Decoupling Your Finances

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m pretty frugal. I like spending money on things like the island, travel, and good food, but I also like saving money. I spend very little money frivolously, and don’t have an overwhelming appetite for luxury.

I don’t make much money, either. I’m content to have enough income to fund my inexpensive lifestyle, to save a little bit most months, and to retain control of almost all of my time to invest in big future projects like Sett.

Relatively frequently, though, I’ll have a small windfall. Sometimes I’ll have a good run in poker where I make a few thousand dollars within a couple days. My new book, Superhuman by Habit has been doing really well, too. Thanks to my readers and friends, it’s been in the top 1000 books on Amazon. For a while last year my bitcoins were worth a bunch of money.

In these sorts of situations, it can be tempting to spend more money. People bargain with themselves, allowing themselves to spend some or all of unexpected sums of money they come across.

But this is sort of like buying a gallon of milk, chugging it immediately, and then not having any for later. Other than not drinking any milk if you don’t have any, the amount of milk you have shouldn’t really affect how much you drink. Resources and their use should usually be decoupled.

This is especially true of finance, where your spending can be tightly controlled and rather than turn into cottage cheese, excess compounds into more freedom and runway. When looking at the long term, there is a very clear incentive to decouple. Size your expenses to your minimum income, and use the rest to invest or save.

There are essentially three different financial modes people fall into. Some spend money they don’t have, falling into the quicksand trap of debt. Others spend the money they have, but live paycheck to paycheck. Last are those who don’t spend money they have, which inevitably leads to wealth of some scale.

If you’re in debt or always cutting it close, think about the relationship between money you earn and money you spend. Decouple those two parts of your life, and make sure that you’re saving money rather than going into debt. This requires changing your habits, but pays off forever.


Photo is the inventor of instant noodles holding his invention, in metallic statue form.

Just finished the back to back Japan Cruise and Japan Train Trip. Both lots of fun and great experiences, but I’m happy to be back and catch up on work. I know I owe a lot of emails to people– they’ll be coming tomorrow!

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