I just did some frightening math. I have really been deeply immersing myself in all things F.I.R.E. If you know, you know, but if you don’t know, it stands for:
Now, I don’t know where this weird expectation comes from, but a lot of people who are looking at saving what it takes to get to the FIRE life get freaked out by the last 2 letters. That’s right, the ‘retire early’ part. From what I’ve been able to tell, everyone is upset because they don’t want to stop working forever. Perhaps it’s how I was raised, but I have NEVER thought of retirement as a thing that happens that allows you to stop doing everything. I have always thought of it as, the freedom to do what I want, when I want to do it. Start my own business. Get better at painting. Approach local businesses about selling my watercolour paints that I make. Working part time at art stores to get those blessed/coveted discounts. Move to a place I want to live that gives me the freedom to live without having to worry about dealing with severe weather. Basically, just not care about the ‘man’ anymore, and just plain live my life the way I’ve always wanted.
Back to the math. I thought I’d just go through all my regular expenses, and subtract them from my net pay plus that extra $1000 each month. I figured out that if my stupid-ass spending on things like eating out (I realllllllllllllly hate cooking), buying…well…god only knows what from Amazon, and a whole host of other spending was stopped, I’d save $29000 in a year. IN ONE YEAR!!!! You want to know what’s worse? If I bought a $3000 bicycle with a trailer (Mr Money Mustache’s idea) and ditched the bi-weekly car payment of $232, plus the $110 for insurance once a month, plus $120 a month in gas (I really don’t drive a whole lot) and made coffee at home, instead of visiting McDonald’s twice a day for their non-recyclable, extremely wasteful cups, I’d save another $8300, making a total savings in one year of $37,300. I tried to count all bills when doing the math, including my SiriusXM subscription (a 100% non-negotiable, however, were I able to live without a car, I could go to the online only sub, which is $11 Canadian per month), my renters insurance, cell and internet bills, power bill, $30/month on average for a clothing allowance, $500 for groceries, and so on. I live a mere 10 blocks from work, and my work is across the street from a grocery store, so really, do I need to spend almost $750/month on a vehicle? That seems nuts, when I could take that money and invest it into one of my accounts.
Today when I was at the grocery store, I caught myself anxiously waiting to see if my $13 purchase would go through, when I knew I had several hundred in my main account. This caused me to be embarrassed, because it brought back all these terrible memories I had of growing up in another province, making $7/hr full time, which was WAY more than my friends were making, and still having so little money, I was buying pasta at the dollar store, because it was $1/bag. God forbid if pasta sauce went on sale, I’d buy 10 jars and try not to break any on the way home. I also remembered many times when I’d ask a friend to go for coffee, knowing my cheque would be deposited after midnight (we were all night owls), so I’d be able to pay for the burger I wanted….if we stayed long enough. Then, because I’m me, the cheque would inevitably have an issue, or the bank would shut down and not accept deposits, and whoever came with me would have to cover me until the next day, so I could take the money out in cash and hand it back to them in embarrassment. It’s a funny thing, how traumatic those experiences can be. I remember exactly where I was standing when I checked my account on multiple occasions, only to have to sheepishly ask my friend to cover me. I remember the many times I’d have to take a calculator with me to the grocery store to figure out what I could get including tax, so I wouldn’t have to be embarrassed with a ton of people behind me in line, while I decided what could stay and what could go. I remember coveting things like a can of Pepsi, because it was just too far outside my budget and would have to wait another time. I’d see all my friends getting Guess jeans (I’m THAT old) and being ever so jealous that we had to go to a Saan store (discount clothing store in Canada) to get jeans that were very obviously NOT Guess, when these friends of mine could just ask and receive without a second thought.
I always tried to pay back the mini-loans in kind though. I’d pay the person back AND treat them to lunch (I hated cooking, even then), and then go to Shoppers and spend far too much on…I have no idea. I went through a huge magazine phase, so it probably included a ton of those.
It’s interesting to me, how the way I think about money is changing. When I think about ordering something on Amazon, or making a ‘quick stop to see if there’s any pre-made sandwiches’ at the grocery store (plus whatever I happened to be craving at the time), I now find reasons NOT to go. I think about what’s in my freezer, not about what in my freezer that I’m going to throw out to make room when I get home with a bunch of other crap I’ll likely throw out the next time I make that same trip. I am analyzing my accounts, wondering what I could be doing better, wondering how to make my dollar ’employees’ work FOR me and not against me. I’m looking for free books and discount opportunities on finance books. I’m watching hours and hours of videos on investing, REITs, ETFs, Stocks, Bonds, and so on. I have also watched a ton of YT videos on couples who have completed FIRE and are now retired. I am taking a lot of what they say with a grain of salt, because not only are most of them American and have WAY more housing opportunities that are way cheaper, but they also are couples, and it’s just me. Their savings rate will not be the same as mine, that much is for sure. I have so many more thoughts on this subject, but I had an optometrist appointment, and my eyes are burning because of the dilating drops they put in.
Thanks for reading.