Author Topic: Additional expense optimization since FIRE?  (Read 3541 times)

Gone Fishing

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Additional expense optimization since FIRE?
« on: October 01, 2015, 12:17:06 PM »
Aside from direct work related expenses, what else have you optimized since FIRE?  I am starting to compile a list of things that I can do once FIRE to knock a little more off the budget and free up more cash for post-FIRE entertainment/travel.  So far the list includes:

Insulate the attic-Not bad as it is, but a little more probably wouldn't hurt.
Savings-maybe $5-$10/mo in the summer.

Outdoor solar shower to be mainly used in the summer after working the property-
Savings-Maybe $5/mo in the summer (hot water + sewer pump)

Trash-Switch from pickup to taking it to the rural collection center (we already go as we have to take recycling, but have declined to haul the bulkier trash ourselves in the past.
Savings-$14/mo

Food-We probably grow around 20% of our own food now, hoping to get it up to around 50% (and maybe more)
Savings -I think I can knock $50/mo off the grocery bill pretty easily.

Gas-Our old mini-van is still limping along alright, but I expect it doesn't have much more in it.  After much deliberation I think I will replace it with a mid-sized sedan when it dies (resale value does not justify gas savings at this time)
Savings-$50/mo

So call it $125/mo or around $1500/yr- plenty for another nice vacation!

DaveR

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Re: Additional expense optimization since FIRE?
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2015, 12:41:01 PM »
So call it $125/mo or around $1500/yr- plenty for another nice vacation!

Another nice vacation? Maybe two. Or three. I realized that a little extra available time allowed for some travel hacking. Plus, the much more flexible schedule means traveling during non-peak times and the potential for slow travel...more value for every travel dollar.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Additional expense optimization since FIRE?
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2015, 01:07:38 PM »
So call it $125/mo or around $1500/yr- plenty for another nice vacation!

Another nice vacation? Maybe two. Or three. I realized that a little extra available time allowed for some travel hacking. Plus, the much more flexible schedule means traveling during non-peak times and the potential for slow travel...more value for every travel dollar.


Point taken.  Our last vacation (week camping in a national park) was only $200!   

Retired To Win

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Re: Additional expense optimization since FIRE?
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2015, 01:17:51 PM »
Aside from direct work related expenses, what else have you optimized since FIRE?...

In gross terms, I've been able to take my basic living expenses down a little more, from $15K a year down to less than $14K.  I could probably still do more, but I'm not feeling the urgency.  (??!!)

Jon_Snow

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Re: Additional expense optimization since FIRE?
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2015, 02:34:06 PM »
Food expenditures is a huge one for me. Now that I'm FIRE'd I have ample time to hunt for food deals...and with lots of TIME to cook meals with base ingredients instead of pre-packaged crap (which costs more) I have put a HUGE dent in our previous food spending. When I am going through the checkout at the grocery store and look at my purchases I am loving what I see there - there is nothing going into my body these days that brings me shame - I could not always say this. :) And then of course during the warm weather months there is a TON of stuff coming from my garden. And can't forget the fishing and crabbing either.

I think we were under $200 in August because of the gardening/foraging and fishing activity. I hope to build a greehouse for next season so I can reap from the garden EARLIER.

Damn, is FIRE full of win...

And we spend very little on gas these days. DW will run or bike to work on nice weather days. I walk or jog EVERYWHERE. Not a bike guy. ;)

Ozstache

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Re: Additional expense optimization since FIRE?
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2015, 03:45:52 AM »
I went to a house sustainability lecture a few months ago, which gave me many ideas on how to reduce my household energy footprint.
Since then I have:
1. Had Enerlogic 70 window film installed, which has significantly reduced heat loss in winter next to windows.
2. Sealed a few drafts I found in exterior doors.
3. Installed draft stopper covers over bathroom heater/light/fan combo units.
4. Installed downlight covers to reduce insulation clearance in the roofspace.
5. Installed magnetic vent covers for evaporative cooler outlets to stop warm air escaping up them.
6. Installed additional layers of roof insulation, bringing the effective R level up to 6+.
7. Reduced central heating thermostat by 2C since house now feels warmer at the same temperature.
8. Utilised supplemental electric heating when excess solar generation was available.

