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Old 03-17-2021, 10:13 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by Rambler View Post
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.
Ah, I had that, too. Rarely brought DH with me but the points I racked up certainly provided for some great vacation travel together.

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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 wouldnt be wondering about a charge on the card (since I take care of the finances), and if it was a particularly large purchase that shed discuss it with me first, but Id never said no.
That worked for us, too. Even without discussing it, DH and I settled on a threshold of about $200-$300 for purchases we ran by the other first. I don't think we ever had a disagreement- we just wanted to give the other the courtesy of knowing we were about to commit a small chunk of our assets to something, even though there was plenty to go around and we had separate accounts.
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Old 03-17-2021, 11:47 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by AbbA View Post
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.
Intimidating is right! I forgot to update my location--when we were in the Seattle area was when we were living in an RV. That changed when we got this house 2 months ago, which is in a largish city in eastern WA. So everything is still settling out.

Our food budget when living in the Seattle area was a strict $200/month. We literally kept two lists on the fridge of "cheap" and "cheapest" ingredients and made as much as we could from that. Dry rice and dry beans purchased in bulk are super cheap, chicken quarters, bulk oatmeal, bulk eggs, bananas and bulk potatoes from Costco, tomato paste from the bulk food store and frozen into smaller portions, which was even cheaper than the 38 cents/6oz can I could get from the discount/overstock grocery store. Bulk gluten free flour so I could make rolls instead of buying expensive gluten free bread (our RV oven was too small to bake a proper loaf, it hit the top of the oven!)

Most of the grocery budget was spent on the high price items like ground beef, fresh veggies, fake cheese (I'm severely allergic to dairy) and spices. Appetite fatigue has been a significant battle for us and has led to underweight issues, so putting in the effort to be creative in the kitchen and buy a high priced ingredient or two to transform the flavor of the dish has been crucial. I'm also pregnant, so maintaining a well rounded diet has been more important than ever.

Since we moved two months ago, we are currently receiving SNAP (food stamps) and WIC. That was never the plan, but my husband broke a rib during the move, we had 4K in unexpected medical expenses, additional moving expenses because I couldn't do it all on my own, and by the time he no longer needed my help for basic functions around the house I was too pregnant to get hired at all. So that simultaneously wiped out our cushion AND our backup plan of one of us getting a j*b if necessary. I have to admit our current budget does not include the cost of groceries. However, I've obtained a lot of free seeds (yay seed libraries and swaps!) and will be growing much of our own produce on a $0 gardening budget this summer, with plans to sell it as well and get off assistance ASAP.

This won't be a complete rundown, but our averaged out major recurring bills are:

Property taxes: $140/month
Self employment taxes: $150/month (varies as income varies)
Insurance: $111/month
Vehicle tabs: $16/month
Phones: $30/month, soon to be $25/month
Water/electric/trash/gas/sewer: approximately $170/month for winter, will be less in warmer months but $105 of that is mandatory fees, not related to amount used at all.

Yes, that leaves us approximately $85/month for everything else--clothing, gas, vehicle maintenance, medical, household items, etc.

I am not counting dividends because I'm not sure how much they will be after withdrawing a large amount to get the house. In the past we've always re-invested but given the current situation we'll probably take it for a few rounds. I'm also not counting cash back credit cards; we don't keep any revolving debt but do funnel any purchases and bill pays through the cards, and the cash back does help.

Our stimulus checks will be spent removing a large tree that is damaging the house foundation, mitigating our home for dangerously high levels of radon gas (over 8 times the levels considered hazardous), and if there's anything leftover, it'll go towards our property taxes category in the budget, as for my peace of mind I want that fully funded ASAP.

We aren't as bad off as it sounds. We could withdraw from our investments as a last resort. We still need to sell the RV we were living in previously, just haven't managed to get it ready yet. There's even a car accident settlement from many years ago that will supposedly someday still make its way to us. We simply feel LBYM is essential to preserving our financial future, so we continue to do so by any means necessary. Which is why I found it fitting to post in this thread, since while some is circumstances beyond our control, many of these things are conscious sacrifices for us with our financial future in mind.

Okay, I'm running away again now!
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Old 03-17-2021, 05:57 PM   #83
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I suppose DW and myself didn't really sacrifice on travel - we love traveling to Europe, and all over the States.

We also did not sacrifice on the house - we got a 5 BR 3,400+ sq.ft. house and we have no kids. We could have gotten a smaller 2,200 - 2,400 sq.ft house. But it's ok.

We also didn't sacrifice on cars. I bought a $60K+ brand new sports car.

Right now, my only sacrifice is not buying an Audi R8, a Lambo, or a Ferrari, or I won't be able to retire in 2 years
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Old 03-17-2021, 06:44 PM   #84
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Wow! Forty years ago, single, I had a grocery budget of $50 a month and I thought that was skimpy (which it was; as you mentioned, I was underweight from just not liking cheap food very much). You are a LBYM maven.

