Author Topic: First steps: What were your top three changes?  (Read 4220 times)

lookingforadelorean

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First steps: What were your top three changes?
« on: July 19, 2019, 04:26:58 PM »
I'm curious what decisions you made that got big results early on. Downsizing a house? Selling stuff? Getting a second job? I'd love to hear about some of the larger financial pushes!

Bee21

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2019, 04:58:44 PM »
Tracking spending (yeah, I know, not rocket science. It is depressing but it helps)
Treating savings like a bill that needs to be paid (it is the first line in my budget. I highly recommend it)
Annualised expenses (ie 20 per day for lunch is 100 a week= 5200 per year. That was scary. The latte factor is real.)

I was never in debt apart from a mortgage, so I never had to do anything drastic. But these always kept me out of trouble.

lookingforadelorean

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2019, 05:08:56 PM »
Tracking spending (yeah, I know, not rocket science. It is depressing but it helps)
Treating savings like a bill that needs to be paid (it is the first line in my budget. I highly recommend it)
Annualised expenses (ie 20 per day for lunch is 100 a week= 5200 per year. That was scary. The latte factor is real.)

I was never in debt apart from a mortgage, so I never had to do anything drastic. But these always kept me out of trouble.

Yes! I've found myself annualizing everything lately. That's very helpful!

CharlesBronzee

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2019, 05:35:59 PM »
Resisting the urge to move up to a bigger house. Fighting consumerism.  Not really mustachian, but significantly increasing our household income which has allowed us to pay down our debt faster and increase our savings rate.

Mariposa

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2019, 07:39:37 PM »
We are fairly high income and live in a HCOLA, so:
1. Understanding taxes and making use of: 401k, 457, backdoor Roth, dependent care FSA, etc etc.
2. Putting everything in simple index funds & not worrying about it.
3. Cutting the services we weren't using: cable TV, Netflix, expensive cell service, subscriptions, etc: painless changes annualized for perpetuity.

Cannot Wait!

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2019, 08:03:41 PM »
Good question!
1.  Airbnbing a room in my house, which led to a long term tenant, which led to cutting my house into 2 apartments.
2.  Getting a side gig.
3.  In the early days I literally just stopped spending money.  My entertainment was reading these forums!  Thank dog they are so enlightening and entertaining.
Then selling crap and negotiating bills.
Oh yeah, saying goodbye to my clown car and hello to my bicycle.

3+years FIREd and I'm not so hard core on the cycling and I spend more money on fluff now but still rent, have a great little side gig,, still selling crap, negotiating bills ...and enjoying the forums.  ;)

Zikoris

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2019, 10:40:35 PM »
I was always a minimalist environmentalist hippy, so there really weren't a ton of changes needed for FIRE. In fact, I really only did about three things total, let alone three "top" things:

1. Tracking spending in complete detail
2. Cutting home grocery delivery (literally weekly delivery into my kitchen... fucking lol)
3. Getting a "real" job instead of random shitty McJobs

That was literally all I did, nothing else changed, and my savings rate shot up over 60% pretty much immediately. I've since just maintained that.

red_pill

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2019, 10:44:55 PM »
Annualizing expenses is good for small, repeated purchases.   But I also calculate the monthly cost of large expenses.  $2,000 for a laptop that lasts five years doesn't sound like a lot, but its $33 a month.  When I do that with my TV, cell phone, furniture and other big ticket items it forces me to see the monthly impact and lets me better compare it to my monthly income in a meaningful way.  I know it's weird but it helps me pierce my default BS justifications.

happy

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2019, 02:28:44 AM »
I don't cope with sudden rapid change that well, I do better with a slow and steady approach. So I didn't do a mustachian 180, I  chipped away at it.

1. The biggest and first thing I did was track and projected expenses initially using an old budgeting program I had.
2. I kept trying to reduce and improve ...paying special attention to frequently recurring expenses whether big or small. I didn't do it all at once, but I did try to renegotiate/shop around for better rates for things like utilities as bills came due. If there were things I couldn't didn't want to give up I tried my rule of halves - spent half as much or the same amount half as often
3. I did "no spend" challenges on a variety of things eg using up everything in the pantry, no buying clothes - I went nearly 3 years without buying any new clothes.

