August Ups and Downs

August has been interesting.   For someone who spent only 6 nights in her home in the entire month, you would think I could have saved more on household expenses.  While I saved big bucks between travelling to DC and working (I never buy food on the road), other things were a bit out of my control…

  1. The car – my poor car.  I wrote about Muffy taking a dive.  That was brutal.  $460 and she is good a new…for now.
  2. Payback from last months colossal mistake in budgeting.  I had to re-fund my travel fund as Thailand is only weeks away!  $500 and $300 to go…

These extra expenses dropped my monthly savings rate to 65.7% (or 72.06% including 401K).  Ok – I realize that’s not bad at all…but it is a drop nonetheless.  I was expecting BIG things out of Augusts paycheck with my July hours being the highest of the year thus far…but unfortunately things don’t always work out that way.  Out of the 8 months of 2016, August was ranked 3rd highest in income.  Yeah!!  At the same time – it was ranked 6th lowest in savings percentage.  Boo.

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But It’s not all bad news…  Regardless of the relatively poor savings numbers – I am still at an average savings rate of 76.29% (80.98% with 401K) for the year.  75% is right on track for my FIRE date of 6ish years from now.  Perhaps that realization is worth celebrating despite my perceived downfall of the month?  You betcha…

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FI Pioneer – How to Get Your Posse On Board…Oregon Trail Style

Are you the first in your family or group of friends to take on the challenge of financial independence?  Are you the first to speak of early retirement and the possibilities of doing so?  If you have answered yes to either of these questions then YOU, my friend, are a part of my tribe and together we are pioneers.

It is oh so hard to be a pioneer – just ask Lewis and Clark.  Christopher Columbus.  Madonna…being the first to wear a cone bra has got to be hard…and pointy!

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But, seriously.  Coming up against “the norm” in life is difficult.  I mean, who doesn’t want to commute an hour to work, put in 40+ hours a week at a boring job, drive home in traffic, eat a shitty meal in front of the TV, then head to bed before doing it all over again every weekday (minus 2 weeks vacation!) for the next 40 years.  Who?  Sounds exhilarating!!  Why would anyone want to stray from that path?

But WE do.  And maybe you were one of those naysayers.  Maybe you too thought, “there is NO WAY I can retire early.”  But here you are.  You have done the math.  You’ve read the blogs of other brilliant minds.  You KNOW shit!  But they don’t get it – and now we have to penetrate the wall of insanity that social and economical norms have them trapped behind.  Enter – The Oregon Trail.  For pioneers and then some…

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Financial independence and early retirement are the Wild West of lifestyles.

It is the unknown that most people fear but others are freed by.

True pioneers can handle the hardships that may come with it – an older car instead of a new one.  Meatless Mondays instead of steak dinners.  Saving instead of spending.

Going it alone can be hard.  Doable, but hard.  You can’t move your family to the promise land without making room in the wagon.  And you need them on board – out on the trail there is safety in numbers…

To help you along your way, I have come up with a few steps to help you on the wagon ride out west…

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Frugal Friday – Tacos With Teens

Can you believe Friday is here already?!  The weekend has crept up and I’m still reeling (and weeping 😦 ) from my unexpected expense of the week.  Turns out having Muffy dying did not make it into the forecasted car budget for the year.  Someone once said to budget $50 a month to unexpected car repairs…this year the 01 Honda got new breaks, a new radiator, and now a new muffler.  I’m no mechanic but I think that $50 was a gross understatement in terms of budgeting…then again, I heard it over 10 years ago and my car is rounding out her 16th year.  Well, I just did a quick google search – apparently the new rule (probably not so new) is to budget $100 a month for car repairs.  Huh.  Don’t worry – the doctor mechanic assures me going forward she is fit as a fiddle.  Yeah, right…

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Pretty Sure My  Mechanic is Behind This…

Anywho, this weeks spending fiasco has led me to want to shine the spotlight on the flip side of the coin.  The saving side.  I would like to start a weekly series showcasing my (and yours!) frugal tips from the week.  What I saved, how I saved, and any kind of household updates that help to contribute to our financial bottom line.  I hope you will join me in posting your own frugal wins in the comments section so we can all help each other out.

This week, Frugal Friday is focusing on food.

Despite that tiny car repair issue, I saved major dough on meals.  Not my dough – but dough none the less.  You see, my BF and I are at the delicate stage of expanding our relationship and the responsibilities that go along with that.  He has kids.  And not any kid of kids – TEENAGE BOY kind of kids (ages 13 and 15).  Yikes!  This situation is not entirely new to me – I nannied for a family of two boys for 7 years – but they weren’t teens.  There’s a whole set of rules that go along with teenagers.

  1. Don’t ask them direct questions – they shut down (true for all teens not just boys).
  2. Don’t expect them to understand the full cycle of “cleaning up”.  Getting dishes close to the sink or garbage near the trash can is close enough.
  3. The toilet seat now belongs in the up position.  If it is down, it deserves to get peed on.  Pay no mind to the fact that they too have to sit while doing certain “functions”.
  4. Never, ever, ask the about girls.
  5. Never try to use slang terms like “On Fleak”.  We just aren’t cool enough.

And the biggest lesson I learned this week was:

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FI Just Got a Few Days Further Away…

My muffler decided to jump ship…and she did it in the most gruesome of ways…

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I’m No Mechanic But Something Looks Awry…

I had big plans today – start with a solid block of lounging and  Below Deck reruns followed by a 2 minute drive to my new office to crank out a few posts (my bike sprung a flat yesterday).  Of course, being easily swayed, all that changed when I was distracted by a phone call from mom with the enticing offer of a sushi lunch with The Fab 6.

Not at all similar to the Fab 4, my moms group is comprised of my Aunts, Grandma, and Great Aunt.  They have a nice little system going – the ladies get together once a month at a restaurant of one of their choosing.  They go in rotation and whoever’s month it is chooses the restaurant  and picks up the entire tab.  This month, my Grandma choose sushi and I got the last minute invite to attend.  YES!!  My favorite  Asian cuisine and its gratis??  Sign me up!!  Uh huh…Life had other plans…

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Motivating Despite Distractions

It’s a brand new day for me.  Today I established a game plan.  A bonafide, distraction free, high productivity game plan.

You see, I’m a sucker for slacking.  In an effort to counteract that character flaw, I have made sure to rid my home of the most common time suck triggers – cable, junk food, and Facebook.  I didn’t, however, account for the amount of time spent at my boyfriends place where unlimited cable (for real – all channels of insanity included) and junk food go to party.  Seriously!  His fridge/freezer has more convenience foods than a 7-11.  Lucky for me I don’t eat meat so half of those culinary delights are out of the realm of possibility.  But the other half?  The other half calls to me like Sirens trying to shipwreck my diet and energy levels in turn making me a true couch potato as the cable has anticipated.  I’m pretty sure the cable box and fridge are in cahoots.

Well, not today, my evil friends.  Today I pulled the escape hatch and biked my way to the nearest safety zone.  The Switzerland to the productive life I want and the lazy life that wants to consume me.

My New *Free* Office – Villa Park Library 🙂

The library.  My new home away from his home.  I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to come to this aha moment but I am sure glad I did.  I needed to get out.  I needed a space of my own to  write.  I needed a distraction free zone to unleash my brains potential.  Making this single move to my new location has opened up my mind to what is really going on here – why the distractions are overwhelming my better self.

Clearing out the Cobwebs…

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