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Old 04-04-2012, 04:56 PM   #121
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Hmmm - 1993 - to present in ER. Early on I was beyond frugile as in hard core cheap SOB and I mean cheap. (I envied 'The Four Yorkshiremen' while hang drying and leaving the dryer sheet box unopened).

Time and Mr Market in the 90's did wonders for me plus small pension at 55 and early SS.

Today finds me wildly frivilous. Within compass so to speak. I try to say within 4-6% ballpark and use ORP and my trusty bellybutton as spending guides each year.

Fear - as in running out of portfolio was a biggee starting out.

heh heh heh - lets hope overconfidence doesn't get me in trouble in 'old age'.
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:18 PM   #122
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OK, Uncle Mick, I've been wondering for a couple of years, how does the belly button calculator work?
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:43 PM   #123
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I was making some rhetoric arguments.

When we say "frugal", we really mean "LBYM". I made a follow-up post here.

Still, come to think of it, we usually spend more if we have more, but the pleasure that comes with the extra dollars gets diminishing returns pretty quickly. If one can somehow measure the hedonic scale ("pleasure vs. expenses"), I suspect it would be plotted with the dollar amount on a log scale, and the happiness on the linear scale.

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Originally Posted by flyfishnevada View Post
I'm not one to be frugal for frugality's sake. To me it's more about living within your means than trying to skimp on everything and anything just because you can. I run the hell out of our air conditioner in the summer. I like it hanging meat cold in the house. If you can afford it, why not?

I think being frugal is more about making smart choices. Nothing wrong with luxury but if that luxury doesn't bring you any happiness, why pay for it? That is a waste or money. On the other hand, trying to get what you want on the cheap isn't a bad thing either. Absolute denial in the name of saving money is, however.
PS. My AC tonnage (5-ton) can never get my house (2800 sqft) to be cold enough to hang meat in the summer. It's 120F dry heat, man! My electric bill was already up to $500/month last July. It's better to leave town.
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Frugality in Europe
Old 04-05-2012, 01:28 AM   #124
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Frugality in Europe

Like many here we are more frugal on somethings and less on others. For us, we got seriously frugal by bagging the US entirely and moving to Hungary. We got rid of our gas guzzling car (Acura TL) and bought a Prius specifically to save money in Europe where gas is just above $8 a gallon. But, I buy gas perhaps every 6 weeks or so and then it is only 8 gallons. If travelling then it is of course a major expense, but this is relatively infrequent. We do stay only at 4 or 5 star hotels which we have developed a taste for when travelling. Here in Hungary the farming laws are strict (no genetically modified food is permitted in the EU and nearly all insecticides are banned now in Europe) and all food is essentially organically grown, fresh and much less expensive than in the US. Our food budget is around $400 a month. We are coming up on 3 years of ER now and I have developed a love of cooking so we don't eat out at restaurants except when friends visit us. Because utilities are about 5 times higher in Europe than in the US we have gotten frugal on this especially. I concerted our computers to low power (built 2 myself using AMD M150 CPU) and only uses 20 watts. My wife still day trades in the US and has a higher power system which uses 120 watts. We have a gas heating system which feeds radiators and hot water but is is only used from late October to mid-April. I then switch to electric water heating only. Gas runs us around $5000 a year and electric about the same. Water is surprisingly expensive and also is about 3000 a year. I am seriously considering solar system to offset our electric needs and our village is in a resort community on Lake Balaton which has thermal water so we are working out a deal with neighbors to sink a deep well for thermal water for home heating. Our property taxes are zero, and our insurance is $200 a year. Because our weather is especially mild (think DC without the humidity) we have no air conditioning and have a steady northerly wind so just open the windows in the Summer. Winters I installed a system that divides the house into 3 zones on wireless controllers and keep the house at 15 degrees C in areas we aren't in, to 22 degrees C in areas we are using. We have about 3 acres, a (large for Hungary) fully enclosed swimming pool, sauna, and a 4,000 sq ft house with everything we could possibly need. I set up wireless routers around the place so we have internet everywhere on the property. We get high speed internet as a combination package from our cable TV company (UPC) which has 120 MBPS connection, cable TV (mostly in Hungarian but 6 english news channels, US sports, and about 10 english language movie etc. and includes telephone all for less than $50 a month. Interestingly, we had expected costs to be a lot higher but so far we are pleasantly surprised. I earn $3000 a month from my military retirement and we have a substantial amount of money in investments which we expected to start drawing from but we are living on less than $2000 a month. I was working 1 week a month in the US but frankly we don't need it so I have reduced this to the minimum. We have a full time property manager and a woman that cleans the house. I also cancelled all subscriptions except a proxy server to get around the stupid US internet games, and also recently cancelled Netflix as well. Mostly, we travel, I mountain bike, go hiking in the huge local National Park and am planning to buy a boat this Summer for the lake. We also read all books with e-readers and we have switched to tablets (I have an ASUS Transformer and my wife is getting an i-Pad 3 in May) for surfing the internet etc. But, our lifestyle is nearly 180 degrees from what we had in the US so it is difficult to figure out is we are more or less frugal. I think less but our quality of life is far better than what we had in the US. The weirdest things is that $3,000 a month in the US would be a modest lifestyle (or in some areas impossible) but here you are considered rich. We don't regret leaving the US ever.
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Old 04-05-2012, 09:03 AM   #125
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Due to selling our home, and an unexpected inheritance DW received, we are living on less than 1% WR. Our DD is financially set and absolutely adamant that we not gift her in our will.

