Are Solar Panels Worth The Investment?

Are Solar Panels Worth The Investment

You’ve likely noticed that solar panels have been popping up on scores of homes and businesses in recent years. The rising popularity has been driven by the fact that the costs to get started with solar have plunged in recent decades to the point that they have finally become cost competitive with fossil fuels. In fact, in many cases choosing solar can save literally save homeowners thousands of dollars over … Read more

Avoiding Peer Pressure On The Path To FI

Avoiding Peer Pressure On The Path To FI

The world at large does not want you to be financially independent. It wants you to spend, consume, and fuel the fires of commerce. It will try to break your will at every turn. But as sinister as that may sound, it’s not shadowy corporations who are the biggest threat to your FI commitment. It’s your friends and family, the people you trust, respect, and listen to. In a world … Read more

How To Save Time And Money With A Capsule Wardrobe

How To Save Time And Money With A Capsule Wardrobe

Having a capsule or minimalist wardrobe can be a great way to save time and money. Especially, if you don’t find a lot of value in pawing through a closet full of clothes to get dressed in the morning. If choosing what to wear is the highlight of your day, you can still benefit from being intentional about what’s hanging in your closet. Such benefits are cutting down on the indecision … Read more

How To Have A FI Christmas: 5 Gift Giving Ideas That Will Change Your Holiday

How To Have A FI Christmas 5 Gift Giving Ideas That Will Change Your Holiday

Working towards FI can be a strain on relationships, especially when your financial goals don’t align with the people you care about most. It’s difficult to turn down invitations and defend your decisions, and some people just can’t understand why a person would sacrifice so much. But while that strain is manageable throughout the year, the holidays tend to aggravate the issue. When the majority of people are comfortable overspending … Read more

How To Get Your Kids On The FI Bandwagon

How To Get Your Kids On The FI Bandwagon

The benefits of a FI lifestyle don’t click for most people until a certain age. Some get the message early on, but it’s usually not until we reach our 30’s, 40’s, or even 50’s that we start questioning the cycle of consumerism and debt that comprises most people’s financial habits. That’s why it can be so hard to get your kids on board. They just don’t have the life experience … Read more

Freedom Is Not Found At The Store: A Shopping Ban Experiment

On episode 81 of the ChooseFI podcast, Brad and Jonathan interviewed Cait Flanders, author of the book, The Year of Less. In this book Cait detailed her journey with consumerism and debt, and her path to freedom from both. She experimented with lifestyle changes, did some soul searching, and even implemented a year long shopping ban. In 2014, Cait embarked on her first year long shopping ban. Her experiment was … Read more

Frugal Vs Cheap–Where do you draw the line?

Frugal Vs Cheap--Where do you draw the line

Cutting expenses is one of the fastest ways to immediately accelerate your journey to financial independence (FI). While increasing income typically offers more potential to achieve FI faster, cutting your expenses benefits your path to FI in two ways. First, it allows you to save more of your income now. Second, it reduces your FI number because you have fewer annual expenses for your investments to cover when you do … Read more

Make The Most Of Your Travel Rewards With These 3 International Sweet Spot Destinations

Make The Most Of Your Travel Rewards With These 3 International Sweet Spot Destinations

Once you start to dabble with travel rewards, you’ll see the term “sweet spot” mentioned. That means a particular flight or hotel stay is a really good deal in terms of points and miles. Here’s a short list of great “sweet spot” international award redemptions to show you how you can optimize your points and miles. These are a couple of gems I found through my travels and my research. … Read more

What To Expect Working With A Financial Planner

What To Expect Working With A Financial Planner

I have often heard people question “if financial planners are so valuable, do financial planners have their own planners”? I thought that was an interesting point, but even I had a hard time justifying the cost. Especially since I have the training and figured I could do all the work myself. What we do isn’t exactly dentistry or brain surgery–I should be able to do my own planning work right? … Read more

When And Why Your Child Should Open A Roth IRA

When And Why Your Child Should Open A Roth IRA

As someone interested in financial independence (FI), you’re likely very familiar with the concept of compounding returns. The concept of compounding returns is one of the most powerful forces in the financial world. In general, the longer you leave your money invested, the more your initial investment will grow. For example, $10,000 earning a 10% return for 10 years will be worth about $27,000. Give it another 10 years of … Read more

How To Be Minimalist With Minimal Work

How To Be Minimalist With Minimal Work

Minimalism is not for everyone–but most of us can benefit from the lightness that comes with decluttering. Simplifying allows us to see our spending patterns more clearly, and make our daily routines seamless. Oddly though, most of our physical baggage is weighed down in emotional baggage. Many of us hold onto things we don’t actually want or need because we feel obligated to keep it, or tell ourselves it will … Read more

Zero Impact Savings: Save More Money Without Changing Your Life

Zero Impact Savings Save More Money Without Changing Your Life

When a person is first introduced to the idea of financial independence (FI), they quickly learn that the higher their savings rate is the faster they can reach FI. Typically, people realize they can increase their savings rate by doing one of two things. They can either cut their spending or increase their income. Unfortunately, many people view cutting their spending as a negative thing. They’ll have to sacrifice. They … Read more

