In essence, have you lowered your expenses by 30%? What had to go? Also, if you increased your expenses, we'd like to know that as well.
Craigslist sellers are desperately reducing possessions to pay down debt.
Our approach has always been more along the lines of increasing the ‘Lifestyle
’ portion of Retire Early
To us this means not necessarily cutting back or giving up but rather looking elsewhere for entertainment, and ways to make our lifestyle more satisfying.
Like Nords said, Craigslist is a rewarding place to look for bargains. I recently purchased 130 baby clothing items plus a never used crib set and a baby sling tote (used once), all in excellent and stain free condition for $60. This was for my niece who just had her first baby, and had I purchased these items new, it would easily have been hundreds of dollars.
Since I now have the skill of doing Thai massage, I do a significant amount of trading with others which has been very enriching.
For example, I just recently received the services of a seamstress who made me 3 dresses in trade for massage.
We are currently living in Mexico, and with the peso/dollar exchange now, our living expenses simply dropped 25-30%. Our rent, food, utilities and entertainment options are all in pesos.
Along with having our ‘monthly nut’ pretty low (for the home we keep in the States) this allows us personal freedom to be creative.
Instead of cutting back, we create more options for ourselves and try to expand our benefits in ways that are ‘outside the box‘. It works for us. Plus we do a lot of volunteer work, so we don’t have the ‘craving for having’.
I would encourage you to look at what you already have, the experience and talents you already use, and see how you could utilize them in different ways to make your lifestyle more fun or satisfying. To me, it's more inspiring than the thought that 'I have to cut back'. Just a suggestion.
Author, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement