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Case Studies and Interviews

A Critique Of My Personal Expenses For 2015

Last year was my first year moving out and living away from my parents. I wasn’t sure exactly how much money it would cost me to live on my own, so I tracked all my expenses in a small notebook and decided to figure it out in 2016. The time is now, and to be honest, I was quite scared to look at my spending. I know for a fact that I live frugally, but I never really looked at the numbers. What if I spent much more than I thought? There were many times throughout last year when I went over my budget or I couldn’t plan well enough because as someone living on my own, I didn’t know what the basics/essentials I needed to have to live comfortably were.

At my new job, my boss made me create expense reports and I had to do some bookkeeping work. I became more comfortable creating financial reports in Excel and looking at how other businesses spent money. I felt like I could no longer stay in the unknown in regards to my spending habits, so I entered all my purchases into Excel and calculated the amount I spent for different categories. It was an empowering exercise. I realize that only by taking an honest look at my personal finances can I make adjustments and keep heading in the right direction. My total was slightly higher than I expected, but it is still lower than the amount most people spend. Actually, living on $16.5k per year in NYC is very low.

Personal Expenses Report

Category Amount
Business $629.11
Bank Service Charges $60.50
Bedroom $137.96
Charity $49.21
Cleaning and Household Supplies $59.51
Clothing $1,059.39
Personal Development And Education $1,808.76
Entertainment And Recreation $510.60
Exercise $560.72
Food $1,918.10
Gifts $141.95
Hair $143.86
Health Supplements and First Aid $64.05
Kitchen $296.45
Laundry $135.42
Miscellaneous $4.78
Office Supplies $17.44
Personal Care $169.34
Phone $328.02
Rent $4,550.00
Sewing $303.86
Shipping $170.15
Travel $2,517.45
Utilities $275.00
Total For 2015 $16,562.03

 

As I look at the detailed version of my report (I posted the general version), there were many things I could have lived without and won’t need to spend much money on this year.

Business

Last year in January, I wanted to start a mobile massage business. So I bought a massage table, table cart, oils, hosting for the website, business cards, etc. I got everything ready and ended up deciding to not follow through with it. I realized being young, it probably wasn’t a good idea and I could have set myself up for sexual harassment by giving massages to clients in their own homes. Now obviously this year, I won’t be buying any of this stuff. But there are some business expenses such as business cards, web hosting, domain names, marketing, and advertising material, that I will be spending on. So I probably will spend more this year, not less.

Bank Service Charges

Now this one was honestly my mistake. I was charged two overdraft fees from Charles Schwab for not having enough money in my checking account to pay my eBay fees. I sell on eBay, and twice last year, I withdrew money from my PayPal balance before paying the eBay seller fees. And so eBay decided to charge my backup payment method, which was my checking account. If I were more careful with checking my account balance regularly and marked all my scheduled payments on my calendar, I could have avoided the overdraft fees. Overdraft fees are a billion dollar business in America. These banks prey on the laziness of consumers to check their balance before writing a check or swiping a debit card.

Bedroom

As I just moved last year, I needed to decorate my room. I bought some curtains, mirrors, shelves, etc. I have everything I need now. I do not expect to move or to redecorate this year so I could cut spending in this category for 2016.

Charity

I have no issue with giving to charity. In fact, this year I want to contribute even more. It makes a positive impact on other people’s lives, strengthens relationships, and has been studied to increase happiness. Giving makes me feel more positive and every time I give, I am in an abundant state of mind.

Cleaning Supplies

This was fine.

Clothing

Last year, I wanted a brand new wardrobe to suit my new career. I don’t want to spend so much money on clothing this year. I’m not into keeping up with the latest fashions. As long as I look presentable, I am okay. I would rather have a conservative, classic, timeless wardrobe with high-quality pieces that will last for years and make me feel good every time I wear them.

I have enough clothes in my closet to last me only a week. I am a firm believer of project 333, a challenge in which you wear only 33 items for three months (or one season) and that includes accessories. I own only 33 hangers, so whenever I buy new clothes, I make space by donating my old clothes. I know many women who have much more clothes than I do, but “can never find anything to wear.” I wear every article of clothing in my closet. And I don’t think people seem to notice that I wear the same clothes each week. They are too busy worrying about what I think of them than what they think of me!

Though I don’t plan on buying new clothes this year, I will probably buy new shoes when the seasons change.

