Hey, it’s been a while since I did an opinion piece, so I think it’s about time! Today, let’s cover one of my favorite subjects: money, and spending it wisely.
Listen, it’s true: I do a lot of stuff. I travel as much as is humanely possible in the time that I have and with the money I earn, hike like a fiend, write and publish books. Because of these experiences that people see as expensive, I guess I give the unfortunate impression that I’m made of money.
“She must be a trust fund baby.”
“She must have an inheritance.”
“She must have someone paying her bills for her.”
Actually, surprise! None of the above are even close to being true. No trust funds or inheritances here! And I’m single, live alone, and have no one to fall back on. What is a fact, however, is that I know what my priorities are and I spend my money smartly.
Now, that said, I’m a firm believer in spending your hard earned dough on what you love. Me, I love traveling and hiking and books, so I forego other things and activities to do what I want to do most. I’m going to tell you some of the stuff that I choose not to fork over any cash for. For me, they’re a waste of money. But what’s a waste for me might be very important to someone else, so that person should spend their money on it. Don’t take it personally. I’m telling you what works for me, a single woman living off one salary and stretching it pretty nicely. And the first step to doing that is to identify what you prioritize, so you can get rid of what you don’t.
Let’s first take the example of traveling. If I travel as much as possible it means that I’m home as little as possible! That doesn’t mean I’m going to live in a dump. But it does mean that owning my own home probably isn’t at the top of my priority list, nor is an expensive car. Homes and cars are also money gluts, and I need money to travel a lot, so do you see how that works? Why would I spend a whole lot of funds on things that aren’t my priority when I can save that money toward my true loves? By the way, I rent a duplex that I consider my home, and own a car that I adore. Best of all, I get to take five to eight vacations a year! Win-win-win.
Next example: hiking. It’s an illusion that hiking is an expensive hobby. Sure, you need the basics: boots, a backpack, poles if you have knee problems or if you just want poles. That’s about it for me when it comes to equipment. If you plan to hike long distances, in the winter, or camp, you’ll need more stuff than that, and it might get pricey. But the way I do it, hiking is basically a freebie. Oh, and I should mention that most of my travels include hiking. Isn’t that great the way those two things go together?
Here are couple of things that are wastes of money for me, based on my first two priorities. First: joining a gym. Mother Nature is the world’s biggest gym, you can use it whenever you want, and it’s free. Why would I pay money to work out? Second: getting my nails and toenails done. No way in the world I’m spending my money on these things. Long, fancy nails are a burden when you’re running around the world dragging your own bags and sleeping on airplanes for twenty hours. As for those great pedicures most ladies love, those ladies don’t have feet like mine that hike fifteen hundred miles a year. Enough said, right?
The point being: sacrifices have to be made to get what you want, unless you’re made of money. Trim the fat, or don’t complain that you don’t have the funds to do what you love.
Some things can’t be sacrificed. For me, writing and publishing books is one of those things. I’ve been honing my craft for forty years. Self-publishing was not my original choice, but I’ve put a lot of time, energy, and money into it, to the point that I’ve learned to do much of it cheaper and easier. The choice between having pretty fingernails that are just going to get broken on a hiking trail and having my cover artist create a bang-up cover for me is a no-brainer. To tie all this stuff together, when I travel I hike by day, write by night. My priorities fit together so nicely!
In a certain weird way, I’m flattered that people think I’m loaded when I’m really not. So if you’re one of those people…thanks! But the reality is that I don’t waste money. Every penny counts.
You have to eat, sleep, and get to work everyday. After all that is taken care of, pick your priorities wisely and stick to them.