How To Pay For Christmas Using Credit Card Rewards

How To Pay For Christmas Using Credit Card Rewards

The key to paying for Christmas with credit card rewards is having a budget and making a plan to earn enough rewards to pay for that budget. In 2017, the average consumer planned to spend $906 on gifts according to Statista. Of course, people working toward financial independence definitely aren’t the average consumer. Instead, you likely work hard to come up with meaningful gifts and find great deals on those … Read more

Captain DIY Podcast Episode Followup

Captain DIY Podcast Episode Followup

Hi there! If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you just heard my interview on the ChooseFI podcast, and you’re wondering if there are any things to add to the story. Wouldn’t you know it, I have a few things to add right here! Some More Trade School Tips Literally the day after recording the interview, I was at a neighborhood get-together that had apparently been orchestrated strictly to put … Read more

Parenting On FIRE: How Financial Independence Has Changed My Family

Parenting On FIRE How Financial Independence Has Changed My Family

My perspective on parenting changed due to my pursuit of FI. My dreams for my children are vastly different today because of my own journey towards financial independence. Their futures will look different now that FI is a part of our everyday life. I could never have imagined the depths of FI’s impact. So, how exactly have their lives changed due to this FI journey? Outside of the obvious financial legacy … Read more

Investing Inside Your HSA: Healthcare’s Best Kept Secret

Investing Inside Your HSA Healthcare's Best Kept Secret

Most people have some experience investing through an IRA or 401k. They may even trade stocks in their spare time. It’s easy to assume that for the most part, managing one investment is much the same as any other. But a Health Savings Account (HSA) is a different animal. While it has a host of unique benefits that make it a top-tier investment vehicle, it also has its own restrictions … Read more

Frugal Holidays: How To Get Your Family On Board

Frugal Holidays How To Get Your Family On Board

Ah, the holidays–the pinnacle of excess eating and spending before everyone wakes up on January 1st with an emotional and literal hangover, with a resolution that it will “totally be different this year!” Cynicism aside, the holidays can and should be aligned with the FI mindset. It’s a time to connect with loved ones, put value in moments together and enjoying meaningful traditions. For some of us though, we might … Read more

Live On Half Your Income And Change Your Finances Forever

Live On Half Your Income And Change Your Finances Forever

If you’re looking to live on half your income, you will need to make some adjustments to how you live, work, and stay entertained. I won’t sugar coat it, living on half of your income will challenge everything about your life, but it will be so worth it in the end. Because living on half your income also means saving half your income! And you don’t have to make all … Read more

No Recipe Soup: The Easy Way To Meal Prep

No Recipe Soup The Easy Way To Meal Prep

Do you like to eat? Yeah, me too. Do you like to slave away in the kitchen every day? Yeah, me neither. This is why I do meal prepping. I cook and prepare all of my meals on the weekend for the upcoming week. Furthermore, I don’t follow recipes. Why? Because it allows me to be creative and use what is on hand. The Advantages of Meal Prepping The advantages … Read more

The FI Roadmap For Your 20’s

The FI Roadmap For Your 20's

If you’re reading this in your 20’s, you are on a path that many of us envy–the chance to start working towards FI with time on your side! You may be coming to the FI path at this age after getting into loads of student loan debt, or, you may be starting your journey at a fabulous $0 net worth with no debt whatsoever. No matter where you’re at, your … Read more

What Have You NOT Sacrificed On Your FI Journey

What Have You NOT Sacrificed On Your FI Journey

Sometimes, it seems like achieving financial independence (aka, FI) is the only thing that matters. You take a hard look at your finances and find every piece of fat you can cut. For a while, it may not seem like a big deal. After all, you’re working toward FI which is the ultimate freedom. However, after a few months or years of living at the bare bone minimum, it can … Read more

Getting Health Insurance When You’re Self-Employed Or Retired Early

Getting Health Insurance When You’re Self-Employed Or Retired Early

Whether you’re self-employed or early retired, one of the biggest challenges you face is getting health insurance. Many employees have the benefit of an employer subsidized health insurance plan. That’s almost always the best deal possible. As an employee, you may pay $400 per month on the plan the cost $1,000, with the balance being covered by your employer. Since the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the only health … Read more

Is Delaying Financial Independence Ever Worth It?

Is Delaying Financial Independence Ever Worth It

Achieving financial independence (FI) is a big deal. Once you reach FI, you no longer have to work for money and can do whatever you like, at least in theory. However, many of the people that focus on achieving financial independence do so by adopting a mindset of reaching FI as fast as possible. They want to try to escape the rat race and finally live life. But is that … Read more

ChooseFI’s Favorite Side Hustles

choosefis-favorite-side-hustles

No matter how hard you try, you can only save so much by cutting back your expenses. While living a frugal lifestyle will go a long way to help boost your savings rate, there is another option that could result in a drastic increase in your savings rate. Technically you don’t have a limit to the amount of income you can earn. While you may be limited to earning a … Read more

