What Do Frugality and Financial Independence Have in Common?

(Yoo-hoo! Be sure to check out the podcast version of this interview if you haven't already!)

I've been wanting to interview Wrachel Writes for the longest time!

However, it seems like the universe has been keeping us apart. I finally sat down with her and asked her about how she became interested in teaching.

Rachel started going to public school when she was 13. The fact that she had so many teachers and coaches who were able to recognize her potential initially sparked her interest in teaching.

Rachel decided she would teach English before enrolling in college.

The thing that caught my attention about Rachel: she likes to talk about her money.

Was there a reason behind her openness?

She said during her undergrad years, when teachers would come to talk on a panel, they always mentioned second jobs or side hustles. It worried a lot of the students--including Rachel.

Rachel said for many years her family was below the poverty line. She wanted to be able to live comfortably while still doing work that she liked, which was teaching. Those things combined sparked an interest in learning about money since she didn’t have any financial education.

She began by listening to podcasts, YouTube, and reading blogs. Once she was comfortable with basic financial concepts, her goals began to grow.

Once she began to be open about her financial status and goals in her blog, so did the people around her!

I asked Rachel how she felt when she started her financial journey?

She said things have changed tremendously over time.

Rachel worked part-time during the summers. And during her senior year of college, she focused on cutting back because her income was so limited.

What was her goal?

She was trying to reduce her student loan debt and she wanted to pay off the loans she had already taken out.

Rachel’s frugal family background was also influential in her journey.

I asked her what kind of debt she had?

She graduated with $13,500 in student loan debt, which isn’t bad.

Rachel said she received a lot of financial aid due to her parent’s financial circumstances. (One parent was unemployed, the other was self-employed and not making much money.)

She also worked a couple of part-time jobs and had a summer job. Her loans were through Navient and she had a Perkins loan.

Now she’s debt-free!

Did I mention that Rachel’s in grad school?

She plans to cash flow her grad education.

I wanted her to tell me about her situation… since there are so many options for reducing the cost of graduate education.

Rachel said that many teachers are eligible for tuition reimbursement, which is where you pay for the class, and then your district will reimburse you for that class.

Her district has an agreement with the college where she is taking grad courses. She’s paying very little for her graduate classes.

In her case, most of the program will be reimbursed!

What do frugality and financial independence have in common?

This is what I hear: “I don't want you to tell me that I can't spend any money.”

Let’s clarify: my job is not to tell you how to spend your money. Being financially independent doesn't mean not spending any money. Everyone chooses their method of frugality according to their values.

What does it mean?

● It means having options.

● It means making choices.

● It means spending money on what you value.

Rachel says she touting the idea that she’s trying to live an “unfrugal” life.

Remember that frugality was a part of her family life? Rachel said she agrees with those values because every decision you make should be intentional. She also doesn’t agree with being wasteful.

However, she said it reached a point where it felt like a scarcity mindset.

Rachel said being frugal didn’t cure her insecurities about money. She would cut back as much as possible only to be disappointed in herself or feel guilty because she wasn't saving enough. She started to realize that it’s okay to spend money on things that bring you joy or that add value to your life.

Money is a tool to enhance our lives.

She feels like you should make intentional choices versus cutting back because “you're supposed to.”

Rachel said you can save as much as you want for the future. However, that’s assuming you’ll still be here, so we agree that you need to enjoy your life right now, too.

It’s all about aligning your money with the things that you really value in life.

What is Rachel cutting back on versus the things she’s happy to buy?

Her goal was to show that there's a balance between cutting back or using your money to improve your life.

What is she no longer buying?

● Razors

● Cable TV

● Books (purchased on impulse)

● Perfume/scented lotions

● Fast fashion (clothes that are cheaply and unethically made)

Rachel states that she uses the library and borrows books from friends. She’ll be intentional if she wants to buy a book.

What is she happy to buy?

● Fancy dinners

● Unfrugal travel

● Concert tickets

● High-quality clothes

● Expensive Rent (D.C.)

● Expensive food (grocery store)

Do you see the trend? She’s buying according to her values and striving for financial independence!

Tell us about the places where you are frugal or what you’ll splurge on. Leave a comment below! OK, quick check-in!

How did you like this blog? If you've found it helpful and enlightening, please share your thoughts in the One Million Apples Facebook Community!

Or... if you find yourself in need of someone who can help you navigate your way through your financial plan, check me out at Wealth of Confidence!

I'd love to help you.

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