My review of The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko
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This post is related to the list of my top 7 financially inspiring books. In 2010, I spent 3 months travelling around Brazil and Argentina with one of my best friends, Aoife. I had a rucksack and a small backpack that carried my life possessions for those 3 months- I had about 5 tops, 2 pairs of shorts, 2 skirts, 2 dresses, 2 pairs of leggings, a pair of tights, a raincoat, hiking boots, a pair of pumps, a pair of flipflops, and some carefully selected earrings and necklaces. Despite my initial shock at surviving with so few items, I actually grew to love the feeling of living out of a rucksack and being able to create wonderful memories and feelings without material possessions.
We had arrived to Rio with a one-way ticket, a plan to spend a year in South America, and 3,000 thousand euros to last me the 12 months. As you can imagine, I was a bit worried about having enough cash before we found jobs, so I sort of adopted a bit of a frugal attitude. We would stay at 5 euro/ night hostels, fill ourselves up with the free breakfast, have a bread roll for lunch while hiking or doing cheap/free tourist activities, and then not eat until our HUGE pasta dinner at the hostel later that evening… Literally just pasta, no sauce, meat or cheese!!! Some of you may be shocked but it was actually liberating to not be such a consumer for those few months. It gave me good financial habits for the future, many which I practise today, such as:
- I don’t spend 4 euros on a takeaway coffee unless it is a social occasion where I am meeting a friend for coffee.
- I never impulse buy and give myself 24 hours to think about a big purchase.
- I am not really a fan of designer labels and try to shop in the sales.
- I try to always keep staples like baked beans, tuna, chickpeas, pasta, feta cheese, frozen vegetables, frozen fruit, and natural yogurt at home, so I am never tempted to get a takeaway during the week.
This frugality helps me to save about 80% of my salary, which is part of my plan to be financially free in the next 5 to 10 years. And it is not just me! In fact, millions of people worldwide have joined the Minimalism movement as a way to fight back against consumerism and constant advertising pressure.
Why this long story? Well, when the authors of The Millionaire Next Door began researching how people became rich, they found out that many of them lived well below their means, preferring to invest their money in creating wealth rather than buying flashy cars, clothes, and watches! This reinforced my belief that I was on the right path while I also learned the other seven characteristics of the wealthy, which I try to emulate in my daily life. It is well worth a read and then adopt these strategies in your own life to boost your savings. Here is a link to The Millionaire Next Door on Amazon: