Sacrifice & Being Content
Posted by Ken | Filed under Ken
This week I’m revisiting one of my older posts. The message, no less, still rings true, even a year later. Enjoy!
I knew, once I had found my focus and committed to my new budget that my journey to financial independence was going to take a certain amount of sacrifice – especially considering the narrow five-month time limit I gave myself to eliminate what remained of my student loans. My financial snapshot of the previous year had clearly shown me that needed to spend less in restaurants and more on groceries and that I needed to reel in my entertainment spending – all while beefing up my already aggressive debt repayment plan and my long-term savings regimen.
I wasn’t in love with the idea of cutting back (severely for a few months) but once I found my focus – my motivation – I was ready.
Well…as it turns out, sacrifice isn’t such a bad thing. Discerning where sacrifices needed to be made really boiled down to sorting out my needs from my wants. And THAT was an eye-opening experience.
I suddenly became hyper-aware of my life-inventory – or the ‘stuff’ in my life. Living on such a meagre budget left little room to spend money on anything more than I absolutely needed to get through a month. Not only did I come to appreciate the things I had, but I became a LOT less wasteful – use all the food in the fridge, use all the toiletries in my cabinet before going out and buying more – little things like that. It became a challenge to see how far I could make my inventory stretch – all the while knowing that the sacrifice would put me that much closer to my goal. When I did splurge on purchases (every once in awhile), you can bet that I appreciated the purchase on a FAR deeper level.
Sacrifice also had a positive impact on my physical health! By being more conscious about my food consumption – no unnecessary junk food and following recommended portions, I actually lost some unhealthy weight. AND because limited budget freed up a lot of my spare time, I ended up spending my time doing free things like exercising more. Food for thought.
Going without certain luxuries didn’t have the negative impact on my life that I feared it would. In fact, I noticed that I was alleviated from a lot of the anxiety that comes from “want.” Being the consumer culture that we are contributes to this perpetual discontent with the possessions and conveniences we have. Eventually that shiny new new toy loses its lustre in a few short months when the latest and greatest model hits the market.
Thinking back on the pre-budget dark age of my life, I certainly could have refused to buckle down and sacrifice. To my former self, I say this: “If you don’t want to sacrifice, then you better make more money, otherwise you have no business overindulging.”
Contentment – the byproduct of my sacrifice is a benefit I did not anticipate. Suddenly, I found myself at ease with what I had, with the free things in life, with the money I was making. A huge stress was lifted off my shoulders because I was no longer burdened by the anxiety of discontent.
This phase of contentment is hopefully one that I will carry forth in my life. Not to say that I won’t strive for bigger and better things – it just means that those better things and phases in my life will be, simply, icing on the cake.
Until next week!