Alrighty, thank goodness it’s October! After declaring September to be frugality month (“Samurai September”), I’m finally free to splurge on as much junk as I want! Was it painful for a recovering spendaholic to not buy anything other than food for a whole month? Damn straight it was!
Here are some things I learned along the way:
1) By writing out a promise whether it is on a piece of paper stuck to your refrigerator, or on a world-famous website, your goals become REAL. Writing out my goals really motivates me to stick to them. It’s just like when you have your To Do List on a notepad. If there’s one thing that’s not crossed out, you do your darndest to execute . Focus on the mission soldier!
2) When your goal is to not spend money, you start revisiting things you already have and enjoy them again. I went through my 1950’s baseball card collection that I had stashed away in the closet and had a fantastic time reading all the stats of great players such as: Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax rookie, Roberto Clemente, Yogie Berra, and Al Kaline. I picked up my dusty Martin acoustic guitar and learned how to play: “This Is The First Day of My Life,” by Bright Eyes, “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” by Poison, and “Blackbird” by Paul McCartney pretty well. Finally, my old Klein mountain bike sure got plenty of good use as well.
3) Once I got in the habit of appreciating all that I have, I started not wanting to buy new stuff. My five year old G4 iBook is a great example of making due with less. In fact, I wanted to start selling stuff and getting rid of clutter. There’s no sacrifice in my mind anymore about not buying new things out of desire. The only things I need to buy now are things out of necessity, such as replacing my loafers given they have holes in them.
4) Time really goes by quickly. I still remember very clearly when I wrote my declaration, and now it’s over. But, what remains is a nice chunk of change in my savings account because I didn’t splurge on stuff I didn’t need.
5) It’s more fun doing things together! I joined a club of like-minded individuals who want to be millionaires eventually. I discovered a guy who works three jobs to make ends meet (Brian at My Next Buck). Brian then introduced me to another fella who was $101,000 into debt and decided to deliver pizza to pay it off (follow Jeff on Twitter @DeliverAwayDebt. Jeff is freaking hilarious, and makes me want to go work at In N’ Out Burger for kicks!). I then was able to call into Blogtalk Radio and speak to Baker at Man vs. Debt and Jim at Bargaineering about their views on using cash and credit cards. It’s just FUN to speak to, and trade e-mails with random folks, all with the same purpose of becoming financially independent.
ALMOST BOUGHT, BUT DIDN’T!
Here’s a list of stuff I contemplated buying in September, but held strong:
Apple Macbook Pro: $1,450 (Typing to you on a 5 year old iBook G4 13″ laptop hand-me-down with a 10 minute battery life and speed as fast as old pokey the donkey isn’t the greatest.)
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 Watch: $23,000! (My jeweler said it’s a collectors item and impossible to get. Yes, impossible to get because it costs $23,000 bucks! WTF!)
Tod’s Loafers: $400 (I have a hole in each shoe, but nobody knows because they are in the soles. I just can’t find any normal looking, super comfy loafers except for these.)
Babolat Aero Pro Drive Tennis Racquet: $180 (I accidentally smashed the racquet on the court while doing a “thunderous” overhead, and I need a backup racquet since playoffs start end of the month! Despite a sore shoulder, and achy knees, I ended up 10-3 in my 8.5 & 9.5 combo league! Club pro is seeing if he can hook me up with a replacement, and has given me a loaner in the meantime.)
Definitive Tech Sub-woofer: $1,000 (Started making an annoying non-stop squealing sound after 3 years of ownership. Thank goodness Def Tech has a 5 year warranty and I’m waiting for it get repaired. Need that thunderous base for a complete home theater movie experience!)
In a sense, maybe I actually saved $26,000, because a penny not spent is a penny saved right? I’d love to get the opinion of readers. It’s interesting to note that I didn’t write “laptop, watch, shoes, tennis racquet”, but instead detailed out exactly what I want. I think if one can narrow down their exact desires, it then becomes easier to focus on getting the best deals.
So what now for October you ask? First of all, September held up quite well in the stock markets, which unfortunately gives me less confidence the markets will do well in October. Hence, I’m staying defensive and only putting extra money back in when we get at least a 5% pull back. We’re ripping again in the stock market, and I think it’s wonderful for all of us.
With regards to my spending habits, I think I’ll give it a go for another frugal October! Although “Samurai October” doesn’t have as nice a ring as “Samurai September,” we’re still far enough away from the holidays where marketers won’t be in full blitz mode yet! I really need to get some new loafers, but after that it’s just about savings. Anybody know how to play “I’m Yours” by Jason Miraz?
Readers, if you have the money, but end up not spending it on stuff you’ve been desiring, does that count as savings in the bank? Can I add $23,000 to my “Freedom Fund” or does that not count?
Freedom Fund Update: Added $6,000 from salary and investments for October to now $80,000.
Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”