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Old 08-27-2009, 12:24 PM   #1
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New member with unique form of retirement

Hi everyone. I am newly "semi-retired", but I'm not rich. My family and I have always lived below our means. That helped us attain a debt-free life in a low cost of living area (Virginia).

I'm not here to brag - in fact I don't have anything to brag about really. I'm an average guy that pays his bills and taxes, but likes to keep them both low.

I'm interested in personal happiness and how others achieve it. I'm interested in talking with other like-minded people (or non like-minded constructive criticism).

Do you enjoy frugality and avoiding typical American consumerism? However, you get great joy seeing how your boys enjoy their back-to-school gifts (new bicycles)? I don't mind spending money but I hate to waste money. We probably have a lot in common.

Thanks,
Chris
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:38 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum.
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Originally Posted by walleye View Post
Do you enjoy frugality and avoiding typical American consumerism? However, you get great joy seeing how your boys enjoy their back-to-school gifts (new bicycles)? I don't mind spending money but I hate to waste money. We probably have a lot in common.
When I was young, single and making good money with few bills I did develop a like for some fun toys like sports cars. But even then my first sports car (first new car) was the one Car & Driver called "best bang for the buck".

Spending habits definitely changed after acquiring the wife and kids. I hope as we get them through college I can indulge my desire for toys a little.

I have a question to draw you out a little. Do you find that it is more difficult finding quality products at the bottom end of the price scale? I've been burned by some Chinese made items in the past three-four years and I'm getting to where I force myself to go up in price to get something with better quality.
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:40 PM   #3
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Hi Chris,

You do indeed have a lot in common with people on this board. I also live in a low cost of living area (Alabama), and I try to keep my fixed costs and taxes low. I am always looking at ways to lower them further. My goal is not necessarily to spend less overall. I just want to spend less on stuff that doesn't bring me much happiness so that I can spend a bit more on stuff that does (good food, travel, etc...).
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:08 PM   #4
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Thanks to you both for the nice welcome.

Leonidas - I have been too frugal at times and should have bought better quality. "Buy something once for X instead of three times for a total of 2X." I definitely like toys too. For me, I really enjoy my on/off road motorcycle and RV.

FIREdreamer - Good priorities. For some reason, I enjoy squeezing my bills to their minimum. As you say, it allows you to free up money for important things (I bought my elderly Mom her first new car).
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:18 PM   #5
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Do you enjoy frugality and avoiding typical American consumerism?
every $100 dollars spent is so many hours at the job, doubled to cover taxes.

my hobby is firing everyone. I fired my drycleaner by finding a great line of nice pants and shirts that don't require drycleaning (Eddie Bauer, Orvis, Marks Work Wearhouse). I fired my barber by finding a shorty haircut I like and a device that lets me do it myself. I fired my yard man by instituting an exercise program called "mowing the darn lawn myself". I fired my broker by investing direct. I fired wall street by investing in competitive trust company CDs, after firing the bank by paying off the mortgage. I fired the hotel chain I like to stay at on vacation by buying a second home in florida (and then renting it out when we are not there). I fired the airlines by getting the second home in a place I can drive to. I fired the change converter at the grocery store that takes 10% by taking my change to the casino for paper money no conversion charge. I fired my parking garage at the office by offering a local store the service of putting up flyers in my secure office building in exchange for a parking spot (I also collect rent from someone who works in my nieghbourhood for the service of using the end of my driveway during office hours). I cover part of cost of my broadband by allowing second home part time neighbours to use my wireless. I collect and use coupons and buy them online as well. I purchase goods at dollar stores, garage sales, craigslist, kijiji, and end of season. I change my own brake pads. I shop online and take the time for exhaustive hunts for the very best deals (overstock.com is amazing).

all this combined with the DINK (dual income, no kids) allows us to live large and pay the real estate taxes and insurance - and spoil our neices and nephews.

If the wife would let me, I would fire the cities and the feds and live in a large houseboat (to avoid city taxes), and establish technical residency in a tax haven (with no taxes on off shore income, which is legal once FIRE), which is going to be increasingly necessary.

I wonder if there should be a thread for offshore issues (the legal stuff)
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:32 PM   #6
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I like that idea - firing everybody.
I'm also looking for a short haircut that I like and can trim, sorry barber. I enjoyed recently firing the bank by paying off my house. I fired Verizon for all the stupid add-ons to my cell phone bill and now pay Virgin Mobile $7/month for prepaid.

I'd join a nudist community to save on clothing. Maybe after the kids are grown.
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Old 08-27-2009, 02:53 PM   #7
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feast your eyes on this little device, feared by barbers

Remington SCC100R Short Cut Clipper - Silver/Gray - Reviews, Best Prices and Product Information at BizRate

use it in the shower just before soaping up so that you can rinse off the cuttings and the cuttings get disposed of at the same time

I have virgin mobile for the Florida house as our main phone and all of our family cells for emergency use are on minimum prepaid.
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Old 08-27-2009, 03:12 PM   #8
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Thanks man, I may buy one of those. Also, I have some kind of Wahl hair trim kit that I haven't used yet. Even if I use it to periodically trim mine & the boys hair to cut the number of barber trips in half, that's an option.
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Old 08-27-2009, 06:25 PM   #9
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my hobby is firing everyone.......... I fired my barber by finding a shorty haircut I like and a device that lets me do it myself.
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Originally Posted by walleye View Post
I like that idea - firing everybody.
I'm also looking for a short haircut that I like and can trim, sorry barber.
I didn't have to fire my barber, as he decided to retire......in 1975!!! He was the only barber that ever cut my hair the way I wanted it. The day he told me he was retiring and closing the shop, I walked down the street to the old hardware store, and purchased a snazzy pair of Raycine/Oster hair clippers for $18.89 (the price sticker is still on the box....$19.84 including sales tax).

