, ALWAYS keep reminding myself that simplicity is good and I do have it (life in general) better than most. I appreciate everything I have especially health and family. However, unless I unplug myself from the internet and tv and move to a poor country where I do not see “bling,” I do have trouble not envying the rich. Growing up in the big 80’s, I have been bombarded by media to love money and all it can do. First and foremost, it gives you freedom to do what you want to do with your time. Second, it provides the necessities in life. Third, it gives you things and experiences. Like food and travel! Music and art! I like those things too much to live without. Especially food, I love food 🙂

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