The net result is that our winter gas bill was a shadow of last year's, coming in at 75% less consumption for heating overall and a saving of nearly 60% on the overall bill. Payback should work out to around 4-6 years. Apart from the window tint, which the manufacturer required for it to be professionally installed, I did all the other work. Installing the additional roof insulation was particularly character building and took nearly a full week's effort to complete.

Astatine

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Re: Additional expense optimization since FIRE?
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2015, 04:34:12 PM »
I'm nowhere near FIRE, so I'm a bit of an interloper :)

I went to a house sustainability lecture a few months ago, which gave me many ideas on how to reduce my household energy footprint.
Since then I have:
1. Had Enerlogic 70 window film installed, which has significantly reduced heat loss in winter next to windows.
2. Sealed a few drafts I found in exterior doors.
3. Installed draft stopper covers over bathroom heater/light/fan combo units.
4. Installed downlight covers to reduce insulation clearance in the roofspace.
5. Installed magnetic vent covers for evaporative cooler outlets to stop warm air escaping up them.
6. Installed additional layers of roof insulation, bringing the effective R level up to 6+.
7. Reduced central heating thermostat by 2C since house now feels warmer at the same temperature.
8. Utilised supplemental electric heating when excess solar generation was available.

The net result is that our winter gas bill was a shadow of last year's, coming in at 75% less consumption for heating overall and a saving of nearly 60% on the overall bill. Payback should work out to around 4-6 years. Apart from the window tint, which the manufacturer required for it to be professionally installed, I did all the other work. Installing the additional roof insulation was particularly character building and took nearly a full week's effort to complete.

Awesome! Sounds like a great lecture you went to. Can I pick your brains on the Enerlogic window film? I haven't heard of it before. We got Magnetite (retrofit quasi double glazing) installed on a few windows and the skylight earlier this year. Not sure how much it helped with reducing heat loss over winter but it's certainly made our house much quieter (I hate noise so much).

With the Enerlogic window film, did you get it installed on all windows or just ones facing particular directions? And are you comfortable to share (PM or in this thread) approximate cost of it?And is it particularly noticeable, ie is it like putting sunglasses on all your windows or is the impact more subtle. Sounds pretty awesome if it works as claimed (I just did a quick google).

Ozstache

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Re: Additional expense optimization since FIRE?
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2015, 06:58:16 PM »
Awesome! Sounds like a great lecture you went to. Can I pick your brains on the Enerlogic window film? I haven't heard of it before. We got Magnetite (retrofit quasi double glazing) installed on a few windows and the skylight earlier this year. Not sure how much it helped with reducing heat loss over winter but it's certainly made our house much quieter (I hate noise so much).

With the Enerlogic window film, did you get it installed on all windows or just ones facing particular directions? And are you comfortable to share (PM or in this thread) approximate cost of it?And is it particularly noticeable, ie is it like putting sunglasses on all your windows or is the impact more subtle. Sounds pretty awesome if it works as claimed (I just did a quick google).
I was originally only going to have the Enerlogic installed on our bedroom and family room windows, which all face north towards the winter sun (in the Southern Hemisphere), but ended up doing the whole lot as that got me a good price and, from what I read, there is benefit to windows of any orientation, just not as much as North facing.

Cost was $144 per square metre, which is about double the cost of standard solar tinting that is designed to keep the sun out, not heat in.  All up cost was $4K, which may sound a lot but it was significantly cheaper than other alternatives to treat windows for heat retention, namely add on double glazing at $500 per square metre and window replacement double glazing which was $1000-$1500 per square metre!

As a good mustachian, I put some maths I found on a sustainability forum behind these costs and calculated that it should save me just over $400 per year through retained heat in winter and rejected solar radiation in summer. ie a 10 year ROI, which is just on the limit of what I am prepared to invest in such upgrades. (The ROI time frame I stated in my previous post was based on the combination of all upgrades).

