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Old 03-11-2021, 09:37 PM   #21
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It was not intentional, but I stepped away from aviation and those associated costs. Avgas has gone crazy and the plane has two thirsty engines, so the savings has been substantial.
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Old 03-11-2021, 09:55 PM   #22
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My DW was raised extremely poor. No phone, no car, 5 kids in a 10x10 apartment bedroom. So her being extremely frugal helped. Having a great job in hospital laboratory mgmt. helped greatly.
We both took our lunches, and seldom ate out.
Having company cars 20 years saved, and it allowed us to drive used cars longer.
36 years with MegaCorp helped us as we had time on our side. We first had defined pension and later they added 401K to the mix. And we funded tIRA's to the max.
Played the equities aggressively while keeping diversified.
Chose to live in ultra LCOL places and had down payments to keep house payments cheaper than rent. Lived in places where property taxes were minimal.
Our downfall was European travel and taking cruises. We've long lost count of our major trips, but we've been almost to every place we care to see. And we're not through traveling when the world reopens.
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Old 03-11-2021, 10:12 PM   #23
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DH sacrificed some of his hearing in the Marines (artillery), later receiving a disability rating and lifetime VA healthcare. Budgeting less for medical insurance enabled us to retire earlier... silver lining?

We drove our 1998 Corolla for our entire careers and it's still going as our 2nd car; we plan to sell it when we relocate.

Otherwise, things like bringing lunches to work, hanging laundry on drying racks, and wearing used clothes is just part of my Yankee DNA, not a sacrifice at all.
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Old 03-11-2021, 10:12 PM   #24
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We sacrificed by buying used cars and running them forever. Also family vacations were camping in a used tent trailer that we dragged behind a big old Suburban. Those were good times!

There was one other way we saved a ton of money. I travelled extensively for work and family came along sometimes since work was paying for a hotel anyway. We still laugh about pulling up to the valet at a very swanky upscale hotel in West Hollywood with three little tired kids tumbling out of our dirty old white suburban. Wife had found a great deal and booked the hotel not knowing that West Hollywood wasn’t a family focused area.
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Old 03-11-2021, 10:14 PM   #25
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We left the home we grew up in for unknown opportunities in KC. Could have stayed, it was comfortable there. We were poor but so was everyone we knew. So I guess leaving was a sacrifice.

Our first years there were hard and we were still poor. I was working full-time and going to school at night that was exhausting and a sacrifice.

My first programming job led me into a world where you were expected to put in extra time. That was a sacrifice. When projects went south the corporate culture was "what are you doing between midnight and six?", those were sacrifices. Eventually we weren't poor anymore and even had extra.
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Old 03-12-2021, 02:56 AM   #26
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1) Bought 1st house on 15-year fixed loan and put 25% down, even though bank said we could afford much more house if we went to 30 year loan. Then, we paid off the 15 year loan in 12 years.

2) Learned to do nearly all home repairs myself...rarely hired a contractor except when highly specialized tools or knowledge were needed

3) Other than our house, only bought items that we could easily pay cash for. This included our wedding...we had a basic wedding and invited 80 people...all paid with cash

4) Used bonus (variable compensation) money from work to buy "needs" rather than "wants". For example, the guys at work made fun of me for buying a set of Tupperware with one of my first bonus checks.

5) Worked as much OT as I could when I was hourly....which caused me to miss out on some events with friends

6) Drove junker cars for the early years. One car had a rusted out floorboard and I had to tell a girl I picked up for a date not to put too much weight in the center of the floorboard because there was a hole there the size of an apple. She called that car my Fred Flintstone car...and she is now my wife

7) I took an executive MBA program (28 months) while working FT. We planned our wedding between semesters, and went on a honeymoon to Europe. I had assignments over the break, so I spent all travel time (such as in the plane) studying and preparing assignments.

8) I did all my college education at night while working FT. It took me 11 years to get my Engineering and MBA degrees, but my company paid for it all so I had zero student loans. I also had very little social life for a few of those years.

I don't regret a single one of those decisions. I was about as focused as could be for that early period...and as a result I can now do nearly anything I want, any time I want.
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Old 03-12-2021, 07:57 AM   #27
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I was also going to write that I don't feel like I have ever "sacrificed" anything. I just lived my life. My habits have never changed.

Perhaps you guys get it better than I do especially if you can retire at 55 with $3 million in retirement living off of $20k per year and not seeing that you've sacrificed you are doing something right.


