I started working a second job in early 2000 so that I could accomplish something. What have I accomplished?
1) rid myself of roommates, gaining the privacy I needed as I upgraded from apartment to condo
2) got myself out of the living-paycheck-to-paycheck situation
3) started both a 401k and 403b
4) paid off my SUV
5) paid off about 40% of my other outstanding debt
Those are tangibles. There are other things that are either intangible or just expenditures of money. My general standard of living is much, much higher than it used to be. If I want something, within reason, then I buy it. Some things, of course, are unreasonable: in 2000 alone, I probably dropped several thousand dollars at strip clubs (in my defense, four of my friends had bachelor parties that year.) I converted from VHS to DVD, building a collection of more than 200 movies. I also went from a non-remote-control 1985 17" TV to a 27" TV with S-video inputs, and from TV-speaker audio to surround sound with subwoofer.
But that stuff's just icing. The bottom line is that I used to (example months here) pay April's bills with May's money. Now I pay April's bills with March's money. It's nice.
I had been thinking about dropping the second job this May or June, but I made a spreadsheet that shows how much total savings I'll have based on what date I stop working that second job. If I stretch it until December, I'll have just under $20,000 of pure, tangible, touchable savings - more if I am exceptionally frugal this summer and fall. Either way, that will be more than enough for me to gain the one thing I've failed to get so far, despite all of the extra money: a house.
This goal is paramount. All else is secondary: softball, fitness, dating. Don't misunderstand - I will still do all of those things, to a limited extent, as I have been for more than two years. Once the house is bought and moved into, which will be sometime in November, a two-week block of late-December vacation time has already been set aside. The leftover savings from the mortgage deal - and there will be plenty - will fuel a grand vacation for me at the end of this year. I'll come back to a "normal" life of 40 work hours a week, one job, free evenings, and a new house.
I wanted to share my focus with you, and I'll end with this, a favorite quote of mine: "Half of getting what you want is knowing what you have to give up to get it."