The casual observer might think this is a website about money.
It’s not. It’s a website about choices.
Wealth isn’t about having stuff; it’s about having opportunity. It buys the flexibility to quit jobs we hate, walk away from bad living situations, and plunge into new hobbies or projects.
Most Afford Anything readers understand that wealthy people have options. But money doesn’t just buy freedom for the rich. It gives everyone choices, just to different degrees. Freedom starts with the first dollar we earn.
Searching for the Next Big Thing
We pave our future with each penny we spend. Most people will make similar selections with their first few bucks: we’ll prioritize food, water and electricity. Few would opt otherwise.
But as we climb above the poverty line, our options explode at a near-exponential rate. We can eat fruits and veggies rather than Ramen noodles. We can drive a car instead of taking the bus. We can buy new clothes instead of used threads.
Remember graduating from college? Or getting your first steady paycheck? If your experience was anything like mine, those first few months felt glorious. I could fill my gas tank, eat lunch and order prescription contact lenses without my stomach turning in knots.
After six months, I –- like most people –- adjusted to that level of spending. It became the “new normal.” At this point, I faced two choices: I could maintain my current lifestyle and save any raises and side income. Or I could get flashier.
You Could Choose to Be Trapped …
Society likes to pretend that money traps us. “Mo’ money, mo’ problems,” people say.
But money doesn’t trap us. Money sets us free.
Lifestyle inflation, on the other hand, traps us. We want to eat at posh restaurants, buy designer furniture and get haircuts at fancy salons. For a few months it’s a treat, but eventually it normalizes.
So we search for the “next big thing.” Our friends begin driving luxury cars, so we question our wheels. Our friends buy five-bedroom houses, so we question our abodes.
Our friends enter a life trapped by an endless quest for more. Sometimes, we choose to follow that path.
The result? Fewer choices. Diminished freedom. High monthly bills.
Flashy spenders don’t recognize the relationship between money and freedom. They think money is for acquiring “stuff.” They end up just as imprisoned as they were in their young, hungry days.
Choose To Be Different
The solution, though, is NOT to decry riches. It makes no sense to spend your life working while pretending money’s not important.
Money’s most significant role in our lives isn’t to buy luxury cars. It gives us independence. It allows us to quit jobs we hate, travel, and visit sick relatives across the country at a moment’s notice.
These choices don’t require millions. They just require spending a bit less than we earn, week by week.
So no, this website isn’t about money — at least not in the “pursuit of a Mercedes-Benz” sense of the word.
This website is about living on your own terms. The rest is just details.