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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cut Your Cell Phone Bill: Republic Wireless Review

Republic Wireless Review Cut Cell feat-min

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 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

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

Frugality Without Deprivation

Frugality Without Deprivation feat-min

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overcoming The Desire To Shop

Overcoming The Desire To Shop

I’m not sure if it’s just this time of the year when I’ve been stuck indoors for months or what, but I’m feeling awfully spendy nowadays. Fortunately, this urge doesn’t come up too often. Here’s a few items I’ve been looking at for a few months and considering purchasing. In late January, I bought myself an expensive toy. Now that some time has passed, I am just as happy with … Read more

How Stopping Drinking Will Make Me $500,000 Richer

How Stopping Drinking Will Make Me $500,000 Richer

At the beginning of my FI journey, I basically reviewed each element of my life. I sorted these elements into two distinct buckets–things that added value to my life and things that didn’t. The things that added value to my life were things such as family, friends, health, exercise and financial security. The things that didn’t add value to my life were things such as excess spending, trying to keep … Read more

Get The BEST Price On Life Insurance With Policygenius

Get The Best Price On Life Insurance with Policygenius

One of the things that you’ll hear us talk about is the simplification and optimization of each line item in your budget. I have very optimistic outlook on life, but I still plan for different possibilities and I want to assure my family is safe even if something goes wrong. A critical piece of that planning–especially if you have people who depend on your income–is term life insurance. And if … Read more

Why You Should Never Buy A New Car

Why You Should Never Buy A New Car

This article was written by Jon, a member of the ChooseFI community, in response to the podcast episode 29R. Episode 29R: The Reluctant Frugalist vs. the Aspiring Minimalist deals with a host of issues. But, the one I’ll discuss today is the age old question: Which will save me the most money, buying a new or used car? I can understand the fear and frustration of having a car that … Read more

Guest Post: What I’ve Learned From ChooseFI

What I've Learned From ChooseFI

This is a guest post from a listener of the podcast. He’d like to remain anonymous for now, so he’s going by the name MrSeabiscuitman. To further protect his identity some of the details in his story have been changed. We’ve used an asterisk (*) to point out when we have changed a detail. My background I’m currently 29yrs old, and up until the age of 23 had grown up … Read more

What To Do When You Get Stuck In Your Starter Home

What To Do When You Get Stuck In Your Starter Home

Sour Lemons There is an old saying that goes, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Sometimes you’ll face undesirable outcomes or situations, but the saying urges you to stay positive and make the best of those unanticipated events. So, as someone who is officially locked out of my town’s real estate market, I’d say my current housing market is pushing me to make the best of my situation. Below is … Read more

The Breakdown Of Our Budget–Why Following A Budget Doesn’t Always Work

The Breakdown Of Our Budget--Why Following A Budget Doesn't Always Work

After months of pushing to reduce our expenses, I have recently come to the realization that we can’t really cut them down any more. We have a budget and we largely stick to it, but I don’t think those expenses can be reduced much further. Below, I will lay out our monthly expenses and then discuss why it doesn’t really matter anymore! The budget breakdown Mortgage: $1,853 (We live in … Read more

How To Lower Your Healthcare Costs

How To Lower Your Healthcare Costs

After meeting some people at CampFI and talking about what I do for a living, I was encouraged to write an article about ways to be a smart consumer of healthcare. I work for a broker/third-party administrator and we insure a lot of small businesses. I know a lot about health insurance, at least in Ohio. Healthcare Cost According to the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL), the average annual … Read more

Geo-Arbitrage In South Korea

I hadn’t heard of geo-arbitrage when I moved to South Korea. But, with a little intentionality, I think someone could easily move here and accelerate their path to FI. Let me share a few things that I’ve learned from moving to South Korea. Before I get into the tangible savings, let me touch on the psychological. I’ve re-defined what I look for in a home. My peer group has changed, and therefore I’m … Read more

Beginner DIY: Some Tools To Get You Started

Some Tools To Get You Started

So, you finally feel like tackling that big project at your house, and you want to do it yourself. You’ve watched a few YouTube videos, seen at least three episodes of This Old House, read some terrific DIY blogs, and you’re itching to get started. Time to get some tools Ever since the dawn of humanity, tools have been an essential part of our evolution. Without them, we would have … Read more

A 2019 Analysis Of The Dave Ramsey Baby Steps

Since the 90’s The Dave Ramsey Baby Steps have been synonymous with personal finance for middle-class America. I’ve listened to many podcasts and I’ve read many blogs, and Dave Ramsey’s name stands out to me above most others. Brad and I are a 6th or 7th generation media personalities. I don’t want to say that we are a dime a dozen, but there are a-lot more of us to choose from. … Read more

My Mom Was An Extreme Frugalist–Here’s What I Learned From Her

I grew up on Long Island (so, in the NYC metro area). I was one of nine children. My parents were a professor (i.e., not paid great) and a stay-at-home mom. So we didn’t have a lot of money. My mom was the spender of money in our house. She handled our small income with what I now know was extreme frugality. Not even $1 per day For instance, in … Read more

