How To Read A Frugalwoods Expense Report
From top to bottom. I jest, you could read it bottom to top if you so desire, I’m not going to stop you. As regular readers know, we itemize every single dollar we spend (which is why there’s a line item for $4.40 this month). I do this because it’s the most honest articulation of how we allocate our resources and managed to save 71% of our take-home pay in 2014 (not counting maxing out our 401Ks).
Grilling steaks at my in-laws’ house. Yum… a rare meat treat for us!
Why do we save so much and spend so little? It’s all in service of our goal to reach financial independence by age 33 and move to a homestead in the woods.
The great thing about this list is that people have choices. They can choose to do one of them, all of them, or some of them. They can start out with just one and then add some others later.
Life is about choices. Making the choice to live life in a simpler way is something that is becoming a popular thing to do.
Don’t let the boat anchor of your past mistakes drag on you forever into your future.
Clinging to past behaviors is one of the built-in weaknesses (also known as Cognitive Biases) that we humans are born with. In this case, we’re talking about Loss Aversion and maybe a bit of the Sunk Cost Effect: we tend to value things we already have, and things we have poured a lot of money into, even if they are in fact pieces of crap when measured on an objective quality-of-life scale.
“I’d hate to take the depreciation hit on this 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 BigHorn after making three years of payments on it!”
These prepackaged flaws are so powerful that we need to pull ourselves deliberately in the other direction in order to end up at a reasonable middle ground. Even when you think you’re living life in a reasonable fashion, this bias will still sneak up and bite you.
And it still bites me too – let’s look at another example from my own life right now. Do you remember that rental house I was so happy to have sold in the last article?
I recall the vivid example of Japanese athlete Chuhei Nambu who, in preparation for the Olympic games, throughout the day, in addition to the main practice, used every free minute for making springy hops and jumps—walking to school, on the way home, standing around with friends, etc. This helped him to set the world long jump record. Much later, in a personal conversation, he told me that all this had really helped him to turn his legs into, as he put it, “steel springs”. When I asked him, had not he got tired from such a multitude of jumps, he replied no, explaining that between each 5-10min session of jump exercise there were long breaks, sufficient for restoration. You see, this is the essence of effective fragmentation of training sessions—sufficient restoration between them.
via Jump! | StrongFirst.
Brainwashed By Advertising
Oh sweet marketing and advertising…what have you done to us? Credit cards, car dealerships, mortgage and home companies and every other corporation has conditioned our brains to think that living with debt is no big deal.
It also shows the poor marketing on the side of financial companies as well who have a superior product to build wealth and yet many people continually fear it. Probably comes from the fact that small investors don’t make them much money so you may not be the target. We just can’t seem to educate ourselves enough to trust investments. Families that have experience investing usually have kids that invest…funny how that happens.
“Being a minimalist means that you value yourself more than material things.” —Brian Gardner
We often think of minimalism as shedding away our external possessions and living with only the essentials. Certainly, this is very much part of it.
But I am learning the journey is not just external, it is also internal. To experience true abundance from minimalism, it must start within.
Just as some people accumulate things to create a false identity or pursue a mythical state of happiness, eliminating yourself of possessions without coming from a place of inward truth is short-sighted. They are disconnected.
Living an abundant life derives from traveling a journey of intentional self growth. It’s functioning through your true self to live a simple life. It’s getting good at being simple. Self simplicity becomes the clarity in which you find meaning. It’s the removal of the unnecessary. It’s the discovery of what you value most.
We are able to get by on a retirement budget of about $33,000 per year including a paid off house. We could rent our house in the US and net $800-900 per month which might be enough to allow us to rent a decent furnished house or apartment in Mexico. Almost all of our costs would drop, but we would have to use part of our $5,300 vacation budget for visits back to the US. Food, transportation, and entertainment costs would drop. Electronics and appliances tend to cost the same or more down here, so we might see an increase in these expense categories. Overall, I imagine we could live a slightly more luxurious lifestyle on a little less money.
But should we move 2,000 miles away just to save a little money? That’s the tough part of the equation. I don’t think it’s necessarily better or worse in Mexico assuming you have adequate funds to live on. Just different in some aspects. There’s a vibe here that’s hard to explain. The parks seem to attract more people having fun. There’s always a festival or parade or protest going down. Running errands can be a cultural and language adventure.
1. YOU’RE STUCK IN A DEBT TRAP
“When you’re poor, it’s easy to get stuck in a debt trap because you’re desperate,” said Kristin Wong of Brokepedia. “Whether it’s a payday loan, debt settlement scam, or even just using a credit card for an emergency, it’s easy to make rash decisions when you’re stressed, and these decisions usually keep people broke.”
2. YOU’RE IGNORING BIG DEBTS
When you’re broke, stacks of bills and overdue notices are a huge source of anxiety and dread. But avoiding those problems and failing to manage your debts only makes them worse, according to Robert Farrington, founder of The College Investor.
“A lot of young adults are burdened by student loans and other debt, yet they don’t realize there are a lot of options out there for them,” Farrington said. “For example, for student loans, there are tons of programs that can help with lower payments and even forgiveness. But you have to take positive action and seek out these programs.”
Matt and his wife are 1 Percenters, but like Mike, don’t ever seem to be satisfied. A couple years ago, they spent $700,000 remodeling the kitchen in their Illinois place. Yes, $700,000 for a *&^%ing kitchen remodel. Shortly after that, they traded in their million dollar ski condo for one that was a bit closer closer to the main gondola. Why walk 500 feet when you can be just 100 feet away?
At the present time, Matt and his wife are fighting about their lake house (house #3 if you’re counting). They have a stunning home on 100′ of prime frontage on a private lake in Wisconsin. Even though the home is just a weekend getaway for Matt and his wife, it tips the scales at over 3000 square feet and is in immaculate condition. Matt’s wife wants to demolish it and build something over 6000 square feet. Must be nice to have that kind of money. However, there are plenty of folks who have a lot more money than Matt.
Larry Page (Google co-founder) and Larry Ellison (Oracle founder) are both pouring loads of money into research to expand their lifespans. Now we have the answer of what to give to the man who has everything. Immortality! Can’t pick that up at Walmart. I’m sorry Larry and Larry, you can buy almost anything, but you can’t buy time.
Do you have an itch for more adventure in your life?
Do you want to get out and explore more, but don’t have the time or money to undertake a major, globe-trotting expedition?
Maybe this longing has made you feel frustrated and stuck.
If that sounds like you, allow me to suggest embracing the microadventure.
The term “microadventure” was coined by Alastair Humphreys, a true Adventurer with a capital A. Humphreys has bicycled around the world, walked across India, and rowed across the Atlantic Ocean. And he noticed that whenever he spoke of these travels, listeners would get a look of awe and envy in their eyes and wistfully express how they wished they could take similarly grand adventures. This admission was invariably followed by a list of excuses for why such expeditions were not in the cards — the would-be adventurers lived in suburbs and cities, had jobs and kids, and didn’t have enough money, vacation time, etc.