Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 244: My Shawshank Redemption

I didn't do it on a whim. The whole quitting my job thing.

It took planning, strategizing and a whole lot of fantasizing to make it happen. But mostly it took saving. It costs many dollars to go off and quit your job, folks. The last thing I wanted to do was quit my job and head straight into Fretsville. No no. That's not my style.

I didn't do it by offloading sand out of my trousers for 20 years, but it was kind of like a Shawshank prison escape. So, for all you youngin's out there, here's how I saved up enough dough to quit my job and go romp around the world.

My Shawshank Redemption

  1. Got a number. I sat around at lunch with my coworkers and asked how much money one should save to quit a job. We all agreed on a number.

  2. Calculate time and money. I calculated how long it would take me to reach that number doing what I was doing now with my current salary.

  3. Realized it would take forever. I started thinking of ways to bring in that money sooner. I bought stocks and sold paintings. I had a yard sale and accepted friends staying at my place. I didn't charge them anything, but they took me for meals and bought groceries here and there.

  4. Got cozy. I stayed home more. I painted and used up art supplies I bought three years ago, read books I bought five years, I bound books with a kit I bought six years ago. 

  5. Gave the stuff I made as gifts. It's more meaningful to the receiver, it's a great creative outlet and it's a chance to use up art supplies I already purchased.

  6. Sold what wouldn't fit my nomadic lifestyle. Like when I sold my big laptop and bought a small laptop.

  7. I said Absolutely No to things I didn't want to do. When a friend asked me to go to dinner or the movies, I suggested a walk instead. Or, I suggested a movie at home on the couch instead. That way we both saved money, bonded and did things I'd rather do anyway. Win win.

  8. Became vegan. Okay, so this one is more hardcore. Look at your grocery bill. The most expensive items are meats, cheeses and other non-vegan items. Being vegan makes my pocketbook fat and makes me thin. The cows and chickens like it, too. Win, win, win.

  9. Had a Come-to-Jesus about what makes me happy. Experiences make me happy. Material things do not. I can't believe it never occurred to me when I was buying and bringing stuff into my apartment that I'd have to deal with it all one day. Now when I see something I like, I wonder if I will sell it at a yard sale, give it to a thrift store or cherish it always. Lose, lose, win.

  10. Became generous. Tithing is this weird law of the universe. When I leave big tips and donate more, I am gifted with people buying my art, my books and my crafts. I can't explain it but I get back ten times what I put out. 
And I did all this for awhile until boom! I met my financial goal. And get this: Saving money was easier than I thought. I think Step 9 was what helped me along the fastest. Shopping became lame. Having stuff mucked with my mind space. Once I got rid of a lot of stuff in my apartment, I had breathing room. Breathing room is good.

So reader, what's your Shawshank Redemption Plan?


    1. OK - so I might've gone at my plan in the wrong order. I've been out of a job and romping around the world for near on 8 months and didn't save any money before doing so. I think your plan sounds better. I have been on top of some of your points.

      I was trying for a plan more like yours and a bunch of things went really wrong. Some others went really really right, as you know. So now I guess I'm in the process of making a new plan.

      This has been very interesting and helpful. Although it's also reminded me how screwed I am with points 1 to 3. Oh well. Hopefully I'll get there eventually. xo

    2. Did it three years ago. Not quite as well planned a move as yours, I left a 25-year teaching career with nothing to go to but lucked out with a far less stressful teaching-related office job. Couldn't be happier.

    3. John CarreonDecember 13, 2010

      So impressed with the process. I have to say at first lots of concern about the decision, feeling much better now.

    4. so inspirational... I don't have a Shawshank plan, but I'm stealing yours. If it's ok, may I send this to my good friend who's in dire need of a plan.

    5. What about the part where you crawled through sh*t? ;)

      I kept hearing Florence & the Machine's "The Dog Days Are Over" in my head as I read this. So excited for you. And extremely impressed by your strategic planning and discipline.

    6. Mine would have to be cleaning out my craft supplies with items to sell. The selling will fund a 20+ year dream of going to Greece. After that it would have to be leaving my day job to become something I'm not sure what it is yet.

    7. Michael AlbrightDecember 14, 2010

      I see a book here.


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