Financially Independent, Despite Herself

Financially Independent, Despite Herself

Hey there F2P readers! I’m pleased to say that my post for today is featured over at The FIRE Starter (TFS), a UK-based blog I’ve enjoyed reading because of its “average guy” tone and content.

My post over at TFS is about my early blunders and, more specifically, how you can stumble repeatedly and still come out ahead of the pack when it comes to living the life you want to live 

Here’s a sneak peek:

The pull of the marketers’ call is strong. We’re bombarded with messages every day about who we need to be and what products and services will help us get there. No matter what we’ve acquired though, the feeling of finally having what will make life better just doesn’t last and we start looking for the next item that will be the key to feeling we have it “together”.

The trouble with these marketing messages is that those we notice most aren’t those that reinforce purchases already made, but those that inform us of what we need or should strive for next. And hearing and internalizing these messages has nasty consequences, not only on our pocketbook, but on our life choices.

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A Four-legged Friend's Take On What Truly Matters

A Four-legged Friend's Take On What Truly Matters

In September 2011 (re)discovered the many benefits one derives from having a dog as a companion. That's when we adopted Belle, a lovely 3 1/2-year-old greyhound & former racer we were fortunate enough to adopt from a greyhound rescue operation located in our city. Initially, Belle was to be my companion because Mr. F2P was to start working away from home for weeks on end, leaving me alone in a very empty house. That said, we quickly realized that she would be much more to us than a security blanket for me while he was away. She has become a full-fledged member of the F2P family and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Belle is a great companion in many respects, but her actions and behaviours also serve as daily reminders of what's important in life. And, regardless of how advanced a species we think we are, we often either forget what matters most or take it for granted when we lead our busy, often-preoccupied, lives.

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The Darker Side of Keeping Up With The Joneses

The Darker Side of Keeping Up With The Joneses

Financial bloggers often speak of the downsides associated with keeping up with "The Joneses"; the folks who seem to be living that elusive "good life".

The thoughts go a little something like this:

  • You spend more than you intend to because they make you want things you hadn't even considered important.
  • You're never happy because you keep thinking about what they have that you don't.
  • You feel the need to get bigger and better versions of the newer things you own as soon as you see they've upgraded their lifestyle. 
  • You feel that, if you're a good provider like they appear to be, you need to be giving your family everything others are providing (education, leisure, experiences, material goods).
  • You feel that if you go to a good school you have a chance at a better life like theirs.
  • You never save enough because no one has their bank balance printed on their forehead but folks will sure notice that you're driving a beater or that you're not wearing the big brands.

If only that were the extent of the consequences associated with aspirational spending.

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Second Update - Living More with Less in 2015

Second Update - Living More with Less in 2015

On January 15, I declared that I was going to live a simpler and richer life by having and buying less stuff and doing more of what matters. I had outlined three main themes as part of my plan:

  1. Don’t buy anything unless it’s urgent - yes, it’s a flexible definition.
  2. Use (and enjoy) what I have.
  3. Focus on spending time with and giving to others.

In March, I reported my first two months, giving myself an overall score of B- because I could have done a better job in the first two categories. Have I improved my performance over March and April? Let's take a look. 

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Top 12 Life-enhancing Books

Top 12 Life-enhancing Books

Books are the best way to get a deep understanding of what a person is trying to convey. They're there for us when we're ready for them. They're patient teachers who allow us to set the pace. And the very best books are those that offer perspective without pretence, unexpected lightbulb moments that enable us to make positive changes in our lives, or an experience that ignites our desire for more in real life. In short, books help us better understand our world and, ultimately, ourselves.

With so many to choose from, it’s hard to know where to turn to next. I’m hoping the following list of my top 12 recommendations can offer some assistance. I assembled it based on the last number of years of reading and present them in order of impact.

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