I am curious to hear what does Financial Independence (FI)
mean to the ladies of BHM.
For me FI means having 500K stashed away. Not tied up in a house, but cash invested that is making me money without me even thinking about it, I'm well on my way.
The road to FI meant me giving up some things that we do without even a consideration:
Salary - I live off 55% of my take home salary. 45% is automatically invested for me. My
goal is to increase the % of auto invest to 50% by 2014 and 60% by 2015. So that by
2015 I'm living off of 40% of my salary.
Ways to stop spending $$ - Every $ I spent is a $ that could have been saved. That mentality has helped me think about ways to cut expenses. So instead of driving to work, I take the metro. My gas guzzling SUV costs me about $300 a month to fuel, now I only drive it on the weekends and when the drive is over 3 miles. The metro literally stops 1.5 blocks from the school where I teach, so I walk to the station in the am and back home after work.
Retirement - I want to retire early enough in the game so that I can enjoy my life and pursue
some of the dreams/interests that I have. For me that means travelling and teaching/volunteering overseas. With two pensions that provide medical benefits - a public employees and a corp pension - I think I can walk away from the game and not worry about waiting until I'm old enough to draw social security and get medicare....cuz' there won't be any.
Debt - I don't carry credit card debt, only use them when I travel. Student loan is the only debt I have and it is minimal enough that I can knock it out in about two years.
Blind consumerism - I shop only for what I need. I'm not into the latest clothing styles, shoes, or must have handbags. I have a $2000 LV that a boyfriend gave me sitting in the bottom of my closet and I almost feel a bit ostentatious when I use it when I travel. My clothing comes from thrift stores, with the exception of lingerie, and work out gear, sneakers.
Food shopping - I have managed to cut down our household bill to about $250 -$300 per month for a family of 3, and I'm still tweeking it so I can get it to about $250 consistently. We don't buy prepackaged, processed/frozen food, or sodas, no prepackaged juices....water, almond milk, green tea and making our own juices works well. We eat fresh vegetables/fruits, very little canned stuff - aside from the soups, and lots of protein in the form of chicken and fish.
Home Expenses - Cable is a big drain at about $1,080 a year for the privilege of media telling you
what you might want to purchase - commercials - and a ton of channels with jack crap on. Looking into hulu/netflix subscriptions to finally cut the drain cord....of course not until after the basketball season cuz' my SO would have a cow.
My biggest drains.....
Travel - I figure I've given up on lots of consumerism so that I can afford to travel, and when I do it isn't to an all inclusive, we rent apts and cook a majority of our food, but do eat out several times, we try to live like locals when we travel. Our biggest expense is the airfare and any sightseeing that we do while we are there.
My SO says that I'm so frugal (cheap that I squeak when I walk)....I consider that a compliment, because he is uber frugal, most Europeans that I have met are.
What say you BHM ladies, what does FI mean to you and what how are you getting there?
Edited by talia - Apr 13 2013 at 10:52am