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Old 04-21-2010, 09:04 PM   #41
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At 38 I had just met my second husband . I had been a single Mom for six years and had gotten my savings act together .More for my children's college than my retirement . My net worth was probably about $88,000 at that point . I remarried and also got a higher paying position so during those years we were making $160,000 combined and saving a lot of it . Unfortunately he died suddenly when I was 51 but at that point I could have retired because I was FI due to all the saving we had done but I choose not too and instead retired at 59.
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:02 AM   #42
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Me, able to retire at 38?

Let's see. At 38, I was well ahead of my peers.

I had:
  • a salary of $50K
  • a paid for house (it cost $60K in 78), worth maybe $90K
  • a couple of paid for (but worthless) cars
  • maybe $50 in retirement accounts (edit to add: I was far enough from FI that I have no clue here, it might have been $100K)
  • a stay-at-home DW
  • kids aged 6 and 8

I did not have:
  • debt of any kind
  • stock options

I would not be retired today if I hadn't hit the stock option gravy train. While we could live frugally on 4% of our RRSP (Canadian IRA) 75% of our NW comes from getting lucky in the stock option lottery. Without it, I'd be too big a chicken to take the plunge, and we prefer to live below our means but not frugally.
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Old 04-22-2010, 02:08 AM   #43
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I retired at 31+ (after my second child). We are 38 right now and hoping for my Hubby to be free by 42-43. We already have funded education for kids and 2 houses are funded (1 for rental income).
Mostly it is LBYM and solid savings (50% of net income). LBYM is hard many times like in India I cook myself instead of hiring cook for $50 a month or use public transport instead of hiring $150 pm driver.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:18 PM   #44
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When I say I am frugal, as some know from my other posts, I am extreme, I can comfortably live on $10k/year (e.g. my food budget is $100/month). I started making frugal decisions early, I have been a saver before I was even 18.
Wow Plex. I could use a play out of your book. Care to elaborate at all on your $100/ mo food budget. Particularly since you seem to emphasize health. I would think $100/ mo only gets you some ramen noodles and an odd can of beans...Please share to the extent you care to. Thanks!
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:59 PM   #45
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Wow Plex. I could use a play out of your book. Care to elaborate at all on your $100/ mo food budget. Particularly since you seem to emphasize health. I would think $100/ mo only gets you some ramen noodles and an odd can of beans...Please share to the extent you care to. Thanks!
Beans and rice, rice and beans....
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:15 PM   #46
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Wow Plex. I could use a play out of your book. Care to elaborate at all on your $100/ mo food budget. Particularly since you seem to emphasize health. I would think $100/ mo only gets you some ramen noodles and an odd can of beans...Please share to the extent you care to. Thanks!
This is a re-post of my 2nd post on the forum, which directly answers your question, since I was asked this before. This is from almost exactly 2 years ago.


"Yes, I spend 100/month of groceries. As mentioned, I never eat out, except maybe once a month, and put that under Misc. I only eat out for purely social reasons, it is almost physically painful for me to be spending 3-4 times as much on food than I normally would. I live in the Midwest and buy my food at Meijer. 90% of what I buy is on sale, 8% is low cost staple items and 2% are "splurges." usually just one or two items.

I do not drink, smoke, or drink pop. Yes, it is only called pop in my state. I eat some sort of frozen vegetable, pasta, orange juice, milk and tea every day, I may mix it up a bit for the other items. I eat 1/3 of the frozen beans, which costs 35 cents a serving, the pasta costs about 40 cents a serving, including the no-fat/no-cholesterol squeeze "butter" I put on it, the orange juice is about 50 cents a glass, the milk is about 30 cents, the tea ranges from low quality to high, so can range from 20 cents to 50 cents (since I drink multiple servings of it). I also usually eat a bag of pretzels as a snack throughout the day which is 1 dollar. This adds up to...about 2.75 on a normal day. The other .66 a day goes to my splurge item (fresh asparagus/cherry strudel) and household items (toilet paper/paper toweling/one other household item).

Oh yea, my credit card discounts 2% off all my groceries as well. 5% on gas (but it is still 150 even after that ). Obviously, I don't pay a fee for the credit card and the amount is automatically deducted from my bill each month.

