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Old 03-15-2021, 05:15 AM   #61
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Depending on the year, we deferred the short term benefit of spending 15-30% of our income so that we could ER at 57. Now we are well funded and much enjoying the ability to Blow That Dough on travel and remodeling the house.
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Old 03-15-2021, 02:52 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIREflower View Post
I've been lurking since my intro thread because I feel I'm too far out of this group's expectations to mesh well, but this thread and this comment in particular is bringing me out of the shadows, at least temporarily.

I'm a "young dreamer", my husband and I both have pretty serious physical and psychological disabilities that interfere with employment, but while we aren't getting handouts for it last year we did receive an inheritance, so we've also had help. Here are some things we've done:

Lived in an RV, cooked all meals from scratch in the RV (!), worked for landlord in exchange for rent discount.

For a torturous time DH and I worked full time opposite shifts - he'd arrive home around 2:30am while I was asleep, I'd wake up around 7am to leave for work, and by the time I arrived home from work he had already left for his shift. We were contributing 50% to retirement accounts through employers and quietly scrambling to pay bills. The fact that I contributed 50% for a year straight and didn't max out the Simple IRA limit indicates how little income we were receiving and how little we were living off of.

Now we are in a paid off house, and the sacrifice is of a different nature than your question--we're sacrificing comforts so that we DON'T have to sacrifice our health and sense of wellbeing, as others in this thread have done so, to w*ork. Currently squeaking by on about $700/month in relaxed online self employment gigs so that we don't have to touch our investments.

- We are living with our thermostat at 60
- We keep our water heater turned down very low, only raising it in advance of a planned shower
- Unplug/turn off electronics when not in use, even the router at night (yes, the hassle of doing this adds up to a measurable difference on our bill!)
- All food cooked from scratch at home
- Barely drive anywhere (our car is 20 years old, was a wedding gift)
- Rarely use toilet paper
- Don't have or use a dryer, let alone dryer sheets (hah)
- Taking a long hiatus from buying things. This is a zillion little sacrifices. I love gardening and animals and I want both. Currently I've started a ton of seeds (obtained free!) in egg cartons and boxes and yogurt cups, and instead of buying seed starter I sterilized a large container of soil in my oven. Our curtains are sheets and other fabric we obtained for free. Our furniture is borrowed or free.

So to sum up, we went through a period of sacrificing our physical and mental health to save up, broke down and realized we'd rather sacrifice on the other end of things at this phase in our lives, to get by with very little so we have plentiful time and a flexibility in life to focus on our health and reconnect with what we want out of life.
Amazing and inspiring...thank you very much for your post!
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Old 03-15-2021, 04:12 PM   #63
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Ignoring how our peers spent their money is our secret to success. Essentially. Never try to keep up with cars, houses, vacations, restaurants, personal grooming appts, domestic servants or expensive hobbies. Trying to cultivate like-minded friendships. Knowing what truly has value. Living in what amounted to half of one income and investing the rest.

Now we relax while former peers make payments. Time is the real luxury
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Old 03-15-2021, 04:12 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by FIREflower View Post
I've been lurking since my intro thread because I feel I'm too far out of this group's expectations to mesh well, but this thread and this comment in particular is bringing me out of the shadows, at least temporarily.

I'm a "young dreamer", my husband and I both have pretty serious physical and psychological disabilities that interfere with employment, but while we aren't getting handouts for it last year we did receive an inheritance, so we've also had help. Here are some things we've done:

Lived in an RV, cooked all meals from scratch in the RV (!), worked for landlord in exchange for rent discount.

For a torturous time DH and I worked full time opposite shifts - he'd arrive home around 2:30am while I was asleep, I'd wake up around 7am to leave for work, and by the time I arrived home from work he had already left for his shift. We were contributing 50% to retirement accounts through employers and quietly scrambling to pay bills. The fact that I contributed 50% for a year straight and didn't max out the Simple IRA limit indicates how little income we were receiving and how little we were living off of.

Now we are in a paid off house, and the sacrifice is of a different nature than your question--we're sacrificing comforts so that we DON'T have to sacrifice our health and sense of wellbeing, as others in this thread have done so, to w*ork. Currently squeaking by on about $700/month in relaxed online self employment gigs so that we don't have to touch our investments.

- We are living with our thermostat at 60
- We keep our water heater turned down very low, only raising it in advance of a planned shower
- Unplug/turn off electronics when not in use, even the router at night (yes, the hassle of doing this adds up to a measurable difference on our bill!)
- All food cooked from scratch at home
- Barely drive anywhere (our car is 20 years old, was a wedding gift)
- Rarely use toilet paper
- Don't have or use a dryer, let alone dryer sheets (hah)
- Taking a long hiatus from buying things. This is a zillion little sacrifices. I love gardening and animals and I want both. Currently I've started a ton of seeds (obtained free!) in egg cartons and boxes and yogurt cups, and instead of buying seed starter I sterilized a large container of soil in my oven. Our curtains are sheets and other fabric we obtained for free. Our furniture is borrowed or free.