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I
Our food budget when living in the Seattle area was a strict $200/month. We literally kept two lists on the fridge of "cheap" and "cheapest" ingredients and made as much as we could from that.
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Old 03-17-2021, 07:22 PM   #85
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I know a number of people who made significant changes that enabled the to retire early/retire financially secure.

Among them leaving a dead end low paying job and going back to technical coll3ge or university. Leaving a comfortable place where they are living to move somewhere where they have a future. Or taking a chance, leaving a job that they do not like and will have limited success and accepting a new job in a new company.

These can be as or more difficult for some than living on a budget and saving money.
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Old 03-17-2021, 09:59 PM   #86
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I think we're just pretty typical of many folks here.
We simply practiced LBYM. What we did didn't necessarily feel like a sacrifice but I know to others many things we did would've felt like a huge sacrifice.

We got started on our journey in around age 29 when we read Your Money or Your Life. Then I got hooked on all of The Tightwad Gazette books. We started our frugal journey at the time, not to retire early, but to give ourselves the option to change careers, have more autonomy.

Our home is almost assuredly the smallest house on the block (but in a great neighborhood so an excellent investment). It was a major fixer upper when we bought it. We drive our cars (Honda, Toyota) for at least 10 years (our son just turned in the old CRV which was 21 years old...). Shopped garage sales for years and years for most things. I remember when I made my grocery budget $200 a month for a family of 4 when the boys were younger but I would often hit $175. Paid off our home early with additionally payments. Paid off our our farm (weekend home) early with additional payments. Never spent bonuses, just plowed them back into the mortgage or investments. I don't know; we just have never spent a lot of money relative to what we made, though we've relaxed that over the years. Fast forward to today and my growing edge is to learn to be okay with spending more freely. I don't consider myself "cheap" but I'm just never going to be a spendthrift.

I think a big part of LBYM is mindset. I've watched friends and neighbors spend so much money on stuff I'd never spend money on simply b/c I don't value it the same way they do. And I find it interesting that they're floored that we're retired at age 58. That doesn't feel particularly early to me.
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Old 03-18-2021, 07:22 AM   #87
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Let's see. I think a few things lead to me being able to reach this goal a lot easier...

1. We reduced our spending to needs and saved the wants for well planned, budgeted and vacations/spending where we never pay retail...bargain shop always.
2. Neither of us had college debt which was a blessing and clearly will help. We did not take that for granted and used all the wedding money we had received to put into our investments. Most of our friends used some of that to pay off tuition. We could see at this point we were "ahead".
3. I took a big opportunity for DoD that required massive sacrifice not many could ever do. After honey-mooning near a DoD facility I landed a job there requiring us to relocate and subsequently downsize...a LOT. This was a big resume builder, that eventually lead to us returning back home with now DW being offered a resume building opportunity. So within 2 years we had sold, then re-bought a home with upgraded careers. Very lucky, fortunate and grateful which leads us to ...
4. We began maxing my 401k...and now hers.
5. We avoid interest. We agreed that refinancing to a 15yr better suits our plan.
6. We mutually agree on when, what and how we buy big purchase items trying as hard as possible to avoid and delay
7. Once we started our accumulation around age 26, we never withdrew any money, or sold anything unless it was a rebalance. I think this has helped us greatly as I saw many of my peers tap into retirement for help in varius areas of financial distress.
8. We never tapped our equity. I've seen friends take out HELOCs and then spend the cash
9. We planned our family. We had kids when we were ready and willing. We also agreed we would not go crazy with our wedding expenses. It still cost close to $10,000 but I was amazed to see some it was common for some friends to spend $30k. One even spent almost 100k on a wedding thinking they could "sell" their wedding pics. Sounded like a timeshare deal if you ask me...good luck with that sale.
10. We just live with what we need, and a few wants. We don't keep up with the Jones's and try to find happiness and joy in activities and adventures as opposed to things and stuff. We do not let what we own, own us!
11. We are generally frugal, but we have a budget and are well planned out so we know what we can and cannot afford. I think this is great myself, I sleep so well knowing we have these financial plans. Getting good sleep and being healthy is key.
12. We live healthy lives. Health is Wealth!
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Old 03-18-2021, 08:18 AM   #88
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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.

That's great!! It sounds like focusing on the basics, not keeping up with the Jones and LBYM you got "lucky" and were able to retire early.
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Old 03-18-2021, 08:22 AM   #89
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Id 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 dont care about gas mileage over safety. I do live in a big City with heavy traffic.

Why stop at newer and not brand new? If newer is better surely new is better yet and safer right?
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Old 03-18-2021, 08:27 AM   #90
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Why stop at newer and not brand new? If newer is better surely new is better yet and safer right?