One year in undergrad, I was on a ramen noodles diet for a bit when I was stuck in a dorm without a stove, that got old very fast, I have a much more balanced diet now, thanks to having access to a stove and some experience buying groceries. My salt intake is a bit high still, but not too bad, I only sometimes go over the daily recommended amount. There is way to much salt for my liking in a lot of foods. Mac/cheese, ramen, boxed rice are pretty nasty in regular quantities. I would like to get a rice cooker though at some point, as I like white fluffy rice, especially with some sort of sweet or salty sauce, but the packaged stuff has a gigantic amount of overkill on butter and salt.

If I am working, I bring a low cost microwave meal, something in the $1-$1.50 range (often healthy choice on sale). Also go through 75 cents in snacks. However, my work provides some fairly decent green tea for free, which offsets the extra cost of the convenience meal, I usually go through 8-10 cups."


As an update: My budget is still the same, there hasn't been too much inflation in food prices due to the recent deflation that occurred in 2009, but I did change some of the things I am regularly buying now. One change has been to buy a 8 lb bag of russet potatoes for $2.50 (about 30 cents a serving), cut the potato into slices, put a bit of melted butter on it, and bake it, then sprinkle garlic powder on it (NOT salt), it tastes great and is pretty healthy. I also buy a 32 oz large tub of strawberry yogurt now for $1.60. I have also been trying oatmeal, which is actually pretty good, which is about $0.25 a serving. I am also buying fresh chicken at .99/lb, I usually eat 12 oz in one serving. I also now buy either 2 lbs of romaine hearts or spinach, whichever one is one sale, for $3, this is about 6-8 servings for me, I put a small amount of mozzarella cheese and a tablespoon of Caesar dressing on each serving. I have not been eating much pasta, the price inflated ridiculously to up to $2/serving and has only recently started coming back down to normal. Instead, I got a $20 rice cooker, and have been making brown rice, and I am putting either soy or home-made orange sauce on it (about $0.10/serving for rice+sauce, rice is really cheap, but I only eat this maybe once or twice a week). I can also make pretty good soup now, though I am still trying to figure out exactly how to make a good healthy thick soup.

While I already had fat/cholesterol/trans fats/salt under control, I have been taking special care lately to avoid high fructose corn syrup and sucrose, which are much worse than corn syrup/sugar. As I mentioned in the quote, I still buy nearly every item on sale, my "total saved" number on my receipt is usually larger than my "total spent". What I buy honestly evolves a lot, as the prices of items change, and as I widen the range of foods I can quickly make myself (I never make anything that requires more than 5 minutes of prep, too much work).
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:20 PM   #47
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Bingo.

At 38 I was broke and unemployed. My bad.
Oh hey, this sounds way too familiar!
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:24 PM   #48
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Beans and rice, rice and beans....
One of my cousins was in central America for a few weeks - that's what he said about his food: and the other meal was leftovers
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:34 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by plex View Post
This is a re-post of my 2nd post on the forum, which directly answers your question, since I was asked this before. This is from almost exactly 2 years ago.


"Yes, I spend 100/month of groceries. As mentioned, I never eat out, except maybe once a month, and put that under Misc. I only eat out for purely social reasons, it is almost physically painful for me to be spending 3-4 times as much on food than I normally would. I live in the Midwest and buy my food at Meijer. 90% of what I buy is on sale, 8% is low cost staple items and 2% are "splurges." usually just one or two items.

I do not drink, smoke, or drink pop. Yes, it is only called pop in my state. I eat some sort of frozen vegetable, pasta, orange juice, milk and tea every day, I may mix it up a bit for the other items. I eat 1/3 of the frozen beans, which costs 35 cents a serving, the pasta costs about 40 cents a serving, including the no-fat/no-cholesterol squeeze "butter" I put on it, the orange juice is about 50 cents a glass, the milk is about 30 cents, the tea ranges from low quality to high, so can range from 20 cents to 50 cents (since I drink multiple servings of it). I also usually eat a bag of pretzels as a snack throughout the day which is 1 dollar. This adds up to...about 2.75 on a normal day. The other .66 a day goes to my splurge item (fresh asparagus/cherry strudel) and household items (toilet paper/paper toweling/one other household item).

