Finding Purpose in Challenging Times
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It’s a Saturday morning, and I hit the ground running doing what has now become my morning ritual: looking for a roommate to move in with.
The process has been very hard and depressing for me because I love my current apartment. To many, my little “Frib” is nothing special. It’s a very basic one bedroom with generic walls and carpet, and fixtures from the 70’s. I don’t have a dishwasher, and I still have to go to the laundromat to do my laundry, which is a task I loathe.
But it’s safe, comfortable, and all mine. As someone who works from home I love my coveted space. Oprah always said your home should “rise up to meet you,” and mine does. But the rent is killing me.
It’s $1,400 (less $170 because I rent out my attached garage), and lately it’s been nearly half (or more) of my income. While I’ve had great months income wise, since July work has been on the slower side, so I decided to make a tough choice and I’m looking to reduce my rent to less than $900.
So far the search has been tough. In the very limited options that come up on sites like Craigslist, one place I looked at was decent. It was a woman’s home and was spacious and tasteful, but it was all hers and she didn’t want someone who worked from home or had a cat (two things I can’t change).
In the second place, the woman was very nice and bubbly, but her place was super cramped and cluttered, and there were stains on the floor, and barely enough space to put a desk in the bedroom. The search continues.
While I go through this process, I start to feel down or sorry for myself, which I think is common when a big change is happening in one’s life, so that’s why it’s very important to find purpose in challenging times. While I may be sacrificing my space and my things (I’ll probably have to sell 90 percent of my belongings), I’m gaining a lot less financial stress, and the ability to open myself up to more options. Maybe now I can quit one of my 800 side hustles to free up some more time for myself to focus on things I want to be doing, instead of have to be doing. Plus, this is not a life sentence.
what can i sacrifice?
If you are in a tough financial situation yourself, either by not making enough income or paying off debt, it may be time to ask yourself, “what can I sacrifice?” Many big changes in our lives are difficult at first, but become easier over time.
When I began my financial wellness journey, one of the first things I had to cut was eating out. I thought I’d lose all my friends and have to live life as a hermit. But nothing could have been further from the truth. In fact, many friends have told me they have emulated my frugal ways and have cut back on spending themselves.
And now a lot of my side hustles (like helping out at networking events, and working with a team building company), involve socializing, and the bonus is sometimes it includes free food and drinks! Win-win!
When I first cut cable, I felt the pang of sadness that I couldn’t watch shows on The Food Network anymore. But as many of you who have cut cable know, there are a plethora of options via Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Redbox versus going out to the movies. I mean, it’s a no-brainer! As the saying goes, “when one door closes, another door opens.”
What not to sacrifice
There does come a certain point though where you really need to be cautious what you do cut.
In my apartment search, I looked for studios and 1-bedroom options in the $900 range. All I found were listings for places in very sketchy parts of LA. This is obviously not a reasonable option.
Another area of my life I refuse to cut spending is my health. I won’t eat fast food or processed junk to save a buck or two, because in the long run that will come back to haunt you, and you will end up spending a bunch of money in medical bills.
If you are currently facing making changes or cuts in your life, or have hit a rough patch, I implore you to take a moment to sit back and try to find purpose and meaning in the situation. There is almost always some kind of silver lining you can find.
How do you make the best of a bad situation? Have you rented out your home or apartment to lower your monthly expenses? How did it turn out? What are some expenses you consider off limits or won’t cut?
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