2017 was certainly the “year of me”. My expenses for 2017 were definitely higher than I would like and I attribute this mostly to spending a lot of time and money on improving myself. Yes Financial Independence will bring with it freedom but that doesn’t necessarily mean happiness. I know that I need to find happiness in the now, today, and not wait for some future date so I have been working on improving myself in more ways than one over the past year. Overall I would say this has been a success as I am becoming more comfortable with who I am and I find that in general I am pretty happy.
All of this improvement has come at a cost, and these costs have certainly added up. My expenses in the personal care category alone more than doubled. Ouch! My hope is that many of these costs will not continue long term but I suspect that some will. Here are some of the things I have spent money on this year and why. Continue reading “The Year of Me”→
As I track our progress monthly I am keenly aware of how things are tracking. Sometimes I will look at our numbers and projections mid-month though if we are close to hitting another milestone. This past week was one of those times. We might not be at our ultimate goal but I do love to celebrate the little things along the way. So one evening after work I updated all of our figures and thanks to an amazing year in the market and continued strong savings we hit another big mark.
How did we celebrate? In frugal style of course! Over the summer a friend had given us a mini bottle of Champagne that she had gotten as a favor at a wedding but she doesn’t drink Champagne. In my mind I had earmarked this bottle for just this occasion as I knew it was fast approaching. So upon confirming the info and sharing the great news with Mr. SFF we celebrated. Cheers to the little steps that mean we are one step closer to the ultimate goal of financial freedom!
Mr. SFF also gave me one of his old cameras so now I can take some better photos for the blog. 🙂 Merry Christmas!
Many in the FIRE community will talk about “one more year” syndrome. This is the idea that you work for just one more year and save a little more money before pulling the plug. There are likely many reasons for this including fear of not having enough saved, actually liking your current work, or maybe just general fear of this massive life change. Many of us are planning on leaving full time employment decades sooner than the average person so is one more year really all that bad?
At this point we have less than 2.5 years left to go until we hit FI based on my current estimates (this is our comfortable coasting FI number) but I have already started to think about how much one more year, or even one more month, could affect our finances. Based on very rough numbers and of course greatly depending on market conditions every year we delay leaving our full time jobs would give us an estimated $2,000-$6,000 additional annual income for life. Now I realize this is a huge range and that is very much because we have no idea what the market will do or even our exact savings every year. But I will explain a little further so hang in there. Continue reading “Calculating “One More Year””→
This past Thursday evening we had a bunch of people over so I decided to take Friday off as I have some extra vacation time and didn’t want to feel rushed to end the party. I got to sleep in a little bit still but was up before 8 and then had a pretty productive and amazing day.
A friend swung by the house to pick up something she forgot the night before just after I had gotten up. Mr. SFF and I were in the kitchen getting ready for breakfast when she came in. She inquired if we always had Fridays off. I of course do not but Mr. SFF often has a pretty flexible schedule on Friday. The comment did secretly make my smile knowing that hopefully within a couple of years this would be our reality, not only every Friday but every day of the week.
Knowing how lucky I was to have the day off, I certainly made the best of it. I did some normal house stuff like cleaning up from the night before, I ran a few loads of laundry, and even did some sewing things had been meaning to get to. Nothing amazing or thrilling but it was just so wonderful to have so much time to get this stuff done without having to eat into our weekend fun time. Continue reading “A Day of Freedom”→
Auto insurance is one of those necessary expenses in my opinion. But at the same time I recently came to the conclusion that maybe I don’t need as much coverage. You see I own a 2007 Honda Fit and it has been truly an amazing car. It still runs really well but it is getting old and the age is starting to show. It has some rust spots that have started in the wheel wells and the interior, although I try to maintain it, is also showing some signs of wear. When you put this together with the mileage of 135,000+ it isn’t worth a whole lot. After doing some calculations on Kelley Blue Book I determined my resale value is anywhere between $2,000-$3,000. Now this car likely has many years left and I am not ready to get rid of it but it did make me think when my semi-annual auto insurance renewal came in this summer. Is it really worth paying $355.83 every 6 months when the total value isn’t all that high?