Oh yea, my credit card discounts 2% off all my groceries as well. 5% on gas (but it is still 150 even after that ). Obviously, I don't pay a fee for the credit card and the amount is automatically deducted from my bill each month.

One year in undergrad, I was on a ramen noodles diet for a bit when I was stuck in a dorm without a stove, that got old very fast, I have a much more balanced diet now, thanks to having access to a stove and some experience buying groceries. My salt intake is a bit high still, but not too bad, I only sometimes go over the daily recommended amount. There is way to much salt for my liking in a lot of foods. Mac/cheese, ramen, boxed rice are pretty nasty in regular quantities. I would like to get a rice cooker though at some point, as I like white fluffy rice, especially with some sort of sweet or salty sauce, but the packaged stuff has a gigantic amount of overkill on butter and salt.

If I am working, I bring a low cost microwave meal, something in the $1-$1.50 range (often healthy choice on sale). Also go through 75 cents in snacks. However, my work provides some fairly decent green tea for free, which offsets the extra cost of the convenience meal, I usually go through 8-10 cups."


As an update: My budget is still the same, there hasn't been too much inflation in food prices due to the recent deflation that occurred in 2009, but I did change some of the things I am regularly buying now. One change has been to buy a 8 lb bag of russet potatoes for $2.50 (about 30 cents a serving), cut the potato into slices, put a bit of melted butter on it, and bake it, it tastes great and is pretty healthy. I also buy a 32 oz large tub of strawberry yogurt now for $1.60. I have also been trying oatmeal, which is actually pretty good, which is about $0.25 a serving. I am also buying fresh chicken at .99/lb, I usually eat 12 oz in one serving. I also now buy either 2 lbs of romaine hearts or spinach, whichever one is one sale, for $3, this is about 6-8 servings for me, I put a small amount of mozzarella cheese and a tablespoon of Caesar dressing on each serving. I have not been eating much pasta, the price inflated ridiculously to up to $2/serving and has only recently started coming back down to normal. Instead, I got a $20 rice cooker, and have been making brown rice, and putting either soy or home-made orange sauce on it (about $0.10/serving, rice is really cheap, but I only eat this maybe once or twice a week). I can also make pretty good soup now, though I am still trying to figure out exactly how to make a good healthy thick soup.

While I already had fat/cholesterol/trans fats/salt under control, I have been taking special care lately to avoid high fructose corn syrup and sucrose, which are much worse than corn syrup/sugar. As I mentioned in the quote, I still buy nearly every item on sale, my "total saved" number on my receipt is usually larger than my "total spent".
very good info...thanks for the reply and I'm impressed. Now if I could only get my wife and 7 and 9 yr old to get on board...these $800/ month grocery bills are killin me...hahaha
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:39 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by plex View Post
This is a re-post of my 2nd post on the forum, which directly answers your question, since I was asked this before. This is from almost exactly 2 years ago.


"Yes, I spend 100/month of groceries. As mentioned, I never eat out, except maybe once a month, and put that under Misc. I only eat out for purely social reasons, it is almost physically painful for me to be spending 3-4 times as much on food than I normally would. I live in the Midwest and buy my food at Meijer. 90% of what I buy is on sale, 8% is low cost staple items and 2% are "splurges." usually just one or two items.

I do not drink, smoke, or drink pop. Yes, it is only called pop in my state. I eat some sort of frozen vegetable, pasta, orange juice, milk and tea every day, I may mix it up a bit for the other items. I eat 1/3 of the frozen beans, which costs 35 cents a serving, the pasta costs about 40 cents a serving, including the no-fat/no-cholesterol squeeze "butter" I put on it, the orange juice is about 50 cents a glass, the milk is about 30 cents, the tea ranges from low quality to high, so can range from 20 cents to 50 cents (since I drink multiple servings of it). I also usually eat a bag of pretzels as a snack throughout the day which is 1 dollar. This adds up to...about 2.75 on a normal day. The other .66 a day goes to my splurge item (fresh asparagus/cherry strudel) and household items (toilet paper/paper toweling/one other household item).

Oh yea, my credit card discounts 2% off all my groceries as well. 5% on gas (but it is still 150 even after that ). Obviously, I don't pay a fee for the credit card and the amount is automatically deducted from my bill each month.

