When Buying Stocks Is More Exciting Than Buying Shoes…

401kLast week I hit a BIG milestone.  I’ve been creeping towards this milestone for a couple of years now.  But last week, I HIT IT.  I am now contributing the maximum contribution to my 401k plan.  That’s right.  $18,000/year is going into my retirement account (before the company match)!  A few weeks prior to bumping it up all the way, I took it up 5% points and was only 5% away from hitting the maximum amount.  Friday before I left work, I decided to go ALL THE WAY!  I quickly ran the numbers at lunch and decided that it was possible, especially since we aren’t planning to leave our affordable home with affordable utilities anymore.  It felt so good to hit Submit.  Then I got to thinking…

Financial Suicide

After hitting Submit, I got to thinking how good it feels to be on FIRE.  Last year at this time we were on the hunt for a much larger home with a much larger mortgage and bills.  I guess you could say we were on a financial suicide mission.  We nearly completed that mission until the house we had under contract turned up positive for mold.  I never thought I’d be so happy to hear that dirty, 4-letter word.  After all, I’m a microbiologist by day, so I understand the havoc mold can wreak on, not only a home, but on our bodies.  We swiftly cancelled our contract, breathed many sighs of relief, and regrouped.  We took a long, hard look at our lives and decided what we really wanted.  That turned out to be financial freedom.  Shocker, I know. 🙂

You Know You’re On Fire When…

shoes 3It’s official.  You know you’re on FIRE when you get more excited about buying stocks than buying shoes.  I included a picture of some of my favorite winter boots that I have been rotating through the past couple of years.  Fortunately, I get very little emotional pleasure from buying new boots these days.  These days, I’d MUCH rather invest the money.  Also fortunately, I bought enough boots in my less than frugal-minded past to last me a lifetime!  WooHoo (Kinda)!  This pretty much goes for other areas of my closet, as well.  I have plenty of jackets, jeans, tops, sweats, jammies, etc.  I have so many clothes that the bar is bending in my closet.  Sad.  But I’m also really glad I can eliminate the need to purchase ANYTHING new for myself for MANY years to come.  No need to even think of implementing a clothing buying ban here.

Stocks, Mutual Funds, and ETFs.  Oh My.

Boy have times changed.  I used to hit the mall on a shamefully regular basis to drop good money on the latest fashions to impress…no one.  I would meet friends for dinner out every night of the week (I’m really not kidding).  Fast forward a decade (today):  I got married on a shoestring, stopped buying paper towels, and I obsessively watch my investments go up, up, and away.

So, how has your financial outlook changed over the years?  How did you get interested in frugality/saving/investing?

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Mad Money Cat NOT loving his photo opp

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15 comments… add one
  • RAnn Dec 9, 2015, 12:38 am

    Good Work

  • Howto$tuffYourPig Dec 8, 2015, 3:55 pm

    Maxing it out is the only way to go. Congrats for having the courage to do it!

  • Matt @ The Resume Gap Dec 8, 2015, 12:10 pm

    Way to go on that 401(k) contribution! I’ve never been able to find a statistic on what percentage of people contribute the max, but I’d bet that puts you in a pretty exclusive group of savers.

    When FIRE started feeling realistic, it made me hyper-aware of the opportunity cost of every purchase. I’m with you — I’d rather own more NASDAQ:SHOO than more shoes!

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 8, 2015, 12:35 pm

      Thanks! It does feel fantastic. I love being a part of the pf community. It makes keeps awareness and motivation sky high!

  • Claudia @ Two Cup House Dec 8, 2015, 12:03 pm

    Nice job! Way to rock that 401k!

  • Ernie Dec 8, 2015, 11:35 am

    I started taking money seriously after reading Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. We shed a lot of debt after that, but lost the intensity once our boys came home. Now that intensity has picked back up, and we’re looking to knock out the rest of our debt in the next two years.

    Congrats on maxing out the 401(k) contribution – that has to feel awesome! I just stopped contributing to mine (probably some sort of financial cardinal sin) so that I could go all-in on this debt.

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 8, 2015, 12:01 pm

      I think stopping the contributions for a bit to pay the debt off is acceptable. I’ve been there. When I was on my own with a small child, there were a few years where my contributions were spotty, at best. That’s why I feel the need to go all-in now. It sounds like you’re on the right path. Just keep swimming 🙂

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