Hey everyone; I'm cambridgecyclist, I'm 37 years old and I stumbled across this blog about two months ago. It really resonated with me since I've already been living well below my means, and it's inspired me to reach a new level of badassity by cutting down expenses even more! The most limited resource I have right now is time; the idea of getting more time to pursue my interests is incredibly appealing.
I live and work in Cambridge, MA. By day I work as a network designer and help build the Internet. I have a side hustle providing web hosting and programming services, which creates a small mostly-passive income stream, pays for my home Internet and cell phone, and generates the occasional lucrative but brief consulting gig. I've been commuting by bicycle for over a decade, with a break of a few years when I moved out of the city for a while. Outside of work I spend time learning new skills or practicing the ones I have. I'd rather create something than passively consume! In the last year I've learned how to TIG weld, built a crazy bicycle with eccentric hubs, built a bike trailer from scratch (in the process learning how to use a hydraulic tubing bender), built several bicycle-mounted stereo systems, learned CAD in order to make a 3D printed control panel for two of those stereo systems, rebuilt a half dozen bikes and sold them on Craig's List (not profitable -- break-even -- but fun), built an irrigated urban garden with ridiculously productive vegetable plants, converted a busted 9 speed bicycle into a slick singlespeed, made a bicycle with an electric plasma taillight and built a custom case for it (learning how to use a bandsaw in the process), and reconditioned a bicycle frame jig with the help of some friends. I've also built three huge workbenches with shelves and one freestanding shelf, picking up some structural carpentry knowledge in the process. I built a ZFS-based file server from mostly spare parts. I make award-winning homebrewed beer, cider, wine and mead (great for barter and as gifts, and easy on the wallet too).
My partner and I's biggest challenge financially is that the cost of living here is really high -- however -- we really love living here, our friends and community are here and family is close enough to visit on the weekends. We rent an apartment that is much nicer and less expensive than anything we could buy around here. Fortunately we both share the same outlook on frugality, although she's less comfortable parking money in dividend-paying investments than in standard savings accounts (we maintain separate bank accounts and personal finances, although we don't split hairs with joint expenses). She's got side hustles teaching Suzuki piano and as a hula hoop performance artist, and by day works as a project manager. We both make good money at our day jobs and have backup interests that can be spun up to generate more income if the primary jobs disappear (although that's unlikely to happen).
Reading MMM inspired me to track expenses more closely by signing up with mint.com and we've dropped over 50% off our monthly grocery bill in the last two months by being smarter about where we buy groceries. Otherwise it looks like we're somewhere between 4 and 6 years to complete FI with a comfortable buffer, although I'm itching to get there sooner!