We don't work for the American Dream

We Don’t Work for the American Dream

We don’t work for the American Dream…or, at least, the American Dream that a lot of people envision.

We just don’t. We aren’t interested in working our tails off so we can have the best cars, the newest cell phones, and enroll our kids in every little league and dance class available.

Now, some people enjoy that kind of life. That’s what they work for. It’s their thing. It’s their “American Dream.”

But, that’s not for us. That’s not the kind of life we would enjoy.

We live frugally even though we don’t have to. We could have everything that everyone else has. We could flash it all on social media, but we aren’t tempted by “stuff.” We aren’t jealous of people and their things. We don’t want those things.

We work and we save for one goal: our freedom.

We don’t want to be in the rat race until we’re 80. We would never trade our freedom for “stuff,” bills, and payments.

What kind of “things” do I mean?

Things like:
new cars
cable TV
the latest cell phones
extracurricular activities for our kids
eating out
spa days
gym memberships
expensive Yoga pants
eyebrow tints and fake eyelashes…

You get the idea.

In the end, those things are just wasted, and your money is gone in a matter of minutes.

What do we work for?

Instead, we work for our freedom. We work for the freedom from debt, the freedom to travel, and the freedom to grow our 401k so we can retire early.

Because, let’s face it, what can you do without money?

No, we don’t worship money, BUT it’s a necessary evil. You need money if you plan to eat and have a roof over your head. You need A LOT of money if you plan to eat and have a roof over your head for the rest of your life.

Wasted money

So, why do people waste their money on such temporary things?

It’s because they get caught up in what everyone else is doing. They have a fear of being left behind…without their fake lashes and excessively large eyebrows.

They are afraid someone might see them in “last year’s shirt” or driving their minivan with only 3 rims.

(P.S. I’m THAT mom in the black Chrysler Town and Country with three rims because, you know what, I’m just that cool. I could buy another one if I wanted…but I’m not worried about it. If you see me, just wave. I’ll also be wearing “last year’s shirt.” And, we don’t have to talk about the clothes in my closet from college…)

The haves and the have-nots

There’s a reason why people who have money, have money. It’s because they don’t spend their money. They save it. They aren’t concerned about what everyone else is doing. They are happy and content with their lives.

It takes a lot for something to earn their money.

I’m like that.

I’m not about to go drop some cash on a spa day because do you know what I’ll need in another week or two? Another spa day. It’s a never-ending cycle of wasted money and setbacks on your financial goals.

Trust me, I’ll do my nails and pluck my own eyebrows if it means I’m the captain of my own yacht by the time I’m 45 and sailing up the Atlantic Coast visiting all the best small towns.

I love America but I’m not sold on this “dream” of a 30-year mortgage, 2.5 kids, 1 dog, 2 cats, new car payments, little league expenses, prom dress payments, Netflix, and vacation for only 2 weeks a year.

That’s not “living” to me.

Frugal People Prosper

Recently, I read a snippet in a magazine about a man named J. Paul Getty.

Jean Paul Getty (December 15, 1892 – June 6, 1976), known widely as J. Paul Getty, was an American-born British petrol-industrialist, and the patriarch of the Getty family. He founded the Getty Oil Company, and in 1957 Fortune magazine named him the richest living American,[3] while the 1966 Guinness Book of Records named him as the world’s richest private citizen, worth an estimated $1.2 billion (approx. $7.2 billion in 2018).

Despite his vast wealth, Getty was infamously frugal, notably negotiating his grandson’s Italian kidnapping ransom in 1973.


The article stated that he installed a coin-operated telephone in his home so that he did not have to pay for guests’ calls.

This might sound a bit over-board but let’s think about it for a minute. He had money but that did not mean he had to spend it and he most certainly didn’t have to spend it paying for other people to make calls on his dime!

He was frugal and wise with his money. He could have burned through it like so many celebrities we hear about these days but he didn’t.

So many people lose focus when they get a few extra bucks in their pockets. I know a man who earned $500 doing some side work one time and he spent all weekend walking around discount stores trying to find ways to spend it.

Our American Dream

Many of you know that we just finished building our dream home. We worked hard and saved for many years to build this home debt-free (that means with cash).

But I’ve got news for you. This house is not our end game. We didn’t hustle and save so we could land here and start accumulating stuff and payments. Even if we own this home forever, we won’t be in it forever. We aren’t getting comfortable.

Yes, we accomplished something we worked hard for. We built our debt-free dream home in our early 30s. That’s a HUGE deal and I’m extremely proud of us but we’re not done.

We have bigger plans that we talk about all the time. They range from living in an RV for extended periods and traveling to all 50 states and Canada to living aboard a yacht and sailing the Great Loop.

I’ve shared these plans with people who have scoffed and said, “yeah, right.”

But they should know by now that when we set our minds to something, it’s going to happen.

Our American Dream means working and saving for our freedom so we can spend our time the way we want to.

Choose Freedom

I would like to encourage you to do this as well. Choose a different American Dream for yourself than what the people around you are doing. Choose your freedom over payments, endless television, and the never-ending rat race.

Think outside the box. Dream bigger. Swim upstream.

All the best,

Get started here:

8 thoughts on “We Don’t Work for the American Dream”

  1. Waoo! what an interesting article. I started my frugal living journey last year. I was even inspired to start blogging about it.

    1. Hey Abby! That’s awesome! Good luck on your frugal living journey!
      **For everyone who reads this later, Abby’s blog is abbysavingstips.com . Check her out!

  2. Is it possible to ❤️ it and be 😱 at the same time? Well, I do and am. Great article, and gives us something to think about regarding our finances and getting out of the unhealthy ‘rat race’ and keep a us enslaved… debt and the need to chase the typical 🇺🇸 dream. However, I think anything we choose to live by or work towards can become a ‘rat race’, even the desire to always be debt-free and extra frugal. I still love this post though. Thanks for your perspective.

    1. Hey Frankie! You are right. Anything we choose to live by or work towards CAN become a rat race. However, for us, being debt-free has never felt like a rat race. We still spend money and have tons of fun. We just don’t nickel and dime ourselves until we’ve wasted it all. We’re very intentional about our spending. Just check out our bucket list of everything we’ve been trying to accomplish since becoming debt-free! https://bighouseinthewoods.com/bucket-list/

  3. This is great post! We don’t live for the american dream either! And are also debt free, but we can always spend less on things we don’t need lol and we strive to do that! Thank you for the encouragement!

  4. Covid-19 really made me rethink my American dream and I discovered that I was really happier doing without some things. It’s nice to be home more, cook healthier and spend less on things that I didn’t really value anyway. A lot about this year hasn’t been fun, but I do appreciate the eye-opener that I got.

    1. I love that, Janet! Yes, I think Covid has taught all of us something. We have had a lot of time to reflect on our priorities and it has been wonderful. PLUS, my husband gets to work from home now and we love having him here!

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