One year in undergrad, I was on a ramen noodles diet for a bit when I was stuck in a dorm without a stove, that got old very fast, I have a much more balanced diet now, thanks to having access to a stove and some experience buying groceries. My salt intake is a bit high still, but not too bad, I only sometimes go over the daily recommended amount. There is way to much salt for my liking in a lot of foods. Mac/cheese, ramen, boxed rice are pretty nasty in regular quantities. I would like to get a rice cooker though at some point, as I like white fluffy rice, especially with some sort of sweet or salty sauce, but the packaged stuff has a gigantic amount of overkill on butter and salt.

If I am working, I bring a low cost microwave meal, something in the $1-$1.50 range (often healthy choice on sale). Also go through 75 cents in snacks. However, my work provides some fairly decent green tea for free, which offsets the extra cost of the convenience meal, I usually go through 8-10 cups."


As an update: My budget is still the same, there hasn't been too much inflation in food prices due to the recent deflation that occurred in 2009, but I did change some of the things I am regularly buying now. One change has been to buy a 8 lb bag of russet potatoes for $2.50 (about 30 cents a serving), cut the potato into slices, put a bit of melted butter on it, and bake it, it tastes great and is pretty healthy. I also buy a 32 oz large tub of strawberry yogurt now for $1.60. I have also been trying oatmeal, which is actually pretty good, which is about $0.25 a serving. I am also buying fresh chicken at .99/lb, I usually eat 12 oz in one serving. I also now buy either 2 lbs of romaine hearts or spinach, whichever one is one sale, for $3, this is about 6-8 servings for me, I put a small amount of mozzarella cheese and a tablespoon of Caesar dressing on each serving. I have not been eating much pasta, the price inflated ridiculously to up to $2/serving and has only recently started coming back down to normal. Instead, I got a $20 rice cooker, and have been making brown rice, and putting either soy or home-made orange sauce on it (about $0.10/serving, rice is really cheap, but I only eat this maybe once or twice a week). I can also make pretty good soup now, though I am still trying to figure out exactly how to make a good healthy thick soup.

While I already had fat/cholesterol/trans fats/salt under control, I have been taking special care lately to avoid high fructose corn syrup and sucrose, which are much worse than corn syrup/sugar. As I mentioned in the quote, I still buy nearly every item on sale, my "total saved" number on my receipt is usually larger than my "total spent". What I buy honestly evolves a lot, as the prices of items change, and as I widen the range of foods I can quickly make myself (I never make anything that requires more than 5 minutes of prep, too much work).
I am impressed. Reminds me of the good old days when I was flat broke (shopping with coupons, looking for sales, etc...). Except that you eat way better than I did (I ate a lot of salty/fatty things)... I love how you track the cost per serving. It inspires me to add that information to the recipes in my cookbook.
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Old 04-22-2010, 02:02 PM   #51
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I used to eat unhealthy things quite often, especially when I was a kid, my parents would buy me as much chips/pop/cookies/candy as I wanted. My mother also loves red meat. My parents thought I was an extremely picky eater, I did not like 90% of the things they would give me as food. When I went off on my own though, I discovered I actually really like most types of food, I just hate heavy amounts of salt/fat (I didn't realize this until I was almost done with undergrad). It has been a gradual process moving away from salty/fatty foods. I also still eat salty/fatty foods when I am crunched for time (like right now during finals), I am currently eating a 60% off bag of Peppridge farm white chocolate macadamia nut cookies with citrus green tea.

If I had to feed a family of 4, I would probably be able to get the food budget into the $300-400/month range, at best. Cooking would be major work as well, there is no way you can cook 3-4 lbs of food with 5 minutes of prep time.
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Only if internet and this forum was invented 10 years earlier,
Old 04-22-2010, 04:00 PM   #52
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Only if internet and this forum was invented 10 years earlier,

Well my net worth has not gone up by much since 2000 if I count all those now worthless stock options and ESPP even though I was saving good money and lucky enough not to loose job/pay cut in tech bubble burst. I remember suggesting one of my coworker who's net worth was in almost 8 digits to move to Florida and sell to avoid state income tax, I still remember the look - are you crazy...
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Old 04-22-2010, 05:25 PM   #53
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Plex, more power to ya, but I would not willingly do what you do. Food is about the only real splurge in our lives, so I don't go nuts but if I have a dish in mind or feel like buying strawberries or asparagus I do it. You'd probably fall over dead at the $6/pound heirloom dried beans that are a staple in our house.

