by Angela Fitzgerald
Hello all, and welcome to another week of Brown Girl, Green Money — the space where we like to let our hair down and share about all things personal finance related, with a brown girl twist. This week I want to highlight a story that was sent my way earlier this year about former NFL Player Ryan Broyles. Now, I will preface this by stating that I’m honestly not really into football. I honestly don’t even know what team Broyles plays for without my friend Google. But what stood out to me about his story was his approach to finances.
In spite of a making over $2 million during his time in the NFL, Broyle committed to a budget of $5,000 a month in total spending. His decision to budget and spend less than what he makes is driven by his desire to invest and ultimately become financially free. In the article he also mentions growing up without a lot of money, and viewing money as something that should be cherished and not taken for granted. He also credits hearing stories about other players who have gone bankrupt, and an injury that could end his career as motivators to wisely manage his finances.
He organizes his budget by allocating 50% on fixed expenses (mortgage, car payments, etc.), 30% on variable expenses (food, gas), and 20% toward savings. His mortgage payment is $1600, and he recommends that a mortgage should be 28% or less of income. Further, Broyle described the intentionality behind his family’s budget. Some of their conscious spending choices include choosing to eat out at restaurants just once a week, not having cable TV but instead using Apple TV and Netflix, buying a Macbook using credit card points, and paying off credit card balances every month. While he keeps an eye on spending, he does occasionally believe in splurging, mainly on travel, and utilizes GroupOn to take advantage of good deals. Broyle invests most of his income, mainly in real estate. He also acknowledges his wife as a big part of the reason why he is smart with his money.
Now, I know that some might consider Broyle’s budget of $5,000 a month to spend excessive. And compared to the earnings of many, it is. But the takeaway here is the choice he and his family have made to spend less than what they earned. In his occupation, it would be super easy to fall prey to lifestyle inflation. It would even be expected for them to live a life of luxury, complete with multiple cars, an expensive wardrobe, and opulent home. In fact, it might be safe to assume that he received a side eye or two from team mates who did not share his perspective. But instead of doing what might be expected, the Broyle’s chose to go against the grain and live frugally to support their goal of financial independence.
Any time I hear a story similar to this one, a part of me feels an instant connection and sense of validation. We live in a culture that supports consumerism. There are advertisements constantly that try to encourage us to spend spend spend, even to our detriment. But it takes much courage and internal fortitude to do the opposite of what might seem normal. Recently I faced the dilemma as to whether I should replace my car after an accident. I could either pay to have my otherwise reliable and cheap to maintain/insure car repaired, or I could go to a dealership and cop a shiny new set of wheels. I honestly thought about it for a bit, thinking that I didn’t want to go through the hassle of paying for a car repair and instead would enjoy the luxury associated with buying a new car. Thankfully the frugal side of me kicked in. The part of my brain that has been dedicated for the past few years to financial independence and the freedom that comes along. I ended up getting my bean repaired, and even though she’s two-toned now (I opted to further save by not paying for the painting of replaced body panels), she looks cute and sporty and I’m sure she’ll last me for many more years to come.
I’m hype to be about the frugal life, and love when I hear stories from others who choose to do the same and reap the benefits of their choice. If you’re also about that frugal life, or know someone who is, please contact us on email or Facebook. I would love to feature you in a future Brown Girl, Green Money article!
Angela is a researcher/program evaluator by day, and crime fighter by night. And by “crime”, she means the perceived inability to turn dreams into reality. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to share your money story, chop it over life goals, or all things Shonda Rhimes. Also, check out Brown Girl, Green Money on the book of faces at www.facebook.com/browngirlgreenmoney