Hirondelle

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2019, 03:36:04 AM »
My spending was already low when I found MMM, but the concept of FIRE was completely new to me.

I'm the first college educated person in a working class family, so my changes were more investement income related:
- Learning how to invest. I always considered investing in stocks scary because I thought it was something for rich people, never heard of ETFs!
- Learn about ways to increase my income and career growth in general.
- Keep housing costs low. I moved to a new city shortly after finding MMM and rather than getting a studio I decided to stick with a room in a shared student house. The $200/month that's saved by that really makes a huge impact at my income level.

Freedomin5

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2019, 04:50:43 AM »
We...

1. Decided to live on one income (the lower income)
2. Learned about index investing and ETFs, then opened a self-directed taxable account
3. Paid ourselves first by transferring monthly income into our savings accounts as soon as we receive it, then living off the (generous) remainder.

Brother Esau

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2019, 07:54:30 AM »
1. Slashed grocery spending. Went from over $200/wk to about $90/wk.

2. Increased savings into 457b and HSA. Should be maxed out with next pay increase.

3. Stopped paying extra to the mortgage. At 3.25%, it was not optimal.

4. Switched from a clown car to a higher quality more fuel efficient one.

5. Changed jobs. Was all about improved quality of life. Reduction in pay yet we're saving way more now due to learning the ways of MMM.

Sorry, I know you asked for 3....
« Last Edit: July 25, 2019, 07:01:41 AM by Brother Esau »

Ladychips

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2019, 08:12:10 AM »
I’m genetically frugal and so have always spent less than we’ve earned and saved some along the way. 

But about 3 years ago, I decided I wanted to retire as soon as possible instead of working until my full retirement age (I have a pension).  In order to do that, I did the following things:

Started maxing out my 403B, and quickly followed that with talking my husband into maxing out his 403b.

Started tracking our expenses.  How else could I know what I needed in retirement?  And as a function of that, our expenses have gone down (and continue to do so)

Reading, learning, asking…reading some more, learning some more, and asking some more…that still continues…

Since doing these three things, our net worth has skyrocketed (a screaming market certainly has helped).  Two more years for us to retire!

Rosy

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2019, 08:45:36 AM »
I was looking for help with Mr. R's retirement plans - that was easy, we made a few investment adjustments and discussed strategy - done.
My own finances were of little consequence, I was already working on it and doing just fine or so I thought.

1. Change in perspective - looking back four and a half years I see that I had given up on improving my own financial future.
Over time - I realized I could do more than just paying off my debts and saving up for a long-overdue new (used) car.

2. Tackled my jewelry buying and gemstone collection in a yearlong 2018 challenge thread. Huge relief:).

End Game for me is January 2020
All my goals will be met and then some - incl that new car, a two-month bucket list trip to Europe, elective medical procedures and helping family.
My new budget as of Jan 1, 2020 will allow for $600 plus discretionary income ea mo - life will be good:).

I'll still be coasting to reach $100K in three years via auto pay but no more scrimping and saving, just comfortable retirement living.

Just in time for Mr. R's retirement in 3yrs, together we will have $40K each in annual income, $750K and a paid-for house.
Debt-free retirement into the Florida sunset:).

I do credit the inspiration, support, education found on this forum for finding a financial path that I no longer thought possible.
 

wenchsenior

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2019, 09:23:43 AM »
Tracking spending and saving, EVERY DOLLAR in and out of the house, and then GRAPHING the trends of the most important categories.  It took a couple of years before I could really see where our money was going.  And it turns out I am very motivated by visual evidence of our spending and saving. It's been 10+ years and I'm still graphing. 

Staying in our modest starter home, even as our income more than doubled.  This has allowed us a lot of flexibility, financially. And boy, there have been some crunch periods where we really needed that flexibility. We've been in this house for almost 20 years.

