Coffee and Simplicity
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“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” - Hans Hofmann
Ever since its inception, a core value of Dreamweaver Coffee Co. has been to simplify. Both Justin and I are quite ruthless in our abilities to keep our day-to-day priorities - in business and in life - as simple as possible. It’s something we’ve had in common since first crossing paths (literally) on a golf course in Augusta, GA.
For me, simplicity is non-negotiable, and as Hans Hofmann says, it exacerbates the truly necessary.
One area in which I’ve greatly improved my simplification game is my finances.
At the beginning of my twenties, I slung money around like it was nobody’s business. Night out at the bar? No problem, drinks on me. Weekend in Athens for the big Georgia game? Don’t sweat it, I got the tix, bro. Car troubles? Screw it, I’ll just buy a new one!
I never thought twice about the money I spent. Did I have fun? Yes. Was I hurting when I quit my job and spent a year out of engineering? Double yes.
That yearly completely changed my relationship with money, and ever since I’ve been slowly working to improve that relationship and make it as simple as possible.
As such, I have three very important rules that I follow when it comes to my finances:
1. Pay Jason first
On a twice-monthly basis, the money I earn is first allocated to my savings (401k, Roth IRA, personal, and travel fund) and secondly to my recurring bills. It’s automatically transferred upon paydays to each of the various accounts, and I do absolutely nothing with this except check on it from time to time to ensure no Nigerian princes have snatched any of my savings.
Since doing this, I haven’t had to worry about missing any bill payments, and I’ve amassed enough wealth across my accounts to last at least a year in an emergency-type scenario. Now, if I ever lose my job and/or my hands happen to fall off, leaving me incapacitated and unable to make any money at all, I can feel comfortable surviving without much stress knowing that my bills and livelihood are covered. This alone has greatly enhanced my well-being and my mental health as well as minimized my interaction with money (which would otherwise lead to less-than-ideal actions).
2. “Do I HAVE to have this?”
I used to get bored sometimes and drive out to Kohl’s, the Mall, or other shopping centers and look around to see if there was anything worth buying. As you can imagine, that led to a lot of unnecessary purchases - usually clothes - that I wore once (if at all) and then sat around my house collecting dust.
Now, I don’t do this. All my shopping trips are 100% intentional with a clear list of items I need ahead of time. But because I’m human, things still happen to catch my eye while out shopping. When this happens, I ask myself, “Do I HAVE to have this?” If I’m completely infatuated and feel like I can’t live without it, I’ll buy it. If I have any reserves at all, I put it back. It’s incredible how little I end up buying just by bringing awareness to my shopping habits.
3. Don’t sweat the rest
Having my bases covered, everything else that goes into my checking account is money for food or entertainment, aka FOR FUN. If I WANT to enjoy a night out with friends or order some pizza, I do it without much thought. Need money for an upcoming vacation? No problem - already covered in my travel fund.
Of course, I always abide by the two guiding principles above, but afterward I’m a huge fan of simply enjoying life, which is exactly what my new relationship with money has allowed me to do.
What’s one rule you can implement or one action you can take to improve your finances?
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