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What do you spend your money on?!?
Old 07-19-2009, 11:12 AM   #1
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What do you spend your money on?!?

Based on a number of recent threads, it is clear that we, as a group, don't like to spend a lot of money on clothes, watches and phone service among many other things...

If I were a non-LBYMer stumbling upon this site for the first time, I might be shocked and turned off by the asceticism of our little community. What is the fun of FIRE if it seemingly requires taking a vow of poverty, one might ask...

Since many of us have low fixed expenses, it begs the question, what else do we spend our money on? Travel seems to be a popular splurge but what else? Home improvement projects, hobbies, eating out, gardening, gadgets, cars/motorcycles/RVs, gourmet/organic food, etc?

For me it's mostly traveling, home improvements /furnishings, gifts, and to a smaller extent electronics and clothes.

What about you?
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Old 07-19-2009, 11:25 AM   #2
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I'd have to say travel , home improvements , gifts ,my grandson and clothes ( I love JJill clothes ).
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Old 07-19-2009, 11:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIREdreamer View Post
Based on a number of recent threads, it is clear that we, as a group, don't like to spend a lot of money on clothes, watches and phone service among many other things...

If I were a non-LBYMer stumbling upon this site for the first time, I might be shocked and turned off by the asceticism of our little community. What is the fun of FIRE if it seemingly requires taking a vow of poverty, one might ask...

Since many of us have low fixed expenses, it begs the question, what else do we spend our money on? Travel seems to be a popular splurge but what else? Home improvement projects, hobbies, eating out, gardening, gadgets, cars/motorcycles/RVs, gourmet/organic food, etc?

For me it's mostly traveling, home improvements /furnishings, gifts, and to a smaller extent electronics and clothes.

What about you?
Quote:
Asceticism (from the Greek: ἄσκησις, áskēsis, "exercise" or "training," in the sense of athletic training) describes a life-style characterized by abstinence from various sorts of worldly pleasures (especially sexual activity and consumption of food and drink) often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals.
I don't think this describes most on this forum but may be you are more perceptive than I

We spend most of our discretionary spending on travel, sports items (bikes, running shoes, outdoor pursuits..)
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Old 07-19-2009, 11:35 AM   #4
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Home improvement consumes more of our budget (and our time) than any other activity.

But after nine years I think we've finally knocked the top 25 off the list and should be slowing way down. And this time I really mean that!

Over the next four years I suspect our biggest spending will be on college room & board and airfare...

After we empty out the nest then I forecast the next big expense to be Thailand travel.
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Old 07-19-2009, 11:36 AM   #5
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Does freedom count? My savings toward ER is going to buy me freedom from working for others - freedom from work controlling large amounts of my time - freedom to do what I want without being locked into doing things to meet financial needs (like eat).

Other than that, I splurge on my kids. Activities. Books. Paid for college.

My house. It's small and plain, but in a very convenient (and expensive) part of town.

Occasional travel. Occasional tickets to the arts. I'd rather do these less frequently and with better seats/experience so I spend accordingly.

Freedom (again). When I buy food, I buy what I want (healthy choices) and am willing to pay more for it. When I exercise or take up a hobby, I am able to buy the equipment I need to make the experience more rewarding. I usually don't have to spend a lot to do that.

I think there's a wide range of FIRE experiences and "vow of poverty" is just one end of the scale. If I wanted to give up some of my lifestyle I could retire now, but I think it's worth delaying slightly to maintain more than a super simple lifestyle. (Or I'm locked in "one more year" syndrome.) Others have their own ideas of what they want.
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Old 07-19-2009, 11:46 AM   #6
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A tiny bit on cheapo electronics (Eee PC was the latest addition for $140).

A decent amount on travel (but currently limited due to very young children). This is really the first year we have done much, and in the last year, we rented a beach house for a week with family, went on a week long Caribbean cruise with family, and flew to Vegas 2x for 5 days each time. But all of that is still only $2500-$3000 total (we are cheap bastards!).

I guess the another splurge might be eating out a lot. We eat out a lot (lunches at work for DW and I). But those are usually cheap, running from $1 to $10 and historically averaging around $5. On a monthly basis it may be running around $200. Not exactly spendthrifts... You got to eat somehow after all.

Other than that, spending is mainly essentials. Mortgage+utilities+upkeep, groceries/household items, childcare, car maintenance, gas and insurance, those types of things.

With full time jobs for DW and I, plus two young kids we keep pretty busy. My hobbies are cheap/free (reading, tech stuff, video/computer games, walking/hiking/nature viewing, etc). Laying in the hammock sipping coffee, reading a book, and watching the kids run around the backyard or swim in the kiddie pool is as relaxing as anything. If that is asceticism, then I'm guilty as charged!