So we got the green light to shop till we drop but neither of us has that mind set.

Yesterday I bought a Green Moai surf shirt for $2 at Goodwill, fit like a Brioni but cost $10,000 less.
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Old 04-05-2012, 11:45 AM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borschelrh
Like many here we are more frugal on somethings and less on others. For us, we got seriously frugal by bagging the US entirely and moving to Hungary. We got rid of our gas guzzling car (Acura TL) and bought a Prius specifically to save money in Europe where gas is just above $8 a gallon. But, I buy gas perhaps every 6 weeks or so and then it is only 8 gallons. If travelling then it is of course a major expense, but this is relatively infrequent. We do stay only at 4 or 5 star hotels which we have developed a taste for when travelling. Here in Hungary the farming laws are strict (no genetically modified food is permitted in the EU and nearly all insecticides are banned now in Europe) and all food is essentially organically grown, fresh and much less expensive than in the US. Our food budget is around $400 a month. We are coming up on 3 years of ER now and I have developed a love of cooking so we don't eat out at restaurants except when friends visit us. Because utilities are about 5 times higher in Europe than in the US we have gotten frugal on this especially. I concerted our computers to low power (built 2 myself using AMD M150 CPU) and only uses 20 watts. My wife still day trades in the US and has a higher power system which uses 120 watts. We have a gas heating system which feeds radiators and hot water but is is only used from late October to mid-April. I then switch to electric water heating only. Gas runs us around $5000 a year and electric about the same. Water is surprisingly expensive and also is about 3000 a year. I am seriously considering solar system to offset our electric needs and our village is in a resort community on Lake Balaton which has thermal water so we are working out a deal with neighbors to sink a deep well for thermal water for home heating. Our property taxes are zero, and our insurance is $200 a year. Because our weather is especially mild (think DC without the humidity) we have no air conditioning and have a steady northerly wind so just open the windows in the Summer. Winters I installed a system that divides the house into 3 zones on wireless controllers and keep the house at 15 degrees C in areas we aren't in, to 22 degrees C in areas we are using. We have about 3 acres, a (large for Hungary) fully enclosed swimming pool, sauna, and a 4,000 sq ft house with everything we could possibly need. I set up wireless routers around the place so we have internet everywhere on the property. We get high speed internet as a combination package from our cable TV company (UPC) which has 120 MBPS connection, cable TV (mostly in Hungarian but 6 english news channels, US sports, and about 10 english language movie etc. and includes telephone all for less than $50 a month. Interestingly, we had expected costs to be a lot higher but so far we are pleasantly surprised. I earn $3000 a month from my military retirement and we have a substantial amount of money in investments which we expected to start drawing from but we are living on less than $2000 a month. I was working 1 week a month in the US but frankly we don't need it so I have reduced this to the minimum. We have a full time property manager and a woman that cleans the house. I also cancelled all subscriptions except a proxy server to get around the stupid US internet games, and also recently cancelled Netflix as well. Mostly, we travel, I mountain bike, go hiking in the huge local National Park and am planning to buy a boat this Summer for the lake. We also read all books with e-readers and we have switched to tablets (I have an ASUS Transformer and my wife is getting an i-Pad 3 in May) for surfing the internet etc. But, our lifestyle is nearly 180 degrees from what we had in the US so it is difficult to figure out is we are more or less frugal. I think less but our quality of life is far better than what we had in the US. The weirdest things is that $3,000 a month in the US would be a modest lifestyle (or in some areas impossible) but here you are considered rich. We don't regret leaving the US ever.
I would certainly say you live a frugal lifestyle. If my math is correct over 50% of your monthly expenses is consumed by water, gas, and electric alone. You arent kidding when you say its expensive.
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Old 04-06-2012, 11:17 AM   #127
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OK, Uncle Mick, I've been wondering for a couple of years, how does the belly button calculator work?
I run ORP and FireCalc yearly BUT then pick the coming year SWR based on last year's portfolio performance and my level of nervousness for the coming year.