DW and I are 36. Market willing, it is looking like we will ESR in about 2 years. Would be full ER but for the costs and lifestyle requirements of kids. We really started saving at about 24.
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Old 04-23-2010, 04:09 PM   #54
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LBYM is hard many times like in India I cook myself instead of hiring cook for $50 a month or use public transport instead of hiring $150 pm driver.
How hard is it for the cook to LBYM?
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Old 04-23-2010, 07:52 PM   #55
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I stuck around to age 41 for the 20-year pension, but only because I'd been turned down several times for earlier force-reduction options. "Force reduction" apparently meant "everyone else but you nukes"
In 2007 a guy I knew was passed over twice for O-4, so he knew he would have to get out as of Oct that year, and that he would be receiving about $70,000 as severance pay (no retirement for him). Then in the Spring of the same year, the Navy put out a message saying that certain officers were eligible for 'voluntary separation pay' if they would resign. Their incentive was money, and this guy was eligible for about $160,000 or so, provided that he would resign in the summer. The idea was that the Navy would get rid of some officers and avoid paying them a 20-year retirement for the rest of their lives. Bottom line for that LT was that he got $90,000 extra for leaving a couple of months earlier.
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Old 04-23-2010, 09:43 PM   #56
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I do not expect to be able to ER at age 38. Currently 30. By the time i'm 38 I should be close to 20X expenses with a paid off home and no other debt. I may consider ESR at that time but not ER.
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:05 PM   #57
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How hard is it for the cook to LBYM?
Excellent question!
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:27 PM   #58
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Mostly it is LBYM and solid savings (50% of net income). LBYM is hard many times like in India I cook myself instead of hiring cook for $50 a month or use public transport instead of hiring $150 pm driver.
Just want to share a "related" experience from the Vietnamese American community:

So there are quite a few of us who escape VN after 1975. Some of us are lucky enough to end up in the USA. We worked hard in order to send money (remittance) home to help our parents who were still stuck there. This is not my own story, btw. Anyway some Vietnamese Live WAY Below Their Mean in order to send home 100, 200, or even 500 dollars a month to help their parents. Doing so has some effect on their young children. "Mom, dad, why can I have that jacket? All my friends have one." "Well, we can't waste money like that. We need to help grandpa and grandma in VN."

When the children get a little older (10 year old or above), it's customary to take them back for a visit in VN so they get to know their grandparents and their root. Once back in VN, the children see that there are usually 2 or more "helpers" in the house. One to clean and cook inside the home, another to take care of the garden and other misc thing outside the home. Sometime even a chauffeur. The children enjoy the time spent with grandpa and grandma because they get to have everything they want. A few days back in the USA, after the exitements were gone and things begin to get back to normal they usually ask their parents: "Mom, dad, tell me again why are you sending money home?" Only this time, most parents don't have a answer.
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Old 04-24-2010, 12:06 AM   #59
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How hard is it for the cook to LBYM?
It is all relative, if total cost to employ a full time cook is less than iphone subscription then which one you prefer? And there are 100's of million poor people, this is the perfect way of helping/transferring wealth. Sometime it's very sad, I see people with their kids in mall/school and see a servant tagged alone, irony is that the helper's age is same as their kid.

Well its LBYM in a way.
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Old 04-24-2010, 02:03 AM   #60
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It is all relative, if total cost to employ a full time cook is less than iphone subscription then which one you prefer? And there are 100's of million poor people, this is the perfect way of helping/transferring wealth. Sometime it's very sad, I see people with their kids in mall/school and see a servant tagged alone, irony is that the helper's age is same as their kid.

Well its LBYM in a way.
I lived in a certain pension in Medellin for six months or so, many years back. The maid who cleaned my room told me that she had never had a day off once she started full time work at about age 13.

She was over 40, or at least looked it. I think this struck me with more force than almost any of the other things that happened during my stay, and there were plenty.

Ha
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