7 (Awesome) Perks Money Buys You

by J. Money - Published January 11, 2016

skateboarder in sunset

You might be surprised to hear this, but I did not win the $900 million jackpot on Saturday (now up to $1.3 BILLION btw – wow). I have, however, won earned almost half a million over the course of my lifetime, and with it comes a number of perks similar to that of winning the lottery :)

Here’s a handful of them, for all those needing some extra motivation:

#1. You can order whatever you want off the menu!

Such a small thing, but one of the best. Being able to pick the stuff you actually want to eat based off your tummy and not the price – imagine that? You’re still conscious of the item’s value and whether it’s worth the trade off, but no more stressing about being able to afford an extra $2.00 for bacon or $6 for beer. You eat and drink just like all your spendy friends, only you can actually afford it ;)

#2. Unexpected bills become nuisances, not disasters

No matter what we do or how much we prepare, $hit continues to happen in our lives whether we like it or not. But the big difference in how it affects you is whether you’ve got the money to cover such things or you don’t. And when you have it, the occurrences become pesky little mosquitoes over Velociraptors when you’re broke and living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Example: The other day my wife took her car to get a $30 oil change and an hour later we ended up with a bill for $700. Not only were two of her tires shot (one literally had a hole in it slowly leaking air – oops) but her alignment was way off too and needed some pretty quick repairs so nothing major happened while out on the road. Then of course she still needed her oil changed!

Now a decade ago I would have been s-c-r-e-w-e-d and cursing the high heavens left and right, but the current me just sighed and slipped out a single expletive or so, and then went back on his merry way doing whatever he was doing before getting the news (probably eating the gummy bears his kids slip under his office door). It still sucked dropping $700 out of the blue, but it sucks a lot less when it doesn’t affect your quality of life or any of your main goals. It’s a beautiful place to be.

#3. You stop becoming desperate!

As with dating or trying to land your first real job, many of us have been desperate to get our hands on some cold hard cash through various times of our lives :) But as anyone can attest to, it’s much better to be in a position of wanting something than NEEDING it. Or as Chief Grady of Super Troopers so eloquently stated back in the day: desperation is a stinky cologne.

#4. You make decisions a lot faster (and smarter)

Similar to both the dining perks and unexpected mosquito bills, when you know exactly where you stand financially you’re able to call the shots quicker too. Which is very different than thinking/assuming you have XYZ in savings and can afford something (a new dress? iPad? Loss of side gig?) only to in fact be in the opposite corner.

When I first started this blog, I thought I was saving $200/mo based on what my head thought my income and expenses were. But when I literally started tracking it all for 3 straight months, I realized I was actually LOSING MONEY every single month – to the tune of almost $200/mo! That’s a $400 delta!

How the hell could I have been off by $400?? Well, I’ll tell you – because our brains suck at doing math in our heads, and sometimes only likes to remember the good things vs bad ones. (Like, *ahem* bills) So knowing *exactly* where your money is – or isn’t – at all times can help you make much more informed decisions over the course of your life. Which is exactly why I track my net worth every single month! So I know where everything is! (And since I literally copy and paste the #’s directly off my bank accounts, they’re all facts vs guestimations)

#5. You don’t have to do stuff you don’t want to just for the money

When you’re broke you pretty much have to do EVERYTHING to get by. But when you’ve got your finances on lock you get the privilege of being picky. You can still hustle your ass off or take on less-than-exciting jobs to hit your goals even faster, but in either case it’s an *option* that you’re choosing out of your own desires vs. straight up necessity. Which is an important difference.

This is why you may hear a friend turning down a $500 gig or choosing not to work overtime to get that time and a half. The extra money is always nice, but the power to say no is even nicer.

#6. You don’t have to track every penny anymore if you don’t want! (Gasp)

You’ll either love me or hate me for saying this (watch out budgeters – hot topic coming through!), but when your money’s flowing the way you want it to be, you just might not want to spend time tracking every last peso of it. You’ll probably lose some of it in the process and not be 100% efficient anymore, but the time and hassle it frees up may prove even better. Or not. It all becomes a personal decision at this point, but either way it’s a new option you’re granted now that you’re no longer living paycheck-to-paycheck. And of course there are some middle grounds here too.

(I personally go in phases where some months I look at every single thing that hits my account and try to optimize the crap out of it, and then others I just watch from afar and dive in when somethings looks off. And I’ll be the first to admit I leave money on the table when I’m not knee-deep in it 24/7!)