Personal Development And Education

The money I spent in this category was not for college. It was mainly for Landmark Worldwide and for bettering myself by taking workshops or buying used books on Amazon. I am quite happy with spending money on education. I’m a life-long learner and a jack of all trades. Whenever possible, to save money I try researching online (there’s tons of free information) and borrowing most of my books from the New York Public Library instead of paying for education. There are some things I cannot learn from reading a book and can only gain through experience – Landmark is an example. Experiential learning is well worth the time and money.

Entertainment And Recreation

I am okay with what I spent in this category. I watched Broadway musicals, ballet shows, sang karaoke, picked up playing the acoustic guitar again, had a floatation session in a sensory deprivation chamber. All of these experiences were new and enjoyable. I got to bond with my friends and develop a deeper relationship. In 2016, I want to watch more Broadway musicals, as I’ve fallen in love with them! I’ve begun valuing experiences over possessions.

Exercise

A lot of the money I spent here was for pole dancing. Pole dancing was definitely an empowering exercise. I was happier and more confident with the way my body looked as a woman. And it was definitely a full body workout and I was physically stronger than ever before. I had to quit pole dancing because I tore my medial meniscus and it hurts to do most exercises. In 2016, I cannot imagine myself spending money on exercise, though it is definitely something I value. I like to exercise by riding my bike (free) and practicing yoga at home (free). I could also add in some bodyweight exercises to my routine for strength training (also free). I don’t need a gym membership. However, if I came across adult dance classes offered at a reasonable price, I would take it – not just for the exercise, but for being part of a community.

Food

If I do the calculations, I spent on average $160 per month on food or $40 per week. This is very low in comparison to the amount other people spend on food. Many of my friends consider spending $10 a day on only lunch to be a “good deal.” Do that for five work days and that is $50 per week on lunch.

But is it possible for me to live on even less? I would like to try. I already brought my own lunch to work every day instead of ordering something.

But when I started college in September, I started buying lunch at school because I brought my own food but was still hungry after biking six miles to school every morning. My schedule wasn’t the best with long hours, so I didn’t want to wait to get home to eat. There were also times when I was at Landmark, and the hours were long and I was too tired to cook, so I would go across the street to Duane Reade and buy unhealthy convenience foods to satiate my hunger. Also, there were many times I ate at restaurants so I could socialize with friends. I wonder how much I would spend on food if I only ate at home-cooked food.

Last year, I developed severe acne and I didn’t know what was causing it. It turned out to be food because I did an allergy test last month and it turned out I was allergic to shrimp, beef, chocolate, and corn. CORN. Corn is in everything nowadays with high fructose corn syrup being a common sweetener. I have no idea what restaurants put in their food, but there might be corn in it. I have stopped eating at restaurants for one month already and my skin cleared up a lot. That is one more reason to eat only home-cooked food.

Gifts

This is okay. Giving is always good.

Hair

This is okay. I used to spend more.

Health Supplements and First Aid

This is okay. Best to take care of my health now and prevent possible diseases than to suffer the consequences later.

Kitchen

I just moved last year and needed to buy things like pots, pans, knives, spoons, forks, spatulas, vegetable peelers, etc. Now my kitchen is fully equipped and I have everything I need. I don’t expect to buy anything new for my kitchen in 2016. The only thing I can think of is a yogurt maker. I’ve developed a love for Greek yogurt, and if I made my own yogurt, I could save some money in the food category. The savings would offset the initial cost of the appliance.

Laundry

The amount of quarters I used at the laundromat to operate the washing machine and dryer is okay. Those costs are negligible. A large portion of the costs came from the laundry detergent. I believe in 2016, I could shave some of the costs by making my own laundry detergent. There are a ton of recipes online.

Miscellaneous

This is okay. It was for an umbrella when it unexpectedly started pouring and I was stranded at the grocery store! I didn’t know what category to put it in.

Office Supplies

This is okay.

Personal Care

Generally, this was okay. But I wasted a lot of money trying to figure out what skin care products worked best for my sensitive skin. I said earlier that I was breaking out severe acne from food allergies. I kept thinking it was from my skin care products so I experimented with different products. I’ve now found the best products to use on my face (organic and all natural) and they are very cheap. So in 2016, I expect to spend less on personal care, now that I’ve finished experimenting.

Phone

This is okay.

