February 2021 Financial Update:

Hello and Welcome back to Ease Your Financial Payne! I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting, writing, & reading over this last month & my mindset has evolved, yet again. In February, I read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, How to Become CEO by Jeffrey J. Fox, theminimalists.com by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, and The 4-Hour Workweek (the expanded & updated version) by Timothy Ferriss. To be honest I don’t know how I went this long without reading these books, particularly The Power of Now and The 4-Hour Workweek!

I am continuing to hone in on what is MOST important to me in life and then trying to stay focused on only those things. I do not care about not working, just doing what I’m passionate about, on my own time, and from wherever I prefer. My friend and I have started a financial podcast, but there are only two episodes out right now. Once there are a few more I will add a post on to here all about it! We are uploading biweekly on Mondays, which started on February 15th, 2021. I have a goal to be self-employed ASAP and then eventually hire people to help once the business(es) grow.

I still want to keep investing & saving as much as we can, but now I don’t care about living off of my investment accounts. I would rather do work I love, am passionate about, & fulfills me. Like talking about personal finance & helping others with their financial plans! I of course want some money invested & saved if my business plans don’t work out or I take awhile to make enough money off of them. So as of right now, I’m thinking once I give birth to our future child (No, I am not pregnant yet.) I will either leave my job completely & work on my side businesses as much as I can or continue to work part time & then part time on my businesses as well. We’ll see! I’m just not going to wait to hit some arbitrary number before I start living my life how I want to anymore!

Side Note: We got our tax return back, only $1,130, so we just put it all on my husband’s car loan.

Total Financial Independence Goal Numbers:

  • $900,000 Invested
  • $36,000 In Savings
  • $0 Debt
  • Both of us have the choice to leave any & all employment

Our Partial Financial Independence Goal Numbers:

  • $100,000+ invested, for retirement.
  • $25,000+ In Savings for Emergencies/Baby Fund.
  • An HSA we are Maxing out every year while working for Medical Expenses. (No specific Goal Number)
  • $0 Personal Debt- No Mortgage or Car Payment brings down our expenses a ton ($1,540/month).
  • With husband & I working part time (or one of us not at all).

Our Current Numbers as of March 1st, 2021:

  • $35,849.50 Invested.
  • $11,181.04 In Savings.
  • No HSA yet, we will get one Oct. 2022.
  • -$143,643.28 Total Debt. (House & Car)
  • We are both still working full time.

Total amount needed to reach partial F.I. Goals: $221,612.74

Total amount needed to reach total F.I.R.E. Goals: $1,032,612.74

January 2021 Financial Update:

Welcome back to Ease Your Financial Payne! The first month of 2021 is over & so much has already happened in the world since the start of the year.

This month, we put all of our stimulus money & $100 we got for Christmas towards our car to get a head start on our goal of paying it off this year ($1,300 total). We now only owe $15,055 on it. My husband bought this over priced car before we got married when he was 21 and we are now paying the price. No 21 year old needs a new/newer car that is over $20,000. You live & you learn. Only used cars from now on bought with cash and only if we NEED a different vehicle.

Actually, whenever I can fully work from home, or one of us doesn’t need to work anymore, or we go down to part time, we are planning on selling my car to only have one vehicle. Through out this pandemic, I have driven my car approximately once every two weeks for about 10 min, sometimes not even that much. I really don’t need it. I’m sure a lot of people are in a similar boat right now & I suggest just cutting out anything in your life that does not serve a purpose or is unused. I’m waiting until after the pandemic to see what my work situation is, and if I don’t need to go into the office like I used to, then I’ll probably sell it. If I do need to go into the office once in a while, I’m sure my husband and I can coordinate sharing the car (we work a block away from each other) or I can get a ride with my boss. I basically get to choose my own work hours, so I could just plan them around my husband’s work hours. I also just realized that our town has Lyft, so even if we can’t coordinate the car or a ride in some way, Lyft can always be our back up plan. When I sell my car, we can get about $5-7,000 for my car and then save money on gas, tabs for my vehicle, car insurance, and other car maintenance like oil changes, new tires, windshield wipers, etc. Then we can put all of that extra money towards paying off our other car! Then eventually snowball that money into paying off our house faster! Every thing you own is something you have to take care of/pay for, keep that in mind with any purchase. While writing this, I’ve convinced myself to sell my car haha. So I’ll update you all whenever I decide to do so.

