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Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-26-2006, 12:09 PM   #1
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Changes in behavior and habits

As I edge closer to ER, I've been cutting out "frivolous" expenditures like expensive haircuts and haircolor (from $100 every six weeks to $25--"Supercuts" and color hair myself at home), drycleaning, gardener (we have xeriscape in the high desert that requires very little maintenance), and I usually walk most places in town instead of getting in the car, so gas expenditures are pretty low.

In ER, what have you cut back on in terms of "frivolous" expenses? Was it difficult? Did you feel "deprived" for giving up that $4 latte or was the transition pretty easy? And what "treat" haven't you given up? (With us it's good red wine and we "splurge" on $10 bottles.)
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-26-2006, 12:41 PM   #2
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits

Our eating out expenses dropped dramatically once we had more time to cook at home. We also shopped more (and better) for almost everything, so we saw drops in many expense categories. Rather than feel like we were skimping, we felt good about being able to do what we had to do for less.

But we didn't save any on monthly expenses. We have spent every bit of our shopping premium on travel and entertainment, plus more.
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-26-2006, 01:04 PM   #3
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits

Clothes, and am afraid it shows*

I started going through my closet and chest of drawers.* Made a contract with myself to wear out what I had, to think about needs not wants.
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-26-2006, 01:34 PM   #4
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits

Aside from the occasional lexus, our spending dropped pretty dramatically Stopped paying people to do stuff for me because I was too busy at work. Stopped paying more for a dinner out than groceries for a week cost.
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-26-2006, 01:54 PM   #5
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits

i was always a bit of a cheap bastid. not a lot has changed yet.
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-26-2006, 02:19 PM   #6
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits

Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveler
As I edge closer to ER, I've been cutting out "frivolous" expenditures like expensive haircuts and haircolor (from $100 every six weeks to $25--"Supercuts" and color hair myself at home), drycleaning, gardener (we have xeriscape in the high desert that requires very little maintenance), and I usually walk most places in town instead of getting in the car, so gas expenditures are pretty low.

In ER, what have you cut back on in terms of "frivolous" expenses? Was it difficult? Did you feel "deprived" for giving up that $4 latte or was the transition pretty easy? And what "treat" haven't you given up? (With us it's good red wine and we "splurge" on $10 bottles.)
Ah, the deprivation thread.* There seems to be an implicit assumption that ER mandates cutting back, downsizing, simplifying, and perhaps even selling a non-vital redundant organ or two.* If you're gonna ER then you can't afford to do anything that would jeopardize your financial independence, especially spending money.

It's interesting to note that "frivolous" expenses were considered essential (or at least a necessary indulgence) until they were noted to be adversely impacting ER.* I think the logic is mathematical-- it's easier to reduce your spending by 20% than it is to raise your income by 10%.* Regardless of the approach, you can ER when your income exceeds your expenses.* Some choose to accelerate that by cutting the expenses part so harshly that it gives the ER lifestyle a bad name.

We didn't have to cut out frivolous expenses to ER-- we had to cut out working.* When we stopped indulging that pesky work habit we saved on commuting gas, car maintenance/repairs, office lunches, work clothing, workplace socializing, office-party fundraisers, haircuts, after-school childcare, housecleaners, home maintenance & repair services, and groundskeepers. Gosh, it's been nearly four years since my last haircut-- that's over $200 in savings, let alone the compounding of DCA'ing it into a small-cap value fund.

In ER we've also had the time to thoughtfully evaluate all the household utility bills, whittle away at our insurance bills, and take over all the chores that we used to outsource.* We eat healthier & exercise more, which probably cuts down on our medical bills.* We've been able to tackle big projects like bathroom renovations, kitchen remodels, and solar electricity/water heating that will eventually pay for themselves.* When you're not working you don't have to do things at the most expensive time of the week and you can spend more time shopping for a better deal (or doing for yourself).* We can linger over long lunches instead of dozing during after-work dinners.* We can travel when airfares are cheap and there aren't as many tourists.* We can take a last-minute cruise for under $100/day instead of $250/day.

ER has cost me more money on surfing and tae kwon do.* I didn't "have time" for those activities on active duty.

I'm trying to think of one thing that I've had to give up in ER.* So far the only item on the list is "hassles".* Can someone jog my memory here?
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-26-2006, 03:21 PM   #7
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits

We don't envision giving up too much to RE. As I posted on my introductory thread, we wouldn't be in a position to RE if it hadn't been for always living frugally. It's always been Supercuts for us. We stopped liking fancy restaurants a long time ago and prefer ethnic restaurants which are typically quite cheap. Always borrowed books from the library instead of buying them. Rented movies because moviegoer's behavior bothered us. Starbucks has always been a once a week treat. Right now at home, I'm using dial-up! Just basic cable.

We stopped traveling years ago because we couldn't---were taking care of elderly parents. Got out of the habit and then found it a hassle, especially with the type of vacations we took (one week to a distant city---one year went to Hong Kong!), while still working. Don't know how we'll feel once we retire.

So not a room to downsize once RE. We may shop at cheaper stores for groceries (ethnic markets, walMart). Will buy even less clothes than we do now! This doesn't bother me---kinda transports me back to the sixties and seventies when materialism was crass...

