Once upon a time there was a boy. He grew up in large lower middle class family teetering near the poverty line. Frugality was a survival technique. He learned how to stretch a dollar and then stretch it some more. As he grew older, he saw saw the strain caused by living paycheck to paycheck. He didn’t fully understand money, but he knew he wanted enough of it to live without financial stress.
As he approached manhood, higher education looked like the fastest route to financial stability. His lust for creativity and problem solving led him to pursue an engineering degree. Not long into this journey, he met the girl of his dreams. As the rhyme goes, first came love, then came marriage, then came the baby in the baby carriage…then another…then another. He worked by night, went to class by day and slept anywhere in between to support his growing family. A four year degree turned into six, but he proudly walked on graduation day while his wife, pregnant with number four, cheered.
While he started their marriage with no debt and a resolve to keep it that way, life happened and he wandered into everything from credit card debt to student loans – justifying it along the way. However, it didn’t take long to realize that he had become a “slave to the lender”. Even with his new engineer’s salary it felt like his pockets had holes in them and the faster he filled his pockets the bigger the holes got.
Finally, he said enough was enough. He decided he made too much money to be that broke. He made a few feeble attempts to get out of debt delivering pizza and ride-share driving, but he couldn’t seem to get any traction. Then, through a serendipitous conversation about money with a co-worker, he learned about the concept of financial independence – aggressively growing the gap between your income and expenses and investing it to build a perpetual money making machine.
Suddenly, he saw frugality as more than a financial survival technique – it was a way to buy his freedom. He began to see time as his most valuable resource. And, because it is finite, he realized that to build true wealth he would need to stop trading time for money.
With these new epiphanies, he redoubled his efforts and and commitment. Having added two more little ones to the mix (that’s six!) and living on one income, he knew the road would not be easy. He wanted to hold himself accountable, so he decided to start a blog to document his journey. He hoped it would inspire others with growing families to feel like although their hands were full, their pockets could be too.
This is my story, but the next chapter is yet to be written! Please join me as I document my growing family’s journey to financial independence through experiments in extreme frugality, homesteading, real estate investing, and side hustling. (And I promise not to refer to myself in the third person again)