It is so easy to just follow what others are doing around you without thinking, and to accept it as the norm and what makes the most sense, but does it? I guess I just saw how most American households have 1 vehicle per adult and never stopped to truly think: But do WE NEED more than one vehicle?? Back when my husband was a delivery driver & I had to drive an hour away twice a week for work, yes we did, but now… not so much. I think it’s important to recognize what matters most to you & what is most efficient for you and your lifestyle. Even pre-pandemic the only thing I’ve ever used that car for was to get to work, that’s it. I can easily be more creative with ways to get to work, especially if I’m going to be mostly working from home.

Anyway, here is our monthly financial update:

Total Financial Independence & Retire Early Goal Numbers:

  • $900,000 Invested
  • $36,000 In Savings
  • $0 Debt
  • Both of us have the choice to leave any & all employment

Our Partial Financial Independence Goal Numbers:

  • $100,000+ invested, for retirement.
  • $25,000+ In Savings for Emergencies/Baby Fund.
  • An HSA we are Maxing out every year while working for Medical Expenses. (No specific Goal Number)
  • $0 Personal Debt- No Mortgage or Car Payment brings down our expenses a ton ($1,540/month).
  • With husband & I working part time (or one of us not at all).

Our Current Numbers as of February 1st, 2021:

  • $34,178.19 Invested.
  • $10,802.46 In Savings.
  • No HSA yet, we will get one Oct. 2022.
  • -$145,713.73 Total Debt. (House & Car)
  • We are both still working full time.

Total amount needed to reach partial F.I. Goals: $225,733.08

Total amount needed to reach total F.I.R.E. Goals: $1,036,733.08

The Key to Happiness:

Welcome back to Ease Your Financial Payne! 🙂 My husband and I have been going through some major mindset changes about how we view life, and one of the biggest is how we view having stuff, and how much “stuff” we purchase or, consume. This shift in values has been growing in our subconscious for the last year or two, but I think it has finally blossomed.

Ever since I learned about climate change in my science classes in middle school & high school, I have been trying to improve myself & my household’s sustainability. Now that I’m an adult and own a home of my own (& have more control over my life), I finally feel like I’ve made good progress when it comes to consuming less & making more sustainable choices. Now, I’m not an environmentalist and there are people that are far more qualified to talk about the sustainability of consumerism, or lack there of. Today, I’m just going to tell you how consuming less can help your mental, emotional, and financial well being, while also helping the planet. I will make a different post talking about all of the environmentally friendly swaps I’ve made, and how they’ve not only helped the Earth, they’ve also saved us a lot of money, since this is a finance blog.

Sneaky Marketing:

We see advertisements many times a day, and even though some people think they are mentally strong enough to not be impacted by these ads, they still are, even if it is at a subconscious level. Ads are smarter & more efficient than ever before. Google, Facebook, and many other companies track absolutely everything we search, like, view, purchase, etc. and use that information to continuously market products or services to us. I’m sure most of you know about this, but it is important to remind ourselves of this. We need to be mindful and think through a purchase before making it, because consumerism is wreaking havoc on our mental health and our wallets, let alone the Earth.

In addition to new marketing tactics, debt is more normalized in our society than ever before. You can get “financing” for anything, even smaller things like a mattress, it is truly ridiculous. Most people are quickly & efficiently digging themselves into a hole of debt. This issue has never been more prominent & widespread, especially in the United States. We are conditioned to get everything we want NOW, even if that means going into debt for it. We think we “need” it NOW. Obviously, sometimes you may “need” to go into debt for things like school or buying a house, but I’m referring more to unnecessary debt, like credit card debt or owing money on a couch.

