#6. FIRE Requires A Mindset Shift (And You May Not Even Realize It Is Happening)
Updated: Jan 22
Since I started this journey, I have been more aware of what is happening in the moment. Doing more things on purpose, meaning being more purposeful in my actions, has allowed me to be far more self-aware.
I loosely began this FIRE* journey back in 2019 right after I turned 30. Although my goal was to achieve FIRE, I never really buckled down on my spending and saving. I wanted to achieve FIRE, but that was it. My wife and I did increase our automatic investing amount at that time, which was great, but we never made any other efforts to achieve FIRE. I wanted to retire for the superficial reason of hating work and that was it.
This all changed when I had the epiphany I discussed in my first post. This epiphany occurred just one month ago. When this happened, I started writing down my thoughts. Writing down everything helps me hold myself accountable. And after writing my thoughts down daily for a week, I decided to up the ante.
In the past, I have failed to finish and follow through with many ideas. So, this time, I put my thoughts on a public forum. That was when I made the quick decision to pay for a domain name and post my first blog. I realize no one may ever read any of these posts, but I am doing this for me and my family.
Back to the title of this post, “FIRE Requires a Mindset Shift”. Being more self-aware, I noticed something very specific this past Friday. My wife and I have been avoiding spending extra money on food this month and have managed to save a lot of money with this one change. However, on Friday, I cooked dinner as planned. My wife, our 2-year-old son, and myself ate it and loved it. But after our meal when we were cleaning up, we had the desire for something sweet.
My wife was the first one to bring anything up. But when she did, THAT is when I noticed a mindset shift had already started to occur with the both of us. Instead of asking what she usually does when this craving occurs, which is, “do you want ice cream?”, she said she was hungry for something sweet and immediately started looking through the ingredients we had in our kitchen to see if we could make something.
After we both searched through what we had, we settled on cupcakes because, “we already have the eggs, oil, and milk, so all we need is cake mix and icing.” We are fortunate enough to live less than five minutes from Kroger, so just 15 minutes later, we had consciously spent only $3.34 to make cupcakes as a family. Our son loved every minute of it, from the whisking of the batter to being the first taste tester. As of Sunday night, I had my fifth one of the weekend and there are still three remaining.
We did not stick to our weekly food budget plan because of this, but I would not take any of it back. We had a wonderful memory even while consciously saving money and only spending $3.34.
I have had a lot of self-doubt over the past month. Much of it sounding like this - “life is too short, why worry so much.” Or, “why spend so much time writing three posts a week when no one will ever read these?” I have been able to overcome these doubts thus far because of being able to focus more on my “why” and my changed mindset. Being more mindful of what every decision costs does not make me less happy; it gives me more power and control to live the life I truly want. Noticing this mindset change is giving me hope that our family is making lasting changes in our lives for the better.
Thank you for reading this to the end. I will start back up with the current update on the Time Challenge Series on Wednesday. I just really felt compelled to write this after realizing a mindset shift has occurred, and it still allowed us to make the perfect memory with Friday’s late night cupcake baking 😊.
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*FIRE stands for "Financial Independence, Retire Early." A good explanation of this movement can be found here.