Rent

This is okay. It is very cheap because I negotiated with the property manager.

Sewing

Sewing used to be one of my favorite hobbies. I enjoyed making my own clothes (they look better and last longer and are cheaper than store bought clothes), but after moving out of my mom’s house, I stopped sewing. But I kept buying new fabric and sewing supplies out of habit, which was a total waste. I have lots of fabric that ended up unused. I do not want to spend any money on sewing this year. If I need to sew, I already have lots of options from my stash to choose from.

Shipping

This is okay. The shipping costs were from selling my used items on eBay. So in reality, I was making money whenever I shipped something.

Travel

This is okay. Forty-six percent of the money spent was toward my new bike. I won’t have to buy a new bike this year – I only need to pay for the maintenance costs (very low). The bike actually saves me money because I do not need to pay for unreliable public transportation (Dear MTA, why do you always have train delays?) and it’s a free form of exercise. Twenty-eight percent was spent on public transportation. Twenty-six percent was spent on recreational travel, meaning I went out of town for the weekend. These trips were fun and I made lots of new friends. I suspect this year, I’ll spend less on travel because I don’t need to buy a new bike. Or maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll spend even more money buying plane tickets to travel the world.

Utilities

This is okay.

Total

So in total for 2015, I spent $16,562 for the year / $1,380 per month / $45 per day. Already very low, but I wonder if I can live on even less in 2016 because I don’t need to spend any more money on the initial costs of moving out. To summarize, I want to spend less on bank service charges, decorating my bedroom, clothes, food, exercise, kitchen, laundry, personal care, and sewing. I want to spend more money on business, charity, personal development and education, entertainment and recreation, gifts, and travel because these are the things I enjoy and want more of in my life.

This was a good exercise in evaluating my spending habits because now I can see whether my spending aligns with my priorities and values. I don’t think I’m being cheap, though some people might call me that. Frugality and thriftiness are second nature to me. So is spending with intention. I want every dollar I spend to be done with intention. I believe money should be spent in a way that adds value and contentment to my life, which means new experiences and developing deeper relationships, not shiny new toys, not possessions. A designer handbag or beautiful kitchen cabinets and countertops don’t add value to my life.

And lastly, my ultimate goal is financial freedom and independence. The more money I save and invest now, the earlier I retire and the more options I have when I am older. If at age 40 I decided I no longer want to work or I want to create a non-profit or travel the world, I would be able to drop what I’m doing because money will not stop me from living the life I want.

Case Studies and Interviews, Homelessness, Manifesting Abundance, Spirituality and Money

The Story Of Renato: How This Man Went From Panhandling to Having Full Time Work

I’ve been telling Renato’s story to countless people ever since the day I met him back in August. I think it’s about time I shared this in writing so that anyone can read it and get all the details. 🙂

I’ll start with the day before I met Renato. I was at Landmark, assisting in the Advanced Course, and I was listening in on the conversation in the room. Josselyne, the course leader, was calling everyone inauthentic for ignoring the people on the sidewalk asking for change and saying “Sorry I don’t have money.” That’s a lie you’re telling. In reality, you DO have money – the correct way of saying it is “I have money, and I don’t want to give you any.”

Lying this way to strangers is bad because this is your community. You might not know the person asking for change, but this person is still part of your community and you’re not doing anything about it. You walk by as if it’s not your person, but here’s the thing: IT IS. We are all one. We are all connected. We are all from the same source: God. That person you are walking past is actually a part of you, you just don’t realize it yet.

The next day, I was on my way to my parent’s house for lunch. I walked by a Mexican on 18th Avenue 65th Street, standing outside of the McDonalds, asking me for change. As I walk by, he specifically looked me in the eye and asked me for change. I didn’t say anything.

Honestly, I didn’t want to help. I was quitting my job in four days and would soon have no income. I had nothing lined up and I didn’t know where my next dollar would come from after those four days. And looking back, my wallet hasn’t seen a single dollar come in since that last day at work.

I walked a couple more steps and he shouted PLEASE I REALLY WANT CHANGE. PLEASE HELP ME.

I turned around and started seeing tears go down his cheeks. I felt really and said “Listen, I don’t have any cash on me, (I really didn’t) but I can pray for you and God will provide for you.” I started praying alone and he wanted me to slow down because he wanted to be able to understand me and repeat after me. So we prayed together and he was happy.