Why Living In A High Cost Of Living Area Isn’t A Bad Thing

I am from a high cost of living (HCOL) area and I see that as neither a roadblock nor a bad thing when chasing FI. In fact, it has several positive elements. A few reasons why I believe this to be true are: the higher earning potential the higher rents (keep reading for my explanation) and the local tax-payer funded services, entertainment, parks, and recreation programs. Now, I’ve never proven that … Read more

041 | The High Cost of Living Path to FI

041.The High Cost of Living path to FI

In today’s podcast we discuss the High Cost of Living Path to FI with ChooseFI community members Paige and Sam who live in Los Angeles and have been pursuing FI in a HCOL with sub-$50,000 per year jobs. In Today’s Podcast we cover: Episode 41: A conversation with Paige and Sam about pursuing Financial Independence in a high cost of living area on a lower income Paige pushed back on … Read more

022 | The True Cost of Car Ownership

022 - The True Cost of Car Ownership

Do you know what your car is actually costing you each year? What about over an investing lifetime? In this episode of the ChooseFI Radio Podcast we cover the True Cost of Car Ownership and you’ll be absolutely amazed at the numbers. In Today’s Podcast we cover: ChooseFI: The Ultimate Guide to the True Cost of Car Ownership Your car payment is a terrible way to spend your hard earned … Read more

020 | Entry Level Middle Class Lifestyle | Intro to Insurance

020-Entry Level Middle Class

The Entry Level Middle Class Lifestyle is a tool that you can use to supercharge your path to FI. Jonathan and Brad go through their expenses one line item at a time. Then they start the conversation about a FI approach to insurance, with an emphasis on life insurance In Today’s Podcast we cover: What Jonathan and Brad’s lifestyle and budget look like. We go in-depth into our actual spending … Read more

012 | Living Frugal Frugalwoods | Save 75% Of Your Take Home Pay

The Ultimate Guide to frugal living (ChooseFI cohost with Frugalwoods)

Living Frugal is a Powerful FI Tool Liz from Frugalwoods coaches us through the ultimate guide to frugal living The benefits of minimalism and living frugal Frugalwoods family saving 70%+ of their income Their conscious decision in March 2014 to pursue financial independence Entirely possible to pursue living frugal anywhere including large metro cities. In fact these cities may have built in advantages like transportation What is the difference between someone who saves … Read more

The Ultimate Costco Meal Plan | Part 2

The Ultimate Costco Meal Plan - Part 2

The Ultimate Costco Meal Plan | Part 2 In Part 2 of the Ultimate Costco Meal Plan, we outlay the staples we purchase to crush the Grocery Bill  This meal plan focuses on Simplicity and Repetition. It is well suited to buying in bulk at discount prices. We tailor 80% of our meals around what we can buy in bulk at Costco and fill in the blanks with special deals … Read more

008 | Avoid Bank Fees at All Cost

how to avoid bank fees

  Bank Fees and fees generally are the financial equivalent of death by a thousand cuts. AVOID THEM – Here’s how Don’t piss off the accountant: Bank Fees Americans spent $32 Billion in overdraft fees in 2016 Bank accounts and credit cards should be financial tools you use for free Overdraft fees mean you have no money and the bank is loaning you money for $35 at a time If … Read more

007 | America’s Food Obsession | How to Crush Your Grocery Bill

Why you need to take a hard look at your Grocery Bill, and Restaurant Budget and how to to crush it America’s food obsession: We’re fat and broke How Brad’s family saves money on food Being smart with ingredients. Buy in season How often does Brad’s family go out to eat? Go out for lunch instead of dinner Emergency meals in extra freezer Being efficient shopping at one store. Cut … Read more

005 | Why Everyone Needs Dave Ramsey and Why You Should Ignore Him

Dave Ramsey Baby Steps ChooseFI

We discuss where ChooseFI and Dave Ramsey agree and disagree. Dave Ramsey and Jonathan’s history following him Dave’s unyielding stance on debt: don’t do it Review and evaluate Dave’s teaching philosophies Baby Step 1: Get an emergency fund of $1,000 Baby Step 2: Pay off all your debt except for your mortgage Explanation of the Debt Snowball Our hybrid approach to the Debt Snowball vs. Debt Avalanche Advice isn’t “one … Read more

004 | Get Off The Hamster Wheel | Jonathan Backstory

how-to-pay-off-student-loans

In Today’s Podcast we cover: Jonathan shares his origin story from and how he graduated from pharmacy school in 2013 with $168,000 student loan debt and how he payed them off in less than 5 years How did he get to that point? ‘Followed the rules’ to get his pharmacy degree but came out owing $1,000 per month in interest You don’t have as much money as you think: the impact … Read more

Early Retirement: 20 Must Read Websites To Retire In 5 Years

Interested in Early Retirement

Early Retirement should be attainable for everyone. Do you want to be financially independent in 5 years. Not sure where to start? These 20 websites will give you all the information you need. for free. This is a living list and will be subject to change as the quality of content available continues to grow.

Read moreEarly Retirement: 20 Must Read Websites To Retire In 5 Years

The Ultimate Costco Meal Plan | Part 1

You need to think about food budgeting America has a food obsession. We have grocery stores at every major intersection, restaurants on every corner and fast food chains to fill the gaps in between. I have talked to many of my neighbors and those conversations mirror the statistics I read online. Most of middle-class America’s disposable income goes to food. Grocery and the food budget can range anywhere from $500 … Read more