42 Changes to FI

42 Changes to FI

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42 changes we made after we discovered FIRE

I see the Light!

When my husband and I found the FIRE community in 2018, it was as though a fog had lifted and we were seeing clearly for the first time. At this point we were in our late 40’s and the actual hope of retirement, or at least walking away from jobs that were no longer providing joy in our lives, seemed like a possibility. 

I went pretty hard core and looked at everything that we were spending, saving, doing and not doing and decided to make little changes to a lot of things in our life. I came up with a list of 42 things that we changed in 2019 and was amazed at the impact that small, incremental, compounding changes could make in our financial and personal life. (I tried for 50 things, but underachieved on that, sorry!) 

If you want to ready the full write up on this journey, check out my guest blog post at Budgets are Sexy

42 Changes to FI

  1. Changed cell phone plans – saved 75%. Changed from AT&T to Mint Mobile
  2. Cut grocery bill by 32% from prior year, which was down 56% from 2016.
  3. Reduced car gas costs.
  4. Maxed out both of our job 401K plans.
  5. Our side hustles covered our expenses.
  6. Canceled cable – 100% savings!
  7. Got rid of our land telephone line – 100% savings!
  8. Did not get a new phone when I cracked my screen & had it replaced instead – 91% savings.
  9. Canceled my fixed annuity and transferred the money to Vanguard – priceless!
  10. Opened Vanguard retirement accounts and moved all other brokerage accounts to VTSAX.
  11. Started travel rewards with the Chase Gauntlet.
  12. Signed up for Couchsurfing. We hosted & did our first Couchsurf.
  13. Pet sitting on the Trusted Housesitters platform. We did 7 pet sits in 2019.
  14. Started an Etsy store as a mini-experiment to test if I could sell something online. My Etsy shop are silly ice breaker games for parties & events.
  15. Started a blog Meet Up Group in Los Angeles.
  16. Signed up for term life insurance for me and my husband.
  17. Paid off my car loan = 100% savings!
  18. Changed internet providers and got 2X the speed for the same price. Went from AT&T to Spectrum.
  19. Canceled my 3rd party disability policy.
  20. Canceled Netflix.
  21. Paid off all our credit cards.
  22. Replaced greeting cards & birthday cards with a free alternative.
  23. Reduced my gift spending by making homemade gifts vs buying gifts.
  24. Urban foraging in our neighborhood.
    • Picked & cured olives
    • Picked tons of fruit and made homemade jam that we used for gifts
  25. Reduced our car insurance by 22%. Went from Allstate to Mercury Insurance. 
  26. Shopped homeowners insurance and reduced it by 29%. Went from Allstate to Mercury Insurance. Used Policy Genius here as well. 
  27. Shopped a new umbrella policy.
  28. Changed how we hosted parties and went to potluck style gatherings.
  29. Worked on getting our food costs down to $2 per person per meal.
  30. Started decluttering our house.
  31. Date night at Total Wine & More where they have wine & beer tastings for $0.05!
  32. Instead of going out to eat at a restaurant, we would do a picnic in a park instead.
  33. We like rice & beans!
  34. We did a Hyatt Place points redemption at New Year’s for some friends that was 12,000 points for a $650/night hotel room!
  35. Used travel points for our Christmas travel.
  36. Hit $1M in net worth, including our side hustle.
  37. Reduced our electric bill by hang drying our clothes, hand washing dishes, and pet sitting (so we were not around as much).
  38. Made our own heirloom grass-fed yogurt. Way cheaper than store bought. I love this brand, it is super easy and no heating up of the milk, countertop method. 
  39. Continued to make our own bread and granola. 
    • Bread: I love the no-knead bread recipes out there. So easy & good!
    • Granola: I just mix oats, honey, peanut butter, and salt for my granola. 
  40.  Achieved a 50%+ savings rate.
  41. Signed up on Personal Capital & Mint to track our net worth
  42. 1 Bucket Budgeting. We pay ourselves $4,000 per month and live off of that. We have a cushion in that account for unusual expenses or 1x per year expenses that might hit in a month, but it all shakes out by the end of the year. 

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3 Responses

  1. Wow! I’d forgotten all those things. Amazing that I don’t miss any of the changes or feel like our quality of life is any lower:). Still enjoying every day with you!!

  2. Great blog. Are you both (husband) retired beyond the side hustle? Do you detail (blog post) anywhere how you’re funding your retirement. I see you have a $1M networth and are living on $4K a month – not sure if that is withdrawals or side hustle or otherwise?

    1. Thanks! Appreciate it. No we are not living off of our investments yet and our side hustle is funding (more than funding) our living right now, which is great, so we can still invest in the market. I have not blogged about that yet, but will put that on my list to write about, thanks! Love your site & especially the Stat on the hourly rate your dividends are kicking off! Great reframe!

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