Like others have said - "freedom" is our biggest splurge of all. We save around 50-60% of our gross incomes without really sacrificing anything important. Eventually work will not be a requirement to fund our lifestyles.
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Old 07-19-2009, 11:50 AM   #7
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Some of my discretionary expenses are:

Travel. We drive up to southern Missouri to check out our tentative ER location several times a year, usually by car, and sometimes for hurricane evacuations.

Electronics. Last year I bought a wireless color laserjet printer, a desktop computer, and a new wireless router.

Restaurants. I eat out as much as my waistline will allow.

Art. I love the paintings and sculptures that I have collected. I probably spend only $200-$300/year on them, but I get tremendous satisfaction from these purchases.

"Antique" furniture. These are usually from the 1920's to 1940's and not terribly expensive. I haven't bought much lately due to our anticipated move north next year, but the last piece I bought was a marble topped, gilt occasional table that cost around $500 in 2007.

Lawn guy. I stopped mowing my lawn myself back in 2005.

Wellesley. Oops, we aren't supposed to include investments? I get a charge out of buying them. Oh well.
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Old 07-19-2009, 11:55 AM   #8
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Twice a week personal trainer.
Eating out and drinking out (wonder why we need that trainer, huh?) About the same money spent as Fuego.
"Big" travel when we can take the time to do it.
Higher quality food.
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:01 PM   #9
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:10 PM   #10
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I don't think this describes most on this forum but may be you are more perceptive than I

We spend most of our discretionary spending on travel, sports items (bikes, running shoes, outdoor pursuits..)
In my dictionary (Merriam Webster), "asceticism" was only defined as "the practice of self-denial, austerity", so I thought it was appropriate... YMMV. I guess it depends how literal you want to be!
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:28 PM   #11
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Travel, good quality food whether it be cooking at home or eating out. Must admit we never go without anything, though fortunately we don't desire expensive things.
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:30 PM   #12
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Living in a convenient, trendy, and (alas) expensive area. We aren't rich, so prudence put us into a itty bitty apartment.

Shopping at Whole Foods. We walk there. It is part of the convenience of where we live.

Travel. You have a feeling of true freedom when you hear yourself saying:
"Hey, we like it here. Let's stay another month."
However, we have cut back on travel and will stay close to home until the financial and economic situation stabilizes some.
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:34 PM   #13
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Cell phones: More than an absurd obsession than a hobby that needs treatment.
Crime fiction novels: Buying less of them as my eyesight is getting worse.
Going out with friends every Friday night: More to please my wife than anything. Quite inexpensive outings. But getting bored.
And not much else.
But bear in mind that the cell phone nonsense can easily set me back almost 1.300 bucks a year. But it seems I´m about to conquer the addiction.
Living in the countryside in a very small villagedoesn´t induce spending.
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:44 PM   #14
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Travel. You have a feeling of true freedom when you hear yourself saying:
"Hey, we like it here. Let's stay another month."
That´s exactly what I thought while in London last week. Pity my wife -who enjoyed it more than I-has 14 years of work ahead of her. By the time she retires I´ll be on a wheelchair....
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Old 07-19-2009, 01:27 PM   #15
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I was just looking at the MSMoney expense report for the past year. It looks like we spend the most money at one category: CreditCard. I haven't broken it down more than that.
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Old 07-19-2009, 01:32 PM   #16
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Travel, good quality food whether it be cooking at home or eating out.
Yup! Exactly same as us, we travel both overseas and domestically every year, and definitely have splurge on food mainly for cooking at home.

I remember one poster on here who spent an insane amount on blueberries, I forget which thread that was.
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Old 07-19-2009, 01:39 PM   #17
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According to that statistics on my discover card account, I spend more on groceries (or supermarket shopping) than anything else over the last 2 years. LBYM for sure, but not very exciting.
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Old 07-19-2009, 01:48 PM   #18
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Investments, travel, books, eating out, electronics.
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Old 07-19-2009, 01:52 PM   #19
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Other than rental apartment upgrades and piling up cash to loan out or invest, neither of which fit the spirit of the original question, probably our biggest ongoing expense is airfare and spending money for the gal's monthly trips to take care of her Mom. That gets a blind eye though. We dumped 10s of thousands on dental care, again, blind eye. The '56 Chevy is eating largish amounts as it grows an LT1 and disk brakes and AC and and and. KaChing! Now that's fiscal frivolity!
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Old 07-19-2009, 02:04 PM   #20
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Groceries/food to eat at home...mail order, grocery store, Schwans, etc. Having Whole Foods 2 hours away saves us a lot of money. Moving out of the cornfields and back to a real city is going to be expensive!
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