So to sum up, we went through a period of sacrificing our physical and mental health to save up, broke down and realized we'd rather sacrifice on the other end of things at this phase in our lives, to get by with very little so we have plentiful time and a flexibility in life to focus on our health and reconnect with what we want out of life.

That's quite the story thanks for chiming in. I thought I was "hard core" giving up trash service for a few years....


Living in an RV wouldn't be ideal but what a huge upgrade to living in a minivan. Congratulations on living in your paid off home! I'm sure that's a great story and I'd love to hear about living off of $700 a month and what that budget looks like.


I think what you've done is give up a LOT of today's modern day conveniences but what you have in return is your life and your time.
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Old 03-15-2021, 04:29 PM   #65
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FIRE became possible early for me with company stock options. Bonuses didn't hurt either. I saw a lot of very nice cars in the lot as people cashed in options. I finally bought a used Miata. A co-worker told me how they bought jet skis with their bonus. I put my bonus in the investment account. I didn't deprive myself, and made no huge sacrifices, but I didn't go crazy with my newfound wealth either, and didn't get sucked into what many co-workers were doing.
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Old 03-15-2021, 04:51 PM   #66
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When I was younger, I was pretty, sure I had pulled myself up by my bootstraps and expected others to do the same. Now that I am older and hopefully wiser, I recognize I need to work on gratitude and empathy.
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Old 03-15-2021, 05:06 PM   #67
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Apart from the usual of avoiding consumer debt, living below our income etc I believe the largest contributor was taking advantage of opportunities.

Reaching for more opportunity, life long learner, and astute enough to recognize a great career move that came with a relocation away from our home of 20 plus years.

I learned long ago that working hard is not enough. You also have to work smart and not be afraid to venture into into new territory, new opportunites.

I have a few in laws who never wanted to move out of their home town. Few well paid jobs, not much opportunity. They never wanted to leave mommy, and then the kids, and then friends. As a result they are left, among other reasons, with a retirement that is far from financially secure. They did it to themselves yet they seem to think that we were just 'lucky' If they only knew.
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Old 03-15-2021, 09:36 PM   #68
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When I was younger, I was pretty, sure I had pulled myself up by my bootstraps and expected others to do the same. Now that I am older and hopefully wiser, I recognize I need to work on gratitude and empathy.
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Old 03-16-2021, 09:03 AM   #69
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I lived a "Charmed" life, and I am grateful!
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Old 03-16-2021, 11:36 AM   #70
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That's quite the story thanks for chiming in. I thought I was "hard core" giving up trash service for a few years....
We tried to give up trash services. Our city won't let us.

Thank you for the kind words. I'll see if I can bring myself to delurk a bit more in the future to share more details about the budget.
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Old 03-16-2021, 12:31 PM   #71
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Really don't feel I made any sacrifices. Changes feels strange to describe it as too, I did spend about $2500 out of the $15000 I made in my first half year of work out of college in 1994 on a bunch of Magic cards and a cool 24 bit graphics card, that in retrospect I wish I'd invested instead. :P I started reading the Motley Fool FIRE board that year, so everything that has happened with my finances just feels like growth rather than change or sacrifice.
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Old 03-16-2021, 03:58 PM   #72
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A few things:
> worked for the government. Could have made 15% more in private industry but wanted a pension
> divided all raises in 3rd. [1] retirement savings [2] debt inc mortgage [3] lifestyle creep. Most coworkers gave it to lifestyle creep
> divorced a cocaine-addicted husband when I could no longer afford to support him
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Old 03-16-2021, 04:13 PM   #73
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As so many others have said - the changes/sacrifices were deliberate and didn't seriously impact the quality of life.

1) Maxed the 401k... Most coworkers/peers just saved to the match.
2) Made excess principal payments on mortgage.... Many coworkers were refi'ing and pulling cash out of their house/piggybank
3) Didn't turn my nose up at hand-me-down toys/clothes from friends with kids a few years older.... Kids go through clothes so fast they don't get worn out, they get outgrown... Often I'd pass the hand-me-downs to another family after BOTH my boys had gotten use out of them. (Sorted by stain level, lol.)

Not trying to keep up with the Jones was a big thing. It's easy to feel a pang of envy when the neighbor gets a new boat... or redoes their backyard pool into a super resort spa... or pulls a new mercedes into the driveway.... But I've seen more than one of those neighbors have to short sell or get forclosed on during the housing crunch in 2008-2009.