The Enerlogic 70 film is more about heat retention than solar rejection, so it is not a particularly dark film and is slightly yellowish to look through (we don't notice it anymore). It still allows 50% of solar radiation through, which you want as much of in winter to provide passive heating. Interestingly, we didn't find it made much of a difference in the temperature the house dropped to overnight in winter, as our house was already reasonably well insulated before I started and we use thick curtains, some with pelmets, at night. The biggest difference was in daytime heat retention and, just like with double glazing, we can no longer feel the outside cold when you stand close to windows, which allowed us to drop the room temperature as we no longer had to compensate for this.

While it is only spring now, we had quite a hot week last week, with temperatures getting up to 31C for two of the days. Without any cooling utilised, the highest the internal temperature of the house got to was 22C on these days, which is a good couple of degrees cooler than what we would have achieved before all these upgrades. It's still early days, but this only helps confirm that these upgrades have been worthwhile.

Astatine

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Re: Additional expense optimization since FIRE?
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2015, 02:11:24 AM »
Awesome! Sounds like a great lecture you went to. Can I pick your brains on the Enerlogic window film? I haven't heard of it before. We got Magnetite (retrofit quasi double glazing) installed on a few windows and the skylight earlier this year. Not sure how much it helped with reducing heat loss over winter but it's certainly made our house much quieter (I hate noise so much).

With the Enerlogic window film, did you get it installed on all windows or just ones facing particular directions? And are you comfortable to share (PM or in this thread) approximate cost of it?And is it particularly noticeable, ie is it like putting sunglasses on all your windows or is the impact more subtle. Sounds pretty awesome if it works as claimed (I just did a quick google).
I was originally only going to have the Enerlogic installed on our bedroom and family room windows, which all face north towards the winter sun (in the Southern Hemisphere), but ended up doing the whole lot as that got me a good price and, from what I read, there is benefit to windows of any orientation, just not as much as North facing.

Cost was $144 per square metre, which is about double the cost of standard solar tinting that is designed to keep the sun out, not heat in.  All up cost was $4K, which may sound a lot but it was significantly cheaper than other alternatives to treat windows for heat retention, namely add on double glazing at $500 per square metre and window replacement double glazing which was $1000-$1500 per square metre!

As a good mustachian, I put some maths I found on a sustainability forum behind these costs and calculated that it should save me just over $400 per year through retained heat in winter and rejected solar radiation in summer. ie a 10 year ROI, which is just on the limit of what I am prepared to invest in such upgrades. (The ROI time frame I stated in my previous post was based on the combination of all upgrades).

The Enerlogic 70 film is more about heat retention than solar rejection, so it is not a particularly dark film and is slightly yellowish to look through (we don't notice it anymore). It still allows 50% of solar radiation through, which you want as much of in winter to provide passive heating. Interestingly, we didn't find it made much of a difference in the temperature the house dropped to overnight in winter, as our house was already reasonably well insulated before I started and we use thick curtains, some with pelmets, at night. The biggest difference was in daytime heat retention and, just like with double glazing, we can no longer feel the outside cold when you stand close to windows, which allowed us to drop the room temperature as we no longer had to compensate for this.

While it is only spring now, we had quite a hot week last week, with temperatures getting up to 31C for two of the days. Without any cooling utilised, the highest the internal temperature of the house got to was 22C on these days, which is a good couple of degrees cooler than what we would have achieved before all these upgrades. It's still early days, but this only helps confirm that these upgrades have been worthwhile.

Thank you very much! That's super helpful to know. I'll put Enerlogic film on my ever-lengthening mental list of things to improve our home's energy efficiency. We haven't wanted to put Magnetite retrofit on the bedroom, lounge or kitchen windows because you lose your window sill. The cats (who are indoor-only) highly value bird-watching from the bedroom and lounge window sills, and we highly value the kitchen window sill for putting stuff on and catching the western sun (eg drying stuff out). So the film could potentially work quite well on those windows, although unfortunately we have aluminium frames which will likely negate some of the benefits.