When I officially kickstarted my financial independence journey into first gear three months ago I thought of setting some ground rules for myself. While you can find plenty of lists online of things you should definitely do to become financially free, I ultimately came up with just one rule.
Is it to save over 50% of my income? Nope!
Do I absolutely have to take an active approach in managing my own money? Helemaal niet!
Can’t I splurge on my beloved video games collection anymore? Eigentlich nicht.
Surely I must stop paying for music streaming services like Google Music All Access? Ça m’est égal.
None of the above. My only rule for financial indepencence is extremely straightforward and might seem ridiculous to some, but really helps me to balance my goals with my daily life. Brace yourselves, because here it is:
Rule #1: Never, ever say no to drinks with friends.
There it is, pretty basic, but it makes all the difference in the world. Some might consider buying a round of beers (Belgian beer, yum!) for friends a waste of money, but all I see is an investment opportunity. Humans are, by their very design, social creatures and strengthening our relationships should be our number one priority. As a result, spending cash on great moments with friends and experiences that bond us together is, to me at least, never a waste.
Should I ever reach financial independence, I want there to be family and friends to cheer me on as I cross the finish line. I want my buddies to know they helped me reach my goals by simply being their awesome selves. I don’t want to sit on an enormous pile of cash and not have anyone to share the happiness that brings me with.
For those of you who grew up with the DuckTales series on TV, I aim to be like Scrooge McDuck. Even though he is the richest inhabitant of Duckburg and it seems like he constantly tries to further his wealth, he spends lavishly on his nephews. Sometimes he even risks his entire money bin to keep Huey, Dewey and Louie out of harm’s way.
From now on I’ll try to be more like Scrooge McDuck, unless my friends turn into raging alcoholics of course. How about you?
I think there’s a fine line between spending money to facilitate socializing and overspending on social occasions. I always suggest frugal alternatives when I want to see friends- potlucks, free concerts in the park, free yoga, etc.
Agreed! Socializing with friends should be enhancing your relationships, otherwise it’s not worth the effort and often results in overspending.
My friends an I often have beers at each other’s places, which is way more frugal than always going to bars. I consider that buying them a round of drinks too, since I won’t charge them for drinking my stuff when they visit.
Thanks for stopping by, much appreciated! And good job on your own blog, really enjoyed reading through it.
Have a great day,
Pretty cool post! Spending times with friends is far more important than money. I like to live life as if I were to die tomorrow. A few dollars won’t make my final day happy but a few more memories will.
Excellent post! I like to live each day as if it were my last. Time with friends will always be more valuable than a few extra dollars.
Great outlook on life, Will! Fun memories are worth a lot to me too.
Life is more valuable than money, I learned that experiences trump frugality every time. I don’t remember “stuff” that I bought growing up but I do remember camping trips with friends and silly times at bars.
I actually remember a lot of “stuff”, but only because my friends and I used it a lot. Like the Champions League football I got when I was eight, for example… We played with that damned thing until it exploded – literally. Or the zillion PC’s in my household which we played Age of Empires on until after midnight.
But like you said, it’s not those items that made me happy, but the fact that I was enjoying myself with my friends.
Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend,
That’s a solid rule man. I wouldn’t let it drive you into the poor house, but like you said, humans are social creatures. Those friends might remember the beers you bought if you’re ever looking for a new job or need a connection to put you in touch with someone. I think I’m going to have to add this one to my list.
Drive you into the poor house, never heard that one! Great expression! 🙂
Thank you for stopping by and let me know how rule #1 works out!
ha ha you must be from British heritage are you? I’ve heard that expression before “drive you into the poor house!”
A great rule to follow.
And ducktales was my favorite cartoon when I was little.
Have a great weekend.
DuckTales, woo hoo! Best kid’s series ever! 🙂
Have a nice (scorching hot!) weekend too,
Scrooge McDuck is a twist on the real Ebenezer Scrooge, but then of course look what happened to him!
Lesson of the day: a Disney series is more memorable than my literature courses in university!
It is so important to have a social life. I usually don’t regret spending money to socialize unless we are at some really expensive place. That’s normally not the case with my friends – always been a fan of the dive bar : )
Exactly! Socializing is great, but it also shouldn’t be expensive since it can turn into wasting money pretty fast. Dive bars are awesome, seems like you have great friends!
Thanks for stopping by,
The best way to do this is to go to happy hour or BYB (Bring your own BEER) places to save on socializing expenses. When you have a big crowd liquor can be about 50% of the bill or more.
Those are excellent solutions indeed. Luckily I don’t have too many friends that I go to bars with often. And I don’t know any BYB places, but now I’ll definitely look out for them!
Thanks for stopping by,
I think you are absolutely right. What’s good in having a stockpile of money and no social contacts to enjoy life with your gained financial freedom. Having friends who stick with you through the Up’s and Down’s of life is priceless.
I also have the »philosophy« that you have to invest money to gain money. So going out with friends seems like a waste of money to some people. But maybe it is also a chance that they hook you up with an unique opportunity (business, investment, jobwise, whatever) and vice versa or you meet your future wife on these evenings.
P.S.: What’s the point in being the richest man on the cemetery anyway.
Thanks for stopping by and thank you very much for your reply on Dividend Mantra’s most recent post. You hit the nail on the head with regards to the tax situation. Very frustrating situation.
You totally got the message of this post, great way to live your life! 🙂
Glad to contribute. 🙂 i’m looking forward to your blog, I will add it to my to-do-List to read every week.
It is good to see another European version of a dividend portfolio evolving since the US versions are almost quite similar equipped with the usual suspects. To get hold of an european point of view (and maybe with interesting european stocks as well) is very interesting especially since your tax situation in Belgium sucks at least the same as here in Germany. 🙂
You are wise beyond your years. Cheers.
Could you also tell my parents that? 😉
Hi NMW, just catching up on your excellent blog and came across this post – I’m with you with your Rule #1! I’ve cut down on a lot of things to save money but there are some things I don’t want to give up and one of those is socialising with my friends. I mean, what would be the point in being FI, having lots of time and….no friends because you abandoned them on your ruthless quest for financial freedom!?
Fortunately, I can keep costs down as we only generally socialise once (sometimes twice) a month – we always go out, although one time, I had them round at mine so I guess it’s someone else’s turn next time to be hostess!
Love your blog, can’t believe you are so young with such a mature head about finances! And your grasp of the English language is incredible, I sometimes forget that you are Belgian! Bravo! 🙂
Thank you very much, that means a lot to me! The fact that I’m still a small child sometimes probably makes up for my mature views on finance. 🙂
Socialising is something I don’t want to give up either, but it’s often more about how you socialise than the fact that you socialise. My friends and I often have beers at eachothers’ places, just like you and your friends. That’s as much fun as going to a bar, but way less expensive.
Have a great weekend,
PS: finally some time to check out your blog!