Discovering the FI/ER (Financial Independence / Early Retirement) movement has changed my life in more ways than most people probably realise. This year I’m aiming to eat 80% of my food at home, other homes or for free, I walk or cycle or take the bus into work as much as I can, I average a taxi or less a month, have savings & a pension and pay cash upfront for everything. Yesterday, I went to a paid comedy show for the first time in two years.
This is a far cry from the years I spent racking up debt because I didn’t think anything of spending £50 on an evening dining out several times a week, paid for the gym even when I never went, forked out £70+ a month on a Sky subscription and took Ubers to work almost everyday. One of my motivations for this change in lifestyle has been because I aspire to make work optional by 2028, when I will turn 45.
Mussels for dinner – yum! Luxuriously thrifty dining is one of my favourite hobbies
I want to do better. It seems a bit pointless to write post after post in this vein but I really want to do better and there is currently a disconnect. When I first started this financial journey, I was in a dire state. I had no savings. I had over £30,000 of debt and was unsure about how much I owed. I didn’t have a place to stay because I was subletting my room to pay the bills. I had a frayed relationship with my family because they were tired of my irresponsible behaviour and frivolous spending. My 2 closest friends were barely speaking to me. I’d lost my girlfriend. My life was fraught with the direct consequences of poor financial decisions. It was kind of easy to make changes because I needed to change to survive. One year on, things are better, more stable and there isn’t a burning need to change further.
Celebrating life in Madrid last year
I’m at home today, the third and final day of an emergency trip home to visit my dad who’s not had the best of health this 2017. I’ve been grateful that I could come and visit at short notice and that all my siblings showed up this weekend to visit me. It’s the first time since November 2014 that we’ve all been in the same place and I feel nothing but love and gratitude for this opportunity. There’s a small downside, however! My flights here will take up 12 hours by the time I get back to London and I’d have only spent about 24 quality hours with my dad before I leave. It’s only because I’m currently beholden to work and could not, in good conscience, abandon my colleagues for longer than this whilst we were in the middle of the most important phase of our delivery cycle. So, this morning I woke up and just had to make another attempt at a FIRE PLAN.
Hopefully there will be many more days like this one even as I plan for FIRE
It’s two thirds of the way through March and I’ve failed [yet again] another challenge of mine. I went 18 days before I capitulated and spent £15.75 on a Sunday roast after a hard game of football. This roast dinner came right after a work trip to Milan where I was able to indulge (courtesy of my company) on some rather splendid meals with my colleagues. I had no will when hunger struck to wait till I could go home and cook something. These aren’t excuses, just facts.
How many times have you thought about doing something, or read about someone else’s achievement, and thought “I want to do that, but I’ll do it one day”? I bet it happens a lot. I’d even bet that it’s happened once this week. With the number of things and people and skills I admire, I’d argue I experience this at least once a week. It’s otherwise known as the bucket list but I haven’t used that term because apparently that’s a millennial thing and apparently I’m not a millennial. Continue reading
I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago with one of my more frugal friends. We used to live together and she was my saving grace when I needed someone to help me manage my finances. Let’s call her Sasha. Sasha lived in the smallest room in our 3 bed house, paying less rent and owning the least amount of stuff. She shops at Lidl – she swears by their cheap organic produce – and cooks a lot of her meals at home. She spends only on what matters to her – food, relationships, craft beer and travel – and buys good quality clothes and shoes in order to get durability and long wear out of them. She shops for deals and has a decent source of passive income. In our conversation, she revealed me that for the last 2 and a half years, she’s been putting away 50% of her salary in her pension.
It’s the third week of November and a quick glance at my spend tracking spreadsheet shows that I’ve decimated the budgets for the last 3/4 weeks. For the first time since August I’m a little bit clueless about how much I should have in my given accounts even though I know my balances and how much I’ve spent give/take a couple of contactless payments I made last week. I’ve spent frivolously (£15.50 Cookhouse Joe’s lunch I’m looking at you), generously (£416 towards my parent’s Airbnb stay since they’ve been visiting me in London) and to save money on a future purchase (£16.80 on 2 tubs of Bodyshop’s hemp body butter because this is the only thing that prevents my super dry winter skin and I got 40% off on the day). Continue reading