In some ways, I almost think we're spending more with RE looming in the not-too-distant future (that was such a pleasure to type!). For example, we're trying to get all home improvement/repair stuff done before we RE, as well as some medical procedures that will have higher coverage on our employer's health coverage than what we'll be insured with in RE...
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-26-2006, 03:59 PM   #8
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits

Quote:
We may shop at cheaper stores for groceries (ethnic markets, walMart).* Will buy even less clothes than we do now!* This doesn't bother me---kinda transports me back to the sixties and seventies when materialism was crass...
I came of age in that generation, after ER relived it in a carvan trip wandering around AU for a couple months.* I wouldn't have changed that for upscale hotels and lux trains, we had a ball!
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-26-2006, 07:57 PM   #9
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits

Gosh, I thought people usually gave up "frivolous" expenses well before retirement so they could put away more money and retire earlier.

We've always LBYM'd (Live Below Your Means), so when we had enough money to RE, we didn't have to change our expenses.

It kind of happened naturally anyway though. It's amazing how much money is spent just due to working (not to mention having to pay SS and Medicare taxes).

My wardrobe is so much smaller.......

Audrey
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-26-2006, 08:04 PM   #10
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
We didn't have to cut out frivolous expenses to ER-- we had to cut out working.* When we stopped indulging that pesky work habit we saved on commuting gas, car maintenance/repairs, office lunches, work clothing, workplace socializing, office-party fundraisers, haircuts, after-school childcare, housecleaners, home maintenance & repair services, and groundskeepers.*
Yup, I'm looking forward to all these savings putting a very small dent in the additional $11K / year I'll need to spend on health insurance when the company isn't footing the bill any longer.
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-27-2006, 07:15 AM   #11
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits

The biggest change for us will be auto expenses. DH gets clothes supplied to him and I buy very few clothes for work. I even keep my several pairs of shoes under my desk and wear sneaks in and out. My work shoes last years that way.

since we maintain two auto's and the big expense is driving I think that is where we have the most potential to save. We already do most of house and car maintenance, and I cook basically from scratch and we really don't enjoy going out to eat.

We are able to travel off season which is huge. We also don't like typical tourist destinations, and are "creative travelers". Having two kids in far flung areas of the country are good starting points for lots of our vacation stuff.

Also, we need to evaluate our tax situation as we are thinking about leaving NY state and moving elsewhere. Since we are a couple of years away that is what we are looking into.

I imagine our biggest change in behavior will be not groaning when the alarm goes off in the morning.
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-27-2006, 07:43 AM   #12
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits

I know my budget will go down after I retire. I won't be paying what amounts to a small mortgage to park in town, gas and car expense will drop as well. Those will be the biggest drop, other things will too but when you pay $320 a month for parking it makes a big dent.
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-27-2006, 08:22 AM   #13
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits

Quote:
Originally Posted by audreyh1
We've always LBYM'd (Live Below Your Means), so when we had enough money to RE, we didn't have to change our expenses.
two lessons i learned early:

do what you have to do (take out the garbage, get your homework done) and then you can do pretty much anything you want to do (as long as no one gets hurt).

&

if you always spend less than you have, you will always have more than you need.
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-27-2006, 10:22 AM   #14
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits

We lived frugally enough to get to FIRE that now we allow ourselves a lot of frivolous expenes. I was always a tightwad. Now I know that we have enough put away that we can live it up a bit.

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Re: Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-27-2006, 12:53 PM   #15
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits

I have no doubt that my spending would go down if I FIRE'd tomorrow. In light of this thread, I went over to the website of my alma mater just to see what it cost to be a full-time student in my old college town. Much to my surprise, the cost was less than HALF what I spend now (which is far below my means already), including tuition at the state university.

I'm almost be inclined to go back to school.
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-27-2006, 12:54 PM   #16
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay_Gatsby
I'm almost be inclined to go back to school.
Heck, I might even be tempted to attend classes!
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-27-2006, 01:01 PM   #17
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits

We plan to spend more on medical, recreation and travel and less on saving, mortgage, and taxes.
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-27-2006, 06:07 PM   #18
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits

Because I have been living in financial denial (LBYM), my "living" expenses will increase mostly for travelling, more dining and of course the dreaded health insurance expense my former company paid for.
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-28-2006, 07:47 AM   #19
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits

Expenses have increased, almost doubled. We now pay for many expenses that my previous employer paid for such as travel, entertainment and health care. But we enjoy our life much better!


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Re: Changes in behavior and habits
Old 03-28-2006, 08:58 AM   #20
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Re: Changes in behavior and habits

We are still crunching the numbers (is anal renentive hyphenated?) and it looks like our first 10 years will be about 40% more expensive than the rest (however many more we get). After RMDs kick in we will have more $$ than we can reasonably spend so will be gifting and saving for the next generation (grandkids). We could choose to w%rk for 10 more years but the crystal ball says we have enough $$$ to not have to. We just need to reverse the flow from saving to spending from the accounts. It will be an adjustment for us and we know it. We are begining to make the account changes to set them up to pay us instead of us paying them.

This next 16 months is our transition time to get our minds around the last sprint to the finish line with saving while re-aligning the planets to create income streams without killing the golden goose.

We no longer have the concept of wait one more year to save more and spend less. Out time fence is driven by medical insurance coverage in retirement and we are too close to give that up.

Changes in behavior? I sure hope so.

Not going to work 11-12 hours a day and living with the stress of being in this kind of business and in management for over 30 years will definitely be a change. I have worked pretty much full time from the age of 14 doing something. Even in school I had jobs and went to school year round. The longest break I have had from work was 5 weeks and that was because of back surgery. It is time for me to leave.
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