The Key to Happiness:

As humans, our minds make us mentally stuck in the past or future, we are rarely truly present. We are always thinking about what we are going to do in 5min, after work, this weekend, this next year, etc. We build the future up in our mind to always be better than where we are at in that present moment. Or we are in the past, longing for what was or allowing past problems to bother us in the present. We chase “happiness” and “fulfillment” all of our lives, but never seem to really get there. We feel brief moments of happiness, but it never seems to stay. We consciously or subconsciously think: “Once I update my kitchen, then I’ll be happy” or “Once I have new shoes then I’ll be happy” or “Once I have that new car, then I’ll be happy” or “Once I get a raise, then I’ll be happy” or “When I have a grandchild then I will be totally fulfilled & content with my life”, but is that true? Or will something else just come along and replace whatever goal you set to “finally be content with your life”? It is a never ending chase, the list can go on and on infinitely. When we do achieve the things I listed above, we do receive a dopamine hit, which does feel nice in the moment, but the high wears off and we’re looking for another hit. While in this cycle, you will never truly be happy or content. You need to recognize you have everything you need & express gratitude daily for what you do have. If you have a roof over your head, clothes on your back, someone out there that loves you, and food to eat, you are already so lucky & blessed… These ads, our society, and even our own minds, want to make us feel like that is not enough, that it is not even adequate. This is an endless cycle of unhappiness, discontentment, and over consumption. You need to let go and surrender to what is, otherwise you will keep chasing happiness & wait to start living your life until it’s time for you to leave this Earth. Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

We have strayed so far from how we are meant to be as humans & have lost sight of what is most important. Real human connection is what matters, having friends & good relationships. Being in nature matters, for thousands of years we have been immersed in nature, now we spend long hours staring at a screen in 4 gray walls & rarely go out in it. Our health matters, mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional. We are prioritizing the wrong things. Over consuming causes you to waste money which keeps you shackled to your work desk for 45+ YEARS of your life. This then forces us to prioritize our job over our family relationships, our health, etc. because we can’t afford to not be there. But what if I told you, you have the power to make that choice?

So, now that you are conscious of this, what can you do to break the cycle?

  • Remember to express gratitude & thanks everyday for everything you have in your life, even the challenging things. Challenges make us stronger, teach us lessons, and make us appreciate non-challenging times.
  • Get off Social Media. You can try your best not to, but you will compare yourself & your life to the rich celebrities or influencers you follow. Products and services you don’t need will be marketed to you in every scroll. It also wastes a ton of your precious time.
  • Reconnect with what matters most to you in your life. For example, time with friends & family, traveling, being in nature, your health, etc. Be present in the moment and recognize when your mind starts to wander and think about the future or past, even if only 1 minute from now.
  • It’s not “just a $20 pillow”, it’s $20 being taken away from your freedom. The freedom to have enough money to leave your job, the freedom to travel, the freedom to afford another child, etc.
  • Remember that your worth, your memories, your value, and your happiness are not tied to any thing, not even other people.
  • When you do want something that is not a NEED, ask yourself: why? Example: Why do I feel the need to buy a $20,000+ vehicle? Questions to ask yourself with every purchase: Do I need it? Do I already have something similar? Where will I store it? Will I use it often? Can I rent or borrow this from someone? Can I buy it second hand? Do I love it? Will I still love it later? Is it possible that you want this thing just because others have it? Do you think you will be happier once you have this tangible item? Will it really add value to your life? Chances are, you will walk away from whatever it is you were about to buy.
  • Before you buy something, think about the lifecycle of the item. How it was produced, all the time, energy, and materials that went into it. Then think of how you are going to use it & for how long, and then what will happen to the item once you are done with it or once you pass away. Will loved ones have to struggle with going through literal tons of your possessions, sorting for days, or will it be easy for them to clear out your home?

We live in a world of over consumption, especially in the United States. We mindlessly purchase things without a second thought. We have more cars, more TVs, larger food portions, go shopping “for fun” every week, etc. We also have high consumer debt, we are one of the unhealthiest first world countries, and we rank 108th out of 140 countries for happiness. Consumerism is destroying our planet, your happiness, and your financial well being.

