Lifestyle change vs early retirement

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.

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Mussels for dinner – yum! Luxuriously thrifty dining is one of my favourite hobbies

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Money diary #5

I don’t know what the rest of 2018 will be like but last week was one of my favourite weeks of the year so far. It’s not so much anything to do with the fact that I successfully completed Dry January and so had my first drinks of the year but more to do with nailing a really good week where I worked hard, ate well and got to hang out with really great people while coming in under budget. Here’s what my week was like.

 

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January spending & goal review

I survived! January felt really long. This was mostly because the pay cycle was about 6 weeks long. Why, oh why, do we get paid before Christmas? It’s the end now and I got to do the very exciting task of reviewing how this first month of the year went. I initially thought I’d be doing the Uber Frugal Month challenge but then when I started looking at 2017’s budget – more on that in my next post – I figured that I had set some unrealistic targets for last year and wanted to use January as a template for what I really want my 2018 spending to look like. Let’s see how that went

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Money diary #4

In the last few days of 2017 I thought I might do the ultra frugal month challenge this month and then I looked over my 2017 budget and realised that for many categories, I’d made rather unrealistic spending targets. Sure, I’d known at the start of the year that I had a fairly lucrative side-hustle that would fund some of that spending but I really wanted to be able to budget more accurately for 2018. This week’s money diary means that I’ve got a more accurate picture of what I would spend in a month where I was dating, socialising and living the way I’d like to carry on doing through 2018. The only thing that isn’t quite reflective of how the rest of the year might go is that I’m not drinking at all. Here’s what I spent last week.

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Money diary #3

I know that I’ve spent more money than budgeted for last week but I don’t feel bad about it. I can only make a plan and if life gets in the way – positively – of executing that plan there’s very little I can do about it. I was thrilled to finally execute my teaching gig and get paid for it, preview early retirement life with a perfect day off and generally live what felt like I was on the path to luxuriously thrifty life.

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A perfect, luxuriously thrifty day

I had the perfect day yesterday. Last week was not fantastic. It seemed like everything that could go wrong did. I had a cold sore. I got a cold/flu. I had to cancel Oslo. I didn’t have any material ready for my teaching gig even though it’s happening really soon. I was behind on the pro bono work that I’m doing. I fell and sprained or strained one finger and got a couple of blood blisters on my left hand. I also did something to my Achilles while playing badminton and subsequently couldn’t play football.

This week, on Monday morning I got a message from one of my brothers that the middle one had just fainted. In broad daylight. In the morning. Luckily he wasn’t alone. I don’t know yet what went wrong but he’s currently OK. Not great but it could be worse. I guess by the time Thursday rolled round, I was desperate for a positive day. Continue reading