#7. And lastly, as they say in St. Lucia – No Pressure, No Problem!

While everyone knows having more money is better than having less, what those extra 0’s really get you in the end is greater peace and quiet. You’ll still have times when everything goes wrong and pushes you off track a bit, but by and large once you’re managing your money well you can concentrate on the other important areas of your life and even forget about money a bit. It’s a wonderful thing!

nopressurenoproblem

But, it all comes down to breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle first and getting your system in place. The nice thing though is you only have to figure it out once and off you go from there :) And you’re already on your way just by reading this blog!

So. Lottery winning or not, many a perks lie around the corner and it’s just a matter of time when you can start scooping them up. Oh, and one other fun one? Being able to point at almost anything for sale and telling yourself, “I can afford that.” Even though you’d never waste your money anymore ;)

It’s the small things in life, baby… Who’s with me?

{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes January 11, 2016 at 5:12 am

One thing I can definitely say happens once you have money – You sleep much better at night. Having that stash and backup plan in place does wonders for a good nights rest.

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2 J. Money January 11, 2016 at 7:15 am

Very true too!

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3 Grettman January 11, 2016 at 5:39 am

You can also change other people’s lives. Being able to give some of your stacks of cash is good for yourself and others!

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4 J. Money January 11, 2016 at 7:17 am

YES! Or even your free time because you don’t need to spend it all earning money!

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5 Melvin Harrson January 14, 2016 at 3:14 am

Hey J Money I’m 22 Years old , and I’m just beginning to learn how to save money and I’m starting from $0 . Is it to late for me ? Have I already built bad habits ?

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6 Kevander Holyfield January 14, 2016 at 9:36 pm

Nope, it’s not too late. In fact, you’re way ahead just by paying attention. Read and learn and try new approaches to find what works for you, then celebrate each small step along the way. On a related note, one book that I seriously wish I had read at 22 is Your Money Or Your Life…

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7 J. Money January 18, 2016 at 4:23 pm

YES! What Kevander said!

I didn’t start paying attention to my money until I was 25 – so you’re way head of me :) It’s never too late – you just have to care enough to start making a change!

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8 Melvin Harrson January 25, 2016 at 3:14 am

Thanks J Money !!!! This blog is a big help looking forward to continue to be here and learn valuable lessons from you .

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9 Melvin Harrson January 25, 2016 at 3:13 am

Thanks a lot man I really appreciate the response , it’s good to here about this from my peers , I’m really trying to change my ways when it comes to money , so in the near future I can be more flexible .

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10 Chris February 17, 2016 at 10:37 pm

Rich dad poor Dad, early Retirement extreme, dividend Mantra…all helped me a lot too!

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11 Mark@BareBudgetGuy January 11, 2016 at 7:07 am

It is a blessing to go to the store and realize you can really buy whatever you want if you had to. Huge stress reliever.

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12 Roy Largo @ Band of Savers January 11, 2016 at 7:12 am

One thing that gets me still is that when you don’t have money you worry about getting it, once you get some you worry about keeping it. I’ve found that money stresses never really disappear, they just transform as your circumstances change.

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13 J. Money January 11, 2016 at 7:22 am

Hmm… yeah, to a point I suppose. But there’s def. better versions of stress than others :) The worst is when you keep getting more and more and it never seems to make you happy! I’m always afraid of turning super greedy. I’m naturally competitive so I often have to remind myself that life is good *right now* no matter what the future brings. And it helps when staring at my kids while repeating it :)

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14 Brian @DebtDiscipline January 11, 2016 at 7:38 am

It’s a stress reducer for sure. Once we got organized and had an e-fund saved, man did our days get that much better.

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15 Hannah January 11, 2016 at 7:55 am

It doesn’t require too much money before you can start to make decisions where your big life decisions are about what you (and your spouse if you’re married) want to do instead of what the money is forcing you to do.

It suddenly becomes okay to take career risks, or take time off from your job, or to try a business venture when you don’t need a paycheck next week.

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16 J. Money January 11, 2016 at 11:00 am

Exactly. More money = more freedom (by and large)

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17 Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies January 11, 2016 at 8:14 am

Lately, I’m really interested in the role money plays in comfort zones. I guess what I mean is does having “enough” money keep you in your comfort zone…or does it give you an opportunity to leave it? I imagine it depends largely on the person and where the money came from (salary versus Powerball, for example).