How To Buy Real Estate In A Roth IRA

How To Buy Real Estate In A Roth IRA

Did you know you can actually buy real estate in a Roth IRA? And it’s completely legal too, not the least of which since you can hold just about any asset in an IRA account. Some real estate promoters seriously pitch this option. And while it is certainly possible, you need to be fully aware that it’s also a very complicated process. We’re going to do a high-altitude report on … Read more

How To Save Money On Travel With The Right Credit Card

How To Save Money On Travel With The Right Credit Card

Earning miles and points from credit cards is one way to save big money on travel. But you’ll need the “right” card for you. I’m going to show you how to save money when you travel by having the right credit card. Also, be sure you aren’t paying unnecessary fees or missing out on benefits. There’s more to life than the Sign-Up Bonus Getting a credit card sign-up bonus is like … Read more

Fulfilling The Dream Of Becoming An Underwater Filmmaker

Fulfilling The Dream Of Becoming An Underwater Filmmaker

Essentially, the reason we are all on the path to FI is because we want the freedom to have options. Freedom means something different to everyone, but having options is the essence of what all us FIers have in common. We want to get off our own hamster wheels and finally stop trading our time for money. Interestingly, there are some people who don’t ever get ON the hamster wheel. … Read more

How To Buy A Used Car

How To Buy A Used Car

One frequently touted tenant of the FI community is that you should never buy a new-to-you car if you can help it. Since most of us know that beyond safety and the ability to get you from point A to point B, cars are mostly status symbols on wheels that aren’t a great return on your investment. Any new car that has bells and whistles or a fancy brand name … Read more

How An HSA Fits With Your FIRE Plans

How An HSA Fits With Your FIRE Plans

When your primary financial goal is to retire early and become financially independent, sometimes it feels like you can only do so much. If you’re already maxing out your IRA and 401(k) every year you might assume that you are left with only taxable accounts to invest your cash in. Thankfully, the HSA is a perfect third option for investing in your future. It may sound like a basic savings … Read more

The Best Board Games (According To You)

The Best Board Games (According To You)

You have likely heard time and time again, the love Jonathan and Brad have for a good session with a board game (take a listen to Episode 64R!). For someone who wants to be intellectually stimulated and off of their electronic devices and screens while taking in some good together time with friends and family, nothing beats a good board game. ChooseFI Facebook group recently shared their favorite board games, and … Read more

How To Plan Your First Trip With Travel Rewards

How To Plan Your First Trip With Travel Rewards

If you are new to the world of travel rewards, everything might seem a little overwhelming at first. You hear people throwing around words like “redemption”, “sweet spot” and “positioning flight”. The terminology travel rewards enthusiasts use might seem like a foreign language at first. But never fear, you can become a travel rewards expert! Start slowly, take Travel Miles 101 course. The course was created by ChooseFI’s own Brad … Read more

10 Money Quotes That Will Inspire You To Optimize Your Finances

10 Money Quotes That Will Inspire You To Optimize Your Finances

Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time. ~ Jim Rohn The FI community lives frugally and saves a large percentage of their income in order to retire early. They buy time instead of things. Check out “The Why Of FI” to learn more. There is a gigantic difference between earning a great deal of money and being rich. ~Marlene Dietrich … Read more

Want To Buy It For Life? Consider This

Want To Buy It For Life Consider This

Wouldn’t it be nice if the items you used on a regular basis didn’t keep breaking? Unfortunately, if you’re buying items solely based on finding the lowest price, chances are the things you buy are going to break at some point or another. Instead of buying cheap items to save money today, you may want to consider buying a quality item that’s more expensive and could last forever. This strategy … Read more

Side Hustle Series: Freelance Writing

Side Hustle Series: Freelance Writing

Side hustles are a great way to earn some extra cash and help you speed up your path to financial independence (FI). To get you started, here’s a list of great side hustle ideas! In addition, we wanted to feature some particular side hustle stories to inspire you to earn some extra cash. Today, we’re delving into the freelance writing side hustle. This side hustle is particularly popular among bloggers, but … Read more

How To Be Thankful For Your Finances (No Matter What Stage You’re At)

How To Be Thankful For Your Finances (No Matter What Stage You’re At)

Thanksgiving, whether you celebrate it in Canada or the States, is often a holiday that is already overshadowed by the consumerist binge fest that surrounds Christmas–but for FIRE enthusiasts, it really is the best holiday of the year. The FIRE path is often a long one, and sometimes a challenging one. While it’s easy to get down about how long the journey is or our personal missteps along the way–in … Read more

Health And Finances–Why They Overlap More Than You Think

Health And Finances Why They Overlap More Than You Think

When soulmates from vastly different backgrounds find one another and decide to become a permanent team, a whole lotta adjustments happen along the way. Jake and Laura are living the dream! They both are Certified Anesthetists making darn good money. They are “livin’ the dream”–well, redefining “the dream” after much realization and compromise. The Early Years: Laura Big city China was all Laura knew as a child. Her parents divorced … Read more

