Financial Independence Retire Early. This acronym has been a part of my life for just a few months. I first heard of it via Mr. Money Mustache’s blog. I thought it was interesting enough to investigate, so I did a deep dive on both YouTube and in the blogosphere. On one of the many YT videos I watched, a couple spoke about how one member found MMM and read every single post from day one. I thought, ‘hmmm, that seems like something overly obsessive that I’d do, let’s see what this is about!’. A mere month later, and I’ve read them all.
It’s important to note, I don’t agree with everything Pete Adeney (the dude behind the blog) advocates for. He is a very smart man, but like everyone, he isn’t perfect, so if you choose to read his entire blog like I did, just keep your head about you. His word is not gospel.
One of the links on his blog go to the forums, where I have enjoyed many a conversation from those who have already FIREd and those who are helping me learn about FIREing. See, I am absolutely terrible at math. Like, 1+4=18 terrible. I am a very logical person, and I love and understand computers on a level above the average person, but math just isn’t the same thing, and has never made sense to me. So, I visit those forums a lot, so I can figure out what the steps are that I need to take.
This is what I’ve figured out so far:
- Though I thought about moving to Alberta, as their average house price is far lower than here, I want to stay. I have a rent-controlled apartment (the property management company can only raise the rent by a certain percentage determined by the BC Government each year, which for this year is $0, thanks to COVID), and few bills.
- I have almost no credit card debt (just $1500, which will be paid off by the end of September), so as long as I take care of that quickly, I can move onto figuring out my car situation.
- The car situation – this is a big one. Before I finished reading all of MMM’s posts, I make a fast decision (never a good idea when considering a car purchase) and decided to trade in my 2019 Santa Fe for a 2017 Santa Fe. Since I’d only had the 2019 for a year, I still had $10k owing thanks to insane depreciation rates. So, after purchasing that 2017 Santa Fe for $17k, I had to add on $10k to the loan, meaning I paid $27k for a car worth $17k. This seems crazy, but when you think about the average vehicle loan, it’s actually something that happens all the time, you just don’t notice it, because typically, once you buy a vehicle, the depreciation doesn’t matter to you (or at least, you don’t pay attention to the rates at all), you just keep making loan payments.
So, I have been trying to figure out a way to get myself a vehicle that I can use over winter for the really cold days or for grocery shopping, where I can pay cash for it. I have nothing saved though, so that’s going to be an issue.
The best financial decision is to sell the car for $17k, then pay off the $10k remaining with my line of credit (LOC) that has a very small interest rate. Then I can throw everything I have at that LOC and get it paid down sooner rather than later. But. I still need a vehicle to get around. I don’t live far from work, but we still have many hot days ahead of us, and I don’t want to arrive at work all sweaty and gross. This means having a bicycle is out (unless I get an e-bike or course). What I want is a gas powered scooter, but they’re small and easily stolen. I live in a building with 4 other units above a bakery, but we don’t have any video surveillance, so I’m not comfortable leaving it in my parking space. I also think there’s a rule about not storing anything with gasoline in it inside a residence, even if it were in my storage room (which is locked and protected). This leads me to believe that my only option that makes even remote sense is to get an electric scooter. What I want is one that has a removable battery so I can charge it on my dime. I don’t want to get into a fight with the other residents or with the management company regarding who pays for what power. The scooter will likely be too heavy to haul up those stairs (no elevator), so I’d just keep it in my storage room. Since it’d be battery powered, that would be perfectly safe and wouldn’t break any laws. Not only that, but if it’s under 50cc, it doesn’t need proper vehicle insurance, and I won’t need to wear a motorcycle helmet. I could get away with a regular bicycle helmet. Their top speed typically is between 30-40km/hr, so I’d be riding in bike lanes (which is rather terrifying for me), but they do last for a few hundred kilometres before needing a charge. Vehicle wise, what I’d ultimately like is a Toyota Prius. Their fuel economy is absolutely insane, and would allow me to go much farther than now on a fraction of the cost. Not only that, they have the options that I want, such as heated seats, SiriusXM availability, and A/C. Finally, the environmental impact of using so little gas makes me feel a lot better about these decisions.
- Now for my cell phone. Unfortunately I am stuck in my contract for another year. I pay less than the average Canadian, but only by about $7. That said, I have unlimited data AND unlimited minutes Canada wide, so I plan to use that to my advantage. When my contract is up next August, I will be using my old Pixel 2 XL cell phone (I have to give my current phone back to Telus once I’m done) and will be going to Chatr wireless, which has an excellent range of plans that are extremely cheap. I rarely ever use any data on my phone, as my workplace finally has WiFi, and everywhere else I go in town typically does too, which makes cutting that particular cord extremely easy.
- Monthly subscriptions: Since I use so little data on my cell phone, I’m pretty sure I can get away with having just an online subscription to SiriusXM, which is a lot cheaper than what I’m paying right now. I only listen to 5 channels, and all of them are in the same block of channels, so I can change my subscription and eliminate a ton of channels I never listen to, while still keeping my account. I have had that subscription since 2008, and have loved every second of it. It is a non-negotiable.
Next up: Microsoft, at $8/mo. I use Word/Excel all the time, so it’s completely worth it.
Adobe CC: I’m currently on the student plan, at a mere $27/mo. Next April when the contract is up, I’ll be cancelling.
Netflix: I moved my sub down to the SD version, as I don’t see a reason to have a sub that allows multiple people access to it. I live alone, WTF am I paying for?
Curiosity Stream/Nebula: At $15/year, it’s 100% worth keeping. The videos posted there are ultra interesting and keep me very entertained.
Amazon Prime: Someone on the MMM forums pointed out to me that I was paying Amazon for the privilege of being able to spend money on their site. Most things that I order can easily be purchased locally, or are things I can wait 5 days for. I order from an art store in England that typically takes 3 weeks to get here, so why do I need next day delivery? A ton of stuff that I order isn’t next day anyway, so what am I wasting my money on? When it’s due (and I’ll have to see when it renews next), I’ll be cancelling.
iCloud access: it costs under $2 per month to get several gigs of backup space. Totally worth it, not cancelling.
Quip toothbrush: A new brush head and battery are shipped every three months for $10. I’m keeping it.
Disney+: I cancelled this last month and won’t be reactivating.
That’s all I can think of right now.
Are you FIREing? Have you thought about it? Why/why not? Comment below.
Thanks for reading.