I've always said that we live in the richest country in the world and the poor in our country have it a lot better than the upper class most anywhere else.
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Old 03-12-2021, 08:03 AM   #28
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DH sacrificed some of his hearing in the Marines (artillery), later receiving a disability rating and lifetime VA healthcare. Budgeting less for medical insurance enabled us to retire earlier... silver lining?

We drove our 1998 Corolla for our entire careers and it's still going as our 2nd car; we plan to sell it when we relocate.

Otherwise, things like bringing lunches to work, hanging laundry on drying racks, and wearing used clothes is just part of my Yankee DNA, not a sacrifice at all.

Great job on driving a 22 y/o car it will get you where you need to go just as well as a new $40k car. Too many people focus on gas mileage, safety and reliability and forget that a car is to get you from point a to point b.


Congrats on retiring this year!
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Old 03-12-2021, 09:17 AM   #29
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Perhaps you guys get it better than I do especially if you can retire at 55 with $3 million in retirement living off of $20k per year and not seeing that you've sacrificed you are doing something right.


I've always said that we live in the richest country in the world and the poor in our country have it a lot better than the upper class most anywhere else.
And I actually didn't retire. When a new job came my way, I took it and working at home for almost a year now has been perhaps the most enjoyable year of my career.

Sacrifice means foregoing something that you want or need. I have never done that.
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Old 03-12-2021, 09:18 AM   #30
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Perhaps you guys get it better than I do especially if you can retire at 55 with $3 million in retirement living off of $20k per year and not seeing that you've sacrificed you are doing something right.
"Sacrifice" is in the eye of the beholder. To me, sacrifice means giving up something you want in exchange for something else.

"A people": These folks really want that $50,000 new car (for example) but choose to sacrifice their wants and buy the $10,000 used car because it makes more financial sense to them. The A people would be sacrificing their current wants for a future goal, perhaps financial independence.

"B people": These folks have no desire for that $50,000 new car, and are more than happy buying the $10,000 used car that gets them where they want to go. The B people are just living the life they want and perceive no sacrifice at all because they did not want the $50,000 car.

Some A people would look at B people and perceive that the B people made a sacrifice, even when the B people don't feel like they sacrificed anything at all. These A people are judging the B people on an A-person's value system, rather than the B-person's value system.
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Old 03-12-2021, 09:20 AM   #31
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And I actually didn't retire. When a new job came my way, I took it and working at home for almost a year now has been perhaps the most enjoyable year of my career.

Sacrifice means foregoing something that you want or need. I have never done that.

Goes right along with my signature line.
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Old 03-12-2021, 09:25 AM   #32
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It’s interesting that most of the sacrifices mentioned seem to be focused on the financial side.

Ours were much more on the time and health side. I spent many extra years in school getting an advanced degree and then worked crazy crazy hours at an intense, but lucrative, job to make enough to make up for all those years not earning much. Between travel, exhaustion and all the time sitting, my health definitely suffered.

We probably could have downsized our lifestyle and gone a few years earlier, but it took time to extricate myself out of my job in a way that didn’t burn relationships.
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Old 03-12-2021, 09:49 AM   #33
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My spouse and I had some rough times the first years of our marriage. I grew up earning my own spending money and limiting my expenses to what I had. Wife grew up with no such controls. So we had many arguments as our finances went south. We finally got on the same page about a budget we could afford. Once we were both on the same page we :
(1) Always bought used cars and ran them into the ground. 1st new car wasn't until we were FI and in our 50's.
(2) Bought a much less expensive starter home than we could afford. Second home also was much less expensive than we could afford. We still live in that home.
(3) Paid off all student, car and home loans much sooner than required. Once we got fully out of debt, never returned.
(4) Generally lived well within our means and saved money when we could. In early years this meant questioning and avoiding many of our "normal" purchases that weren't really necessary (junk at grocery store, etc...). Also watching and controlling our reoccurring expenses. For example we would "bid out" our insurance every 3 yrs to keep costs down. Saving was much easier in later years with salary increased without raising our standard of living much.