Keeping cars forever/living with one car.  We do buy our cars near-new, but we keep them 20+ years, barring accident (like when our car was totaled by someone running a red light last year). And for the past 8 years, we've been living with one car only.  It's occasionally very annoying, but it is a lot cheaper.

Automating investments, and throwing most of every increase in income into the investments rather than inflating our lifestyle.

« Last Edit: July 20, 2019, 09:27:22 AM by wenchsenior »

lookingforadelorean

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2019, 10:16:29 AM »
These answers are so inspirational. I’m gaining heaps of ideas/knowledge. Thank you! Full disclosure: @Freedomin5 I had to google ETF’s. ;-)

@wenchsenior Do you use your own system or something else for tracking? I haven’t found something I love yet.

FIRE 20/20

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2019, 12:56:37 PM »
1. Change in perspective

I only have one, and it is essentially the same as @Rosy 's.  I was always a saver, and understood enough to start saving a good portion (20%) of my income immediately after getting my first real job and quickly ramped that up to 40%.  But after I found MMM I made the mental switch to realize that after a certain point spending more money really didn't improve my life.  Whenever I get the urge to splurge I am better able to recognize it for what it is - temporary infatuation - that if acted upon won't actually improve my life.  Usually the urge goes away, but occasionally I decide that the purchase is really worth the money, and when that happens I happily buy whatever it is.  But breaking the link between happiness and spending money was the biggest game changer for me.  That took me from ~40% savings to ~60% and dropped my FIRE number significantly. 

wenchsenior

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2019, 01:37:59 PM »
These answers are so inspirational. I’m gaining heaps of ideas/knowledge. Thank you! Full disclosure: @Freedomin5 I had to google ETF’s. ;-)

@wenchsenior Do you use your own system or something else for tracking? I haven’t found something I love yet.

I just created an Excel spreadsheet variant of the graph in Your Money or Your Life, and do everything by hand (save all receipts, and enter them every couple days).  But then, I'm also the sort of late-adopter that still has never had a smart phone or used Twitter, etc.  YMMV.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2019, 06:49:17 PM »
1) stopped spending money on mindless entertainment (expensive bar nights, $30 movie theatre nights, six flags, etc)
2) found cheap/free hobbies instead (MTB, running, swimming, hiking, etc)
3) gamified spending money (shopping used/freecycle vs. buying new, shopping sales when I had to buy new, etc)

ozbeach

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2019, 07:21:03 PM »

1) Maxed out my retirement accounts every year
2) Doubled-down and paid out my mortgage early (I'm in Australia, so the math works here)
3) Moved from a HCOL area and downsized my house, investing the difference in a low-cost fund

Things I've always done:
- deferred purchases for as long as possible to see if I really want/need the thing
- rarely eat out
- take my own lunch to work
- pay for a car in cash and drive it into the ground
- track my spending / budgeting

WGH

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2019, 03:38:21 PM »
1. Downsized from a $300k house to a $200k house. Smaller mortgage and utility bills are an afterthought.

2. Got out of debt. Went from two car payments to 1 paid off car. No more CC payments. This made the biggest difference to me and the main reason I escaped the paycheck to paycheck cycle. Also cut cable. Just Netflix now.

3. Limited the eating out and really question what you buy. Will I use it a lot? Does it really make me happy? The older I get I really don't want much of anything. The few things I do want I don't feel bad about spending on because I'm not nickeling and diming on crap.

RunningMan3

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2019, 08:59:14 PM »
  • Cutting the cable
  • Tracking all spending in a spreadsheet
  • Switching cell phone carries to Google Fi (me) and Ting (wife)
  • Buying a set of hair clippers/scissors: I have 3 boys, and now my wife cuts the kids and my hair. She watched a YouTube video and is starting to get good at it. We calculated almost $960 dollars annually savings.

Igelfreundin

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2019, 09:15:56 PM »
1. Sold my beloved, gas-guzzling Mini Cooper convertible and bought something that got great gas mileage.
2. Quit going out to eat as a regular thing and now it's a very rare treat.
3. Since then, when I've moved jobs, I have highly prioritized having a short commute, preferably by bike.

