You know the saying, “Where there’s a will there’s a way”? I’m not sure where it comes from but I gotta say, it holds true for me in this case.
When I was sitting in front of my computer on a typical Monday at my detestable day-job three years ago, I had no clue how I would be able to make the leap from a comfortable career with good benefits, a 401k, and upward mobility. All I knew was that if I had to walk through those doors for one more week, I might have a complete and total nervous breakdown. I was that miserable. All I could imagine was spending my last day on Earth doing something I hated and knew that life was more precious than that.
The Frenchman encouraged me that I could totally do it (and no, at that time, he wasn’t in a position to carry both of us financially), so off the proverbial cliff I went! Before I packed my desk on the last day, I’d battoned down the hatches to live a little more efficiently. Here’s how I did it:
I cut everything down to the bare minimum. So my cell phone, cable bill, car insurance, and health insurance were all at just what I needed and nothing more. No more unlimited cell minutes, unlimited data, or unlimited texting; I just used free apps like Skype and Whats App to cover any gaps. It doesn’t seem like much at first because it’s $15 here, and $38 there, but over a few different expenses and you start cutting in to the weight of it! I’m not suggesting this, but I actually didn’t even have health insurance for the first 6 months post-job.
I stopped going out and paying $5 for coffee and limited eating meals out. Instead, I cooked basic, healthy meals at home, because grabbing a $6 meal at Chipotle a few days a week will add up like crazy… especially when you pair that with a morning coffee drink at a cafe. Homemade is the new “black”, I swear! 😉 Before grocery shopping, I’d troll my favorite grocery store websites and print coupons for items I knew I was buying (even Whole Foods, Target, and Publix publish printable coupons online!)
It’s worth mentioning that my car was used and had been paid off for quite some time, so that was a huge savings. And eventually, we even downsized to only one car to eliminate one car insurance bill altogether. I swore off credit cards and shortly before I quit my job, wiped out the fairly small amount of CC debt I had. I still easily managed about $10k in student loans during this time because the monthly payments were minimal.
I’d saved about $4,000 prior to quitting my job (I’d been saving for over 2 years) so I’d have a bit of a cushion before making the leap. Also, I wasn’t earning a six-figure salary before quitting my job, but I applied the same disciplines to saving before I quit as I did after. You need a lot less than you think you do!
I swore off vacations and trips for an entire year, too. We actually had to go down to Key West on short notice and instead of flying and staying in a hotel, we took a ferry and stayed in a spare room on Airbnb. The whole 4 days cost about $300 instead of a potential $1300.
I didn’t go shopping for new clothes since the ones I had were just great and, I sold a huge chunk of my nice professional wardrobe and made several hundred dollars just from that!
As for where I got the yoga clothes I needed for teaching, I hit up discount stores like TJ Maxx and Ross and ONLY shopped in the sale sections or outlets of bigger stores like Sports Authority, Nike and Under Armour. I never paid more than $15 for any item of yoga clothing. Another trick is to find out which yoga brands offer Ambassador programs or discounts. You can snag some great deals and even, in some cases, score free gear for sharing your experiences. Even Lululemon offers 15% off to instructors, if that’s your thing.
I taught EVERYWHERE that would have me and any packages with private clients included compensation for travel time + gas.
As for my class schedule, I would teach a couple classes in the mornings, a lunch-time class a couple days a week, and then usually 3-4 classes in the evenings. I kept it light on Saturdays and Sundays with one class each day, and total studio classes in a week came to about 18 with 2-3 private clients in between all that. I also expanded my teaching repertoire and picked up teaching a couple Barre Pilates classes, too. It varied my workouts and made my brain work differently when teaching, which was a cool experience!
It was EXTREMELY busy and challenging at times, but in my mind, totally worth it to be out of the job I detested. When you’re back’s against the wall, you’d be surprised at how much trimming you can do in your life. It’s a tiny bit here, and a little more there, and before you know it you’re on your way to a lot more freedom! If you want something badly enough, any sacrifice is worth it, right?