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FI Weekly – October 13, 2020

What Have you Splurged on Recently?

We talk a lot about cutting expenses at ChooseFI and while there’s room in most budgets for cutting wasteful spending, the path to FI is decidedly NOT about deprivation. It’s about finding what you truly value in life and putting your time, energy, and resources into those things.

I think this is critical, and to prove this point I’ll share a recent expensive purchase we made based around value: We bought a Concept2 rowing machine for our home gym for around $900.

I agonized over this purchase at first, because my frugal nature is still strong, but here’s how I framed it around value: All four of our family members will use this multiple times per week, as it’s incredibly easy to use and actually fun. It’s amazing exercise and we significantly value health and fitness. And while most items you buy depreciate 75%+ instantly (check out a garage sale to prove this point!), this rower could be sold at any moment for at least $650.

Fun Activities for Less

Jonathan, a new member of our Facebook group, asked a great question recently:

“What fun activities do you and your family like to do that don’t cost a lot of money? Looking for fun things to do that don’t hurt the wallet!”

Our family loves to spend time outdoors, especially on some of the great hikes in and around Shenandoah National Park. And we absolutely love playing board games! Our current obsession is Dominion, but some longtime favorites include Ticket to Ride and Catan.

I’d love for you to chime in with your own fun, frugal activities and check out some great activities others posted:

What I’m Listening to This Week

Jillian just launched Season 5 of the Everyday Courage podcast yesterday with a great episode entitled “10 Year Time Capsule” that I highly recommend.

Sometimes, like 2020 for example, your best-laid plans get ruined, and it’s easy to become frustrated, but as Jillian describes, “plowing things under also gives you space for new things to be planted. It gives you the opportunity of kind of this clean slate, this clean feel, this clean ground for new things to take root, for new things to grow.”

I’d love for you to subscribe to Everyday Courage on your podcast player of choice, and you can check out all the episodes of Everyday Courage here:

Live Event with NewRetirement

We’re big fans of NewRetirement, the FI planning software that CEO Stephen Chen introduced to us in Episode 167R. (You can read our full review of the planning tool here)

ChooseFI’s own, Stephen, is co-hosting an ‘Ask Me Anything’ live event with NewRetirement this Thursday (10/15) at 6pm ET/3pm PT. They’ll show you how to use the New Retirement software to model out paths for both FI and standard retirement, and answer any questions you have.

ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Bryan and Deb said, “We are both nurses and maxed out our 401ks this week, just before we ended our travel contract. We stretched our contributions out to take full advantage of our company’s 4% (and fully vested) match. By stretching it out to the very last week, we were able to add $7,600 of ‘free’ company match to our investments. On October 23 we are officially FI, though we are staying PRN (and working occasionally) at a hospital to keep our skills up as a hedge against sequence of return risk through this volatile time.”
  • Carl said, “My wife and I refinanced the mortgage on our condo saving us $415 per month. We plan on staying here for 3-4 more years and then renting our condo. With current rental rates in our area, we should be able to profit over $1,000, close to if not fully funding our next monthly housing payment on our new primary residence.”
  • Ariel said, “I upped my 401k contributions from 14% to 22% to max it out in 2021 – one of my first big FI steps and I’m so excited! I’m also in the early stages of practicing a low-waste lifestyle, which pairs incredibly well with FI and frugal living.”
  • Jami said, “This week, following the principles outlined in ‘The 80/20 Rule,’ I got rid of cable, since I don’t watch TV anymore, unsubscribed from several newsletters I rarely read, and unsubscribed from 3 online learning sites I almost never use. This will save me approximately $300 per year that will be directed towards paying down my remaining consumer debt.”
  • Josh said, “I took my entire bonus check and put it towards student debt.”
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