Less is More (Cliché, I know):

Start by going through your house & get rid of anything you haven’t used within the last year, (other than sentimental items) maybe 2 years just because Covid-19 threw a wrench in any 2020 plans. When I say get rid of, I mean to start with asking family & friends if they need what you have, sell what you want to try to get money for, donate everything you can, recycle what you can, and finally, throw away what can’t be donated, sold, or recycled. After that, its just about not bringing more things into your home/life. The bullet point list above will help dramatically with this part. Keep in mind that memories are in your mind, not in things & things cannot make the past come back. The first declutter will be the hardest, but it will be 100% worth it. Then I suggest repeating the declutter at least annually. It will feel so easy and most likely enjoyable, compared to the first big declutter.

When it comes to decluttering & organizing, we’re not experts, so here are some people whose methods we use:

When you have less, you know where everything is, you appreciate & use what you have more, and you have more space to breathe & just be. When you know where everything is, everything is more efficient which results in more time & less stress. Imagine: No more stressing out trying to find the kid’s backpack, shirt, or toy. No more wasting time digging through a messy pantry to find the one can of sauce you need for dinner. No more accidentally buying something you already have because you forgot about it because you can’t see it or find it. All of your clothes in your closet fit you & you love them all. The planet is thriving because we are all only consuming what we need. This is the reality of the life you will have once you let go & be in the now.

This is where we’ve been at mentally. I hope this post motivated at least one person to positively change their life. I know it has changed my life & many others. I’m looking forward to how this will play out in the long term.

Some resources that inspired this blog post a.k.a. what I’ve been reading & watching:

P.S. -Overall, I’m just sick of the hyper-consumerism that is perpetuated & promoted in the media, including on YouTube & in our daily lives. I think a lot of people are starting to feel like we’ve been feeling recently, just over the stuff & the fluff. I want real meaning in my life and focus on what I care about most rather than buying things I don’t need. I would love to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comments! -For more specific financial advice, check out my other blog posts!

Thank you so much for reading this, until next time!

-Meghan

You don’t need a six-figure income to achieve Financial Independence

Hello and Welcome back to Ease Your Financial Payne. There are some major misconceptions that to achieve Financial Independence and/or Retire Early, you need have a household income of $100,000+ and no kids, but I am here to tell you that is totally false. Obviously, if you have a higher income is it easier, but it is still not impossible if you make only $30,000/year. I understand there are factors that complicate this, such as having children. If you have kid(s) and think that F.I.R.E. is unattainable, please read Mr. Money Mustache’s blog post about how much it cost for him to raise his son (while retiring very early). It is from 2011, but is still very relevant. I plan on following his advice once I have a child.

My Husband & I’s Income:

We bring in $4,800 a month, after taxes. -$3,050 for our expenses ($1,200 Mortgage Payment, $340 Car Payment, $400 for food, etc.) -$750 put into savings for short term goals, and finally, -$1,000 invested every month. Together, we make less than $60,000/year after taxes, we do not have high earning jobs by any means, yet we are still on track to be financially independent by 2034 at the latest (we will be 36 & 38 years old then). This is with us just rounding up our monthly debt payments by a tiny amount & not putting ANY other extra money towards our debts. If our income goes up and/or we put additional money towards our house & car, we will get there even faster. 2034 is when our debt will be paid off & we will have $600,000 invested so we can safely withdraw 4% a year to cover our expenses, if we just keep doing what we are currently doing & don’t make any more money.

Now some of you may be thinking, “Well I’m not married, so I am in a single income household.” Here are what my expenses/income/debt would be like if I were single:

Income: $2,700/month. Debt: $0 because I wouldn’t own a home & my husbands car is the one we owe on. My Monthly Expenses: $350 Rent, $200 food, $120 energy bill, $70 Car Insurance, etc. I’m not going to list out everything, the total would be approximately: $1,000/month. I would live in a small, one bedroom apartment or a two bedroom with a roommate. We live in a cheap town where that is the average rent for a decent apartment, and what we were paying before we bought our house. So I would still have $1,700 left over that I would be investing on my own. I would actually achieve financial independence twice as fast this way, because I would have less debt & much lower expenses. Now obviously, there are people out there who probably have an income that is similar to mine, but they have kid(s) to take care of as well. Again, I highly suggest you check out Mr. Money Mustache’s blog. I will also link a post where The MadFientist interviewed a couple who have 13 kids, yes you read that right & how they manage their expenses. I’m redirecting you to these folks because I do not have a child & don’t want to pretend I know what I’m talking about.