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18 J. Money January 11, 2016 at 11:04 am

For sure… there’s also that point where happiness doesn’t go up as much after you hit a certain threshold too. For example, having $5 million in the bank or $10 million in the bank – your quality of life is probably the same in both cases :) And according to all those scientific researches, the break point for salary seems to be $75,000 for the average person.

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19 Steve Miller January 11, 2016 at 8:20 am

I agree with the others, the biggest advantage is that it reduces stress. Even though I am FI, I still struggle with #1. I tend to go for the less expensive entrees everytime.

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20 Elise@ Simply Scaled Down January 11, 2016 at 8:21 am

Love these. I’ve been noticing lately, too, that having money allows me the the choice to be frugal. I love to save a penny and find different ways to save those dolla dolla bills, but its really nice to know that I don’t HAVE to. If, tomorrow, I decided to stop all my frugal ways life would go one, bills would still get paid, but more baggies would go into the trash and less money would end up staying in my checking account…and that’s cool with me, too.

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21 Lisa O January 11, 2016 at 9:03 am

I like your thought “I decided to stop all my frugal ways” now that to me is freedom. You do it to save money and it feels right but you don’t have too! I am thinking that way too~

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22 J. Money January 11, 2016 at 11:05 am

Great insight!

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23 Kate @ Cashville Skyline January 11, 2016 at 8:51 am

Ordering anything off the menu! Such a simple, but amazing luxury. No more skipping appetizers, fancy cocktails, a la carte sides, or desserts! Definitely my favorite of these perks :)

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24 Sarah Noelle @ The Yachtless January 11, 2016 at 9:10 am

Just wanted to let you know that your post from last week inspired me to buy a Powerball ticket! Not sure if that was your intent, but that’s what happened. At least I only bought one, because that is all you need to engage in a little magical thinking. :)

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25 J. Money January 11, 2016 at 11:06 am

Haha… that was not my intent but it does make me happy you dreamed a little :) Will you be picking up another now that it’s $1.3 Billion or did you have your full?

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26 Formative Fortunes January 11, 2016 at 9:26 am

There is always that controversy in life, does money buy you happiness? Its so confusing cause as you just listed, having a large amount of money makes life so much easier and less stressful doesn’t that correlate with happiness (less stress and more comfort). At the same time they money doesn’t buy you happiness which i can also see is true cause family and friends bring happiness into our lives and money has nothing to do with that. Great article brings up a lot of good points!

As they say, “Money can’t buy me happiness, but I’d much rather cry in a mansion”

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27 J. Money January 11, 2016 at 11:08 am

Haha…. an age old question indeed ;)

Guess it depends on what you DO with all your $$$ that makes the difference! I’m very much enjoying these perks above vs back when I was broke. But had I been blowing my money on a larger house and more cars/etc/etc, I can guarantee I’d be a lot more stressed having to keep up with it all even with a higher income… That’s a big difference a lot of people don’t get :(

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28 Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor January 11, 2016 at 9:47 am

I think there is a lot of power in knowing you can afford things, but that they’re not really worth it. This might be more effective than constantly feeling denied. Not that I can afford anything for sale on earth, but I can walk into a store knowing, I could say yes to a lot here, but why would I? I’d rather have freedom.

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29 J. Money January 11, 2016 at 11:09 am

Yup! It’s a damn fun game to play – much more empowering too :) “I CHOOSE not to buy this stuff even though I can if I want to!”

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30 Mr. Enchumbao January 11, 2016 at 10:34 am

It does feel great to break the paycheck to paycheck cycle! The best monetary motivation on payday is seeing how your net worth gets a bump and not that the bills got paid.

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31 cecilia buyswheeler gunther January 11, 2016 at 10:40 am

Good morning. Having spent a good deal of my life bringing up too many children on not enough money when potatoes were my best friends, I know a lot about living paycheck to paycheck. I was even a life drawing model for a while just because I needed the money. Now I am doing OK. Just OK. This is good. However you never lose the FEAR that comes with having to scrape by so I usually always run a kind of budget. And I am not in debt anywhere. I own a house now, some land – a few cows, all paid off. So it is working. But there is always room for improvement – that is why I have been reading your articles – and enjoying them. But I checked out your budget pages and they are TOO HARD for my Paddington Bear little brain to get around. Do you have a “Dead simple budget for dummies page?” Hope you have a lovely day! .. cecilia

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32 J. Money January 11, 2016 at 11:18 am

Hi Cecilia – nice to meet you :)

Congrats on not having anymore debt! That’s a huge accomplishment! I love that you have (paid off) cows too, haha… my kids would love coming over to your house.