Go Camping On A Budget

Go Camping On A Budget

Camping is awesome! It’s a great way to make a staycation into a real vacation even if you’re only 15 or 20 minutes from home. Plus, if you’re a parent–it’s a great way to teach your kids about survival skills, how to identify flora and fauna, and mainly, get them off their screens for a bit without having to beg. A win-win! Here are our favorite hacks to camp on … Read more

Look Great For Less: Ideas To Save Money On Grooming

Look Great For Less: Ideas To Save Money On Grooming

Everyone who is saving for early retirement has their own idea of what it takes to look their best. Some FI community members are recovering spenders who can’t imagine painting their own nails, yet others have gone au naturel so long they can’t even remember the last time they got a haircut. Whatever your ideas are for saving money on grooming, self-care, and beauty–you can always squeeze just a little … Read more

Scary Money: Overcoming Your FI Fears

Scary Money: Overcoming Your FI Fears

Halloween is quickly approaching, so while your Netflix queue may be filled with frightful flicks about phantoms and ghouls–you don’t have to be freaked out about your FI plan! Many of us encounter some fear and uncertainty when we plot a course towards FI. We might be worried we have calculated our numbers wrong, we haven’t anticipated all the uncertainty, we’d lose friends along the way, or even an especially … Read more

Travel Rewards Vs Cash Back: How To Choose!

Travel Rewards Vs Cash Back: How To Choose!

The FI community isn’t anti-credit cards, they’re anti-credit card debt. If you use credit cards responsibly, the rewards you can gain can earn you free vacations, access to exclusive clubs, or just extra cash. Today, I’ll break down the difference between the two major reward categories: travel rewards and cash back. Travel Rewards Vs. Cash Back What are travel rewards? Travel rewards are rewards you earn from your travel credit … Read more

Four Ways To Monetize A Blog

Four Ways To Monetize A Blog

Starting a blog can be a great low-cost way to experiment in side hustling and entrepreneurialism. Since you can still maintain a day job, blogging allows you to work a day job. During your nights, weekends, or between errands with family, you can write articles, build an audience, and start conversations on social media to build your brand. It’s a great way to also pick up some extra skills (a … Read more

How To Save Incredible Money By Learning One New Skill Every Month

How To Save Incredible Money By Learning One New Skill Every Month

I’m normally a do-it-yourself kind of guy. There’s a certain sense of pride knowing that I was able to fix this or built that. And it is totally frustrating to me when I have to pay someone for a simple task that I could have done myself. I bet you feel the same way! So, I’m challenging each and every one of you to learn one new skill every month … Read more

Books To Kick Start Your Side Hustle

Books To Kick Start Your Side Hustle

Side hustling truly is FI’s secret weapon. Working your day job can help build security into your life, and of course–perks like health insurance, a 401k match and a reliable paycheck. As great as that security is, it can be deflating to realize you may be locked into a pay grade for some time, and you won’t be able to grow your income as fast as you’d like. Side hustling … Read more

You Can Pursue FI–Even On One Income

You Can Pursue FI Even On One Income

There are a variety of reasons why a couple might consider living off of one income, which can be a bit more challenging for both parties if you’re also striving towards an early retirement date. If you are in a season of your life where an aging loved one needs more care, one spouse is going through some health problems or job loss, or your growing family needs more attention–it … Read more

The Allowance Envelope: The Best Budget Around

The Allowance Envelope: The Best Budget Around

I absolutely love budgeting. Call me strange, but I love it. And, the allowance envelope is probably the budget I use the most. As a single person, it was the cornerstone of my budget, and it was the easiest budget in the world to follow. Now that I’m married, it’s a relationship saver! I don’t think my wife would say that she loves budgeting as much as I do, but … Read more

My Top 2 Comfort Food Instant Pot Recipes

My Top 2 Comfort Food Instant Pot Recipes

I must admit, when Instant Pot first appeared on the market, I was really skeptical about getting yet another appliance for my kitchen. I’m so glad I gave in and got it, I can’t imagine my life without it now. When you’re cooking with an instant pot, you can eliminate many in-between steps. You can brown the meat for stews and roasts and sauté vegetables right in your Instant Pot, … Read more

How To Lower Your Cell Phone Bill

How To Lower Your Cell Phone Bill

One way to achieve financial independence (FI) faster is by optimizing your expenses. First, you cut the expenses you don’t value. Then, you work on reducing the expenses you do value. One service most people won’t go without is their cell phone service. However, it’s possible to save money both on your cell phone and on your cell phone bill without giving up much, if any, of the value you … Read more

3 Different Types Of Travel Rewards Credit Cards

3 Different Types of Travel Rewards Credit Cards

In this article we will discuss three different kinds of points you can earn by signing up and using different types of travel rewards credit cards: Airline points and miles Hotel points Flexible or transferable points such as Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership rewards and Citi ThankYou points Airline Rewards Credit Cards Many airlines and hotel chains have their own co-branded credit cards, such as Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select … Read more

FI Friendly Alternatives To Expensive Weddings

FI Friendly Alternatives To Expensive Weddings

A recent article in Business Insider estimates that the “average” wedding in the U.S. is anywhere from $25,000 on up to $33,000+. Yikes! If you’re on the path to FI, that is likely not the plan you have for beginning your future together. Some might suggest a FI-friendly wedding would be to go down to the courthouse; and your wedding will cost as much as it takes to file the paperwork and … Read more

