Claiming My Reward

It was raining. The drips hitting the buckets matched the tears that flowed from my eyes, matching the constant drips from my bank account that threatened our very existence. I’d barely enough money for food, much less to patch that leaky roof.

I had kids to feed back then and a never-ending dread: what would happen next to decimate my bank account? Would I ever be able to survive in such a hostile world? Maybe I was dumb and hopeless; maybe I should just do the world a favor and eat a bullet.

It would make it easier.

I didn’t eat that bullet; I decided to make a promise instead.

I would do whatever it took to become financially secure. I would not only do whatever it took to become financially secure, I would make sure that I was free as well. Never again would I have to worry about kissing the asses of some greedy corporate giant just to survive.

In order to fulfill that promise I resolved to take my expenses as low as they could go and keep them there for as long as it took to achieve my goal.

But once I reached the end of it, I would have a reward. I would do something for me that I’d never in my life been able to do.

I would give myself the pretty home, nice wardrobe, and all of the things I’d wanted but I’d never been allowed to have. It would be my personal “fuck you” to the society that had told me that I was unworthy.

Like water, I would wear away the rocks that held me in the chains of poverty. And like water, I would be patient. I would wait.

In hindsight I could have achieved my goal much faster than I did. That said, I do not regret my roundabout path. The lessons learned and the experience gained are worth far more than the time I sacrificed to earn them.

But now it’s come. It’s time to claim my reward.

My vision of an ideal life has changed immensely from the night I made that promise to myself. My reward will reflect those changes. I see no point in buying the things that no longer suit the person I have become, so I have taken this time since we last talked to search my innermost soul.

I sat Katie down and gave her the news. Like you, I swore her to silence. For some reason, I feel the need to keep this success private in the real world. Perhaps it is the result of spending decades being criticized. I’ve been called crazy far too many times over the years to share my achievement with them.

Once Katie digested the information she reminded me of a promise I’d made several years back. Both of my daughters have been pressuring me to acquire a cell phone; they worry for my safety. I promised them that I would grant their request the moment I could afford the exact cell phone I wanted. Since I could easily afford the purchase now, she told me it was time to pay up.

I did.

After that purchase we began to purge. It isn’t a new life if I cling to the detrius from my old one. While I’d initially planned to relocate to a new place for this phase, the Coronavirus situation has changed my plans. I will start right here, where I am, and move if and when I feel it is both safe and logical to do so.

As we purge, we are debating upon color schemes, whether we want to invest in wallpaper, paint, or some other combination, and the furniture that will convert our haven from the home of someone who has carefully hoarded her pennies to the sanctum of a woman who will spend the remainder of her days in comfort.

Katie is so impressed with my achievement that she has decided to launch her own path to financial freedom. She took some classes and started an aromatherapy business locally. Her business has been so successful that she’s decided to take it online. While she is nervous about opening an official website just yet, she made the leap to the online world by opening an Etsy account. You can visit her page here:

I feel an immense satisfaction in knowing that I can help guide my daughter on her own path to financial freedom. While she isn’t as driven as I was (she is determined to become a doctor), she has seen the logic in establishing an income that isn’t reliant upon a single corporate source. Given our current economic climate, she may need that freedom as she completes college.

The beauty of my plan to achieve financial freedom is that you can start anywhere. Lower your bills as far as you can, use your skills to create new sources of income, and invest your excess for passive income. Diversify to cover yourself in the event of economic adversity. This not only allows you a backup income source, it enables you to continue growing your passive income over time.

And, like me, once you achieve financial freedom, you can keep or discard your frugal ways as you see fit. While I doubt that I will ever become a spendthrift, I am definitely allowing myself the things that give me pleasure now that I can easily afford them.

The need for financial freedom is stronger than ever now as more and more people are losing the jobs they counted on to pay their bills. Having lived through this before, I can state with certainty that now is the perfect time to launch your path to freedom. I hope that you will join me.


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I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

4 thoughts on “Claiming My Reward”

  1. I’m so glad you are claiming your rewards. It can be hard to give yourself permission to spend after years of frugality. You are winning this battle, too.

  2. Congratulations, Annie. I’m so happy for you. And envious. I’ve always admired you for your strength and conviction in choosing to live life on your terms and adhere to your morals and standards. I understand how your choice to be a frugal minimalist plays a huge part in how you got to this moment but I am confused as to what you do for the little ince you do need. I’d love to hear more about that as I struggle to get to my dream of financial independence.

    1. It’s all here, Essie. What I do and how I managed to achieve freedom. I’ve been writing about this for over a decade now in my books and on this blog, so feel free to join me!

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