I'm an IT Specialist working for the Foreign Service, posted to Kathmandu for two or three years. I've always been rather thrifty and a do-it-myself financial manager.
I enjoy my job and the opportunity to live in different countries, which I find enriching for myself and my family (I'm married with two young daughters).
In addition to taking advantage of hardship pay (conditions here merit 25% extra pay), we live in government-provided housing while renting out our split-level in Northern Virginia for a small fortune. We bought in1998, before the bubble, and selected a house that's very close to public transportation and a commuter bike trail.
We've managed to save a significant amount in our retirement plans - I contribute the max - and we're doing pretty well in our taxable accounts. I'd like to learn more about using options both for speculative investments and income.
I'm always learning new techologies for my job, and when I complete certifications deemed desirable by my employer, I can also qualify for Skills Incentive pay.
Where I struggle is with my weight and exercise program. I start exercise plans but until now haven't followed up well. I have already had an experience of losing about 10 kg in three months about five years ago, but I put the weight back on. It's amazing how I have extraordinary discipline in tracking my finances and saving up before making purchases, but I have much less discipline with food. What worked for me before and I'm getting back to now is the nutritional ideas in "Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy", which focuses on portion control and exercise, obtaining one's fat intake mostly from plant rather than animal sources, and whole grains instead of all the whites (white rice, white bread, white pasta, white sugar...). It works for me and is cheaper than meat.
Finally, we find it useful to own a car for exploring Nepal. In Ethiopia we purchased a new Nissan Patrol, which we sold two years on for our purchase price; we then bought a two year-old Honda Accord for use during our Home Leave, and then shipped it to Argentina, where we sold it for just under our purchase price. We think we'll be able to sell our current ride, a Mahindra Scorpio, for close to our purchase price when we depart Nepal.
In sum, we make some choices differently because of our transient lifestyle.
Looking forward to some good discussions here.