How This Couple Paid Off Their Mortgage In 506 Days

How This Couple Paid Off Their Mortgage In 506 Days

According to Jim Rohn, “We are an average of five people that we spend the most time with.” The older I get, the more that quote resonates with me. I’ve learned how to identify people that I want to learn from and be around and be influenced by; and those I do not. Nowadays, when I see FI characteristics in people, the gravitational pull does what it does naturally. Introductions … Read more

My Top Two Instant Pot Soup Recipes For Fall

My Top Two Instant Pot Soup Recipes For Fall

Is there an appliance more versatile than an Instant Pot? Whether you’re a single person or need to feed a big family, Instant Pot is a must have. You can make soups, roasts, a whole chicken, and even bake a cheesecake! One of my favorite ways to use it is to make soups. Nothing beats the one pot convenience and ease of cleanup. You can sauté vegetables, sweat onion and … Read more

Cut Your Cell Phone Bill: Republic Wireless Review

Cut Your Cell Phone Bill: Republic Wireless Review

If you’re looking to cut your cell phone bill, you may want to take a look at the monthly plans Republic Wireless offers their customers. My wife and I are huge Republic Wireless fans and have been using their service for a few years now. So what is Republic Wireless? Republic Wireless is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that offers service over the Sprint or T-Mobile network on select … Read more

How Chase Ultimate Rewards Actually Work

How Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Actually Work

If you’re new to earning credit card rewards, you may not have a complete understanding of the ins and outs of rewards points. Today, we’re going to focus on the ins and outs of the Chase Ultimate Rewards points rewards program. Here are the major rules you need to understand to make sure you use your points in the best way possible and to avoid letting your points expire. How … Read more

The Aggregation Of Marginal Gains

The Aggregation Of Marginal Gainsv

The aggregation of marginal gains is a concept made famous by British cycling coach Dave Brailsford, who eventually lead the British cycling team to take home 10 gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Previous to this victory, the team had not been able to pull off any significant wins. Brailsford believed that victory at the Olympics would be achieved by focusing on a 1% margin for improvement in everything … Read more

I’m Qutting My Job To Write Comics

I'm Quitting My Job To Write Comics

As a kid, comic books were a popular form of escape, and they still are today. In fact, the industry is thriving, as can be evidenced with a new superhero movie making its box office debut every time we turn around. Whether we get them as hand-drawn images or video form in the palm of our hands, they hook us. The adventures of Batman, Superman, The Hulk, Thor, and so … Read more

Travel Rewards Credit Cards FAQs

Travel Rewards Credit Cards FAQs

Travel rewards and credit cards can be really confusing topics. If you are new to the world of credit cards read on. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about travel rewards credit cards. Table of Contents Q. I don’t have any debt, not even a mortgage, and I have a really good income. Why can’t I get approved for a credit card?Q. I have a perfect … Read more

How To Get The Most Mileage Out Of Your Car

How To Get The Most Mileage Out Of Your Car

Buying the right car is an important financial decision. Buy a lemon and you’ll spend hundreds on repairs and maintenance fees. Buy a trusty vehicle and you’ll have few issues. But it’s not just about finding the right car, it’s about taking care of it as well. Anyone can buy a durable Honda and run it into the ground with poor maintenance. So how do you make your car last … Read more

ICE Binder–The Done For You Legacy Binder You’ve Been Looking For

ICE Binder--The Done For You Legacy Binder You've Been Looking For

No one wants to think about what happens when we die. But, we have to. It’s better to be prepared now than make your family try to guess what you would have wanted after you are gone. That’s exactly why you need a legacy binder! A Legacy Binder is exactly what it sounds like–a binder (or folder, or bin–you get it) full of your personal information that you leave your … Read more

When Should You Buy Prepackaged Or Make It At Home?

When Should You Buy Prepackaged Or Make It At Home?

The ChooseFI Facebook group is always full of lively conversations. Lately, a couple ChooseFI Facebook group members have brought up the topic of prepackaged snacks. Prepackaged snacks and other items are super convenient but may cost more than making the same item yourself. Should you pay more for prepackaged snacks and other goods or should you make them yourself? Here are a few things to consider. The Arguments for Buying … Read more

ChooseFI’s Favorite Tips To Save Money On Your Landscaping Costs

ChooseFI's Favorite Tips To Save Money On Landscaping Costs

  Optimizing your expenses to spend money on what you truly value is one of the keys to achieving financial independence (FI). That also means cutting back ruthlessly on expenses you don’t care about. Every dollar you reduce your recurring annual expenses by is $25 less you have to put in your nest egg to reach FI. Depending on where you live, you could be spending a ton of money … Read more

See The West Coast In Style–All Aboard The Amtrak Coast Starlight

See the West Coast In Style

When you’ve reached financial independence, time is on your side. People with traditional jobs have limited vacation time, so they need to rush through their trips. Financially independent people can “slow travel” and soak up the experience to their heart’s content. Here is my favorite way to see the West Coast in style. Slow traveling on the Amtrak Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle. Why Traveling By Train Is … Read more

