I've been a good saver ever since I was a kid, but I really kicked my savings ability into high gear when I decided to venture out on my own and become self-employed as a freelance writer. I knew that I was taking a chance and that ditching my regular paycheck and stable employer might leave me high and dry when it came to income. However, in the process, I learned how to become even more frugal since income was at a premium. And in turn, I realized that this frugality could buy my happiness in certain ways.
Having been a good little saver early on in my career meant that I had the option and ability to venture out later on. It gave me the freedom to earn less in an effort to find happiness in my work.
Knowing that I had a financial reserve that I could fall back upon allowed me the time to explore new career possibilities and take my time to eventually find and build my niche as a freelance writer. Had I not built a cash reserve in order to sustain me for more than a year in my efforts, I might have been forced back into work that while paying better, wouldn't have provided the enjoyment or satisfaction that writing does.
Buckling down and saving enough to allow me to become self-employed brought with it another perk…that of being able to stay home with our children. Not only has this brought me the happiness and satisfaction that comes with caring for our kids during the day, but it has allowed me to pair this with career ambitions and significant savings.
Babycenter.com notes that, "Topping the charts with costs over $10,000 a year for baby and toddler daycare are the following states, beginning with the most expensive: Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota, Colorado, California, Illinois, Washington, and Wisconsin." It goes on to say that, "Costs for daycare for preschool-age children are generally lower, averaging $8,800 a year ($733 a month). Depending on where you live, you'll pay anywhere from $4,460 to $13,185 a year ($371 to $1,100 a month)."
In the Chicagoland area where we live, costs for quality care can range close to $13,000 a year. This means that for our two children, until they reach kindergarten age, I will have saved us in the range of $130,000 on childcare costs.
Peace of mind
Being frugal has helped us not only cut costs but bolster our emergency fund as well. In my younger days, I was happy to have $1,000 set aside for emergency purpose; however, being able to stash a little extra cash through reduced costs has helped us push that fund closer to $5,000. While this isn't a huge reserve stash compared to some, even being able to add $50 or $100 to it each month through savings at the grocery store or on utility costs, we're slowly able to grow it while at the same time add to our peace of mind.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.