Choices, Lifestyle and Finances

seniors choices future
Choices can impact your future.

We all have choices. Deciding how we want to spend our time and money is a big part of everyone’s life, which ultimately impacts your future. As I move into my 40’s, my perspective on life, money, and my future has changed. I now see things through a different lens; many things look different now than they did when I was in my 20’s. I see my family and friends getting older; some friends saying they will work until their 70 and others taking early retirement because they can. There are numerous articles talking about how people today are hitting their retirement years no where near ready – both financially and emotionally. It’s scary how unprepared Americans are for retirement.

Over the last few years, I have really started to assess my lifestyle to understand the choices I’ve made for myself and what truly makes me happy. What I’ve discovered about myself is that I love living simply. I have chosen to give up a lot of things that at one point in my life I thought I needed to make me happy. But in actuality, when I gave these things up or stopped doing them, I found they really don’t bring me happiness. We tend to keep doing what we’ve always done because it’s easy and we don’t take the time to explore other options.

life lamb reading
Find what makes you happy in life.

What did I give up over the last year?

  • No new clothes and shoes – My closet was overflowing! Instead, I’m trying to wear the clothes I have and for those that just sit in my closet collecting dust will eventually get donated to Goodwill.
  • Cosmetics – My bathroom was full of products I didn’t even use. I took an inventory of what I had and only buy the things I need and use all the time.
  • Massages every month – This is a luxury that I may go back to in the future if it helps reduce pain, but it isn’t something I need right now.
  • Haircuts at a salon – I just go to GreatClips and get a nice trim for only $7-10.
  • Red meat – Eliminated red meat, as well as shifting the majority of my meals to veggies really helped reduce my grocery budget.
  • Eating out, especially for lunch – I bring my lunch to work 99% of the time. It’s healthier and cheaper.
  • Soda – Although soda isn’t a huge expense, research has shown that drinking soda has a detrimental impact to your health.
  • Cable TV – I tried out a digital TV antenna and cut the DirecTV cord.
three girls
Lifestyle choices can impact your finances.

The changes I made were primarily motivated by my choice to live a healthier life and to save more money with the goal of financial independence. I’ve made some lifestyle changes by cooking most of my meals at home, including making larger servings to freeze and take to work for lunch. I also don’t go out as much as I used to, as I’ve gotten older (and wiser) going to the bars all the time to hang out and meet guys wasn’t as appealing as it was in my 20’s. Even changes in my hobby of reading – from buying books on Amazon, a bookstore, or even used at Goodwill, to now using the library exclusively to borrow books and moves – for free! I feel I make new frugal discoveries every day that impacts my choices, lifestyle and finances.

Some may think that I’m depriving myself of things, but I’ve cut certain things out little by little and find I don’t miss those things. They really don’t bring me any joy or happiness. In fact, I often wonder why I didnt’ start simplifying sooner. I am now choosing my future and my financial independence, which is ultimately what I decided is my happiness. I am not giving up pleasure or happiness since I have discovered the joy of living with what I minimally needs. It’s also fun for me to find new ways to save money because I am a finance and accounting nerd after all.

time for changeSo, what did I learn? I’ve learned to be creative and try new things. There are so many choices you can make in your life that can have a big impact on your lifestyle and finances, that it pays (literally) to try something new and see if it works for you. You can change your habits and make better choices. It may not be easy, but it can be done if you take the time and effort to try new and different things.

Is there anything you’ve changed lately? How did it impact your life?

4 thoughts on “Choices, Lifestyle and Finances

  1. Hi, Jennifer, this is great advice. Simplifying my lifestyle like you has resulted in many profound changes in my life.Cleared my mind lowered my stress level and diminished my money concerns to name a few. Many people agree that always wanting more is a never-ending disease and to be able to be grateful for what we have brings a great peace of mind, and in my experience this is true.
    Thanks for putting this out there and may your many readers heed your advice.
    Good stuff Jennifer.
    paul

    1. Hi Paul – I’m always happy to hear when other people find that simplifying their lives brings great results. It’s very true that always wanting more often brings you more stress and unhappiness. Thanks for your kind words! Cheers ~Jen

  2. It´s inspiring to read posts like this with so many great ideas. The point is that I´m on the same journey and is always searching great ideas.
    Small changes can have so big effort. For example, I didn´t eat out so much. But close to my working place was a great take away coffee places. Soon I start walking once a day in my coffee break and bought me a cup of coffee to drink in the work.
    After 2 weeks I calculated how much it cost me on year to buy one cup in the 5 working days in the week. After seeing that it was close to around 712 dollars on the year I decided to drink only at home!
    I got once a great advice from one financial guru. He said; if you want to buy a thing which costs 50 dollars, then don´t buy it directly but sleep over it in 2 nights. If you find 5 reasons to buy it after that time, then buy it!

    1. I think most people do not do what you did and calculate how much they actually spend on “little” purchases. They can really add up!

      I like the advice from your financial guru… definitely sleep on a big purchase, you may find that you really don’t need that thing after all. Thanks for your comment!

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