The other day I was talking to my blog sis Lily at The Frugal Gene about why I don’t have two phones.
For Lily, owning two phones is a frugal option since it eases her work-life balance and saves her money.
I told Lily I just didn’t want to spend money on a new phone. I just don’t like spending in general.
For years, I thought about how my life would turn over a new leaf once Mr. FAF started his new job and contributed to our family income. And I was.
In the weeks and months leading to Mr. FAF’s graduation and his first day at the new job, I was ecstatic. I felt like I was on cloud line.
I thought about all the things I wanted to buy such as expensive dresses, expensive restaurant meals, and trips to resort. I was excited that all of my financial worries would soon disappear because we are now a double-income family.
My second prediction was correct. I no longer worry about getting fired from my job, running out of cash, not being able to make our monthly mortgage payment.
My husband will help me weather any financial storm that comes our way.
My first prediction (feeling happier with all the new purchases), unfortunately, didn’t come true.
Our combined income does not land us in the top 1% or 5% of the household income in America, but I know we are somewhere among the 10%.
Does that make me any happier? No. Sometimes I feel so empty inside. Is it what it’s like to be financially stable? Am I ungrateful for all the great things that have happened to us? Am I greedy and want more money to be happy?
We want to invest in real estate because it is one of the sure ways that lead to wealth if we invest wisely. However, that is not the only reason.
After years of longing for two incomes without financial worries, I feel that one of my biggest wishes in life has been fulfilled. But it also leaves a void in my life. If I no longer yearn for more income, what should I be obsessed with now? Am I passionate about anything other than saving money?
I have written about our pledge for the million dollar club. Mr. FAF and I do want to become millionaires one day. But I honestly don’t think that’s the dream that motivates me and occupies my thoughts every single day.
I am not at a point where I’m indifferent to money. I still care about money a great deal. I want us to pay off the mortgage on our primary residence. We are maxing out our retirement accounts and saving up for our next property. But that can’t be all there is to life.
I’ve realized that earning a ton of money and having a net worth that lands us in the millionaire status doesn’t motivate me as much anymore. What I really care about right now is how I can use money to explore my potential as an employee, a boss, and an entrepreneur.
One day when I die, I won’t think too much about how much money I have because I can’t take it with me. I will leave it behind for my family and the causes that I care about.
But what I would like to ask myself is whether I have taken advantage of all the opportunity that I have to explore my strengths and weaknesses. In other words, I want to know that I have left no stone unturned in my effort to succeed.
Money is not the only or the best indicator of success. But there’s no denying that wealth can make a lot of things happen in life.
What I care about
These are the things that occupy my thoughts every day and what I do want to get more money for.
1. Climbing up the career ladder
I know many people don’t like the 9-5 grind and just want to get out of the rat race. I was in school for 10 years before landing my first ever full-time job.
During that time, I just couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to live with no pop quizzes, no stressful exams, no lengthy papers, and no doing homework in the evenings and on the weekends.
In other words, I was tired of being in school and just wanted to have a real job that ends at 5 so that I can work on own projects in my free time. I was tired of being a poor college and grad student and wanted a stable paycheck with benefits.
When I was an intern and riding the train to work in DC, I couldn’t help but look at other people well dressed in suits around me and wished I could work full-time as them one day.
In 2015, my wish was finally granted. I could finally put what I learned in school to practice and made a living off of it. I have been at my current job for 2.5 years and still enjoy it.
There are days when I wish I could do something differently or be my own boss. But when I think about those long days and nights in school when I was in charge of my time and money, I balked at the idea of me putting more hours and getting more stressed out about everything than I do now.
But my hope is that I will be able to move up both in terms of responsibilities and better pay. A higher pay will be an indicator of my experience, expertise, and trust from the employer that I am worth their investment.
I am not saying that high-payment jobs are worth more than low-paying jobs. I am, however, looking at my own career trajectory and won’t be happy with the same salary for years to come.
2. Turning my blog into a profitable business
Sometimes I feel like my life resolves around my blog. I wake up thinking about the post I’m going to publish or wondering if my traffic has gone up the previous night.
I launched my blog to generate an extra income for our family. But now I am obsessed with what I can write, how I connect with the reader and other fellow bloggers, and how I can grow my blog in the fastest way possible, not necessarily the income it can generate.
I think the growth of the blog has shown me that having the audacity to overcome my own fear and insecurities to launch something I was totally unfamilar with can pay off. Blogging shows me that if I dare to dream and take action, the outcome might much more rewarding and satisfying than I could ever image.
Ultimately, however, I plan to develop my own products and monetize money in a way that shows that blogging is not a futile attempt. Many people still think that blogging is a hobby and doesn’t take it seriously.
I want to prove to them the opposite. Blogging can indeed help me support my family and turn into an enterprise one day. I would like to generate enough profit to sustain my blog and to show others that they can do the same despite all the naysayers.
One of my biggest blog-related wishes is that I will be able to publish a book like what Mrs. Frugalwoods has done with her “Meet The Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living” book.
3. Having a physical product not related to blogging
I love my blog, and there’s no double about it. In the long run, I want to develop blog-related products such as a course or a book. But I also have a burning desire to start a business with a physical product that is not related to blogging.
I have looked into Etsy and thought long and hard about what product I can make and sell on this platform. My artistic talent is limited, and I have absolutely no interest in handcraft.
I once tried to make a dress from two free T-shirts and seriously doubted if anybody would want to buy it. It was also a huge time sink since I spent almost three full days making a dress that could sell for $5 at best.
I then thought about knitting since I learned it from my mom when I was in grade school. I did knit a scarf for my dad one time, but it was too short for his neck. I then realized that knitting is also extremely time-consuming. I have put the Etsy project in the backburner but might revisit it one day.
I have also thought a lot about having a Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) store since I won’t have to make anything. Some bloggers such as Michael from Financially Alert started an FBA business and provided a great guide on how to start this endeavor.
I will need to do more research on what product I want to develop and market. However, whether it’s Etsy, FBA, or any other business, I do want to try my luck in starting a business from scratch one day.
I am an extremely risk-averse person. I find that my creativity and productivity thrive on stability. When I have a stable job and income, I don’t have to worry as much about making ends meet. I find myself more calm to think about my business ideas and be more create with my blog content.
If there is a major disruption to my life, be it a job loss, marital problem, or health issues, I might find it hard to keep up with the rhythm that maximizes my efficiency.
Before Mr. FAF started working, I was constantly worried about money, which in many cases took a toll on my marriage and health. Now that we have a more stable stream of income, I can focus more on my passion projects such as my blog.
Having more money lifts such a huge financial burden off of my shoulder, but it hasn’t brought me the euphoria that I expected. Instead, I find myself to be more calm and clear-headed to pursue my next business ideas.
I might not seem to care about money as much, but I still believe that to an extent money is still a measure of success for my future enterprises.
In that case, I work hard not only to get rich, but to prove to myself and others that I can start and develop a business that’s financially viable in the long-term.
It doesn’t matter how big or small the profit is. There just needs to be a profit to keep my operation and ideas going.
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