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Picking Up the Pennies

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The other day, I was walking down the street, and I noticed something that I’ve been observing since I was a little kid playing on the playground — free money! No, I didn’t stumble upon a stash of Benjamin’s, or a bag of coins from the US Mint, but what I found still filled me with excitement, nonetheless…

I found two pennies sitting next to each other in the middle of the street. With no one else around to claim them, I pocketed them for myself. It’s doubtful anyone will lose any sleep over losing two “measly” pennies, and I’m almost certain whoever misplaced them probably didn’t even notice they went missing.

As an early financial freedom fighter, you might not be surprised by my actions. In order to build wealth, it usually takes a certain mentality… a strong degree of discipline and defense — After all, “A penny saved is a penny earned“. Still, I couldn’t help but analyze how cool it is to know that some good habits ALSO die hard!

Making the Commitment

When I first started the journey to early FI in 2012, I made a commitment to myself to give it my best shot. I wasn’t going to do this thing only half-way, and I told myself early on that I would clamp down on my spending with a fury. I’m now on Year 4 of the journey, and I can say with full confidence that I’ve stuck true to that original oath (saving 70% to 80% of my earned income each and every month). These days, spending money needlessly has become a foreign concept to me, and I really believe that I’ve programmed myself to be a total tightwad running in an infinite loop. I’m on auto-pilot now, and saving money is as natural as breathing air…

The truth is, it gets easier with time. Repeated actions become natural motions. Before long, it just becomes a part of who you are. One way I look at it is, “If I’m going to pick up a habit, I might as well choose a good one!

The only real hard part was just getting started…

Brainwashing

Was it tough to get to this place? I don’t think so… Really, when I sit back and think about it, a main reason why saving was so easy for me to do was because I spent so little time actually thinking about doing it. Rather, my focus from Year 1 to present day has ALWAYS been on how to invest that savings, instead.

Investing started off as a necessity for me; In order to achieve early FI, I knew that I needed to grow and compound my money. Otherwise, there was not a snowball’s chance that I would ever be able to exit out of the rat race before traditional retirement age. But over time, investing became more than just a means to an end… It became a hobby… A passion… Something that I now have a ton of fun doing; I enjoy investing immensely! Whether it be researching stocks, or looking at properties at open houses, I’ve kind of just immersed myself in always trying to make more money. In the process (and as a necessity to fund more deals), I’ve been able to diligently save (picking up pennies) without really even being conscientious of it.

You could argue that all of this is a form of brainwashing (try telling someone at a party that your favorite hobby is buying stocks and see how long it takes before they turn away). But if you read between the lines, there’s so much more to it beneath the surface… I love not the mere act of investing itself, but all the infinite possibilities that it brings forth with it — A better quality of life for myself, friends, and family. Being able to play on the beach in the middle of winter when the majority of people are freezing their tails off. Traveling the world and exploring unknown destinations. The ability to control my time and destiny. Being able to walk away from wage slavery and working for someone else.

Now, those are things worth getting excited over! Those are the types of things that make me want to rummage the streets in search of some more pennies! 🙂

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • J. MoneyNo Gravatar March 20, 2015, 12:07 pm

    If that excites you, you are going to need a new pair of shorts after I tell you what I found on my two walks this week!

    walk #1: FIVE pennies! FIVE!!! 😉

    walk #2: A dime!!! Who hates dimes???

    Haha… great article though brotha. Just don’t walk near my house so you steal my coins 🙂

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar March 23, 2015, 5:31 pm

      J$,

      Wow, I’m speechless… and insanely jealous! 5 pennies!?! Man, that must have been your lucky day, sir… Now, I’m gonna have to take more (and longer) walks to try and out hustle you 😉

      Best wishes!

  • Gen Y Finance GuyNo Gravatar March 20, 2015, 6:48 pm

    I always pick up pennies when I see them on the ground. Or any spare change for that matter.

    When I was in Italy in 2007 I found a two hundred Euro bill. That was pretty awesome. It was wierd…so many people walked right past it as it was blowing on the ground until I finally picked it up.

    Cheers!

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar March 23, 2015, 5:32 pm

      Gen Y,

      Wow, that’s crazy! 200 euros!?! Can’t say I’ve ever gotten that lucky with floating change before, but one time in high school I saw a tumbleweed of bills blowing through the wind. Nobody claimed it, so I pocked about $15 or so… Man, I thought that was pretty sweet!

      All the best!

  • Gen Y Finance GuyNo Gravatar March 20, 2015, 6:48 pm

    I always pick up pennies when I see them on the ground. Or any spare change for that matter.

    When I was in Italy in 2007 I found a two hundred Euro bill. That was pretty awesome. It was weird…so many people walked right past it as it was blowing on the ground until I finally picked it up.

    Cheers!

  • No Nonsense LandlordNo Gravatar March 20, 2015, 8:04 pm

    I pick up the pennies too. And as much as I hate for a renter to leave a couch for me, it is always good for a few pennies.

    I always find pennies and other change when I turn an apartment. Tax free, all .06 of it!

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar March 23, 2015, 5:33 pm

      Eric,

      LOL! Tax free… can’t beat that! As a real estate investor, I’m sure you’ve become a master jedi of knowing all the tricks to tax shelter income.

      Cheers!

  • Debt HaterNo Gravatar March 22, 2015, 11:19 am

    I always do the same, it only takes a second effort to reach down and pick them up. Free money is free money!

    I’ve also found it enjoyable to learn about investing, where to save money, how to make more money. Better to be interested in that instead of how to blow more money!

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar March 23, 2015, 5:34 pm

      Debt Hater,

      Yup, free money can’t be beat! In a way, passive income sort of feels like that which is why I’m such a HUGE fan of it.

      I agree, making money >>>>>>>> blowing money

      Take care!

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