We have only just started on our journey towards financial independence (see my previous post for a quick overview of FIRE) so we haven’t yet built good and lasting habits or found a sustainable level when it comes to balancing saving and spending.
Reflecting on last month it feels like we often took one step forward and two steps back. It’s been a struggle at times. It’s also been exciting as we saw the impact of our decisions.
Overall though I think we made great progress in April and are off to a great start.
- Moved to a smaller home, which will hopefully cost less to heat, cool and maintain
- Changed banks and received a $500 signup bonus in the process
- Cancelled our cable subscription and home phone line
- Reviewed our auto insurance, changed insurers and saved ~50% in the process
As a result of lowering our expenses we’ve now set a new baseline for living costs and will be able to save more each month going forward. The pleasing thing is that we’ve stopped drifting through life and now are much more intentional about our finances.
Finding the right balance
It hasn’t been easy though. I’ve felt quite mean and cheap at times reminding my family we couldn’t eat out nearly as often as we used to. My wife has struggled when catching up with friends who just want to go shopping. While I remind myself FIRE isn’t about deprivation, it’s felt like that at times. Change is hard ! This is especially the case when trying to modify decades of old habits and going against the norms of society to consume, consume, consume as we’ve been trained by the advertising industry.
Lots of good little decisions will ultimately add up to something amazing
I’m confident that it will get easier the further into this we get. The freedom enabled by financial independence is so alluring that we’re committed to change. As the saying goes “hard choices easy life, easy choices hard life”.
It’s a given that we’ll sometimes not make the best decisions but we will make small steps forward knowing that the marginal gains will aggregate over time and make a big difference. April wasn’t perfect but it was a good month and we made forward progress despite the occasional slip ups. We did something and I call that a win!
“Motivation doesn’t cause action, action causes motivation”
Thanks for reading
Mr Simple Life