Week #1 of the Zero Day Challenge is over! If you haven’t read about it, check it out before reading this update. It was actually much easier for me to complete the challenge. To make tracking my spending easier, I am only using a single credit card that texts me every time it is used, even if I have cash on hand. Not everyone is able to do this, but I would recommend it if you can. I focused less on efficiently spending this week than I should have, but I think it provides a great baseline and will definitely help me improve throughout the year. I’m actually very happy with the results.
Who here wants a Porsche 911 GT3? I definitely do. It’s a great looking car. It’s extremely fast. I’ve never driven anything like it. The thing is, I’ll probably never own one. At a whopping $175,000 (for the base model, with no extras), it’a a reckless expense that I cannot afford — at least not right now, maybe when I’m rich and famous. But, aspiring to have more is one of the prime motivators to better ourselves. Our goals are what force us to push ourselves harder. Setting unattainable, unreasonable goals will only lead us to failure. Figuring out a strategy to make goals that we can actually achieve is paramount to furthering ourselves.
Do you try really hard to spend within your budget, only to find that you go over every month? I thought that I was doing a good job at budgeting. I tried saving money every month, but in the end lifestyle inflation caught up to me. Instead of taking responsibility, I blamed random expenses that came up.
Reflecting on the past few years, I’ve never been great at controlling my spending, and now I see why. Last year, I spent $20,000 on the combination of food and “other expenses” which is way too much, and is slowing down my progress towards financial independence. I know for a fact that I can do better.
One of the more poignant memories that I have from my childhood takes place in the most innocuous of locations: a Greek take-out restaurant. I was still in High School, getting a gyro for lunch before I headed back to class. Waiting for my food, I looked at the television and the news was covering the stock market. I never really paid much attention to it. I remembered playing the “stock market game” in Middle School, and that I lost a lot of fake money, but that was it. On this particular day (October 15th, 2008), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down several hundred points because retail sales had hit a new low. I didn’t really comprehend everything that was going on, but I was suddenly filled with sadness that I did not truly understand. All I knew was that people were losing their jobs and families were hurting. I wouldn’t feel sadness like this again until my mom’s business went under and we had to sell our house a few years later.