Not necessarily. You need to do research into the generational changes. In most cases, major redesigns happen every 5-7 years or so. With these usually come some incremental safety features.



Brand new is always more expensive than buying a used car.
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Old 03-18-2021, 08:30 AM   #91
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So I never made a conscious choice to retire "early". Depends on what you mean by sacrifice.

I had a little bit of luck (graduated school with a stem degree at a time when the field was hot especially for women) always made a decent salary.

Also blessed, lucky that I was born into a family that emphasized strong work habits. Also grew up in an era where no one had credit cards.

Also went to college before the tuitions were out of control. so many of the kids don't have that choice.

I do have a big house because I always loved to bake so I needed a big kitchen.

Basically I did what everyone else I guess did. saved as much as I could for as long as I could.
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Old 03-18-2021, 08:52 AM   #92
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Not necessarily. You need to do research into the generational changes. In most cases, major redesigns happen every 5-7 years or so. With these usually come some incremental safety features.



Brand new is always more expensive than buying a used car.

My response was somewhat tongue-in-cheek but in all reality even those small year to year incremental changes can save someones life.


Brand new can be more expensive and it's generally safer, spending more can buy you more safety features. If newer is good new is better the question is where do you stop you only have one life.
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Old 03-18-2021, 10:58 AM   #93
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We also agreed we would not go crazy with our wedding expenses. It still cost close to $10,000 but I was amazed to see some it was common for some friends to spend $30k. One even spent almost 100k on a wedding thinking they could "sell" their wedding pics. Sounded like a timeshare deal if you ask me...good luck with that sale.
I've just started watching a series on Netflix called "Mortgage or Marriage" in which a couple is shown weddings as well as houses that fit their dreams and their budget and in the end they have to make a choice. I've watched 3 episodes to their conclusions: the weddings won out for 2 out of the 3. One bride had already bought her dress- for $6,000. DH and I didn't spend that much on our entire wedding in 2003 and we each owned houses (subsequently sold both and relocated for my job).

Crazy.
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Old 03-18-2021, 02:41 PM   #94
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Paid off all loans
Focused on being happy with less
Any money saved, put towards our early retirement funds
Got rid of cable one step at a time. Never regretted at each step
Limited meals out to once a month
Bought our first house (1,700 sq ft) 31 years ago and never left
Put solar on our roof. No more electric bills
Replaced old non functioning whole house AC with a heat pump; thus no more fossil fuel burning except for backup. No heating bills since AC is electric and run from solar
Avoided urges to remodel the kitchen etc. Simple paint to change the look
Learned how to do more repairs ourselves
Do all our own yard work and snow removal
Still go on vacations. Cruise once a year, camping.
Got an all electric car in 2012 - Nissan Leaf. Low maintenance.
Got a high mpg car - Honda Civic for longer distances
Resisted any major yard updates (deck, landscaping)
Always kept cars for more than 10 years; some 15.
Now that we have FIRED we are spending a bit more on hobbies and travel but we have the $.
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Old 03-18-2021, 02:47 PM   #95
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That's great!! It sounds like focusing on the basics, not keeping up with the Jones and LBYM you got "lucky" and were able to retire early.
FYI - the “Jones’s” are broke.
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Old 04-14-2021, 08:03 PM   #96
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Okay, I'm running away again now!
No need to run away . I liked your post .
What company is your cellphone with? Is $25 for one or both phones? We have with H2O Wireless and pay $19.20/month. I don't know if it's worth my time right now to research if I can save another $5/month/line...My time is kind of crunched these days...

The food budget and the underweight issue sound concerning, so I'm glad to hear that you're taking care of that. It's better not to play with your health. It can be very costly.
Good luck with your pregnancy!!!
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Old 04-20-2021, 01:59 PM   #97
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LBYM. But also on DH's salary and saved all our bonuses after taxes. They took out taxes we cashed in stock or cash and moved it to our savings account. Never needed it to live on or used it. Like most that meant we were saving 40-50% of income because of size of bonus on top of saving for our 401k and IRA and stuff for college.
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Old 04-20-2021, 04:57 PM   #98
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Sacrifice? Eh. More like choices to meet a goal. We chose to live below our means. Small home in a fabulous neighborhood. Job with a pension for one. A part-time job for spouse; so no childcare expenses. Great public schools. Private colleges for kids. Great annual vacations (alternate years involved a flight). Always with an eye on the prize; having the funds and a pension, so we could retire on our terms, when we chose. Yes there were bumps. Yes there was job loss, illness, unexpected large bills. And there was luck. Oh, and one of us is first generation.
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Old 04-20-2021, 05:07 PM   #99
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Well, so far I've sacrificed the concept of companionship. I'm hopeful that won't be a permanent sacrifice.
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