A good place to start with all of this is: I challenge you to go through every charge in your online banking for the last 3 months, evaluate where your money is going, and see what you can cut out/cut back on.

So as you can see, even if you are single, have kid(s), make only about $30,000/year after taxes, you can still do it. I believe in you! Now if you don’t have any kids or have a higher household income, you have a major advantage. It is never too late to start!

Here is a link to more of my (hopefully) helpful posts.

December 2020 Financial Update:

Happy New Year! Hope you all stayed safe & healthy while entering 2021 & celebrating (or not celebrating) all of the different holidays that happened in December. I’ve heard a lot of people actually preferred this year’s holiday season over the usual, because they didn’t need to go to lame office parties or see family members they dislike/hate. I personally am not much of a party person and large gatherings usually make me anxious (or annoyed) anyway, so I really loved being by only immediate family I really care about this year. Instead of going out or being by people, my husband and I just spent the last week working on cheap house projects, like painting our 2nd bedroom & tearing up the old carpet. What’s with older generations covering up gorgeous original hardwood floors with carpet?? I’ll insert a photo of after we painted & tore up the carpet.

In addition to updating our 2nd bedroom, we majorly decluttered our whole house top to bottom this last weekend. We have a couple huge boxes going to goodwill this week & have boxes of different things going to family & friends. We realized while cleaning out our house, that 90% of the stuff we have was gifted or someone gave it to us for free. So from now on, we are going to ask to not receive anything for Christmas, Birthdays, etc. unless the person insists on buying us something then we will tell them something simple that we will use daily/weekly. Also, we want to try to not accept something from someone just because it’s free, if we don’t need it, we don’t need it. We are working on becoming more minimalist, not hardcore minimalist where everything is black and white and you only own 4 plates, but just only keep things in our home that we 100% use at least annually. If it’s been sitting in a storage bin for 2-3 years… you probably don’t need it and won’t even notice if it is gone.

Since it is a new year, here are some financial goals we have placed for 2021:

  • Pay off our car. (Only debt will be our house then!)
  • Max out our Roth IRA contributions, like we did in 2020 & 2019.
  • Add $750 to our savings account each month for future travel & future baby fund.

Our Goal Partial Financial Independence Numbers:

  • $100,000+ invested, for retirement.
  • $25,000+ In Savings for Emergencies/Baby Fund.
  • An HSA we are Maxing out every year while working for Medical Expenses. (No specific Goal Number)
  • $0 Personal Debt- No Mortgage or Car Payment brings down our expenses a ton ($1,540/month).
  • With husband & I working part time (or one of us not at all).

Our Current Numbers as of January 1st, 2021:

  • $32,857.28 Invested.
  • $10,049.04 In Savings.
  • No HSA yet, we will get one Oct. 2022.
  • -$147,948.32 Total Debt.
  • We are both still working full time.

Total amount needed to reach Partial F.I. Goals: $235,042

Thanks for reading! 🙂

November 2020 Financial Update:

Hello, hope everyone is doing well! It was just Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S. so it was a nice break from work, for a lot of us. I reconnected with a friend this month that I hadn’t talked to in quite a while and we have decided to start a podcast. I’m not going to give any major details right now, but I will share links once we release an episode we are proud of. We are still in the research/brainstorming phase. I am very excited about this and have a good feeling about it.

I have a new goal to be self employed by January 2022. To do this I only need $1,000 in income, because my husband will continue to work full time. I have 13 months to make this a reality. I may continue working even if my side income could support us, then we can have even more income going towards our financial goals to reach them sooner, but we will see.

When I become self-employed I am planning on selling my car, we really only need one car at that point, then we can put the cash in savings or towards our other car. I will also get rid of a lot of things, including my work clothes and we will stop paying for expensive house projects for awhile.

