I'm all fired up!
I stayed up late (way too late) last night reading the archives of The Frugalwoods, and got inspired.
I didn't think I had a highly specific goal to motivate Uber Frugality, like they did--moving to the woods to hike and raise their baby--and had hesitated to sit down and really think through my frugal goals. When I try to think about my ideal living situation, a big question mark always arises. I do love the woods. I also love living where I can walk everywhere. I've always wanted to travel more, to live in different places, to speak many languages, experience many things. I just don't know, and that can feel paralyzing--it's often easier to motivate all one's energy and forces towards something concrete and highly specific.
Luckily, UFF Dog woke me up early this morning asking to go out, and I wanted to PLAN more than I wanted to go back to sleep. I made a pot of French press coffee (and drank it all, so no going back to sleep now…) and sat down at the kitchen table with my trusty, coffee-stained Home notebook, the one where I make lists of groceries, chores, bills, and goals. I was surprised to find that although I don't know my ideal living situation geographically, I do know my ideal living situation temporally.
I want flexibility and freedom for the pursuit of all kinds of goals. Creative projects, family time, meaningful work, close relationships, exploring nature, social causes, practical skills, intellectual and personal and spiritual growth. ALL of that. And the constraints of an 8-5, Monday-Friday job (despite its' many benefits and blessings) make that very difficult.
At this point, and in this phase of life (helping one son through college with another heading there soon, UFF Dad working hard at building his self-employed lifelong dream business), I think that striving for savings is concrete enough for me to get excited about embracing my inner Frugal Weirdo and taking my game up a couple of notches. In 5 years, with both boys likely through undergraduate, more will become clear (perhaps). Maybe we will move to France (UFF Dad's native country). Maybe we will move to the woods (though I think this is not likely). Maybe we will stay right here and I will no longer be employed full-time. Maybe we'll join the Peace Corps. Who knows!
But for now, I want to employ my creativity and channel my future-oriented passion into creating options for ourselves. And to do this, UFF Dad and I need to get on the same page and synchronize our goals. Last night we planned a frugal date today--he won a $10 coffee gift card at his business networking group--so later today we will sit down and hopefully talk about all this, as well as our rather divergent investing strategies.
My new goal is to save and invest 50% of our combined income--my gross and UFF Dad's net. Of course, I hope this will go up later, but with helping our son in college to the tune of around $11,000 per year, this will already be a stretch.
I know that UFF Dad's current goal is to have an office space (outside of our third bedroom) where he can actually bring clients. It just isn't practical to meet them in coffee shops all over town, as he has to run around a lot, racking up miles and toting things with him. It's also not practical, or professional, to bring them trekking through our (rarely pristine) family home. We've talked about various options, from his renting a solo or shared space, to building a work studio on our largish city lot.
UFF Dad is already quite frugal, and very supportive. I think that together we can do this--and he will be much more on board if we are working as a team to achieve both our goals.
Money spent today: $0