It was very overwhelming as I started to dive into the world of FIRE – people were so hard core! They rejoiced in being frugal and had insane savings rate. They sold their cars and bought bicycles. They sold their homes & downsized. They moved to different cities with a lower cost of living. They pursued side hustles to increase their income. They exchanged ideas on how to save on tertiary education. They reduced their living expenses. They sold things they no longer needed. Their meals cost $2 per meal – wow!
But the one thing that stood out for me was that they were happy while pursuing this path. They were happy eschewing consumerism, the need to keep up with the Joneses next door. They were happy with a lot less material stuff. They spent time doing what they enjoyed – activities that were free such as hiking. They were happy doing things for themselves instead of outsourcing.
My first thought was there was no way I could be that hard core. I’ve always had a fear of cycling in traffic. The last time I cycled was on a holiday in the Hunter Valley where we hired bikes to cycle between vineyards. What a fun thing to do, except I fell off my bike at least a dozen times between the first and second vineyard (which was a short distance from each other). I was ecstatic when the heavens opened up and the bike hire company offered to pick us up and refunded our money – I was spared the ordeal of cycling to another 4 vineyards.
I am very fortunate as I have the use of a company car so my car costs are nil, yes zero. That means I save on car registration, insurance, fuel and maintenance costs. I have not calculated the exact dollar savings over the last twenty years or so but my best guess would be thousands of dollars. Plus I live 15 minutes from my workplace which means I don’t have a long commute. So I think I can safely leave bicycling out of the picture … for now. Note to self – may need to explore biking as a recreation … or to prepare for my retirement when I no longer have use of a company car. Hmmm …. it may be easier to save money to buy a second hand car.
I have paid off my mortgage so at least my housing costs are neutral from now on except for ongoing maintenance. Another note to self – must set aside some money to budget for this expense. House maintenance can be costly as evidenced by my recent expense of new fences. I have no wish right now to downsize to a smaller abode even though I acknowledge that my house is larger than I need it to be. The goal of FIRE will take longer to reach, as a consequence.
The two biggest expenses incurred by most of us are housing and transportation. I am very grateful that in my case, expenses in these two major categories are under control. I just need to work on the other areas of my life …