Enviado desde mi LM-V350 mediante Tapatalk


YoungGranny

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2019, 06:45:24 AM »
1. Prioritized paying off student loans within a year of graduating - I know the math says if the interest rate is less than 7% you'd be better investing but paying off 20k in a year when I made 50k meant that I learned pretty quickly how to get my savings rate to 50%. After that year I was basically already on the path to FIRE without realizing it.
2. Instead of spending money on a wedding, we took the 30k we saved and bought our first rental property.
3. Never listened to the mortgage broker when they told me how much I could afford & therefore my mortgage is at 12% of our net pay versus the 50% they'll qualify you for.

Greystache

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #24 on: July 23, 2019, 07:52:02 AM »
I'll add one that I haven't seen so far.
I fired my financial adviser and learned to manage my own finances. This saved me thousands of dollars a year.  Along the same lines, I started really looking at investment fees and expenses.

DadJokes

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2019, 08:03:11 AM »
1) Long term mindset - in 20 years, what will I wish I had done?
2) What are my values and what brings happiness?
3) Pay myself first - start with a 50% savings rate, and budget household expenses from there. If I can't do 50%, how can I get to it?

pachnik

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #26 on: July 23, 2019, 08:12:50 AM »
1.  started tracking my spending - I just use an Excel spreadsheet.  Still doing it 6 years later because it keeps me on track
2.  stopped eating lunch out 2-3X a week- and stopped buying coffee in the morning on the way to work
3.   examined ongoing expenses

ozbeach

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #27 on: July 23, 2019, 02:30:11 PM »
I'll add one that I haven't seen so far.
I fired my financial adviser and learned to manage my own finances. This saved me thousands of dollars a year.  Along the same lines, I started really looking at investment fees and expenses.
oh yes! Having a financial planner had me treading water for five years following all his advice (he did well out of it of course!)  When I was $25K in the hole I left him and went back to the simple old fashioned way of spending less than you earn and things started to turn around.

BlueHouse

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #28 on: July 26, 2019, 08:48:03 AM »
Great question! 

1.  I simplified nearly everything I do financially.    Being able to step back to see the big picture was key for me.
 Investment / Expense tracking -- (I've used Quicken for decades, but I used to have a category for everything and nothing looked like an outlier.  It was so detailed I couldn't see the forest for the trees.  I followed arebelspy's advice and combined many of my expense categories into "discretionary".  This made a huge impact on seeing how much I was spending on all of those little items.

2.  Simplified my investment portfolios by combining them.  I hadn't really understood investing before, so combining all of my separate accounts (old IRAs, taxable investments, etc.) into one vanguard account showed me information that I could actually analyze.  I also reduced the number of funds I had into just 3 index funds (the lazy man portfolio).  This stopped me from losing money on fees for trades and also from locking in losses. 

3.  I created a spreadsheet that shows my master financial plan.  It has a starting year and every row is one year until I reach 100.  Columns are my major funding accounts and assets and liabilities (401K, Vanguard, Roth, CDs, mortgage 1, mortgage 2).  I add or subtract from each fund as I move through the year and plan my future withdrawal strategies in the same manner.  The workbook has many tabs with many different tracking features (including MDM's Cashflow), and I compare to FireCalc and cFiresim on a regular basis to ensure that my calculations are within family to others.  But this master plan helps me see that if I save an additional $20K this year, then that can translate into another year that I'm funded on the back end.  It's very motivating to me.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2019, 09:09:43 AM by BlueHouse »

koshtra

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #29 on: July 26, 2019, 09:12:31 AM »
1. Stopped eating at restaurants
2. Stopped driving to work

Those two cut my daily spending by $26, annual spending by $10,000. All the sudden I had plenty of leftover money for investing. And all the sudden 600K was plenty of money to FIRE on -- easily supported my expenses -- which meant I was almost home.

I made other changes, but none with anything like the same financial impact.