“What’s your name?” I asked. “Renato.” He continued, “You are like an angel who has come from heaven to help me. You prayed for me.” Apparently, no one had ever stopped to do such a thing for him.

Upon realizing I was speaking to an honest man, I offered to buy him lunch with my credit card. He could pick anything he wanted. Renato chose McDonalds and he seriously only wanted a ONE DOLLAR HAMBURGUESA (hamburger). I told him to order more… and he said a hamburger was enough. So I went ahead and ordered more food for him due to his reluctance. And so, with my credit card, I charged $4.35.

I watched him gulf down that hamburger in 30 seconds. I could tell that Renato was starving. So I asked more about him. It turned out that he was a day laborer who waited on the streets for work – some days there are work, some days there aren’t. That day was one of those days without work.

He came from Queens and that morning, with only enough money for a one way metrocard ride. If he didn’t have work, then he didn’t have enough to eat and he didn’t have enough money to go home either…

That was an upsetting situation, not knowing whether you would be able to eat that day, but hoping you could get work so you that you could eat. And if things didn’t work out, then you are screwed.

It was Saturday so in my conversation, I told him that it’s the weekend and that God just wanted to him to rest that day. Not everyday will be a day of work and you can’t force it. God decides. God just wanted him to groom and to relax, so he would be better prepared and well rested for the next day when he did have work.

I got his phone number, and with the swipe from my unlimited metrocard, I told him to go home and sleep.

I went home and told my parents what happened. I thought they would make fun of me, but to my surprise, they were proud that I helped this man. They told their friends about it, but their friends thought otherwise. According to them, I wasted my money, which could have been spent on myself for better things. But oh well.

As I thought about Renato throughout the rest of the day, I realized that I could invite Renato to church the next day. I promised my friend Nathan that I would visit his church, so why not invite Renato with me too? But the problem was, Renato didn’t have any money for a metrocard ride, so it would be impossible for him to get there.

AH but Landmark taught me that anything is possible if I just stopped giving myself reasons why I couldn’t have something. So I asked my friend from Queens to drive Renato all the way to Brooklyn. To my surprise, he said YES. It was shocking because I just met Renato that very day. I was scared my friend would warn me of stranger danger, but he said I’ve done a ton of crazy shit before that always worked out, just from following my intuition, so this was no different.

From Brooklyn, I could pay for Renato’s metrocard to go to Manhattan. My parents heard, and then my dad offered me $10 to pay for his metrocard. My dad never gives, so I was shocked at that too! My mom is a constant giver and she gave me $20 to buy Renato lunch. I was shocked that everyone who was close to me was willing to change Renato’s life.

I met Renato again on Sunday morning and off to church we went. On the subway, I learned more about his life. The rest of his family was in Mexico and he had one sister. His mom was diabetic and couldn’t work. He sends money back to help them. He came to New York a couple years ago and started as a dish washer. It had steady hours, but then his friend said that if he worked in construction he could make a whole lot more. So he left that job to work on a renovation project that lasted a couple months. Yes, it was better pay. But after the project ended, he had no more income. So he started working as a day laborer waiting on the streets for work.

At church, we filled out a prayer request that he would have full time work with steady income. “Don’t worry, God will provide for you. This situation is a test of your faith and when you prove faithful, God will give you exactly what you need,” I reassured.

And what do you know? In the middle of church service, he got a phone call from his buddy saying they just landed a three day job! That was great! I was right and so happy to know that he could eat for the next few days. What would happen to him after that, I had no clue.

After church service, I took him to a public place to talk. I started spouting financial advice on how God wanted him to spend this money now that God was entrusting him with it. In the past, he would spend all of it, but no no no. God wants him to put 10% (or more) to save for the future. God wants him to give part of it away, to spend some of it for himself on basic living expenses, some for his family, and some for recreation. He can’t spend all of it in one category, otherwise it would be unbalanced and money won’t flow to where it really needs to go.

I showed him my savings book as an example. It had a couple thousand in there and I told him that he could be in the same position I was in if he just followed the same method. You could see the history of my deposits. Every week, I put some money in, sometimes twice a week. And before I knew it, it grew to a couple thousand. And I didn’t even make that much money. In the beginning, I started off making $3 an hour + tips and was able to save $4,000 in my time there. What mattered most was I was consistent. He looked at it and saw that sometimes, I deposited only $1 in there. But hey a $1 here and there adds up. And so I urged him to save even just a dollar from every paycheck in the future.

