When I was younger I used to keep a backpack in the toy box by my bedroom door. Inside were all of the things I felt I would need in order to survive if for some reason I was forced out of my home. In it I kept some extra underwear and a couple pair of socks, a change of clothes, shampoo and soap, and a little metal Band-Aid box with all of the cash I owned at the time, $40.00.
I looked through the backpack fairly often, taking stock of what was there, and updating the contents as my needs changed. Sorting through the filling oftentimes led me to daydream about the fantastic adventures I would have if only school and parents weren’t keeping me in check. I dreamed of living in the woods near my home, and would even take my backpack there to pretend I was doing just that.
The older I grew, the less often I would update the stuffing of my emergency escape pack. Eventually I forgot about it all together.
Now I find myself scrambling to assemble an escape pack of adult-sized proportions. Only now my pack needs to include enough to provide for two children — and take into consideration the needs of my husband. Now my escape pack needs to be made of security. It needs to be made of money.
Most of the decisions I’ve made in my adult life have been centered around money, but I’m working hard to change that. It is my ultimate goal to live a life untethered. A life where I decide when, where and how much. A life where my decisions are based on my desires rather than my financial obligations.
This doesn’t mean that I need to be filthy rich. But it does mean that I would like to have enough interest income from my investments to live comfortably — well before the typical retirement age of 60 to 65.
Not that we’ll need 100% income replacement from this interest income, but a partial household income replacement would allow my husband and me the freedom to do any work we choose – regardless of the pay level.
Live like there’s no tomorrow, but save like there is.
~ Jenny McCutcheon
There is no question that we need some money to comfortably survive. What I’ve discovered this year, however, is that the amount of money I need to live comfortably is continually shrinking.
The following three areas are those in which we’ve reduced the amount of money we need to live comfortably.
- Get rid of consumer debts. We’ve been paying off our consumer debts with focused determination, so our monthly expenditures become a little less with each new debt that gets squelched.
- Cut expenses. We’ve cut many of our expenses. After cancelling cable and digital phone service, reducing electricity, gas and water consumption, our expenses have shrunk accordingly.
- Reduce consumption. We’ve adjusted our consumption habits to reflect primarily what we really need. This means more eating in, shopping for only grocery and personal care items we’re sure we’ll use and finding free ways to entertain ourselves.
While my urge to compile an escape pack if needed is still present, it has evolved into more of a life pack. A way to design our lives so that our choices are made from our souls and not our empty wallets, or consumption-driven wants.
What about you? Do you have an escape plan? Does it involve things, money or something entirely different?