BECABECA

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #30 on: July 26, 2019, 10:27:00 AM »
After finding MMM, my top 3 changes were:
1. Automate monthly purchases of Vanguard index funds. Once I started doing this my net worth really started to grow.
2. Drop down to being a one car family.
3. Buy a house within biking distance to work, grocery, entertainment

Before finding MMM, my top 3 things I’ve always done were:
1. Max pre-tax retirement contributions
2. Buy used cars in cash and drive them until they completely died
3. Save more than you spend

Prairie Stash

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #31 on: July 26, 2019, 10:58:18 AM »
The biggest change, like others, was perspective. Once it clicked that I could retire at 45, everything else just happened.

Because of the perspective change it jump started all the other changes. It created an energy in me to look seriously at maxing out all accounts, to slash recurring bills and alter behaviour. I printed off a spreadsheet 5 years ago that forecast my NW using average returns and saving (at the time) aggressively. It tuns out that I could save more and spend a lot less than I thought and I beat all my projections. Once the mindset embraces frugality then everything else follows.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #32 on: July 29, 2019, 10:38:49 AM »
We stopped going to WalMart and Target.  Just stopped, cold turkey.  I had no idea how much money we frittered away at those stores until then.  Now we go maybe once a month, and it is to get something specific.  (Of course, now I have to figure out how to keep my husband off Amazon.)

We also took a good hard look at what we wanted our life to look like.  That's what finally allowed me to get rid of cable.  I don't want to be a family that sits on the couch and watches tv all day.  I want to be a family that does things together.  Now we do more together.

As part of all of this, we did a huge purge of the house last year.  We got rid of around 30% of our stuff.  When we had less stuff, it seemed we lost a lot of the urge to accumulate more stuff.  I'm doing a smaller purge this year, chipping away at what we store, and slowly changing our attitudes around what we need to have.


SunnyDays

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #33 on: July 29, 2019, 11:19:29 AM »
1. Putting money into retirement accounts as soon as I got my first career job at 25.
2. Except for mortgage and 1st car, saving up for everything instead of putting it on credit or taking out a loan.
3. Paying myself first (in addition to the retirement savings) and living off the rest.

There are other things of course, but those are the ones that really provided the foundation for FI.  (No RE due to golden handcuffs of defined benefit pension.)  Haven't ever had to worry about money.  And that removes at least 50 % of life's stresses.

nburns

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #34 on: July 29, 2019, 12:15:34 PM »
1. Sold my clown car Jeep Wrangler and used the extra cash to max my HSA and put more into other retirement accounts.
2. Read a ton of investment books and adhered to the MMM forum "investment order".
3. Cut out all unnecessary consumerism purchases.

pachnik

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #35 on: July 29, 2019, 12:16:41 PM »
We stopped going to WalMart and Target.  Just stopped, cold turkey.  I had no idea how much money we frittered away at those stores until then.  Now we go maybe once a month, and it is to get something specific.  (Of course, now I have to figure out how to keep my husband off Amazon.)

Yes, I was a huge fritterer of $$$ before I came across this blog + forum.  I didn't buy big ticket items but money just leaked from me in dribs and drabs all day long.  A take-out coffee here, maybe a scone, a snack for the train ride home...

thesis

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #36 on: July 29, 2019, 02:23:24 PM »
1) Downsized (sort of) from my own apartment to renting a room from a friend, saving me $600/month.

2) Started maxing out 401k, Roth IRA, HSA. Amazing how fast that money adds up.

3) No more aimless saving. I saved enough before, but it was more of a "little here, little there" mentality. It lured me into a false sense of frugality, but I think I was bleeding money all over the place, I just happened to be saving enough that I thought my habits were healthy

Hula Hoop

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #37 on: July 30, 2019, 04:49:59 AM »
-started bringing lunch to work every single day and minimizing eating out to 1-2 times a month
-cut way down on clothes shopping and other mindless shopping such as books (using the library instead)
-optimized various bills ie. got rid of subscriptions we don't use, switched to a cheaper cell phone provider, looked for cheaper electricity etc. providers

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #38 on: July 30, 2019, 05:41:43 AM »
1. Actually believing this works and I can do it and then opening up a Vanguard account and putting money in it.