My Five Biggest Travel Rewards Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Travel rewards have allowed me opportunities to visit countries that I’ve always thought to be beyond my reach. Traveling has become such an integral part of who I am that I can’t imagine not traveling, not planning my next trip, not working toward the next award. Travel rewards are one of the pillars of FI and the better we get at this whole rewards thing, the better we are at FI. … Read more

50 Ways To Improve Your Finances By 1%

50 Ways To Improve Your Finances By 1%

Shaving 10 to 20 years off of your retirement date is one of those eye opening ideas that might keep you up at night.  It’s just so exciting! Of course, anybody on the path to FI also knows that after the enthusiasm of a new way of thinking wears off, the journey to FI can start feeling more like a slog. If that’s you and you feel that there’s just … Read more

Where Are All the Tradespeople (In the FI Community)?

Where Are All the Tradespeople

A couple of days ago I ran into an article on Mr. Money Mustache’s blog called A One-Question Survey–Who Are the Mustachians? The survey asked readers what their fields of work were. Among the choices were such illustrious occupations as Software Engineer, Lawyer, and Teacher. Naturally, I proudly placed my vote in the “Trades” category, and then the results came in. Guess where the trades are on the list? If you … Read more

Frugality Without Deprivation

Frugality Without Deprivation

For some, frugality sparks images of wearing threadbare socks, living without heating or cooling, and eating a diet of rice and beans in order to pinch every penny to an extreme. Some of us may have lived with a parent or grandparent who instilled in us that frugality is a form of punishment or extreme deprivation, but luckily, it doesn’t have to be. For people in the FI community, frugality … Read more

How To Save On Travel With Airbnb

How To Save On Travel With Airbnb feat-min

Never stayed in an Airbnb? Let me see if I can convince you of the merits of staying with locals in the new home-sharing economy! As both a regular traveler and an Airbnb host here in San Antonio, Texas–I’ve done my fair share of Airbnbing on both sides. I love that I can still see some of the most expensive cities in the world, but still save for early retirement … Read more

The Triple Tax Benefits Of The HSA

The Triple Tax Benefits Of The HSA feat

In the land of opportunity, one major question remains for those who seek to retire early: How will I pay for healthcare? The fate of the US healthcare system is always up in the air and it’s not clear what the future holds for those who retire before they’re eligible for Medicare. Some FIRE devotees have decades to wait before they qualify, which means decades to decide how to fund … Read more

My Garden–How I Cut My Produce Budget In Half

My Garden--How I Cut My Produce Budget In Half

Right about now, my garden really is in high gear and I am harvesting a belly filling and grocery bill neutralizing amount of produce. This will be the third summer we have been in our house and we have been able to have a productive garden each year, easily eliminating the need to purchase vegetables from about May through October. Can everyone do it on the scale that we do … Read more

When FI Is Lonely & What To Do About It

When FI Is Lonely & What To Do About It

When you first discover the financial independence community and a path that’s different from the mainstream, it might feel like a thunderclap that wakes you from a long sleep. For others, discovering this path was simply putting a name and community to something they’ve identified with for a long time. If you fall in the first category, and FI has given you a new zest for life, you might find … Read more

How This Reluctant Spouse Got On Board With FI

How This Reluctant Spouse Got On Board With FI

Granted, if you’re reading this, you are already a FI geek. However, your other half may not be cut from the same cloth. I, (Vicki) was the last one on board with making some changes to what we we were doing, so I wanted to share a bit of our journey. Though I wasn’t a “Reluctant Spouse”, I was a “Clueless Spouse”. Yet, in the past few years I’ve mastered … Read more

How FI Is Different From Personal Finance

While Financial Independence (FI) is personal finance, personal finance is not always FI. Many people come to the FI community and way of thinking because of an interest in money, or perhaps because they’ve worked through Dave Ramsey’s “Baby Steps” and now want to level up their money savvy. But FI is not just about finance. It’s more! FI Is Personal Finance 2.0 FI is different from personal finance, and … Read more

Love Your Life And Career On The Path To FI

I think it’s no secret that many people in the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement have a hankering to quit their 9-5 job. However, there are some of us who want the choices that Financial Independence (FI) will bring but don’t necessarily plan on the RE part. I fall in this latter camp. Whatever your flavor, make sure to love the journey. Life is too short to be miserable … Read more

Safety Tips For Traveling With Airbnb

Twenty years ago, if you wanted to cut your lodging costs to see the world, you had two choices–hotels or hostels. Now, with the popularity of Airbnb for affordable and alternative experiences, we have more choices to curate our travel experiences to our budget and our expectations. Much like online dating, staying in a stranger’s house has become far less taboo than it once was. Additionally, it also opens up … Read more

ChooseFI’s Favorite Tips To Make Your Appliances Last Longer

Appliance replacement is something most people have had to deal with at some point in their lives. Sadly, it seems like many appliances built today use the concept of planned obsolescence to require us to buy another appliance in just a few years because it no longer works like it did when it was new. While we can’t force appliance makers to build better quality appliances, we can make sure … Read more

