Unexpected Motivation – Secret Frugality

Only a quick post.  It seems that my aversion to Black Friday has increased from a cold to flu, I literally am allergic to rancid festivals of consumerism.

My aversion has it’s good points, making me able to save more than I spend.  But the downside is having a streaming nose whilst simultaneously shivering and sweating.

Maybe it’s just a highly evolved defence mechanism against consumers, go away nasty consumption Zombie.

Roll on the January sales.

When you are saving hard from month to month for a very long term goal like Financial Independence, motivation can bounce around a little bit.  It’s important to keep your eyes open to top it up when you can.

The unexpected
At work I am surrounded by all sorts of people.  Some, blatantly spending money like there’s no tomorrow whilst complaining how expensive life is.  Kind of like chowing down on three doughnuts whilst complaining that it’s your metabolism that won’t let you lose any weight.  Others seem to love spending and perhaps genuinely do gain pleasure from buying the best of the best.  Good luck and fair play to them.

I digress, slightly.  Must be the anti-consumerism flu induced hallucinations.

My work is in a fairly specialised area, and one that if you gain the right skills and network properly can leave you ‘invaluable’ to employers.  With a bit of cunning and a smidgeon of bravery people find themselves in the contracting or consulting world.  Working on large specialist projects for pretty hefty ‘day rates’.  We can be talking £1,000+ a day for contracts that can run over into the years.  You, yourself, take on some risk of projects being cancelled, no holiday or sick pay, having to find new contracts etc.  And you have to be really good to get repeat contacts.  Having a healthy saving balance helps reduce these risks somewhat.

I digress again.

Whilst people at work generally busy themselves in the work itself and leave their ‘satellite jobs’ to be outsourced (buying coffee from coffee houses, grabbing breakfast on the way in, eating out for lunch and driving into work) there are two of these contractors that have a different approach.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Frugal
They are clearly paid a ‘healthy’ income, more than most I suspect, yet they are drinking the rank gritty machine coffee, eating home made lunches, wearing older shirts and walking to work.  What’s surprising is that despite not spending money, they are still good at their job.  Who would have thought an older work shirt or eating a home made lunch doesn’t make you stupid or your work less valuable?

It’s awesome to see some of the better paid workers living the more frugal lifestyle, I suspect some of the graduates appear higher rollers than them, given their shiny new suits and cars.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see these contractors disappear into the mist of Financial Independence in a few years.

It’s easy to forget that excessively spending is designed to obvious and flashy, yet the exact opposite, substantial savings, is much more subtle and sneaks under the radar.

Sometimes the pursuit of Financial Independence can seem a lonely one, outside of the blogging world.  It’s good to get a reminder that excessive consumption isn’t always as rife as it seems.

Mr Z

14 thoughts on “Unexpected Motivation – Secret Frugality

  1. weenie

    Hope you're feeling better soon, Mr Z. I've not been seriously ill since I started having flu jabs at work.

    All the best for you in your job and hope you can get that £1k+ a day contract – would certainly make getting to FI a lot quicker!

    One of the reasons for going to Huw's FIRE Escape gatherings is that you get to speak to other like-minded people about FI – unless your other half, family and friends are on board, pursuit of FI can seem lonely. This can be made better via blogging and online interaction, but it really doesn't beat meeting people face to face and talking about it in a very liberating and motivating manner.

    Reply
  2. Mike Rawson

    I was one of those contractors (not on £1K per day, sadly).

    I rode a scooter to work and took the same home-made lunch in every weekday for 8 years (tuna pasta, since you ask).

    It gets easier to be frugal when you get closer to FI and realise you can quit in a few years.

    Reply
  3. The Five Laws Of Gold

    Someone at work made a comment the other day that I had the same jumper for 3 years now. I take it as complement even though they didn't mean it as such.

    I think problem with FIRE is unless you are having tattoo on your forehead it's hard to notice you. Few months ago one of my co-workers quite their job age 55 and retired. It turned out he had 3 rental properties and no one ever expected him to be such a wealthy person. Everyone though he must be quite poor, he biked 10 miles to work, he never went to nights out and always made sure to pick up at least 2-3 overtime shifts per month.

    It was really nice feeling to see someone succeed to achieve FI in a low pay job that I do.

    Reply
  4. John B

    Ah yes, the 4 years I spent contracting with huge pension salary sacrifices through my umbrella company. I had to work on site for 18 months, with tatty shirts, then managed to persuade them to let me work from home, so I could dispense with the shirt…

    Its was a very dull job, but I didn't half milk it.

    Reply
  5. Mr Zombie

    Thanks, smashed my way through the flu finally.

    Yeah, a contract like that would certainly supercharge things!

    I do kind of revel in the solo pursuit. Maybe one of these days I will head along to one of the gatherings! 🙂

    Reply
  6. Mr Zombie

    Hi John,

    Got to take those opportunities as they come up. I get the feeling people don't, because they feel loyalty to the company or they might not get a promotion down the line….I'm all for milking it.

    Reply
  7. John B

    In my case it was returning for an organisation that had forced me out a few years before with a relocation. I was delighted to take my revenge with their money.

    Reply
  8. The Five Laws Of Gold

    I agree I expect to wear this jumper 3 years from now. What is surprising is that someone actually noticed and cared enough to comment. I don't remember what my c-workers were wearing yesterday not to mention 3 years back 😀

    Reply
  9. Cash Flow Diaries

    I hope you get better soon! I would say that the majority of the people that I know are all spenders. It took months of training my Girlfriend to be frugal and I really like the direction our finances our going.

    Its crazy to see how nuts people are with spending money and no regard.

    Reply
  10. Pingback: Unexpected Motivation #6: FIRE close to home – The Finance Zombie

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