My first step was to go to another insurance carrier to get a quote matching my current policy. I was able to find something less expensive so my next call was to my existing insurance agent. Although I might be able to move my auto coverage to another carrier there was a huge downside. We currently have the property insurance for both properties as well as the auto insurance all with Allstate. If I were to move my auto insurance to another carrier I would lose my multi-policy discount on the homeowners policies. This difference was more than the savings I would receive for switching the auto insurance. No go with that plan. Continue reading “Penny Wise, Pound Foolish? – Auto Insurance Renewal”→
I haven’t been blogging a whole lot recently as I have been trying to get out and enjoy life and be present in the moment. Sometimes I spend a little too much time dreaming about the future that I forget to enjoy the present and what is right in front of me. The past few months have been about improving myself, finding balance, and enjoying life. After all, we need to make sure to enjoy life now and not wait until we hit our FI goals.
One thing I have been doing though when I have extra time is checking out the Financial Independence boards of Reddit. A question that has been asked a lot recently is what if you want to leave your full time job but don’t mind working in some lesser capacity – what are your options? This perfectly fits our lives and what we are striving for. I hate being tied down to my desk 40 hours per week, often times bored out of my mind, but I don’t mind some work. I actually think that working 3 days a week might actually be kinda nice as it would give me a little purpose, and also a little income.
I am going to be honest, July was a brutal month when I look at my spending and my resulting savings rate. Twice per month I automatically transfer $250 to our savings account. This helps to make sure that no matter what I am putting some money away. At the end of the month I will transfer any additional money over into savings. Well when the end of July rolled around I had no money left to transfer. My heart sank a little as I looked at my dismal savings rate of only 26%. Last year I saved an average of 42% of my take home pay and yet here I was saving only 26% of a much higher amount. WTH? Has lifestyle inflation really gotten the better of me?
When I got my promotion last fall initially thought I would be save almost 100% of of my raise which would amount to a nice little sum of money by the years end. Yet it appears that lifestyle inflation has hit me a little as I am not saving as much as I should/could be.
This spring my husband introduced me to the subreddit board for Financial Independence. Although it seems the majority of those who post are males in the tech field (my husband fits this category) I have started to read the posts regularly. Since it is much smaller than the Mr. Money Mustache forum it is much easier to manage. I get too overwhelmed sometimes trying to find topics of interest when I go to the MMM forum so Reddit has been my go to recently.
In addition to the regular Financial Independence subreddit there are also a couple more specific pages. There is a page for LeanFIRE which is for those who are trying to reach Financial Independence and Retirement (FI/RE) but with smaller budgets. These individuals are trying to make it happen with $40,000 or less in expenses. For many this means they might need only $1,000,000 in investments as a 4% withdrawal rate would generate enough income for these individuals. Although I wish we could get our expenses down to that level it is just not possible where we live. We live solidly in a medium COL area and our mortgage and property taxes alone are almost $18,000 per year. No, we don’t live in an extravagant house. Our home is a very modest duplex where the majority of this cost is covered by the rental income but still, it demonstrates that where we live is not cheap. So as much as I would love to be after a LeanFIRE lifestyle it is just not realistic for us. Continue reading “Fit FIRE”→
Mr. SFF and I had a fantastic long four day weekend for the 4th of July. The rain finally relented on Sunday and we had three glorious days of weather. The best part though was the evening of the 4th. We planned an evening hike with a couple of close friends and boy, was it amazing!
The four of us carpooled to the trail head and strapped on our hiking boots around 6:30 pm. I love hiking but this was the first time I had set out for a hike when I would normally be heading home. None of us had hiked this particular trail but based on research we figured it would be one of the most direct routes to the top of one of the highest peaks in our area, giving us a clear view of the entire valley. Continue reading “Our 4th of July Adventure”→
Travel can be great…but it can also be such a pain in the butt. This past weekend Mr. SFF had a long weekend business trip planned to Florida and I got to tag along. The plan was to leave Thursday afternoon, work Friday and into Saturday if needed, then drive 3 hours to see my Memere (grandmother) for the night before flying back home in Sunday.
As we strolled in to the airport on Thursday afternoon everything seemed grand. There was literally no one in the security line, the terminal was brightly lit by sunshine, and everything we thought would go just as planned…until we sat at the end of the runway for seemingly no reason for at least 15 minutes (with no ac). This is certainly not great with only a 40 minute layover but we thought we should still have enough time since our gate was in the same terminal. Continue reading “Travel”→