This is my 35th year of cutting my own hair! At about 4 cuts per year, that figures to about 14 each time I cut my own hair! (and gets cheaper every time!!)
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Old 08-28-2009, 04:30 PM   #10
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I envy men for their inexpensive hair care regimens. I do pretty well for a girl (color my own hair + basic $16 cut from supercuts every 2-3 months) but 14 cents per cut...damn, that must be nice...
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Old 08-30-2009, 08:46 AM   #11
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My Mom has always cut my Dad and four brother's hair to save money. I cut my husbands hair. We use Wahl clippers BTW. When I went to a much shorter hair style I struggled with cutting my own hair. Just could not get it trimmed up right in the back. Then I remembered Mom. We live three blocks apart so now I walk over there and takes care of me.
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Old 08-30-2009, 09:05 AM   #12
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my hobby is firing everyone.
Interesting way of looking at it. I have also fired my drycleaner (DW not quite), yard man (never had one), broker, bank/mortgage and phone/landline provider. I have dramatically downsized my restaurant owners, travel providers and clothes providers - without regret.

When I retire, if not before, I will downsize my internet provider, my satellite TV (from 3 to 1 TV), my home insurer & utility provider (smaller home), my car mechanic, insurers & gas station owner (from 2 to 1 fuel-efficient car) and fire everyone who makes money from my boat ownership (love it, but $ very stupid). Barber is a friend of DW, that may have to wait even though I already have the short haircut.
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:57 AM   #13
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Do you find that it is more difficult finding quality products at the bottom end of the price scale? I've been burned by some Chinese made items in the past three-four years and I'm getting to where I force myself to go up in price to get something with better quality.
It has been my experience that I forget how little I paid for something when it turns out to be a piece of crap. I'm willing to pay more for quality upfront, but I never mistake marketing/glamor for quality.
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:27 AM   #14
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It has been my experience that I forget how little I paid for something when it turns out to be a piece of crap. I'm willing to pay more for quality upfront, but I never mistake marketing/glamor for quality.
I didn't fall for any marketing tricks, unless you count pricing strategy, and got burned because I treated some things like a commodity. Small TVs for example. Last year I upgraded from the ancient 15" I had in my office to a 21" flatscreen. They were almost giving them away, and I thought "no need to pay $30-50 more if I don't have to". And extended warranty? No thanks. It died right after the brief manufacturer's warranty did. Same thought process at the same time went into replacing one other small ancient TV, and while it still lives, I accidentally discovered how cheap some of its components are.

I have to remind myself that if a price is cheaper it's because the manufacturer cut prices on components/materials. Cheap labor only goes so far in making things cheaper. Most of the Chinese made products seem to be a combination of the two, so I've started to try and avoid them as much as possible.
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:00 AM   #15
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I just broke the news to my siblings that I quit my job to enter semi-retirement. They kind of knew it was coming, but probably wondered if it would turn into one of those perpetual "I'll do it in a few months" things.

I told them I would soon be showing up uninvited with the RV, 6 dogs and Mother-in-law...

Well I might go get me a new tatoo, or take my old Harley for a three day cruise, might even grow me a fu man chu ..
Travis Tritt
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:05 AM   #16
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Do you enjoy frugality and avoiding typical American consumerism? ...I don't mind spending money but I hate to waste money. We probably have a lot in common.

Thanks,
Chris
Welcome to the forum
Congrats on your semi !

I also live in a low cost area, but have a high tax load, so it all evens out.
I don't enjoy frugality per se, but I look at frugality as a way to be able to save up for some really fun things. Like being able to FIRE, dream trips once in a while, a midlife crisis car, etc.
The typical American consumerism thing is pretty nauseating to me. It is one of the main reasons I truly dislike shopping.
The waste of money I see is incredible...
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Old 08-31-2009, 12:22 PM   #17
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Thanks for the welcome Freebird. I've appreciated your point of view on other posts.

I enjoy frugality in that I hate waste and I hate Conspicuous Consumption, so I guess it's joy to do the opposite. I like to spend on good products (my LCD TV, Blu-ray player, Honda motorcycle) that I use frequently and truly enjoy.

I just realized that I may come across as someone that doesn't buy American, but not true. I do if it's available and at all competitive with foreign-made (love my F-150). I wish America still made good TVs.
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:58 AM   #18
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New member with unique form of retirement
Okay, I'll bite. What is it?
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:03 AM   #19
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I told them I would soon be showing up uninvited with the RV, 6 dogs and Mother-in-law...
Might as well stay for Christmas. There's nothing like having family around for the holidays!

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Old 09-02-2009, 09:09 AM   #20
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Hi Milton.
After reading more of this forum and others, I see that I'm not as unique as I thought.
My thinking was that most people attain early retirement by having a huge nest egg, while I attained it by ultra low bills. We can live on 2-2.5K a month. This includes RV vacations and spending most of summer out of state (reverse Snow Birds), so it's not deprived living. Another way to look at it, we would be able to live quite comfortably on our expected Social Security benefits. Not many people can say that I think. (I don't plan to rely on SS though.)

I am unique, perhaps, in my ability to generate income when needed by contracting. I do all sorts of Electrical Engineering work, generally by the job. I did this for 5 years prior to my last 5 years on a "normal" job, so I'm comfortable with it.
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