Due to a recent change in our private situation, we’re not living together anymore. I’m currently working in Belgium and my girlfriend is studying in The Netherlands. We adapted our lifestyle accordingly and as such, our time together is limited. Weekends are even more precious at this point.
I realise that this new situation is an extra motivation towards pursuing Financial Independence. For us this is defined as being free from other responsibilities and doing what we love to do. One of the first things that comes to mind is traveling. Our current situation makes me realise even more that what we’re doing feels right.
So this change of scenery has boosted my motivation tremendously and has resulted in some personal changes. The first significant change is not buying a car during the time we live apart. In a previous post, I talked about having lost my car. Due to this change, I focussed my job hunt in Belgium to locations which are easily accessible by public transport. As the Belgium government has an incentive where 100% of the costs for public transport are being reimbursed, this is something I want to use excessively.
Did I succeed?
Yes I did! I found a great job within a 40 minute commute. 20 minutes of that is covered by train, the other is me biking and walking. I even have flexible hours and can work from home! This means, I don’t spend a single euro on work related transport. And trust me, it feels good! Seeing long lines of traffic in the morning is almost entertaining. I don’t mean this in a condescending way because I realise some people need a car. However, a lot of them could actually use alternative means of transport.
During weekends, we both use the bus as means of transportation. Flixbus comes in handy here. We both own a good bike to get around in other situations.
The second change is linked to my new job. My monthly salary and benefits increased. That means I can buy more expensive things, increase the amount of restaurant visits and spend less time on tracking my expenses, right? Haha… That’s funny. Now, shut up!
Lot’s of people automatically change their lifestyle accordingly and buy more shit…Keeping up with The Joneses. Instead, I’ll boost the amount of money I invest every month, moehaha.
The third change is more an experiment. In Germany, I had a gym membership. The monthly cost for that was 20€ ($23). This is very reasonable and I’m not saying that you can’t spend money for sports. As I have a background in sport sciences, I can only cheer a healthy lifestyle with plenty of sports and other outdoors activities. Which is why I’m going to spend some money on purchasing weights/workout gear for working out at home. I’ve given myself a budget of 240€ ($276), hence, the ROI will be one year.
I realise that this is a rather small adjustment, but it’s these changes that become significant ones you put them all together. Small changes should also be easier to implement into your daily life.
Result: My savings rate should increase considerably. I’m planning on posting another net worth update soon!
I don’t consider these changes as sacrifices but rather as opportunities to increase my net worth and speed up my time to financial freedom. I would also like to point out that the changes above don’t decrease my level of happiness at all. On the contrary, now that I optimised my daily life, I feel better.