(Boltzmann's brain's journal doesn't ring well, so...)
I am pretty sure I don't want to retire (extremely) early, but I really do like the idea of financial independence - for me, this means "I can stop whenever I want so I'm not gonna take any of your BS!"
However, I'm attracted to the idea of frugal living and thought it would be a good idea to keep a journal here - to measure my progress and get feedback from you guys.
Some info: In my early twenties, living in Europe, returning to university next year to get my engineering degree (the first 3 years are done, 2 more years to go). Working full-time at the moment.
I have a bit over $60000 saved up, most in "high interest rate" bank accounts (2 pct., but I can withdraw the money whenever I want unlike other accounts with higher rates) and a loan to a family member (3 pct., will get the money in ~2 years) and some in high risk stocks for fun. I'm currently trying to figure out what kind of investment options I have and I'm reading about the stock market.
Following Jacob's 21 day makeover, these are some of my thoughts:
Housing: I live in a shared apartment with three others and pay $450/mo for this including utilities and internet. This is extremely cheap compared to other housing possibilities in the city I live in - typically rent like this is only available for students. I'm still trying to figure out if it would pay off to buy something of my own, but housing is very expensive in this city (often ranked in the top 15 most expensive cities in the world to live in) and I would hate to maintain it. Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with my current housing situation, but I know I have to move eventually.
Decluttering: My room is about 18 m^2 (194 square feet), I have half a fridge, half of a tiny freezer and two cabinets in the kitchen. So I don't have room for that much stuff anyways. Most of my unnecessary things are clothes and shoes. I've put stuff I don't use on sale for a website similar to eBay.
Grocery shopping: I use $125-160/mo on groceries, $135-200/mo on restaurants/take away and $50/mo on lunch at work. This can be cut significantly, I think. I used to buy organic veggies from a local food co-op which I'll start again soon. You get 4-10 kg local seasonal organic veggies for $18 on a weekly basis, but you can decide whenever you want it. In return, you have to work there 4 hours/mo. I'll buy a bag of veggies every 2-3 week, some grains (lentils, quinoa and amaranth are great, they have a lot of proteins and dietary fibre), eggs and a bit of meat when it's on sale. I'll also start to pack my own lunch.
I get organic fruit from work, because we often have some left in the end of the week. I cut and freeze them for smoothies (used to add protein powder, psyllium seed husk, flax seed oil and rosehip powder to this, it constitutes as a full meal. Might do this again, the supplements are kind of expensive though). I do like the occasional restaurant meal/take away, but I'll try to minimise the spontaneous visits and plan for it instead.
Cell phone: I pay $9/mo for free sms and data (500 mb) and an extra $9/mo for calls, so about $20/mo. This is the cheapest option, I think. I am allowed to use my work phone for private use*, but I like to keep it seperate.
(*I have worked there for 3 years now and could have saved ~$650 on phone bills...)
Transport: I don't have a driver's license and cars are prohibitely expensive in this country (180% tax when buying cars and gas is $2/liter). Also, since I live in the city, parking would be impossible.
The public transportation system is extensive, but still pretty expensive. Like the majority of the rest of the city, I use my bike to get around - 7.5 km to work and when I start studying, it's 10 km. There are bicycle lanes everywhere, but the weather tends to get icy and snowy in the winter.
Other expenses: Healtcare and education is free. Insurance is $230/year and also covers travelling abroad. Dentistry have been expensive in the last year, about $700-800. This is mostly my own fault, the yearly check-ups are only $30. Clothes is probably $18/mo, but I don't really need it anymore and will hopefully cut this.
All in all, I like to live frugal, but since I started working full-time, I estimate I use $180-250 more a month. I would like to cut down.