Emotion makes me more willing to spend in the 4-6% range coming off a fat year than a lean one.

heh heh heh - hindsight says that I overcompensate in lean times and need to throttle up more in fat times - BUT?
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Frugality in Europe
Old 04-07-2012, 01:41 AM   #128
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Frugality in Europe

Yes, utilities are very high in Europe and some day soon will be the same in the US. I can't understand how Hungarians actually live and many just don't pay the bills as there is a law preventing the cutting off of utilities. Average monthly salary here is a bit less than $400. So, that places the burden on those of us who actually pay. But, for us the costs are mostly in the Winter. I turn off the gas in mid-April and switch the water heater to electric only. I did buy a small device that measures consumption at the outlet and checked everything electric in the house. I then installed switches between stuff that can be turned off (wall warts not running anything) so keep electric to the minimum as well. But, things like the oven and cook top are necessary and still consume a lot of juice. My plan, once I get it figured out how to connect back to the mains, is to install 20 300 watt solar panels and rather than use batteries sell it back to the utility company. It is mandated in EU law to do this but I cannot find out exactly how to do it and the utility company is not eager to assist. Here everything, including meters, are the burden of the consumer. So, I will have to buy a reversible meter and get it installed at my own expense and I think this going to be a major expense and like anything in former communist countries becomes a bureaucratic nightmare. Drilling for thermal water is also going to be a bureaucratic nightmare (even worse in this case as the water seems to be especially sensitive here as the lake is pristine, fed from mineral water springs, and is protected heavily (no gasoline or diesel engines permitted anywhere on the lake) but my neighbors are well connected so perhaps it will be easier. I also want to build a helical vertical wind turbine as we have steady winds but my wife is not entirely receptive to the idea (solar panels either for that matter). But, as she pays all the bills is more receptive as costs recently went up 35% due to the austerity programs being put into place in Europe. Our main problem is buying the panels and materials as I will have to buy direct from China and the import duty is roughly 35% and I have to buy a minimum of 40 panels. As I said we can afford it so for me it is rather an experiment on how to save and as a retired scientist it is interesting to me to find ways to reduce energy costs.
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'FIRE' and 'FI'
Old 04-08-2012, 09:33 AM   #129
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'FIRE' and 'FI'

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Originally Posted by CyclingInvestor View Post

My spending used to be constrained by a feeling that it would postpone my FI and retirement dates,
I am a new member, just joined today. I am 70 + and still working. The reason I joined this ER community is because, I am now thinking of retiring "early" instead of continuing to work till 75 or 80 that was my original plan !

I am trying to find out the meaning of the abbreviations 'FIRE' and 'FI' (which you have used here). Could you please enlighten me ?

More later...

Thanks !
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Old 04-08-2012, 09:44 AM   #130
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Hi jdev, welcome to the forum. Acronyms can be found here * Acronyms and Slang Frequently Used on the Forum * FIRE is Financial Independence and Retire Early, so FI is Financially Independent. If you want you can stop by here and tell us a little about yourself Hi, I am... - Early Retirement & Financial Independence Community. While 70 is not early around here, you can still find help.
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Old 04-08-2012, 10:16 AM   #131
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I am 70 + and still working. The reason I joined this ER community is because, I am now thinking of retiring "early" instead of continuing to work till 75 or 80 that was my original plan !
Some people just don't have a strong work ethic, eh?

Just kidding jdev. It's all relative, so if you consider your retirement as early, who are we to say differently.

Welcome to the forum.
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Old 04-08-2012, 10:32 AM   #132
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Frugal in retirement? Not in our world.

We were frugal getting to this point. Now that we're here, we find that we live our life the way we want to, rather than how we need to (to survive and live the life we wish, in retirement).

In fact, our monthly net income is higher today than when we both were employed. Yes, we're fortunate. But that comes along with 3+ decades of planning, taking a bit of risk and "giving up today, for our tomorrows"...

Just reflecting on our situation...
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Old 04-08-2012, 10:58 AM   #133
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Frugal in retirement? Not in our world.

We were frugal getting to this point. Now that we're here, we find that we live our life the way we want to, rather than how we need to (to survive and live the life we wish, in retirement).

In fact, our monthly net income is higher today than when we both were employed. Yes, we're fortunate. But that comes along with 3+ decades of planning, taking a bit of risk and "giving up today, for our tomorrows"...

Just reflecting on our situation...
yes. i agree. Today is in fact the tomorrows we planned and saved for.
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