We both found these steps well worth it. Not so much that they allowed us to retire early. That was in the back of our minds but not a real goal. Instead, we found that living within our means meant we never had to worry about money. Even the idea of losing my job (one income family) due to layoffs wasn't an issue. Having that extra money to hold you over until you got a new job took away a lot of stress which made life much easier and happier for us.
Generally great advice here. I never thought about shopping around for better insurance premiums every couple years - that's a great idea. I think the main thing is to be consistent and vigilant in controlling spending and eliminating debt.
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Old 03-12-2021, 09:56 AM   #34
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We never sacrificed, as our life style was not as flashy as others. During the Financial Crisis, as I mentioned in other threads, we decided to build an detached garage. It required a public hearing, as the township was confused and thought we needed a variance. A large sign was put in the yard announcing the date of the hearing. Several neighbors thought it was a foreclosure hearing, as they thought we lived paycheck to paycheck, as we always drove used vehicles until they died. They're still w*rking, and in October, we will have been FIRE'd for 7 years.
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What changes/sacrifices have you made so that you can have ER/FIRE?
Old 03-12-2021, 10:23 AM   #35
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What changes/sacrifices have you made so that you can have ER/FIRE?

Always lived frugally and saved a lot. I always had “at will” employers and knew they held the cards on my jobs. I won by saving.

Ultimately, sacrificed more money for more free time.
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Old 03-12-2021, 10:41 AM   #36
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I do not see it as sacrifice. That would imply that I gave up something I wanted or cherished. In truth I never felt that way. For most of my life I did not plan for ER/FIRE, I just planned to be a good steward with our money.

I look at it more as "What did I to go against the flow" .

When DW and I married, knowing that I wanted to give her a choice about working, we resolved to only lived on my salary and just bank hers. The three times we bought a house this greatly aggravated the realtors. "You could get so much more house!" My concept of "I do not want to be dependent on two salaries to afford our dwelling" as not popular.

As our household income grew, we did not grow our lifestyle to nearly the same degree. Neither of us are into "status symbols" beyond "be washed and groomed, be articulate, dress clean and neat, keep a reasonably clean house and property". Pursuing those standards do not require sacrifice .

Did I sacrifice giving up a job that with bonuses could paying me well over $200K per year, along with the associated career "status" ? Some of my former co-workers see it that way. But I never felt it was a sacrifice, as my ER life is worth much, much more than that .
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Old 03-12-2021, 11:33 AM   #37
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Home food prep. Restaurants are a money suck.
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Old 03-12-2021, 11:37 AM   #38
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Smaller home for me...about half the size of the large (~6,000 sqft) WWI-era home where I spent most of my childhood.

Of course, a home that old had limitations I'm glad I don't have in my current place...e.g. no closets, large sweeping central staircase that meant the bedrooms upstairs were smaller than the ones in my current townhouse, antiquated plumbing/electrical, no central A/C...actually no A/C at all when we first moved into it.

But, boy, this place was cheap to buy and is also inexpensive to maintain...pay a modest monthly fee so I don't have to do anything outside.
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Old 03-12-2021, 12:26 PM   #39
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1. My wife and I lived in cramped apartments very much smaller than we otherwise could have. Minimizing the costs of our infrastructure was a key strategy for ER.
2. We did not own a car for many years that we lived in a big city. We sometimes took a bus to get to the seaside on holiday. This often created an awkward moment at the hotel check in, when we were asked for our car license plate number. "I'm sorry, then how did you get here?"
3. I brought my lunch to work for 26 years (raw carrots, hummus, almonds, apple, orange). I became famous for it at my various jobs. I grew to prefer it over time and today have no diet related health problems!
4. Sold my 'cello and my wife sold her sitar to help make the down payment for our first home. Without them we never returned to our music.
5. Bought art -- a passion of mine -- but far less than I would have liked. In fact, I often joked that absent our FIRE plan we would have lived on the streets with our bags of paintings, drawings, etc. in tow. :-)

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Old 03-12-2021, 01:09 PM   #40
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I don't think of as sacrifices, as much as a mindset. Committed to LBYM. Any time DW or I got a raise, we went out for a "spend as much as you want" dinner, then immediately diverted the raise from the paycheck into savings somewhere. No need to ratchet up the lifestyle every time we got a raise. When I retired, we were diverting 35% of our income into some sort of savings/investment.



Other thing for me was "never pay someone to do something you can do yourself". I have cut my own hair since 1994. I would slop driveway sealer on the driveway on a hot day knowing full well I could pay someone to do it, but in my mind I just kept telling myself "One, day, this will be worth it."

That ship arrived Jan 4th 2017 for me. 3 weeks before my 55th birthday.


It was worth it.
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