Do You Need Frugality to Reach Financial Freedom? with Jamila Souffrant – EP 359

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People tend to use and define financial freedom and financial independence interchangeably, which might be affecting how you view frugality. So what really is the difference? In this episode, together with Jen, Jill, and our special guest, Jamila Souffrant, the host of Journey To Launch Podcast and author, we find out the difference and how frugality becomes a component in achieving your financial goals.

Frugality is a superpower in reaching financial independence. But you don’t need to be frugal in all areas to reach financial independence or freedom.

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Jamila Souffrant is the author of “Your Journey To Financial Freedom: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving Wealth and Happiness” and the host of the Journey To Launch podcast. She and her husband saved $169,000 in two years, is also a mother of three young children and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Is it Financial Freedom or Financial Independence?

In Jamila’s upcoming book, she differentiated between financial freedom and financial independence—they can be similar! But financial independence is the ability to not have to work actively ever again. Basically, you can live off of your investments and have an amazing portfolio. While financial freedom is a goal you can achieve on the way to financial independence, It’s not necessarily tied to a number on your account or what you can or cannot do; you just have some sort of control over your money. Jamila pictures the journey to financial independence like a school cafeteria where each table holds different titles such as ‘the jocks’, ‘the smart ones’, etc. It’s okay to move around to different tables; you don’t have to choose one and sit there forever.

Frugality for Financial Freedom

It will all depend on your desires and what you want your lifestyle to be, as there are levels to frugality. Jamila notes that you can be frugal in all areas of your life, and if that seems good and works out for you, then you might hit your mark on financial independence. But if you do not feel happy with your frugal lifestyle and you desire to spend more on certain areas of your life, it’s going to take more effort and income to support your lifestyle and desires. Frugality is an excellent component of reaching financial independence, but you don’t necessarily need to totally deprive yourself to do so.

Navigating Frugality to Financial Freedom

Before Jamila discovered financial independence, she was not enjoying her full-time job, was commuting long, excruciating hours, and was about to have kids. That’s when it hit her that she had to figure something else out for herself—it was all it took to get herself out of the situation. In the next 2 years, Jamila and her husband intentionally saved and invested their money, which amounted to $169,000 off their income. 

Cutting back or saving was helpful to get her to a stage in which she could quit her job as the lifestyle wasn’t sustainable for her, but her income was necessary in the beginning stages of her journey to get to the lifestyle she has now. For some people who don’t have a choice, frugality doesn’t always feel like a superpower, and they don’t want to live that life. Understanding who you are is the real journey, which is not going to be easy.

The Guac Lifestyle Levels

Jamila admits that a part of her journey is just laziness, which gets a bad reputation, but it has saved her a lot of money! She’s lazy in terms of beauty-related things such as doing nails, eyelashes, hair, etc. This is outside her norm, and when she doesn’t do those things, she’s completely happy, so it’s natural for her to be frugal in those areas. 

Jamila introduces the Guac Lifestyle Levels as she wanted to talk about how people feel about how they spend and the lifestyle they desire, as it varies for everyone. If you don’t enjoy Guacamole, you can replace it with something you enjoy, like cheese, wine, etc. Ask yourself, “Am I living the current Guac lifestyle I enjoy? “If you are at the lowest level but you desire a level 4 or 5 lifestyle, it will explain why it’s so hard to get out of certain stages in your journey. Understanding where you are, what your desires are, and what you’re willing to sacrifice are ultimately going to help you find whether total frugality or not is what’s meant for you.

What was the first step you took that you believe had the most significant impact on your journey towards financial freedom?

  • Jamila: Jamila pictures our life as a story made out of hyperlinks that we choose to click on or not–there’s always a moment that leads to another great moment. For her, it was buying her condo at 22 years old in Brooklyn, New York
  • Jill: Jill deciding to open up and talk about finances with people has helped her to believe she could make beneficial decisions and change their finances
  • Jen: When Jen decided to pay off their debt, it prompted her to the path of specifically talking about Frugality

Bill of The Week

Thank you Jamila for sharing your bill about paying the Disney subscription to make the most of Disney World!

Thanks so Much for Listening!

Thanks so much for listening. Many of you know we have a newsletter called The Friendletter that goes out 3x a week where we send out freebies, saving tips, and life hacks to help you save money. We want to give a shout out to this friend for replying to us this sweet email:

✰✰✰✰✰
Hi Jen & Jill!! Hope you ladies are doing well. I’ve been a listener for years and I just wanted to take a minute to let you know that the budget toolkit emails are the most helpful thing I think I’ve ever received from you!! I’m finally being consistent with actually looking at my spending and making a plan for the coming month each and every month, and I seriously feel so emotional about it. My husband and I started a little tradition of going out for fro-yo on the last Friday of every month after we have our budget party at home to celebrate. I feel like you guys are our own personal accountability buddies cheering us on! This has been such a huge blessing. THANK YOU!!!!

Thanks for listening if you want freebies, saving tips, and values-based spending hacks sent to your inbox every week head to frugalfriendspodcast.com/friendletter to get the goodies! And if you already get the friendletter start sharing it with your friends to get more free goodies!

And don’t forget to share your favorite quote from the episode by using the hashtag #FrugalFriendsNote. 😉

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