Our Goal Partial Financial Independence Numbers:

  • $100,000+ invested, for retirement.
  • $30,000+ In Savings for Emergencies/Baby Fund.
  • An HSA we are Maxing out every year while working for Medical Expenses. (No specific Goal Number)
  • $0 Personal Debt- No Mortgage or Car Payment brings down our expenses a ton ($1,540/month).
  • With husband & I working part time (or one of us not at all).

Our Current Numbers as of December 1st, 2020:

  • $30,770.75 Invested.
  • $10,049.04 In Savings.
  • No HSA yet, we will get one Oct. 2022.
  • -$148,116.32 Total Debt.
  • We are both still working full time.

Total amount needed to reach Partial F.I. Goals: $237,296.53

We only invested our usual $1,500 this month, but the market went up a lot this month so that is why we have over $30,000 invested now.

Thanks for reading! I’ll continue to post updates on our goals!

October 2020 Financial Update:

Hope you all had a safe and fun Halloween! (if you celebrate it) Also, Feliz dia de los Muertos hoy y ayer! I love October-December with all of the holidays.

We kept our spending pretty low in October. We did update our bedroom this month by tearing out the carpet, getting a new light fixture, repainting the whole room, a new rug, new duvet cover, etc. Over all we only spent about $300 to totally transform our bedroom into a much more inviting space we enjoy and don’t hate now. That is the only thing we spent money on this month that was not a necessity.

The only areas we like to spend money are travel & making our home nicer. We are major homebodies and spend the vast majority of our time there. With not being able to travel at all this year, we put our usual travelling budget towards house updates. We do not like going out to the bars, care about what care we drive, care about having more expensive clothes, etc. We care most about having a nice space to come home to and travelling a couple times a year to experience new things.

I suggest figuring out what your top 5 goals/things you care about in life are and then focusing all of your money, time, and energy on those things.

For me, it is:

  1. Time with Family & Friends
  2. Travel
  3. A Nice Home
  4. Personal Health (Physical, Mental, Spiritual, etc.)
  5. FIRE (so I can enjoy more of the things listed above)

Our Goal Partial Financial Independence Numbers:

  • $100,000+ invested as extra money.
  • $30,000+ In Savings for Emergencies/Baby Fund.
  • An HSA we are Maxing out every year while working for Medical Expenses. (No specific Goal Number)
  • $0 Personal Debt- No Mortgage or Car Payment brings down our expenses a ton ($1,540/month).
  • With husband & I working part time (or one of us not at all).

Our Current Numbers as of November 1st, 2020:

  • $26,043.60 Invested.
  • $10,045.83 In Savings.
  • No HSA yet, will get one Oct. 2022.
  • -$149,094.24 Total Debt.
  • We are both still working full time.

Total amount needed to reach Partial F.I. Goals: $243,004.81

Thanks for reading! I’ll continue to post updates on our goals!

10 Ways to Drastically Cut your Spending:

Cutting your spending may seem hard because it feels like you’re taking away things that bring you joy, but is that true? I’m sure you’ve regretted buying something many times, but can you think of a time you really regretted not buying something? (other than experiences like travel). For most people, the answer is no.

Once you realize saying no to buying that unnecessary décor piece, that new tool that you’ll use once, the new iphone, etc. actually brings you a step closer to your dream life, everything changes. Saying no to buying things & saving money turns into a pleasurable and rewarding experience. You are now $20, $200, or $1,000+ closer to your financial goals, which may be retirement, being debt free, or having an emergency fund to give you peace of mind. Not to mention it has been scientifically proven that having less things actually brings humans more joy (and it’s better for the environment to be consuming less).

Try to be mindful of what is truly most important to you in life and how you can use money to focus on what matters most to you. Examples: Time with Friends and Family, Travel, Having a Child, etc. It is also very important to focus on Gratitude. Be grateful for everything you already have. One of my favorite quotes is: “Remember when you wanted what you currently have.”

