How I saved upwards of $51,208,800! and 9 other life hacks

I just saved at least $51,208,800 and you can too. More on that below.

I once read a book in college that was about the semantics of the word “understand”. It broke down nine different ways or aspects of the usage of the word “understand”.

I don’t think I understood it.


Day 49 of Claudia’s book Become An Idea Machine.

What are 10 things it took me a long time to understand?

1. My net-worth (which isn’t and never was much) is not my self-worth.

I know this is a little cliche but I used to (and sometimes do) get really depressed and sad when my bank account is near $0. As in $.47 or $3.92 and $(-13.43) with me rushing to the bank to deposit a $20 before I get hit with an insufficient funds charge that lowers my account even further.

One day I finally got that the value of my bank account, thankfully, does not mean I am more or less of a person of value.

2. I may be by myself, but I am never alone.

This didn’t happen until I found my faith in Christ. I used to be sad and thought I was a loner and lonely. But now I have an understanding that although no other human might be in the room with me, I am not alone.

3. Ignoring networking gets me nowhere.

I have always been the type of guy to handle things on my own. It wasn’t that I never asked for help, but usually if I could find a way to do it by myself then I would. I guess I didn’t want to inconvenience any of my non-friends.

Going to college, I thought I could just get my degree and certification and then I would just get a job. I didn’t understand why someone wouldn’t just hire me.

One day I was at my current job and helping a math tutor get to one of the areas he needed to go to help the students. I had told him how I was (at the time) certified to teach math but was not able to get hired anywhere in the entire state of Texas. Then he asked me something I had never given much thought to. “Why should they hire you?” he said. Mentally my jaw dropped. How dare he insult me with this demeaning question. Why should they I thought? Because I am certified and therefore qualified to do so.

I gave him some vague non-answer.

But I did not forget this interaction and my underwhelming response. No wonder I never got hired I thought. I had no reason why anyone should have let me be a teacher.

And no real network to give me a boost.

Over the four years substituting I built a small network. But it didn’t result in a teaching position. Which at the time I was upset about, but now am thankful for.

4. Flee the pursuit of wealth.

These were the words of Roger, the guy who discipled me for a while. At first I was like, “umm… I need money to live” and “I have to work so why not get wealthy?”. And I may not fully understand this even now. But what I have learned through turning it over in my mind is this: Money is liquid and flows. In fact now it is data. Numbers on a machine. No amount of money is ever enough. Desiring money over God is not good. Focusing on money won’t help me get anymore of it or anywhere.

And I am still learning more about this each day.

5. Work hard, play hard is not worth it.

Why work hard? Ever. I always think of the saying “Work smart, not hard” when I hear “work hard, play hard”. Why be so hard anyways. I used to be super hard on myself mentally. I was fully of negative self talk. I am only now just slightly less full of it. I am not saying I should excuse myself from bad behavior, but rather not judge myself. That is not my place. “There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” Or in my case, to judge myself.

And playing hard is not good either. I think of the saying “everything in moderation”, but I would caution even partaking in everything. There are some things you shouldn’t even have moderation of. You can figure those out.

6. Once you defeat the “demons” outside of you then you have to deal with the “demons” within.

I am not talking about the supernatural demons, but rather vices. This was told to me from a guy who was the father of a girl I once dated. It is easy to understand on the surface level but to actually apply it and make sense in my life took longer. The outside distractions and issues, although not easy, can often be dealt with by abstinence and other such methods.

Self-control? That takes time.

There is much out there about this with sayings like “I am my own worst enemy” and ink spilled about “the marshmallow test”.

7. Just because I can get away with something or not get caught, does not make it right or okay to do.

This one is self-explanatory.

8. Calling spending “investments” doesn’t make it so.

I had bought into this advertising lie. It sure made me feel smart to buy things I wanted that would be good for my needs because they were “investments” in my future.

My debt to income ratio would disagree.

That “savings” number printed on the bottom of receipts is a lie to. How insulting. “We could have carged you $X but instead we benevolently let you save $ Y!! Aren’t we great! ” Truth is I never would have bought it if it was the higer price.

That reminds me of an episode of Curious George where he wonders if you are trying to get the lowest scorr in golf, you logically should just not play at all then your score would be zero.

I just now didn’t buy a boat, mansion, helicopter and private jet. All right now! I just “saved” upwards of $51,208,800! Now if only my “saved” money could be put to good use…

9. You can be firm and kind at the same time.

This is something I feel I am always cycling through. Was I being to kind? Was I taken advantage of? Why wasn’t I more assertive? Was I too hard?

It is a delicate balance.

10. Hold fast hope.

This breath could be your last.

Now is when to live.

Stay present.



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