You see, when God is giving you money to use, it’s not really your money – it’s still his. He is just trusting that you will manage it right, for the good of humanity. If you manage it right, he will trust you with more and give you more. If you don’t manage it right, everything stagnates and in your heart, you don’t feel at peace.

That’s why so many people don’t feel at peace. They have tons of debt: “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7) They don’t give, they don’t save either. This is not the way money was meant to be used.

So I assured Renato, when he starts using money in God’s laws, he will prosper. Just trust and have faith, and he will get more. I hoped he understood. I had to speak in broken Spanish to get my point across since his English wasn’t the best. “Yeah yeah yo comprendo,” he responded.

Later, we met up with my friend who is very rich who treated us to lunch. She started injecting her mindset into him to think more like a business owner.

She said he needed to be willing to charge less, so even though he didn’t have that much skill, people would be willing to hire him and teach him. Some people have more time than money and it’s these kinds of people who were willing to train. As he gained more skills under his belt, he could start charging more because he would be good at what he did. Then he could save up the money to buy some tools, and charge even more because he had his own equipment. Then he could start hiring people to work for him when the job was too much to handle.

She offered Renato a short term job for after his 3 days of work was finished. I was happy to hear that my rich friend was being so non-judgmental, and like my other friend, didn’t even think to warn me of “stranger danger.” She was willing to create a job, to create wealth in his life.

We sent Renato home and wished him well.

On the last day of his three day job, Renato called me, super excited to tell me the good news. He did such a good job in that project, the boss wanted to hire him for full time work! It had a steady Monday-Friday 9-5 schedule and steady pay. He rejected my friend’s job offer in the end. You couldn’t believe my joy. God really does work miracles in our lives.

Haha, and so with that, I bought and mailed him a tin coin bank that looked like this:

coin_bank

I told him to just keep putting away money everyday into that coin bank. $10 here, $5 there, maybe a $20 sometimes. As long as he put a bill inside everyday, his savings will grow. When it’s full and he can’t put anything more inside, he can take a can opener to open it up and then be amazed by how much he really saved up. “Keep saving for your future and I promise you, when you are unfortunate and out of work, you will never have to worry about being on the streets begging for money again.”

And of course, I told him to keep giving to others.

Soon after that, he landed part time work for the weekend as a dish washer, not every weekend – just some. God is trusting him with more money.

It’s been a couple of months now and he really did follow my advice. He doesn’t know how much he’s socked away so far, but he’s been socking away money. And when it is full, we will open it together and see how far he’s come. He really will never have to panhandle again. I am happy to have made a difference in his life, and this is all it took to get him back on his feet: $38.35.

Let me break it down for you: $4.35 for McDonalds, $10 from my dad for metrocard, $20 from my mom for lunch, $1 for that coin bank, and $3 to mail it to him. His life is changed forever. It’s not the money, it’s the fact that I sat down with him and spoke to him like a human being that mattered.

And if you just show more compassion for the poor around you, you will find that you can be the one who changes their life forever. You shouldn’t wait for someone else to start. The change starts with you.

Renato has been coming to Pastor Tony’s Monday Bible Study and he is coming to faith. He will travel two hours all the way from the Bronx to come to this Bible Study. He is part of our community now. I invite you to come on Mondays 7:30pm – 8:30 to Christ the King Church 9020 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11209.

 

This is the story of Renato, how he went from panhandling to making money.

Case Studies and Interviews, Travel

Andrew Vega: Saving Up To Backpack the World

When I was in Chicago earlier this month, I made a new friend named Andrew. I met Andrew via couch surfing and he was kind enough to host me for one night. “Couch surfing has served as some of the best education I have received,” he praised. It’s a great way for him to meet travelers who can give him lots of insight on what it’s like to go on a world adventure. Plus, it’s a chance to learn about different cultures and he’ll learn more about a place from someone who actually lives there.

Andrew eventually wants to go on his own long term travel adventures. It’s been his dream since he was in kindergarten. Hanging on his family’s refrigerator is an older picture of him and his kindergarten teacher, Pamela, who just so happens to be a word traveler herself. Andrew has an insatiable desire to learn new things. He feels like traveling will fill his curiosity and help him discover what the world is like.

