My track record for fairly extreme frugality in spending is solid and of long-standing. So, there is little further to be gained by improved functioning in that realm. In fact, I would say at this point, overcoming issues related to physical cowardice which might be entirely rational would be the only way to further reduce my bottom dollar. For instance, I did attempt to live alone in a decrepit camper in a crime-ridden neighborhood in order to further reduce my shelter expenses, but that might not have been entirely wise.
OTOH, my track record for earning money is weak and of long-standing. I think my highest yearly earnings might have been around $29,000, and that tide mark occurred when I still had two dependent children, for whom I was responsible for providing 1/2 support either practically or financially, so did not result in much savings, especially given that I allowed my income to lag in subsequent years, pretty much in lock-step with my spending. IOW, for as long as I have been largely functionally financially independent (approximately age 19, although my father did contribute some support intermittently during my college years, when my bi-polar shopaholic mother wasn't bankrupting him), it has been my habit to exhibit the opposite behavior of the conventional consumer who raises spending to match income. I almost always lower income to match spending. For instance, when I was 21 year old college student, I saved enough money from my part-time job to pay room/board in the co-op where I lived for 3 months, so I took a term off of school, quit my job, and just lounged around doing what I wanted until I ran out of money.
I can't for the life of me remember what book(s) I might have read on the topic of frugality/PF priorto reading "Your Money or Your Life" and "The Tightwad Gazette" in the early 1990s. I did read quite a few back-to-the-woods theme books and magazines throughout my childhood and youth. My father had a masters in tax law, and both his father and his grandfather were in similar fields. So, lacking a son, he gave me government pamphlets on financial topics to read when I was maybe 12, explained the concept of compound interest, and he told me that people who were really rich invested their capital and did not waste money on fancy cars and furniture (like my mother always wanted to do!!!)
Anyways, I think maybe my problem is that since my father wasn't able to figure out how to effectively boundary my mother's bi-polar shopaholic rager(think of somebody who is kind of like a cross between Elizabeth Taylor and Donald Trump) behavior in order to protect his own capital, the semi-functional strategy I subconscious chose to adopt was to continuously cash-out the difference between my earning potential/spending, and thereby thwart the ability of anybody willing to ride rough-shod over rule-of-law or reason, from raiding my stash.
This dysfunction is further complicated by the fact that I am inherently somewhere midway in temperament between my father and mother. Nobody wants me to be their tax attorney, and the feeling is mutual. I did manage to get a B.S. in mathematics with a focus on Actuarial Science and pass the first two exams, but I felt like a tomb door was going to close down on me when I interviewed for jobs with insurance companies. I have enjoyed myself in a number of undertakings, but the best time I ever had making money was when I first started my internet rare book dealing business on the upswing of the technology/industry. There was a little bit of drudgery with data entry and hauling boxes full of books around, but mostly I felt like I was having great fun doing something I was meant to do.
When the internet market for used books commenced to twilight, I extended the curve for a while by venturing into retail arbitrage, moving mostly home-goods and toys from retail clearance racks to the internet. The next obvious move, which many of my competitors made, would have been to start sourcing new inventory from wholesalers. I didn't choose to do this, in part, because I didn't want to be directly just-in-time responsible for the production and marketing of a bunch of "stuff." However, I didn't doubt my ability to succeed at making money if I did.
So, my fear of "raiders" which inhibits me from wanting to accumulate an obvious-target size stash, is compounded by my distaste for contributing to waste of resources in production in the realm of earnings. So, when I get to Step 7 : Valuing Your Life Energy- Maximizing Earnings in YMOYL:
I have difficulty in figuring out where to draw my line consistent with integrity. Actually, health comes into play too, because at the moment I am earning money at a rather low pay rate in a manner that is very consistent with my integrity (makes the world a better place), only partially consistent with fun/flow (would do it even if not paid because enjoyable), but seemingly inconsistent with health because I keep catching terrible viruses from the grubby urchins I teach.Step 7 is about increasing your income by valuing the life energy you invest in your job and exchanging it for the highest pay consistent with your health and integrity.
Anyways, what I would like to do would be to start another business that would be as well in alignment with my overall druthers/integrity/health as independent used/rare book scouting/dealing, but due to the difficulty of that task, I am hoping to give myself permission to engage in something similar, more profitable, but not as likely to be in alignment with "making the world a better place." , and in conjunction work through my fears about accumulating target-sized savings as they come up.
I think my first step will be to reflect on how I am being much harder on myself than I am on other people. A similar line of thought helped me get over my fear of driving. I told myself that I had just as much right to operate an extremely dangerous piece of machinery as any other idiot on the highway.