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Old 07-21-2008, 01:40 AM   #21
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Well the decision is yours to make. How early do you retire, how to save for that, how much play money you want, etc. There are little changes you could make, that would add up to a lot, like buying coffee-maker ready starbucks beans and brew your own, have a bbq and drinking at home with your buddies instead of going out, etc. I'll admit it, we sometimes grind our own flour from wheat flour and bake our own bread. It doesn't produce a ton of savings, but a lot of satisfaction. In the end though, as I said, its up to you to decide when, why, and how to retire. As USK Coastie said, just figure out how much you need to live on and multiply that by 25 (or 33-35 if your target is reaaaallly young), adjust for inflation, figure out the savings plan, and spend what you want beyond that.

I will say just one thing about travel: If you travel so much while you are young, it may bore you by the time you are ready to FIRE. I have travelled extensively for work in the past 12 or so years, and really am tired of seeing the insides of 747s and hotels. I'd rather travel the US now by RV, travel trailer or car, to see more of the natural wonders of nature rather than human created glitz and extravagance.


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Old 07-21-2008, 03:28 AM   #22
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Our cake would certainly be bigger if we did not eat a piece here and there. But the way to ER should be fun, too.
When I add up all our expenses at the end of each month I try to identify the extras that did provide a return on investment in terms of fun and those that did not. Then I try to
- abandon the latter
- find ways to get the same fun result at less cost for the first category.
in the next months.

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Old 07-26-2008, 10:35 PM   #23
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Tempesta, like many others on this board I pay myself first and save religiously for tomorrow....the results have been encouraging.
That said, during my single days I had a blast living in a big city without going broke. Had to make a few sacrifices like: co-owning the place with my brother, grinding and brewing my own coffee, cooking in more than dining out, having pre happy hour drinks with my friends at home etc etc.

Saving money and cutting back on toy expenditure is a very personal process, but if you really want to retire early then if won't be so hard for you.
Good luck.
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Old 07-27-2008, 12:06 AM   #24
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As long as you are comfortable with your decisions, who really cares? There is peer pressure everywhere, even this board (although much more good natured here than elsewhere).

I posted a thread about "confessions of an under-accumulator" recently. Partly it was for the beat down and help tightening the budget, but also to say, "Hey, not everybody is sifting broken glass from used peanut butter" (thanks for that story, T-Al).

I'm 33, DW and I will make at least 170k this year, we do whatever we want, buy lots of toys, and "only" save 22-25% of gross. Our target retirement is me 55 her 53. We could way reduce our spending and perhaps retire in our late 40's, but it's a conscious decision to take some enjoyment now.
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Old 07-27-2008, 06:07 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Tempesta View Post
...I want my cake and eat it too. You know what I mean?
The best strategy is to ask the government to borrow massively on your behalf and then give you the money, sticking future generations with the burden of paying the money back. This is a relatively guilt- and worry-free method of achieving an artificially elevated standard of living. Fortunately, this is happening today, so just sit back and enjoy!
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:50 PM   #26
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You have received a lot of good advice. Basically, it's up to you. I suggest you read "The Wealthy Barber" by David Chilton for more on the Pay Yourself First strategy.
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Old 07-28-2008, 02:07 AM   #27
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We also implemented the strategy to save at least half of every salary increase, bonus and extra income.
It does not hurt in everyday life, allows us to have some extras and have benefits from each increase directly but increases savings significantly over time.
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:50 AM   #28
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I feel that we could have retired by now, so I'm only saving 10-15% gross and spending the rest on travel / toys / home improvement. I'm trying to get all big spending done before full retirement in 3 years.
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:33 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Bree View Post

You're a little further along the path that I am, but here's what worked for me to help curb expenses and work more towards FI:

Keep yourself poor by 'hiding' your money in investments, or mortgage payments or a separate bank account.

Exactly what I do =)

Makes me feel horrible at times but I know the money is there when I retire!
A car is only as fast as the driver
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Old 08-07-2008, 07:18 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Tempesta View Post
. Often I was a victim of impulse buy/spending, like the gadgets or weekend night-outs. Just last weekend, I had no plan to go out, but the next thing I knew, I was at the bar spending frivolously. This is the area I really want to improve on.
ahaa... I think you've hit on it. not what you spend your money on, but why? and why do you spend how?
I think once you figure this out, combined with a close look at your goal, a reasonable plan to get there will emerge.
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Old 08-08-2008, 09:05 AM   #31
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Ther's nothing inherently wrong with buying gadgets, or blowing some bucks in a bar. The problem arises when outgo exceeds income, and/or no provision is made for "paying yourself first".
Have Funds, Will Retire

...not doing anything of true substance...
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Old 08-08-2008, 03:56 PM   #32
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Tempesta - Good question. I know what you're wrestling with, and obviously everyone is different. That said, I think that a lot of folks, as we age, come to a point where we realize that "spending money to get more stuff" has, at best, a diminshing return in terms of generating happiness. The problem is, by the time you realize that, it's too late to instantly achieve financial independence and gain the freedom of calling your time your own. So, you need to start working toward that goal early, or else, I'm affraid, your clock will run out first.

There's a great book called "Stumbling on Happiness" (by Daniel Gilbert) that you might want to check out (of the library). It really helps you focus on what's important in life. Even though it's not really about ER, it helps you think through what "happiness" is all about and will maybe change your thinking on both how you're leading your life now and what you want in the future. Good luck.

Stay Cheap!
-Jeff Yeager
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Old 08-09-2008, 03:51 PM   #33
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Everything you spend now means you will retire a little later or a little poorer. It's up to you to figure out the balance you are comfortable with between the person you are today and the person you will be in the future.

I budget and plan so that I know what I can comfortably spend without degrading the present/future balance. Until you do that, you won't really know when or even if you can retire at some level of comfort.

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