So let’s get into the ways you can stop wasting your hard earned money… (in no particular order):

  • 1: Any Insurance that is not home, life, auto, or health, is pretty much a rip off. Get rid of your phone insurance, pet insurance, warranties, etc. Instead, take that money you would be spending on those types of insurance and put it in a savings account. I can almost guarantee by the time you need the insurance, you will have saved up enough to just pay for it yourself. Often these types of insurance still come with a deductible and/or coinsurance or other hidden fees that end up making it not worth it at all. For the necessary insurance, shop around to find the best deal.
  • 2. Go through your online banking and see if there are any unused or unnecessary subscriptions you can get rid of. Now if you love Netfilx and use it very frequently, keep it! I’m talking about things you maybe forgot about or could easily live without, like your gym membership that you swear you are going to use one day! Additional Examples: car washes, beauty subscription boxes, Amazon Prime, etc.
  • 3. Since we are on the topic of subscriptions, if you are subscribed to Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix because you have different shows/movies you like to watch on all of them, consider rotating your subscriptions. Example: Pay for Netflix in March, then pay for Hulu in April, then Disney+ in May, then repeat the cycle. This way, you are only paying for one at a time, but still get to enjoy all of your shows. If you live somewhere that has a long, cold Winter (like where I live, in MN), consider canceling most or all of your subscriptions in the summer when you’ll be able to do more outside, then add them back during the winter months while you’re hibernating. Same can be said for other things like car washes, wash your own car in the summer in your driveway, and pay for them in the winter so you don’t need to get out of your car when its 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Cars need it more in the winter anyway because of the salt and sand, not as much in the summer, also rain is a free car wash.
  • 4. When you’re in the store or online shopping and you see something you want and are contemplating buying it, don’t buy it right away. Leave it where it is. If you are going about your business a couple days later and are still thinking about it, go buy it, but chances are you will totally forget about it. Only buy things you LOVE and are going to get a lot of use out of.
  • 5. If you have cable and/or a landline, it’s 2020. There is no need for these anymore, unless you do not get service at your residence. With Hulu or YouTube extensions you can get cable shows for a fraction of the cost.
  • 6. Any money spent on things that are truly terrible for your health: cigarettes, vapes, alcohol, drugs, and even soda. These are all expensive and very bad for you, so if you’re not addicted, please stop wasting your money on these things. If you are addicted, try to find a healthier habit to replace your unhealthy one with and consult a medical professional. Stop putting toxic things in your body & drink water.
  • 7. Anything done in a salon. Because of the pandemic, a lot of people had to start dying/cutting/waxing their own hair, doing their own nails, etc. I suggest you keep this up after the pandemic is over. Unless you LOVE this and seriously do not have time to do it yourself. Cutting your own hair may be a stretch, but I know you can do your own nails and other hair removal at home.
  • 8. Look into Refinancing any debt you have. Interest rates are at an all time low so now is the best time. This can save you tens of thousands of dollars over time.
  • 9. Stick to the grocery store. My husband and I totally wasted thousands of dollars over the last 4 years by eating out, it’s really just not worth it most of the time. We still eat out, just 95% less than we used to, the pandemic “helped” with this as well. If you want ice cream, don’t go to Dairy Queen, just buy a tub of ice cream at the store and have 10 servings for the price of one at DQ.
  • 10. You don’t need a new phone or a new car every year or every couple years. If what you have works, stick with it. Be grateful you even have a car or phone.

Now what are you going to do with all the money you save? Invest it! Pay down debt! I suggest following my 10 Step Plan to Financial Freedom.

Other Helpful Posts:

September 2020 Financial Update:

Hello October! This is probably my favorite month. I love Autumn, the changing leaves, Halloween, and so many of my favorite people have Birthdays in this month! Today, I am sharing our September Financial Update. We have some major updates to our financial goals that I will be sharing in this post. We pretty much decided that we want to accomplish Partial Financial Independence rather than Total F.I. Once we do this, I am going to stop working my full time job, to work on my own business, and my husband is going to work about 25 hours a week. That’s it. We do not really care to fully stop working, but just work much less and when we want to.

I know there are going to be people that will say: “WeLL ThAts Not TEChniCaLLY FIRE tHeN. YoU’Re StIll WoRKinG.” Yes, but F.I.R.E. is a totally personal journey. For us, the goal is to work less and to have more freedom and flexibility in our day-to-day life.