When Andrew watched the TEDx video, How to Travel the World With Almost No Money, he was inspired to take action. A dream without a plan is just a wish, so Andrew came up with a plan that he’s intent on following through on, because he wants to make his dream a reality. I believe his story is a perfect example of what it means to be frugal and disciplined with money, to achieve the long term goals you want. Today I want to discuss on what Andrew’s been doing in regards to his finances and what he’s given up to make this happen.

Right now, Andrew works in the tourism industry. He’s the supervisor for a team of sales photographers at a souvenir photography company at the Willis Tower, the second tallest building in the United States. (Interesting, right? He wants to travel and he has a job that allows him to meet travelers all the time.) So, he makes approximately $1,200 a month. It’s not much compared to many people, but he’s able to make it work. He has approximately $5,000 saved up for his trip so far and plans to save up another $4,500 by the time he quits his job in March. Overall, he’s aiming for a total of $9,500 for his trip next year.

One of the things Andrew did was write down his spending, knowing exactly where every dollar was going. He found his cell phone bill to be a bit high, especially for just one phone line. “I went from a $145 a month cell phone bill to a $19 a month.” He got a new plan that offered the same things: unlimited calling, unlimited texting, and included data. He went on, “I still do the same things on my phone, so I don’t feel like I gave much up. Now I just feel great about saving on the things I already use.”

Another thing Andrew cut back on was food. “I don’t eat out anymore,” he said. It used to be normal to spend money on eating out with friends, but he realized that a dollar here and there eventually added up to a lot of money. He added, “Before my frugal lifestyle, I would waste about $15-$25 a day on eating out.” Today, he eats at home and also brings his own lunch to work.

Andrew’s been slowly selling or giving away everything he owns too. I was staying over at his house and I saw his room. You should see his room. It’s so bare! And I thought my room was minimalist. He barely had any furniture or possessions. He’s already in the mindset of only keeping things that are necessary and will fit in his backpack. There are still some items he needs to sell though. Andrew said, “I’ve yet to sell many electronics I don’t need anymore (nobody needs two laptops) and my bike.” The money Andrew makes from selling those will go right toward his travel fund to buy gear like a new sturdy backpack and a pair of good hiking pants.

Andrew’s also developed frugality. He learned to always prioritize saving and to put his money into his savings first, before allocating it to other areas. He has his checking and savings account at two separate banks so his savings aren’t as accessible. (For some that’s a good idea. Other people might decide to have it at the same bank so it’s easier to deposit to their savings with automatic transfers.) And even when it comes to spending for other areas, he stopped impulsively spending out of boredom.

Doing all this, he doesn’t feel deprived at all. Andrew asserted, “I feel great about this. I do not feel deprived at all. I feel fulfilled knowing I am taking control of more areas of my life.” His feelings are very similar to many other people who take charge of their financial lives. By being in control of your finances, you’re not only affecting your wallet, but also other areas because it’s a lifestyle. It’s not a one time action where you save on something; it’s habitual, it’s constant, it’s routine. You learn discipline, and you can take that same exact discipline to eat healthy, to exercise, to read, to achieve anything.

So what does Andrew do in his free time if he’s not spending any money on entertainment and recreation, AND not feeling deprived? Andrew participates in free activities like going to the park or attending a free event in the city. I remember when I was in Chicago with him, we were exploring the Chicago Cultural Center, and there happened to be a string quartet playing free classical music that day. It was quite beautiful and enjoyable. That event was one of the many free events that the center holds daily.

Along with that, Andrew uses his free time to learn new things. He spends most of his time reading. He gets a free education from reading books borrowed from the Chicago Public Library. Also, Andrew’s job pays for an online subscription to a Lynda.com, an educational company that offers thousands of video tutorials in software, creative, and business skills. He’s been using it to learn coding for developers. It’s a good subject to learn if he wants to have location independent income when he travels.

All of this is great work. Andrew’s on his way to accomplishing his dreams because he has his priorities in order, and everything he does is aligned with his goals, in terms of both his time and his money. He did have to give up his old lifestyle and habits, like eating out and splurging. His old friends aren’t as close to him anymore either because his values are just completely different now. But Andrew’s going what he wants. He’s happy and he’s living his life like this now because he knows the rewards will be great and well worth it later.

If you want to follow Andrew, you can read more about him on his blog, Awakened Andrew, at http://awakenedandrew.com.