Resourcefulness is defined as the ability to create useful and unique solutions in challenging situations. I also think it’s about finding the balance between our 3 most powerful resources: money, time, and energy.
The way we spend any resource is a reflection of what we value. If there is a discrepancy between what we value and how we’re spending our resources, we may be setting ourselves up for disappointment. So for example, let’s say deep down you really value time with your family. But you’re working 80 hour weeks to afford your 5,000 sq ft home and you never see your kids. There is a discrepancy here that feels uncomfortable. Perhaps how you’re spending your time, money, and energy isn’t aligned with your deepest values.
As someone who identifies with the FIRE movement (financial independence, retire early), I’ve prioritized resourcefulness and getting in touch with what I value most. Oftentimes, I find that what our consumerist culture has conditioned me to want in terms of material possessions, doesn’t align with my core values: creativity, relationships, and autonomy over my time.
FIRE enthusiasts tend to favor optimization and constantly challenge themselves to get the most value for the lowest cost in terms of time, money, and energy.
And the secret to getting needs met in more resourceful ways?
Creativity has been a powerful tool for me in reducing my expenses so that I can save and invest more money in pursuit of financial independence. While many people believe reducing expenses will lead to a feeling of deprivation, I’d argue that they’re doing it wrong. With creativity as my guide, I’ve learned that resourcefulness can be fun and far superior than mindless consumption.
For example, when I was getting out of $30k of debt over the course of 11 months, I stopped buying clothing. Instead I would host and attend clothing exchanges with my friends. We’d all clear out our closets and spend an afternoon in one of our apartments drinking mimosas, listening to music and trying on each other’s clothes. After a few of these exchanges, I ended up with a closet full of free and fashionable hand me downs. Not only did I save money, but I saved time spent shopping and looking for things to buy. It also had a positive effect on my energy because time with friends is time well spent.
Another example is my cooking habit. I save lots of time, energy and money by meal planning and cooking almost every meal I eat. I also get to tap into my creativity by trying and making up new recipes. While it does take time and energy to batch cook and prep my meals for the week, I am saving so much mental energy overall by avoiding decision fatigue during the week. I don’t need to decide what to cook or where to order from, all that work has already been done and I can simply enjoy the food I’ve prepared. Meal planning also makes it more likely that I will eat healthy food that increases my energy. So yes, I’m saving money, but it’s not the only reason I do it.
One form of creativity in my budget that a lot of folks may not think of right away is my cell phone service. In order to make sure I’m being conscious of my spending in this area, I use Republic Wireless. Their WiFi first mentality truly sets up all of their members for savings. I make sure I’m connecting to WiFi whenever it’s available, as to save my data for when it’s really needed. They also don’t charge overage fees. So if I run out of data, I can either wait until my next billing cycle or go ahead and pay $5 for one-time data to get by. Republic also offers some pretty handy data protection tools to help me stay on top of my usage. With all of this control and creativity, I always feel confident in my monthly cell phone budget.
Being resourceful can help free up more time, money, and energy to be used on things you truly value. I find new ways to be resourceful everyday and if you tap into your own creativity, I’m sure you can too!
And if you value human connection as much as I do, come hang out with me at The EconoMe Conference on November 13th & 14th at The University of Cincinnati. EconoMe has been described as a party about money where you’ll get to meet other resourceful people doing incredible things with their finances. Save 10% on your ticket with promo code REPUBLIC, and you can buy your ticket here.