The quickest way to achieve financial independence is to spend less than you earn, which requires some sacrifice and sometimes some inconvenience. I’m willing to forgo lots of luxuries, but I’ve identified seven things I won’t sacrifice on my way to financial independence.
Life with my doggos is as good as it gets. I would be lost without them. I grew up with a dog in the house, and I will probably always have a dog in my own abode. Both of my boys are rescues, and they keep me company, they keep me active, they keep me sane. There is no better listener than my big guy. And it seems I don’t sleep well without sixteen pounds of part-Schnauzer, part-Poodle pressed against my neck.
If I didn’t have my doggos, I wouldn’t need to own a house. Rentals in my city that allow dogs are hard to come by. They’re either way out in the suburbs or landlords charge crazy pet fees. By owning my own home, I secure a safe place for my boys, and I don’t have to answer to some property owner who gets paranoid about the size of a dog. And before you say anything about the damage a dog can do: I KNOW. But I also know that my dogs don’t destroy things except for stuffed squeaky toys and treats. They have references. I’d rent if I felt landlords were reasonable about pet policies, or if irresponsible owners (of pets) didn’t ruin it for everyone else. But that’s not the way it is, so I’ll own a home and have a yard and me and my boys will be fine with it.
I know I could save boatloads if I cut my own hair. It’s a popular expense to cut. But, I have extremely thick, naturally curly hair. It is not an easy mop to manage. With the right cut, it’s wash and go, and I’ll pay for that cut every time. I don’t have any friends who would trust themselves with thinning shears, let alone mastering the layering technique that tames my mane. Sure, I could start modeling a straightfoward, blunt-along-the-bottom cut, but then the weight of my head would double and my chiropractic expenses would increase. Instead, I’ll go to the salon and get a little stylin’ done.
I don’t churn credit cards for miles and points, so all my travel has to come out of my pocket. Whether it’s big trips like my recent three-week adventure around England, Wales, and Scotland or a weekend trip to see my bestie, all the expense falls on me. I hope to have at least one big adventure a year while I pursue financial independence. It’ll help relieve burnout and keep my eye on the prize. I’ve got to remember what I’m working for.
Although I’m fairly frugal, I will buy books from time to time. If I hear about a book and the library doesn’t have it, I check the local used bookstores first. If they don’t have what I’m looking for, then it’s hello Amazon. I have three bookshelves that I cull often so the books don’t cause a lot of clutter. I only keep the ones that I’ll read again, reference, or that are important to me in some way. I’m also always happy to buy work written by my friends.
6. TV, Sweet TV
I like television. I pay about twenty bucks a month to stream Netflix and Hulu. Between those services and watching clips on YouTube, I’m happy. I have to be careful not to sign up for Showtime, HBO, and Amazon Prime. But, I can refrain. I find television soothes me after hard days of teaching. If I graded a lot of papers or lectured on a lot of content, a little television goes a long way.
Running a website isn’t a no-cost endeavor. There are maintenance costs, like hosting, owning the URL, etc. Then, there are growth costs like investing in VA services and paying for back end work. For the community, though, it is worth every penny. Blogging keeps me accountable, gives me an outlet, and helps me develop my voice. Sure, I could invest the money instead of keeping the website alive, but I like it here. I’m keeping it around.
There are many, many ways to cut expenses in order to achieve financial independence sooner rather than later. I know several FIRE bloggers who would forgo pets, or rent instead, or cut the cord and never watch Netflix. I am not those bloggers. Those will not be my sacrifices.
What are you not willing to sacrifice while you pursue FI?