Thanks for looking at my journal!
If you're reading this, it probably means that you are interested in my journal; my adventure; my journey to early retirement extreme! I'll begin by talking a little about myself, then move on to the nitty gritty numbers. I'm hoping that through these forums we can all help each other and be better off. I've already learned a lot from these forums (not to mention the blog & the book) and I am still learning all the time. I hope to spread this knowledge further!
Now, on to me.
I'm still pretty young - 21. That gives me lots of time to save money, while not being old enough to have already made the mistake of getting a costly mortgage. I'm an INTJ, and generally a quiet person in social situations. I think a lot. I read and research a lot. I feel compelled to learn everything I can NOW so that when I'm 50, there is no piece of information that comes by and makes me say "I wish I knew that when I was 20". I don't want regrets due to being ill-prepared for life. In this vein, I've started learning about money management, eating healthy, and generally trying to live a life of no regrets. I'm a first generation (first of my family) university student. Studying Computer Science and I just finished my third year this May. Along with that began a 16 month internship on April 30th, 2012 at Evertz, after which I will be returning to school to complete my fourth year and after that comes endless possibilties which have been at the forefront of my mind for the last 6 months intensively. I have a girlfriend who is very interested in the same stuff as me (disinterested in working 8 hours a day,5 days a week just to have a big house, nice car, lots of debt and no time to spend with kids and family; not to mention a common perspective towards food: meatless, maybe even completely raw and living location: we both think this (http://simondale.net/house/index.htm) is awesome). We've been dating for 6 years now (highschool sweethearts), and plan for a future together.
How about some financial details now?
I have no house, no car, and no major bills. I live with my parents, and although my mom would like $150 a month, I have not been forced to pay this yet (cheap or frugal? :P). I work in another city and the commute is about 40 minutes due to traffic. My dad drives me. Both of my parents are unemployed, so I pay my dad $200 a month to drive me (and I don't think this covers the gas so I believe he's taking a hit here). There is a bearded dragon in my room which I take care of in exchange for her guarding my room while I'm gone. She costs me about $15 a month in crickets, and once in awhile new lights and vitamin powder. I have a pay as you go cell phone (got the phone itself for free as a gift from my girlfriend: it is an iPhone that I have been contemplating of ditching). This costs me $20 a month (Or should I say $6000 in savings) for unlimited texting. I used to add a monthly $10 100MB add-on, but have stopped. I buy some food, about $75 a month. I have an Excel spreadsheet based off of akratics that I will evolve over time to represent information in new ways, and add some graphs and charts. Right now I am utilizing the +FI, and -FI tabs to track income and expenes and a Finances tab to sum it all up. I began tracking two months ago, so averages will start to get more consistent(or continuously drop :-) ), or meaningful.
I have a student debt: $11,798, and I will need to pay for one more year of school which will be about $7,000. A part of me feels foolish now for going to school, especially since I was a freelance programmer before going to University. However, I feel it has given me prospects and the 'credentials' to get two of the high paying jobs I have today. It has sparked enormous personal growth and development, and imbued me with more confidence. It stole time from me, but I was very rarely going to class anyways. I decided that with a 1 hour travel time (each way) it was more beneficial to skip class. That would result in a ton of extra time which could be used for studying the material on my own. I found I could use the extra time to study, continue at the same level, and have additional time for personal projects (working, researching). Example: A normal day could have had 3 classes, with an hour break between (this is conservative, sometimes I had 4 or 5 classes, with even more breaks. The small computer science faculty has little flexibility in course selection as most are just offered in one slot - so I can't design a compact schedule) would consume 4 hours + 2 hours of travel time for a total of 6 hours. I could study for 3 or 4 hours to learn all the missed material, and still be left with two extra hours of time for personal projects.
And my income:
Day job: $3000 per month
Secondary freelance job: $300 per month
Tertiary freelance job: $500 per month
All of these jobs are relatively stable. My day job is at Evertz Monday-Friday for 8 hours. My secondary freelance job is a client that has regular work coming to me at $30 an hour. And the third is making flash games (currently commisioned by Armor Games to make a sequel to Master of Fortresses. See http://www.iprogramstuff.com).
These are the categories I'm tracking (Looking for suggestions or category name changes, consolidating categories, breaking them up, etc. I am happy to refine this), and using averaged data from my 2 months of tracking:
Cell Phone $15.07
FI Expenses $1,222.06
FI Income $4,562.86
FI Savings $3,340.81
TOTAL SAVED: $6,940.49
My freedom plans involve a mesh of many strategies. I am definitely of the mindset that once I 'retire', my income does not need to stop. My goal is financial independence, not a life of no work. That is to say, if I work, it's because I want to be. I think I can live a happy life if I never have to be driven by money to do things; I want to be free to do the things I want, that make me happy.
This post marks a step in that journey and I'm glad to be posting it in this community.