We managed to take our kids to Europe every few years and pay off our house and save enough to retire before the kids were even out of high school. So any "sacrifice" of stuff/material goods was totally worth it.
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Old 03-16-2021, 06:46 PM   #74
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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.
I’d disagree in the point a newer model (not new though) would have better safety features. No point of planning for retirement if your mangled or dead in a car wreck! I don’t care about gas mileage over safety. I do live in a big City with heavy traffic.
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Old 03-16-2021, 09:10 PM   #75
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We were fortunate to have steady jobs with great benefits that allowed us to save and invest. We lived in a small 2-BR with 1-BA for 4 people, but it wasn't a sacrifice because it let us live in our preferred neighborhood, travel extensively, save for 2 college tuitions, and ER. Ironically, now that I'm retired, we're finally buying a larger home with 2 bathrooms just as one child is leaving for college. We should have bought it earlier but I was afraid an expensive home would derail ER.
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Old 03-17-2021, 12:41 AM   #76
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Sacrifices for me...

Fewer vacations. I've cashed out 750 hours of excess unused vacation time as I left my final two jobs.

Less fancy cars. I like cars. I've had a Dodge Stealth and and RX8. I would have rather had a Porsche Cayman or similary, or a Corvette, or better. I drove Xterra SUVs most of my adult life.

Apartment living. I lived in 800 Sf apartments most of my adult life.

Living way below my means. Fewer fancy dinners, fewer fancy toys, fewer luxury vacations.

Fast forward to 2021. Now FIRE. Bought a house 3X the size of the condos, with a pool, in a gated community. Added a scuba compressor. Working on upgrades. Planning to resume travel in late 2021 or early 2022. Spending level exceeds my peak earning year (2020). Without the prior sacrifices, I'd be working past 55, up until 65 or so....
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Old 03-17-2021, 08:25 AM   #77
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I'll see if I can bring myself to delurk a bit more in the future to share more details about the budget.
I can understand your hesitancy even on this forum where people are very nice for the most part. However, maybe they are nice because they are bound by similar thinking, and, of course, the majority pulled high income which can be intimidating to people who never crossed the six-figure line in their household.

I also liked your post and I hope you can delurk a little bit and tell more about yourself and your budget. A $700/mo.budget for 2 people is honestly unbelievable and your signature says that you live in the Seattle area?! WOW!! When I read your post I thought that maybe you reside somewhere in the mid-west. This is below our food budget though for a family of four. There is another member who also lives in the expensive area on the West coast (SF area maybe?) and enjoys his life on a small budget. I like his posts too whenever he writes them.
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Old 03-17-2021, 08:36 AM   #78
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Really don't feel I made any sacrifices. Changes feels strange to describe it as too, I did spend about $2500 out of the $15000 I made in my first half year of work out of college in 1994 on a bunch of Magic cards and a cool 24 bit graphics card, that in retrospect I wish I'd invested instead. :P I started reading the Motley Fool FIRE board that year, so everything that has happened with my finances just feels like growth rather than change or sacrifice.
I think you were ahead of time in the '90s. Beeple’s The First 5,000 Days NFT sold last week at Christie’s for $69.3 million: https://awealthofcommonsense.com/202...-21st-century/

I heard about NFTs for the first last month, but I still cannot comprehend what that stuff is. Of course, I cannot claim that I understand bitcoins and all their flavors either so I'll sacrifice and not jump to buy them unless Vanguard sneaks them into index funds
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Old 03-17-2021, 08:49 AM   #79
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Just the higher class ones.

Alright - after struggling along in ER from 50 to 70 married DW with pension and 401k.

Tongue in cheek.

Heh heh heh - I still love 'The Four Yorkshiremen' posted on this forum from time to time.. Then again I bragg about being a 'cheap SOB' in days leading up to ER.
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Old 03-17-2021, 09:38 AM   #80
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The only thing I had to give up was work. The only thing I kinda/maybe/sorta sometimes miss is the international travel. I got so many miles and points that it allowed me to bring my wife along from time to time and stay an extra day or two with little cost. That said, we’ve been so many places (overseas) that there are few left that we have a desire to see, and since Covid we’ve got even less desire to go see them. As far as purchasing habits, home size, cars, etc, there has been no change. My daughter asked my wife the other day about a purchase she made on Amazon...and if she could just buy what she wanted whenever she wanted it. My wife told her that yes, she could get what she wanted whenever, but that she always told me about it so I wouldn’t be wondering about a charge on the card (since I take care of the finances), and if it was a particularly large purchase that she’d discuss it with me first, but I’d never said “no”. (I will say that we both discuss these larger items together, and sometimes after a little consideration we both conclude the yes or no together). My daughter was surprised at that, since she and her husband are not yet at the point in their lives, financially, that they can do that. My wife told her that we were that way too, for most of our married life, because we knew we had a choice to make between spending for immediate gratification or saving for long term gratification (retirement). In any case, we’ve been retired for 8+ years, I’m still 59, and we pretty much live the way we want without really having to give anything up.
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