I've been reading the blog for a couple of months and am deeply impressed by Jacob's insights and reasoning. Although I have always been fairly frugal, this site has raised my motivation to take it a few steps further.
About me: I'm 27 years old, born and raised in Sweden and a medical intern. I've got a small dog and got married about a month ago.
Economically, I have a negative net worth at approx. $10k. This is mostly due to a student loan of about $50k as I have studied to become a physician. Fortunately, in Sweden you get student loans from the state at interest rates of 2-3 % so it's as good as interest free if you take inflation into account. A year ago, my net worth was -$28k, so I have been saving a good portion of my paycheck since I started working. I invest the savings in stocks and index funds.
Since this spring, when I discovered ERE, I have been doing some further cuttings in my expenditures. When our car broke down, I convinced my girlfriend that we didn´t really need to replace it. She already commutes by train and I started commuting by bike/bus. This is easier in Scandinavia than in the US as the infrastructure is much better and people don't think you're crazy if you don't have a car (at least not before you get kids, then it's considered essential). However, the bike ride to the bus stop takes about 30 minutes and the busride takes 50 minutes, so the days get quite long.
I have also cut the food costs. I already cooked 95% of my food and brought lunch to work, but now I try to find cheap deals and cook about 10 portions at a time of a dish and put it in the freezer, then bring for lunch. I aim to pay about a dollar/portion. Further, everyday spending on snacks, sodas etc are mercilessly cut out. I try not to spend any money in the weeks except for food. On the weekends I usually spend more money, especially since many of my friends and my family live in different parts of the country and travelling is pretty expensive. However, I try to find ways to spend time with friends witjout spending a lot of money.
What are my goals then? Well, I actually don´t wish to retire in five years. Having worked as a doctor for a year, I really like my job and find it very meaningful and fulfilling. Furthermore, society has invested a great deal in my education and I wouldn´t feel morally comfortable dropping out so soon after I started. On the other hand, I am starting to fully realize the overwhelming consequences of the decisions you make as a doctor and the tremendous responsibility it brings with it. I also see a lot of attendings who are great at what they do - at work, while other parts of their lives such as family always comes second. This makes me want to choose a "lifestyle" specialty, i.e. one with good hours and a more narrow field of competence such as dermatology or ophthalmology.
Thus, I want to work, just don´t work that much. For now, I´m fine with working full time + some extra time on call, but when I have kids I want to be able to spend a lot of time with them. My ideal future is one where I work something like two-three days a week with something I enjoy and that the money I bring in is more than enough to cover my expenses, while having a substantial sum invested and growing passively.
Now, some (approximate) numbers from june:
Student loans: $48500
Total net worth: -$9700
And my budget looks like this (approximately):
Net income: $3300
Rent, mortgage, utilities: $520
Commute card: $220
Student loans: $200 (half interest, half principal)
Gym membership: $50
Misc: Widely varying
Total: $1215 + misc
The miscellaneous category has varied significantly over the past year as it often includes infrequent expenses such as travels, gifts or car repairs. Anyway, my goal is to keep it under $300/month. If I manage that, I will be able to save about 55 % of my income. Sometimes I get possibilities to earn extra income so I think I could get that figure up to 60 %. As it is, however, I am happy as long as I can keep the percentage above 50 % long term.
In about a year, when I get my medical license, my income will rise with about $1000. Then I will either save 60%+ of my income or, if possible, start working four days a week.