Get Rich Slowly is asking everyone to write about their biggest financial achievement. This is a hard one for me since this year alone I have had several achievements (multiple income streams, passive income, etc). Here is my biggest financial achievement:
Spending Less Than I Make, No Matter What
I used to know this rule before I got married, but somewhere I lost it due to wanting to please my wife, believing that my income would grow, that the credit card companies keep giving me credit so it must be ok. Then the little extra expenses of gas or utilities would come into the month and we'd have to put a little on the old credit card. There was a point when the only bill I had was my student loan (of $12K) and $6K in the bank.
Flash forward to today, I estimate we spend about 2/3 of our income on average on normal expenses with 1/3 of our income going to take care of our debts from years of bad choices. It took a big boulder of being out of electricity for 3 weeks, no running water for 2 weeks, working at Taco Bell in order to bring some money in while I searched for a better paying job for me to wake up from the fantasy that I could spend more than I make. We're seeking at the end of this month to cut out our cell phone plan to bring the amount going to debt even higher.
By spending less than we make, my whole point of view on money has changed. I see my coworkers with $40 in the bank and spending a whole day on the job looking for someone with cash so they can buy equipment (that would be reimbursed) and see where I used to be. I look at my beater of a car as I pull near a $30K car and remind myself I have the title of mine, who knows if they have the title of theirs. I see my roommate that has no debts, $10/hr job, $300 covers all housing expenses complain about not having money and I see someone that does not have the motivation yet to live a life of spending less than they make.