27, male, recently engaged (as of this week!) living in the UK. I am a civil servant in healthcare. ERE is fairly new to me, I finished my first reading of ERE a few weeks ago and I am having another go at it, this time taking down notes and ideas as they crop up. I found it was a lot to take in the first time around! The principles of ERE closely match my own values and I love the parallels I have drawn between my own life and Jacobs.
I have been opposed to the needless waste of energy and resources in our culture for as long as I remember having an opinion on anything. Consumerism has never really sat comfortably with me but it wasn't until I read ERE that it really dawned on me that there was another way. After obtaining my first salaried job I spent everything I earned. I saw the light about a year ago and have cut myself free from the endless cycle of contracts and needless upgrades and financing. Having been introduced to MMM elsewhere, I had already made a lot of changes that put me on track to financial independence over the last year. I must admit, I didn't think there was much else I could do to retire sooner and without a huge income I was getting disheartened about the prospect of early retirement. The best part about reading ERE was the realisation it wasn't all about 6 figure salaries!
For a long time I had been treading water with a net worth with a big fat minus figure. I didn't have any real career ambitions or savings targets so think I was happy with that for while but after being close to defaulting on a debt payment I had a bit of realisation I was going nowhere and gave myself a serious talking to.
I have since been cycling 18 miles to and from work 5 days a week since June 2014. This month I finally bit the bullet and terminated my rather expensive lease car agreement that I entered 2 years ago, I had been putting this off due to heavy termination penalties, however enough was finally enough! I'm now £350 a month better off every month, nearly a quarter of my income saved!
I haven't yet obtained a trailer for doing the larger food shop, but I do pick up the basics on the bike when needed. Now the weather is improving and it's getting lighter in the evenings, I'm seriously considering looking at buying a good trailer, used of course!
I have a pretty good arrangement with family where I live for free in a rental property with my fiancé (still getting used to using that word!), and we should be here for 12-18 months, by which time we will have saved up a good deposit on our first house. My SO isn't interested in FIRE and thinks I am crazy, but she is happy knowing I am saving! Watch this space, I'm working on convincing her ERE is possible! Despite this, I find we get on pretty well as she doesn't expect too much from me. We eat out occasionally which is acceptable to me, as we generally don't go to expensive restaurants and she doesn't demand expensive jewellery, gifts or designer clothing.
We stick to home cooking with fresh meat and veg 99% of the time. Yet somehow spending on food is around £300/month for two which feels quite high to me. I do concede that some of these expenses are one off purchases (flowers, cleaning goods, alcohol etc), but I would like to squeeze this down further to £250/month max. We do eat meat most days, I guess cutting that out would bring the expense down significantly. I'm working on learning more vegetarian recipes so I can be a bit more adventurous!
I have set some clear and achievable goals for this year but as buying a home is high on my partners priorities, I don't expect to open my first investment account until we have met our target for our house deposit around the end of the year. Still, I will be saving significant sum this year which will put me in good stead for saving for early retirement in the near future.
My goals for 2015:
- Start a veg garden (planting seedlings indoors today and preparing a small plot tomorrow!)
- Build my first piece of furniture (I'm thinking of starting with a coffee table)
- Make my first investment (all savings currently in work pension/basic e-savings account)
- Plan and start my first body-weight exercise regime (my rather muscular legs are starting to look odd in comparison to my upper body as my cycling is pretty intense, and upper body workout is non-existent!)
Goals already met this year:
Cycle 4,000 miles
Net-worth = £5,000
Buy enagement ring with cash
I look forward to updating you guys with my progress