I was reading a post by Lazy Man (and Money) on the game of personal finance. I like the idea of seeing personal finance as a game. At various stages I have had various perspectives on savings and frugality. I have seen it as a way of sticking it to the banks, a way of saving the planet from resource waste, a mission to get financially independent. Yet these days I mostly see it as a game.

Turning finance into a game means imposing some rules and restrictions. Being FI it is easy to just drop money at problems now. However, it was a reluctance to do exactly that that resulted in the FI in the first place. Hence to keep moving forward, the game should be made more challenging not less challenging. Those that got FI by earning more than they spend get into a game of making even more. This is how people becoming richer and richer even though they have long run out of the need for extra money. I got FI by spending less than I earned. Thus my game is one of whether I can solve problems and get the same results by applying more skill and spending even less.

Currently, my favorite game is “can I get this for free?”. There is little there is more satisfying to me, at least in terms of acquisitions, than to barter and trade stuff for stuff or services or just get something for free. The second best thing is to get the thing used. That saves resources as a new unit does not have to be built. It also tempers my purchases as it is usually harder to find something used compared to new retail. It does pose some restraints. For instance, DW and I went fishing some months ago. DW bought fishing rod + reel, because she didn’t have any. I already had a reel. That is to say, the reel was stored at my parents in myCountry in a galaxy far away, but because I already had one, I did not want to buy a new one. Just the other day, they finally found it. Three months of waiting saved me/us/the planet a new reel. I also have a rod, but sending the rod would cost more in fuel and shipping dollars than constructing a new rod. I would like to get a used rod though. Usually I get many consumer durables for free. However, a fishing rod is proving somewhat tricky. Seems that people hang on to their rods. I will be watching craigslist for a little while longer before I give up though. Paying $25 at the store would just be too easy.