Talent Stacking To Fast-Track FI

The concept of “talent stacking” was originally coined by the creator of the Dilbert comics, Scott Adams, who touted the value of taking a set of connected (or even some unconnected, but relevant), ordinary talents and combining them to create one extraordinary person. An example of a talent stacker would be an insurance broker with a podcast and a knack for public speaking, or a school teacher who knows how … Read more

How Substantially Equal Periodic Payments (SEPP) Can Help Your Early Retirement

Maybe you’ve heard of substantially equal periodic payments, sometimes referred to as SEPP, or maybe more commonly “72(t)” or “72(t) distributions”. Most people probably haven’t, or if they have they have only a vague idea what they are about. It’s something of a complicated topic, but rest assured it can help your early retirement plans in different circumstances. There are two fundamental dilemmas facing just about anyone who wants to … Read more

How To Be A FI Minimalist (Without Being A Minimalist)

How To Be A FI Minimalist feat

Brad and Jonathan discussed the “aspiring minimalist” versus the “reluctant frugalist” on episode 29 of the ChooseFI podcast. If minimalism struck your curiosity and you’d like to dive head first into minimalism, or simply dip your toes in the water–this article is for you. Being a minimalist, traditionally, has been about paring down your collection of stuff to the absolute essentials–sometimes, to a fault. Everything in your possession is being … Read more

How Do Rising Interest Rates Affect Your Path To Financial Independence?

There’s a lot to be thankful for in today’s economy. With the Dow at 25,000,  the stock market is near historical highs. Housing prices have recovered from the Great Recession and are setting new records. And unemployment is so low that there are more job openings than people looking for work for the first time in 20 years of data collection. But, with the economy humming along like it is, … Read more

ChooseFI’s Favorite Tips To Keep Your Water Bill Low

Reaching financial independence takes a lot of work, so why make it harder on you than it needs to be? By reducing your expenses, like your water bill, you can reduce the amount you need to save to reach financial independence by 25 times your annual savings if you use the 4% rule. Of course, you’ll have to continue saving money on your water bill from now until forever to … Read more

Financial Independence And The Future Of Work

Financial Independence And The Future Of Work

Getting ready for changes on how you produce income I recently listened to a thought-provoking podcast interview from McKinsey Consulting about the future of work. It was based on a recent report on the projected impact of automation on the nature of work by the year 2030. Further digging revealed a very interesting global discussion that is now underway on what work may look like in the coming decades. I … Read more

Applying to Colleges? Why You Should Consider Small Private Schools

The Prevailing Wisdom Talk to almost anyone in the financial independence community about higher education and you will hear the same theme. Go to a community college, take as many AP tests as you can, only consider large public universities–this is the mainstream wisdom that seldom gets challenged. On the surface, all of this makes perfect sense–the tuition is cheaper at a state university and AP credits and college courses … Read more

10 Things You Can Get For Free At Your Library

When you’re searching for family-friendly activities that don’t cost an arm and a leg, look no further than your neighborhood. In today’s age of “just Google it” or “there’s an app for that” it is easy to overlook your local public library. You remember… it’s the place you used to go as a kid before the internet provided all the answers. Now it’s time to revisit this treasure chest of … Read more

House Hacking With Airbnb

House Hacking With Airbnb

If you already own a single family home and aren’t in the market to be a duplex or another multi-family home anytime soon, you may feel that you have missed the boat on house hacking. Fear not! You absolutely can take advantage of the magic of househacking if you have a pool house, or even a spare room. If you have a room that’s usable for a guest–you too can … Read more

How To Calculate Your Savings Rate

How To Calculate Your Savings Rate feat

If you’ve been hanging around the financial independence community, chances are you’ve heard people quoting their savings rates. Why? A savings rate could allow you to calculate how many years until you reach financial independence. For others, a high savings rate is a badge of honor they’ve worked hard to obtain. Here’s how to calculate your savings rate. Regardless of why you may want to calculate your savings rate, I’m … Read more

You’re Debt Free, Now What?

Debt free

You’ve worked hard for months, possibly years, to become debt free. For some of you, this may mean you’ve paid off your student loans and credit cards. And for others, it means you have tackled your mortgage as well. “Debt free” is a term that means different things to different people, but if you’ve been laser focused on a particular goal for a sizable amount of time and you’ve crossed … Read more

What Does Retirement Really Mean?

Ah, early retirement! Pitch your hammock right now, because you’re not going back to the cubicle like everyone else! That sounds amazing doesn’t it? Many aspiring FIRE walkers (as we’re lovingly called) latch on to the idea of retiring early with glowing fervor because it would be so absolutely nice to kick our feet up and relax a bit before we’re in our 70’s. For us, we’d like to have … Read more

ChooseFI’s Favorite Tips To Keep Your Electric Bill Low

lower your electric bill

If you’re working toward financial independence (FI), chances are you’re looking to optimize your expenses. By reducing the amount of money you spend each year, you shrink the amount of money you need to reach financial independence by 25 times that amount if you’re following the 4% rule. That means what seems like a small monthly savings can turn into a huge long-term savings if you can keep up the … Read more

How To Start Commuting By Bicycle

How To Start Commuting By Bicycle

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.” –John F. Kennedy There aren’t many things that I get as much enjoyment out of as riding my bicycle to work. Ignoring the cost benefit for the moment, just imagine the efficiency of completing one task and simultaneously knocking three things off your “to-do” list at the same time: Spend some time outdoors in the fresh air. Exercise. Get to-and-from work. … Read more

Are You Maxing Out Your 401(k)? Don’t Miss Out On The Employer Match!