Here’s a super simple spreadsheet I used to use with my money coaching clients:

http://budgetsaresexy.com/files/Money-Snapshot.xlsx

They liked it because everything was on one page (net worth, income, budget) but it may be too simple too without guidance. Maybe it helps you though?

Also check out our recent review of YNAB – another good option that also comes with training: http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2016/01/you-need-a-budget-ynab-review/

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33 cecilia buyswheeler gunther January 13, 2016 at 11:08 am

Thank you! I will study these. And I often have young and not so young people out to visit some come and stay weeks and work on the farm! Bet your kids would love it! c

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34 Josh January 11, 2016 at 12:35 pm

The website Learnvest also came up with a pretty simple way to budget, simply called the 50/20/30 guideline.
http://www.learnvest.com/knowledge-center/your-ultimate-budget-guideline-the-502030-rule/

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35 J. Money January 13, 2016 at 7:44 am

Thanks Josh!

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36 Maggie @ Northern Expenditure January 11, 2016 at 10:55 am

The system in place as you say allows freedom. You don’t have to sweat the small stuff anymore. Great reminder.

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37 Free to Pursue January 11, 2016 at 11:05 am

The freedom of having significant savings certainly reduces our level of “wanting”, but the road to getting there isn’t the money itself, it’s the process of saving that gets us there. The feeling and belief in ourselves builds over time with good behaviour…every additional day making your life better than yesterday.

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38 Chris @ Flipping A Dollar January 11, 2016 at 11:35 am

So true. We had budgeted for a weekend long wedding event (hotel, gift, food, booze, etc.) starting a year in advance and had a blast. On Sunday morning, one of our friends said “we didn’t realize how much money this weekend was going to cost.” My wife and I looked at each other and smiled. After we left, we realized we still had $100 in our “wedding” budget so we went out to eat at a nice restaurant once we got home!

And the car thing, we have $1000 sitting in a “major car repair” fund just for that kind of situation. It covers most issues. We prioritize re-filling it the next month too. It makes you sleep so much easier knowing that you have these kind of things covered.

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39 J. Money January 13, 2016 at 7:47 am

Oh wow – you guys are super budgeters! I’ve never been great at planning that far ahead for things, but always admire those who do. Well done, chap.

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40 maria@moneyprinciple January 11, 2016 at 11:48 am

A good one, Jay; still I don’t think that money alone offers these perks. I know quite a few people who have quite a bit of money and they still worry, and count every penny and make wrong decisions. Even worse, they can’t be ‘frugal artists’ to save their lives and will happily waste $5 on petrol to save $1 on sausages. I think that the perks you mention came with an emotional transformation and profound wisdom.

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41 J. Money January 13, 2016 at 7:49 am

Yup! Gotta “figure out life” on the way to money too or else you just have more to waste :)

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42 Abigail @ipickuppennies January 11, 2016 at 12:00 pm

I agree that having money can be a huge load off your mind. Alas, we’ll be draining the $25k we saved so assiduously last year for Tim’s oral surgery this year. So most of this year will *still* be spent sweating unexpected expenses, worrying about having to dip into the little padding we have. (We’re losing about $800 of monthly income. Kinda. Long story.) But I’m sure that once we get through this year — and/or once we’re able to put money into savings most months — I’ll be able to relax.

And even with that worry, I still freak out less about unexpected expenses than I did when we were paying off debt. So that’s… something.

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43 J. Money January 13, 2016 at 7:50 am

That is something! Imagine having $25,000 on a credit card?? You’d be sweating a LOT more in that case, yuck… So you be proud of your savings over there missy. You’re doing things right :)

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44 Michael Belk January 11, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Money just make life easier. I love having extra money. i have never been a penny pitcher. I enjoy being able to buy what I want when I want, but responsibility is also just as important.

Too much money can cause problems as well.

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45 Mike @ TipYourself.com January 11, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Freedom!! The amazing feeling of freedom! Love this list.

It’s amazing how much money touches our lives. Changing our relationship with money is such a foundational item in our life and happiness. Great list of general goals we can all set for “money”.

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46 John January 11, 2016 at 1:10 pm

You touched on some good points. The sooner you start taking control of your finances, the better off you will be and more financial freedom you will have.

