An Extraordinary Life On An Ordinary Income Pt. 1: Adding In The Extra

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The Difference Between Ordinary And Extraordinary Is That Little Extra

Waiting, (training video)

That Little “Extra”

This quote comes from the movie “Waiting” (or at least where I pulled it from as that is where I first heard it). Yes, the quote is cheesy, but also true. Quality comes from just a bit of extra effort put in. Cooking with just a bit more spice and a watchful eye has elevated my recipes. Find high-quality ingredients. Practice writing and use tools and tips to create quality content. Perform an act of kindness to elevate your day.

Extraordinary Life & Cooking

My grocery budget has been the same for years but I buy less and less. Buying high-quality ingredients is one thing I value. Tasty food is important, but what I use to fuel my body is more important than great taste. But those things aren’t mutually exclusive.

My partner and I both have subscriptions to Thrive Market. Thrive is an online grocery store that carries many brands found at health food stores for a lower cost. (I am not sponsored by Thrive, but the link above is an affiliate link. Even if it weren’t, I still boast on Thrive and their products and will continue my membership).

I recently spent time with my partner (we are long-distance, several states apart). My last night there was extraordinary. We didn’t spend any more money that night than any other I was there. I did however introduce her to wild bison. We also tried some new sauces from Primal Kitchen (again not sponsored just a fan of their products). While cooking we had a long talk, just being in the moment with each other. No phones, no internet, just creating a beautiful meal together. Simple burgers and salads, but the ingredients and the moment made the meal that “little extra.” It was spending time with a loved one, trying something new, and paying just a bit more for higher quality. The difference was amazing.

Extraordinary Television

While we ate, we watched a television show on a streaming service. The details don’t matter. It was a show we both had seen in its entirety. We were enjoying dinner and conversing about how good it was. We didn’t really care about the show. But the extraordinary part was I hadn’t checked my phone in hours. That was a new feat for me as I am addicted to clearing my notifications.

My partner was kind enough to do the dishes. I finished up the dishes that were left (her dishwasher was broken so we hand washed). We still talked the entire time I was doing dishes. I followed up with a pint of ice cream for dessert and we headed off to our bedtime routine.

The Fear Of Ordinary

My partner has told me she wants an extraordinary life. I’ve always wanted an extraordinary life. I was a B student and put the “B” in Boring. I do have an amazing accomplishment I don’t mention often. Aside from my MBA, I also am an Eagle Scout. I attribute that mostly to my father being heavily involved and knowing that is his biggest pride in me. But I will save that for another post.

My partner has some amazing accomplishments as well. For privacy reasons, I won’t mention them but she is highly intelligent and very big hearted I will say. However, we have both had setbacks and for reasons neither of us make a huge income and sometimes even struggle and barely scrape by. We have talked about not wanting to live ordinary lives because we are, on a deep level, extraordinary. We are resilient, we are problem solvers.

Define Your Extraordinary

We both like certain parts of traveling. The personal finance community is allowing us many opportunities in the future to travel and meet extraordinary people doing amazing things. Thanks to technology, even during the pandemic, I have been able to hop on a Zoom call with some of the most generous people I’ve ever met.

Two hours of an extraordinary conversation. How to elevate me and earn extra income. How to help my partner come up with ideas of creating a business and working back towards entrepreneurship. Finding my own bullshit banana. All that came from a half-truth joke about me opening up to chatting after most on the call were leaving. Just saying something led to two hours of advice worth thousands of dollars and building towards extraordinary.

Not everyone will want to travel. Not everyone wants to start a business. Extraordinary can be taking a pay cut to finding a dream job or working part-time to stay at home with family. But everyone can find little moments to put in that little extra. Knowing when and how is the talent we all seek.

As of this writing, my partner is making a care package. Something that makes her happy. Little things that remind her of me. Things that I enjoy or have meaning to us.

Ordinary Income Dilemma

The finance articles about how so-and-so paid tens of thousands of dollars of debt. How they now make six figures or are doing extraordinary things. What those articles often fail to mention are the thousands taking charge. Those daring to add the “little extra.” The extraordinary group on the ordinary income. My peer group. The lower and middle earners.

The challenges are greater. The choices are more abundant. Savings is more difficult when more bills need to be paid, more expenses come up when inconveniences are more costly. But that doesn’t stop the creativity. The income may be smaller but the effort is often great. Those on a lower income often aren’t afraid to do the work and get their hands “dirty.”

The hardest part in “that little extra” can often be starting. The “hustle” culture and the always working attitude don’t always fit in the schedule of the disabled, the single parent, the low-income working lacking transportation. That start on side income can often be the start of extraordinary. But extraordinary isn’t always about making more income, like the last night with my partner. Sometimes it’s just being present. Sometimes it’s making your life extraordinary on your way to financial independence. *

Ordinary to Extraordinary Income

Increasing income, however, can be the “little extra” on the way to financial independence. That increased income can lead to reaching financial goals just a bit sooner. That debt you’ve been dying to pay off, that emergency fund you’ve been craving to top off, that retirement account you’re so close to maxing out. Maybe extraordinary is that instant effort that turns into compounded, delayed gratification.

Extraordinary income doesn’t have to be six figures or quitting your full-time job. Maybe you make an extra $50 helping a friend, or taking surveys, or getting a few rebates back. Maybe it’s maximizing your credit card rewards.

Go Make Your Life Extraordinary

Make an amazing cup of coffee with a fancy machine and high-quality beans, or buy the damn $5 coffee. Make an effort and spend more time with your loved ones and do something for them. Do a random act of kindness for a stranger. Reach that almost financial goal. Be in the moment, and put your phone down. Reach out and say something. Add up the little moments where you can and put in that “little extra.” Use your skills to help someone. Appreciate your partner, kids, family, and do something meaningful for them. Travel (safely) if you enjoy it. Make the best of the little things in life, but don’t think you need an abundance of money to do it. Hell, maybe you can even make a few bucks in the process.

*For more on making your life extraordinary while pursuing FI check out The Fioneers Slow-Fi series here.

Check out other posts in this series: An Extraordinary Life On An Ordinary Income

This Article Featured on All Star Money on March 18, 2021
Featured on Money Fitness Journey April 19,2021