Don't Miss Out On The Employer Match!

One super easy way to put an extra few percent toward your savings rate is earning a retirement savings match at your employer. Every additional percent of your income, or your employer’s match, that you put away puts you a few months or sometimes years closer to financial independence (FI). If your employer offers a retirement savings plan at work, such as a 401(k), 403(b), 457, Thrift Saving Plan or … Read more

How To Get Books For Free (Or Crazy Cheap)

How To Get Books For Free (Or Crazy Cheap)

If you’re an avid reader, or want to instill a love of literacy in your children, new books can be mighty pricey. While most of us bibliophiles love the exciting allure of a well organized bookstore, most of us do not love the price of a brand new hardcover! If this is you–read on to see how you can get books for free, or crazy cheap! The Library This one … Read more

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Or Invest?

mortgage or invest

When it comes to optimizing your money, one hotly debated topic is whether you should use your available income to pay off your mortgage faster or invest the money for the greatest return. The future is unknown, but there are emotional and logical arguments to be made for investing or paying off the mortgage first. Planning for financial independence means you consider even more factors to find the right answers … Read more

Is It Ever Too Late to Start My FI Journey?

Is It Ever Too Late to Start My FI Journey

The most popular financial independence (FI) stories on the internet these days seem to be the ones where people latch on to the idea of FI early in their high earning career, save a massive percentage of their income and retire in their 30s. All while traveling the world. Unfortunately, many people have never heard of the FI movement and even if they are aware of it, many didn’t find … Read more

What Is House Hacking?

House Hacking

House hacking. You’ve heard about it, and people in the ChooseFI community gush over how awesome it is. So, what the heck is house hacking and how can you do it? So, What Is House Hacking? House hacking is a term used by both real estate investors and the Choose FI community pretty regularly. Traditionally, house hacking refers to buying a multi-unit home (as opposed to single family home) and … Read more

Life After Dave Ramsey–Baby Steps 8-10

Life after Dave Ramsey

Nearly everyone on this site has heard of Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace University. He’s changed a lot of lives! And helped people get out from under piles of debt. Of course that’s all well and good, but what happens after you’ve completed all of Ramsey’s seven Baby Steps? What happens when you’re debt-free? How do you maintain financial freedom? I’ll answer these questions and more today! This piece … Read more

Why A Side Hustle Is FI’s Secret Weapon

Secret Weapon

There is magic in the side hustle. If you’re on the path to FI like most of us are, and you’re not already making six figures with three rental properties already under your belt, side hustling can be a lever to FI you’ll want to pull. Honestly, there’s only so much you can do to cut costs, even with awesome ways to cut recurring expenses like house hacking and going … Read more

SiteGround Review–Web Hosting Made Easy

SiteGround Review--Web Hosting Made Easy

So you want to create a website so you can get your side hustle going. Here at ChooseFI, we highly recommend a self-hosted WordPress site. To do this, you will need a domain and a host. While there are many hosting services available, we recommend SiteGround as they can meet your needs with just about everything related to your website. At first glance When I started researching SiteGround, I was … Read more

The Side Effects Of Listening To ChooseFI

Nurses are always concerned about the side effects of the medications we administer. We want the medication to have the positive effect that was intended, therefore we are attuned to the possible negative effects. This analogy can be compared to many aspects of life. Striving towards positive side effects is what we desire.  For example, if we stop watching TV, the effect may be more outdoor activity or more time … Read more

How To Eat Frugally While Traveling

Honestly, part of the best thing about travel is the ability to try new, delicious foods. But, if you’re traveling somewhere that’s not known for its culinary scene, or you’re spending a lot of time (and money) to even get to your dream destination, you’re likely spending a good wad of cash on pretty sub par airport or gas station food just to get where you’re going! If that’s you, and … Read more

Passion To Profit: A Journey In Self-Publishing

Passion to Profit

Decisions to be made There are many people who have been able to successfully ‘game’ the self-publishing world to reach a #1 best seller in a given category in a matter of days. I was never in this for the quick wins. My dream is to be the next Margaret Atwood, or the next Stephen King, or, perhaps more appropriately, the first MK Williams. I wanted to take the stories … Read more

How To Build A Perpetual Money Machine

How would you live your life if you knew you were the owner of a money machine that perpetually put out enough for you to cover your expenses, year after year without having to work? As long as you maintain the machine, it keeps pumping out money to cover what you need to live. Pretty fabulous isn’t it? The concept of the perpetual money machine is essentially the bedrock concept … Read more