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47 Josh January 11, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Can’t say which one I like most. Probably #2 is the best reason for having money. Unexpected bills means you unexpectedly need to find extra work to pay them and get caught up.

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48 Harmony January 11, 2016 at 1:56 pm

It would be nice to have more freedom to spend money on the kids be able to say “yes” more often than “no.” I don’t want to buy them craploads of toys that they don’t need or expensive clothing. I would like to be able to sign them up for whatever sports or lessons they want, or take more trips with them. They are a major driving force behind our journey to financial semi-independence.

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49 Heather January 12, 2016 at 2:48 pm

I completely agree Harmony, the hours I work and lack of funds causes me to have to say no a lot more than I’d like to to my children.

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50 J. Money January 13, 2016 at 7:52 am

YES!!! LOVE!!! All those experiences/learnings are much better than toys anyways – I hope you make it to freedom sooner than later and/or win the lottery so you guys can do more of that stuff! Yay!!

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51 Crystal January 11, 2016 at 3:56 pm

Great points and I laughed at #1. It seems silly but it really is awesome to be able to order a $3 thing without agonizing over the decision like I did in college…

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52 ESI Money January 11, 2016 at 4:31 pm

I’m with you!!!

I love St. Lucia too, btw. :)

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53 Taylor January 11, 2016 at 6:54 pm

YES to all of this! Especially the unexpected expenses. Life becomes way less stressful when you have a cushion/safety net.

I would also add: spoiling the people you love! :D Surprising my mom with a new Macbook and treating my partner to a weekend at a resort were two of the best things I spent money on last year. Being able to treat the people I love is my absolute favorite!!

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54 J. Money January 13, 2016 at 7:53 am

Awwwww… where can I sign up to be a part of your family? :)

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55 Tawcan January 11, 2016 at 6:58 pm

I like the sound of #1 lol. Give me some lobster and steak now! :D

Kidding aside, #6 would be great.

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56 EL January 12, 2016 at 12:42 pm

I’m not guilty buying a six pack of cold ones now that I’m not a paycheck to paycheck vagabond. It’s nice having those perks, but I still look at the expensive menu items and think to myself is that food really that good. I doubt it, as it just sounds fancy.

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57 J. Money January 13, 2016 at 7:56 am

I should clarify that I don’t typically go to fancy restaurants or anything usually. I just look for what makes my stomach smile on the inside and then look at the price from there to see if it’s worth it. Typically it’s only a difference of $5, maybe $10, max, but compared to the college days or when I was just getting by it’s a world of a difference. And I hope it never ends! :)

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58 Alyssa January 13, 2016 at 12:16 pm

“#6. You don’t have to track every penny anymore if you don’t want! (Gasp)”

Not to mention that you might not need to! I have turned tracking and budgeting into such a common habit that I actually know how much I’ve spent without even having to check. It can become second nature if you’re truly invested in staying financially successful!

PS: buying anything on the menu is the best ever. No more salmon, always steak ;)

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59 J. Money January 18, 2016 at 4:30 pm

*waves to his blogging friend*

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60 My Money Millennial January 13, 2016 at 5:56 pm

I like to think of Money as security in life. With a surplus of money, you can focus on things like family and not things like working like you said. That’s the beauty of saving early and being frugal early on!

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61 Debtman January 17, 2016 at 8:11 pm

#5 is my favourite. By the way, people at my work (in Canada) were even buying powerball tickets!

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62 J. Money January 18, 2016 at 4:31 pm

Hah! Is that even legal? Would you have to have it cashed in by a US person who would then give you your share?

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63 City Girl Savings January 25, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Having even just a little extra money can make a huge difference, especially in emergency situations!

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64 Mrs. SimplyFinanciallyFree February 17, 2016 at 9:27 am

Unexpected bills is a big one. When my mom has a large unexpected car repair bill it will throw everything off and she sometimes has to borrow money from me. When I have a large car repair bill I may bitch and moan because it sucks but I am able to cash flow it. Such a difference in our lives and I can’t imagine going back to living paycheck to paycheck.

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65 J. Money February 29, 2016 at 5:15 pm

YES! Exactly!

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66 Kurt February 17, 2016 at 12:45 pm

I think your #5 has been my chief motivator my entire adult life to pursue financial independence. As one who values time and qualify of life above all else, little is worse than spending time doing something I dislike solely for the money. Screw that! :)

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67 J. Money February 29, 2016 at 5:16 pm

A great thing to figure out earlier than later too :)

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