We started on our FIRE journey one year ago this month. Since then, we have paid off thousands of dollars in credit card and student loan debt and invested many more thousands in retirement accounts and a personal taxable account. How did we do this? We buckled down, threw our budget out the window and spent on only things that were valuable to us, ate a lot more meals at home, and adjusted our entertainment monies down to almost nothing. I even started making my own coffee at home…GASP.
AND GUESS WHAT!
…we haven’t noticed the sacrifices, but we have certainly noticed the rewards. A year of living an ultra frugal lifestyle has taught us that we don’t need everything our friends and co-workers have. The funny thing is, not only do we not need it, we actually don’t want it anymore. We much prefer no debt and plenty of money in investments over more STUFF.
Our Frugal Play Book
So how did we finish our ultra frugal year with so much success? Here’s a quick and dirty list…
-We stopped buying crap we don’t need – I’m lookin’ at you, tissues boxes and shaving cream!
-We started to analyze the purpose of each purchase
-We combined trips
-We entertained ourselves
–We cut the cord…and watched a lot of Netflix!
-We cooked our meals at home and took the leftovers to work
-Whenever we got the urge to go out to eat and decided to stay in and cook, we will transferred that amount of money we would have spent on dining out into our investment account. Gimme a high-five!
We Even Did A HUGE Home Renovation
Yeah, remember the reason I started this blog in the first place? (Answer: We almost purchased a huge house we couldn’t comfortably afford). During our first year of ultra frugal living, we decided NOT to move and to love the home we already had. We made up our frugal minds to finish the square footage wasting away in our basement and put in new flooring on the main floor. WOW, what a difference! This wasn’t cheap by any means, however, we got the bigger house we felt we needed, and some high-end finishes in the Hellish 6-month long process. The best part was paying for these improvements with CASH. What a feeling! The cash we were going to fritter away on a down payment last year went to make our current home the place where we want to raise our Mini Monster. Not only did we get EVERYTHING we wanted in a home, the value significantly increased, our mortgage stayed the same, and our taxes only jumped by a couple hundred dollars each year – because we had everything permitted. Ooh Rah! Look for the dirty details on the renovation in a post later this week!
Here’s To Year #2 Of Frugal Living!
We cannot wait to embark on our second year of frugal living. Our focus right now is paying off our Mazda 3 – we were going to pay this off before the student loan but decided to knock out the higher interest debt first. We have a measly $7k left on the car loan, so hopefully it fades fast. After that we’ll be in the FIRE fast lane, focusing solely on our mortgage and investments. Early retirement, you can’t run forever! We will catch you!
Tell us how you plan to live a frugal lifestyle this coming year. We’d love to hear your tips and tricks!
As always, Mad Money Cat encourages you to read Our Story and use the super convenient social media buttons to spread the LOVE!