So I've become interested these past several months in frugality, efficiency, simple living, and early retirement. There's a popular blog called Mr. Money Mustache. The author lives in nearby Longmont, CO, and is in many respects very similar to me: tech career, similar age, lives in Colorado, rides a mountain bike, etc. I actually went through all the blog archives chronologically and read the entire thing. I've been more casually following a few other blogs in this vein as well. I've been making some changes to my lifestyle in this regard. Mostly these are small changes, but I thought it would be worthwhile to catalogue some of these changes.
- Refinancing my house from an already good rate on a 15 year fixed rate mortgage to a crazy good rate
- Getting 2 housemates
- they pay the mortgage almost entirely
- Riding a bicycle as my first choice for trips to Boulder and local errands
- This is really fun and is a habit that will surely stick
- I can now bike 25 miles in a day like it's nothing. I can make the 10+ mile trip to downtown boulder in 43 minutes on my road bike
- Getting the vast majority of my groceries and gas at Costco
- Cooked rotisserie chickens at costco: $5, King Soopers: $7, Whole Foods: $9
- cutting way back on restaurant spending
- canceling my personal assistants
- canceling my house cleaner
- Saves me $55/month
- canceling my landscaper
- Saves me $120/month
- Having done this, I'm kicking myself for not having done it sooner. I cut my own grass every week or two borrowing my neighbor's mechanical push mower. It takes a whopping 17 minutes to do the whole property.
- Activating my lawn sprinkler system in the Spring myself instead of paying my landscaper to do it
- Wearing clothes more before washing them
- Being more price aware in general
- My staple meal, which I eat more than a dozen times a week, clocks in under $2.
- I still can't understand how people claim to eat well on $200/month for groceries. I can't even get close to that.
- Reduced my internet bill in half while tripling the speed (this was mostly by dumb luck, but I'll take it)
- changed more light bulbs from incandescent to compact flourescent. Also tried an LED bulb in my bedroom.
- Insulating the garage door
- Installing a programmable thermostat
- Started tracking expenses more closely. Wrote a little program to help me understand my spending on everything on a per-month basis.
Next big tasks on my list are changing banks and increasing my savings rate from where it currently is at somewhere around 50% of my gross income to 60%. I've plugged numbers into an early retirement calculator that says I could retire in less than 8 years. However, I don't really buy that and my investment returns don't quite live up to some of the things I read online. However, I think the possibility of working way less than full time (like only working every other year) is something I could realisically start to think about.