In the summer of 2017, I was at the height of my white-collar career. I was bringing in about $82,000 a year (not astronomical but not terrible either). More raises and promotions were imminent. It all looked great on paper.
But here’s what was happening behind the scenes.
My stress level was sky-high, and I was no longer sleeping. Sometimes I’d have chest pains, involuntary shaking, and cold sweats. Parts of my body would go tingly and then numb.
My weight had also shot up, and I broke 200 pounds. Since I’m six feet and one inch, I was now considered overweight. (I can promise you that very little of that 200 pounds was muscle.)
On the financial front, I was spending with relative abandon. (There’s a reason my weight kept hitting new highs, and it had a lot to do with pricey chicken wings.) I was also making no attempt to rein in expenses. My utilities, such as electricity, were eating up an ever-larger share of my take-home pay. I forked over almost $200 to ComEd in August 2017.
In short, I was a wreck: an anxiety-ridden, freewheeling glutton with a stupid large carbon footprint.
Fast forward to the present. As previously noted, I left white-collar land in July 2019 and am now trying my hand at blue-collar work.
My salary reflects this (hence the frugal imperative).
My stress level, however, is at a historic low. I am, by and large, sleeping through the night (if my newborn daughter allows it). No more chest pains. No more shaking. No more cold sweats. No more numbness.
Something else happened, too.
To save on gas, I started walking everywhere: to my job, to the bank, to the library, to the post office. The pounds started to fly off. I also finally had time to start weightlifting and created an exercise routine that includes stretching, planks, sit-ups, and squats. I now weigh 173 pounds and have muscles I didn’t even know existed.
My spending, of course, has plummeted. Likewise for my carbon footprint. Now that I walk everywhere, I might go three or four months without filling up my Honda’s gas tank. ComEd also sent me a letter saying our household is one of the most energy efficient in a 20-mile radius. My monthly bill reflects this. I also eat a lot less meat since it’s often crazy expensive. That alone has slashed my carbon footprint substantially.
Do you see where I’m going with this? Getting frugal has a funny way of helping you buck the system, improve your mental and physical health, and slash your carbon footprint. It’s the holy trifecta.
This trifecta theme will show up again and again in this blog.
Do you have any similar success stories? Has slashing spending improved your health or cut your carbon footprint? I’d love to hear from you!
P.S.: If parts of this post seemed a bit vain, let me address that.
I have trouble with zippers. I once confused a Phillips-head screwdriver with a flat-head screwdriver (how?). I put a Pop-Tart in the microwave with the aluminum wrapper still on. I backed into a car at the gas station while I was distracted singing along to the Aladdin soundtrack. I think that will suffice.
Frugal Tip: Always clean out your dryer’s lint trap before use. This will increase the appliance’s energy efficiency.
One thought on “The Glorious Trifecta”
Ryan, I’m so glad you’ve created this blog. I’m thrilled that you’ve discovered peace and contentment in your new way of life. Thank you for sharing your journey, and for creating a community for like-minded folks.
I too have made a career change, after realizing I went into law to please my family, and that I was chasing a particular standard of living for the same reason. Now my head is clear and I have real satisfaction in my life.
Eagerly awaiting your next installment!
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