2. Getting rid of my credit card debt

3. Tracking my accounts daily on one spreadsheet so I could actually see the increases and “free” money coming in

Bonus: cutting out wasteful spending and shifting my focus to experiences, not things

nereo

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #39 on: July 30, 2019, 05:59:44 AM »
Annualizing expenses is good for small, repeated purchases.   But I also calculate the monthly cost of large expenses.  $2,000 for a laptop that lasts five years doesn't sound like a lot, but its $33 a month.  When I do that with my TV, cell phone, furniture and other big ticket items it forces me to see the monthly impact and lets me better compare it to my monthly income in a meaningful way.  I know it's weird but it helps me pierce my default BS justifications.

When I first got serious about saving (this was preMMM) I not only tracked my spending but calculated the cost of **everything** to an almost absurd degree for several months.  For example I estimated the cost of my daily commute, and how much my apartment cost me each night/week/year.  For my subscription services I calculated my per-use cost (monthly expense / # of times used per month). I even knew how much running a load in the dishwasher or taking a shower or cooking cost.  Finally I computed how many hours I had to work to pay for each item. It was almost neurotic, but led to some revelations.

  • Holy god my commute was draining my wallet when I factored in all car costs (e.g. depreciation, fuel, repairs)
  • most subscription services weren't worth it - it was cheaper to pay the drop-in rate at the gym (for me), or ultimately just bike
  • I had a ton of fat in my budget - stuff I could cut without it impacting my life one iota
  • Convenience often came with a ridiculous price tag. 
  • Cocktails made at home were half the price of beer.
  • Neither my location nor my rent were worth it.
Such detailed tracking takes a lot of time, and one probably shouldn't do it for their entire life.  But following where every dollar goes is eye opening and puts your spending priorities into better focus.

keepingfocus

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #40 on: July 31, 2019, 09:17:05 AM »
1) Started to tackle hair on fire debt
2) Started tracking every penny which has resulted in drastically cutting spending
3) Joined employer's pension scheme

Still got a LOT of consumer debt but have halved it in two and a half years.
No plans to FIRE, just to continue chipping away at improving our situation.
The biggest effect of the changes to date is the improvement in my mental health.

life_travel

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #41 on: July 31, 2019, 10:41:02 PM »
Annualizing expenses is good for small, repeated purchases.   But I also calculate the monthly cost of large expenses.  $2,000 for a laptop that lasts five years doesn't sound like a lot, but its $33 a month.  When I do that with my TV, cell phone, furniture and other big ticket items it forces me to see the monthly impact and lets me better compare it to my monthly income in a meaningful way.  I know it's weird but it helps me pierce my default BS justifications.

When I first got serious about saving (this was preMMM) I not only tracked my spending but calculated the cost of **everything** to an almost absurd degree for several months.  For example I estimated the cost of my daily commute, and how much my apartment cost me each night/week/year.   
Oh you just reminded me .. Back in 2013 when we jumped on minimalism bandwagon ( before I found MMM) I calculated that it cost us $95 each night to stay in our nice "really too big for us" house . I was shocked .
We are now on our 3rd downsizing step ( happened in stages ) and reading your comment I just calculated that it now cost us $27 per night . MUCH BETTER :)

life_travel

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Re: First steps: What were your top three changes?
« Reply #42 on: August 01, 2019, 01:40:03 AM »
My top 3.

- learning about index funds and realizing that real estate investment is not always a good option.
Therefore offloading bad rentals , downsizing in the process , renting now and putting extra money into ETFs rather than mortgages
- adding pre tax money into retirement accounts , after a while it starts compounding nicely
- tracking every cent . YNAB was life changing ( money wise) for me ! I was never a big spender , rather frugal in everything but travel , however it's that $20-50 purchases that added up . I've budgeted with pen and paper but YNAB REALLY highlighted where we were spending .

Due to bad businesses we had to start from scratch in our 40s ( I always thought I'd retire by then ) but you know .. life throws you curve balls .We have to adapt and move on , I'm happy with progress we made in the last 2-3 years though . All thanks to the changes we made .