Our Plan to become Mostly Financially Independent:

  1. Max out our Roth IRA & HSA contributions annually, while completing the following steps:
  2. Focus all of our extra money on paying off the house.
  3. Hit our goal of $30,000 in savings, while completing a lot of our travel goals.
  4. We mostly retire. I work on a business of my own (or just not work) & my husband goes part time. We will also probably have a kid around this time.

Currently, our monthly expenses to survive, plus a tiny bit extra, are $3,000/month, so $36,000/year. When we pay off all of our debt (House & Car), Our Monthly Expenses would be $1,460/month or $17,520/year. We want to have a child (probably) some day though, so I am adding an extra $540/month to our post-F.I. expenses just to be safe and make room for that, which totals to $2,000/month or $24,000/year. I’m estimating $540 a month for a child because we will not need to pay for childcare at all, will buy things second-hand, and receive gifts from others. We want to keep working full time until we have a child. After that, we want to focus most of our time and energy on them.

If my husband works 25 hours a week (post F.I.) that will provide us about $25,000 a year of income & we will have $ invested as well, which will provide some extra income, if we choose to withdraw from our accounts. So, Our Post F.I. Income will be $25,000/year. Which means we will easily be able to survive on just my husband’s part time income, plus extra spending money if I make any money, or money from our investments. Also, our total investments will go up by about 7% annually, because we are planning on not touching our investments to just let them grow.

The main concern is paying off our house & car, because after that we can survive on half the amount of money we do now. When our house is paid off we are mostly financially independent!

The first few years after “F.I.” we are going to try our best to keep our spending low & not travel since we will hopefully have a little one. (This is like 4+ years form now haha) We are planning to do most of our traveling in 2021-2025, after COVID and pre-having a child. (Side Note: when we reach our goal F.I. numbers/have a child we are going to go down to one car, cut out even more expenses, & sell a lot of our stuff)

I’m very excited about this new plan and have a good feeling about it! I think this is going to work a lot better for us than total F.I.R.E.

Our NEW Goal Partial Financial Independence Numbers:

  • $100,000+ invested as extra money.
  • $30,000+ In Savings for Emergencies/Baby Fund.
  • An HSA we are Maxing out every year while working for Medical Expenses. (No specific Goal Number)
  • $0 Personal Debt- No Mortgage or Car Payment brings down our expenses a ton ($1,540/month).
  • With husband & I working part time.

Our Current Numbers as of October 1st, 2020:

  • $24,550.76 Invested.
  • $10,042.43 In Savings.
  • No HSA yet, will get one Oct. 2022.
  • -$150,727.07 Total Debt.
  • We are both still working full time.

Total amount needed to reach Partial F.I. Goals: $246,133.88

As always, thank you for reading! I’m excited to track & post our financial journey.

August 2020 Financial Update:

Hello! Hope you are all well. In our personal life, August has been kind of crazy, too much going on. I can’t wait until I’m “done” with my education so I can just focus on work and reconnecting with loved ones. At least this month we did not really spend a lot like we did back in July.

Our Goal Financial Independence Numbers:

  • $900,000 Invested to cover our Living Expenses. -We do not need this much invested if my husband continues to stick to his plan of wanting to work part time when we reach F.I. We will really only need about $600,000 invested in order for me to stop working and for my husband to go part time. He really enjoys his job because he gets to move around all day & he likes the people he works with.
  • $150,000 In Savings for Market Crashes or Emergencies.
  • An HSA we are Maxing out every year while working for Medical Expenses. (No specific Goal Number)
  • $0 Personal Debt- No Mortgage or Car Payment brings down our expenses a ton ($1,540/mo).

Our Current Numbers as of September 1st, 2020:

  • $23,539.55 Invested.
  • $10,039.23 In Savings.
  • No HSA yet, will get one Oct. 2022.
  • -$151,664 Total Debt.

Total amount needed to reach F.I. Goals: $1,168,085.22

As always, thank you for reading! I’m excited to track & post our financial journey.