jacob wrote: ↑
Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:25 pm
Something to think about?
Well, hello Jacob. I didn't realize we were making my journal a d#@k-measuring contest.
So, you're saying I beat you in Internet and it cost me less per person to cool (my thermostat was set at 82; we wore shorts, and we are from the South and know how to handle summers), heat, and (maybe?; can't tell from your numbers) medically insure my family? And that your clothing costs and my personal clothing costs were exactly the same? (I also had nothing wear out this month, except my 15-year old Alden work shoes are due for but have not yet been taken in for their biannual re-soling; maybe when I'm retired I'll learn how to do that myself). Also, does your library charge you a monthly fee, or are you just implying that I'm not aware that there's such a thing as a library? Personally, I normally can't justify the recurring monthly expenses of streaming services like Netflix; though, admittedly, my expensive unlimited cell phone plan does include HBO streaming. We got Spotify for one month (July) because we were going to the beach with the extended family (my in laws pay for the beachhouse so that they can get all the grandkids together once a year) and all the cousins are obsessed with The Greatest Showman soundtrack, and Spotify was cheaper than buying the CD--and I consider pulling songs for free from YouTube to be stealing; and we did Playstation Vue (to answer your "Huh?," it's an OTA TV service you can cancel at any time) because my wife is a big soccer fan, and she wanted to watch the World Cup in July. As for the car category, and gas, apart from the cost it took to get my family to and from the aforementioned beach, my "gas" is included in my food budget; and my wife's "gas" is included in electric, because we bought her a used $8,000 Nissan Leaf last year for cash that she uses to commute. For gifts, what can I say, I've been blessed with a lot of Godchildren and nieces and nephews, and my kids keep getting invited to birthday parties and I haven't been able to bring myself to say: Sorry junior, but you can't go to that party because our family, on principle, doesn't believe in participating in this capitalistic, consumerist society where kids expect to receive birthday gifts when their parents host a party for their kids' friends.
Sure, something to think about. But to be honest--and I recognize I'm being defensive here--I have no interest and don't find much value in doing a category-by-category comparison of my expenses to yours. Seems a bit juvenile and unproductive; especially in a vacuum absent context. Our lives and circumstances are different. To give just one example apart from the obvious kids' one: I can't do my job as an attorney in today's world without having some kind of cell phone, because I don't spend my entire day sitting at my desk by my work phone, and my clients also expect to be able to reach me after work hours, and in this day and age I think that expectation is reasonable. Also, the kind of work I do--which I enjoy doing, worked hard to earn the right to do, which I think is beneficial to society, and which I likely will continue to do in some capacity as long as I am competent to do it, regardless of FI--I can't do anywhere except in a handful of expensive, large metropolitan areas. And I have no interest in moving out to the suburbs or exurbs where I can find a house I can pay cash for, because doing so would mean I'd have to drive to work at least a few days a week, which would of course mean I'd spend 1-3 hours a day sitting in traffic in my car and not seeing my wife/kids. So, instead, I chose to move to the cheapest living option I could find that was biking/walking distance from work and my kids' school, and that could accommodate my family of 4.
What I am
interested in is: (1) being a good husband and father and raising kids who understand that life isn't about them, that they are obligated by God to serve God, and by extension, God's creation; and (2) being a good and ethical member of my profession who puts my clients' interests above my own, who competently advocates on their behalves, and who employs and develops, by means of labor,* the many gifts I have received from God to add value to society. I'm also interested in achieving FI because (a) I believe doing so will make achieving (1) and (2) above easier (and indeed, as I've moved closer to FI over the past two years, it has been easier to do (1) and (2)); and (b) I am interested in reducing my impact/footprint on the environment and just consuming less in general. But it's a long road, and it's a big transition to make with a family of 4 when the momentum is going the other way. But we are taking baby steps, and I'm fine with baby steps.
(*) Which is what we were created to do, which is why in so many journals on this forum ERs complain of boredom after spending a month or a year or more traveling around, or gardening, or reading, or whatever. It is in man's nature to seek responsibility and to labor. That doesn't mean there isn't something fundamentally screwed up about what responsibility/labor generally looks like in our society; but you really have to not be paying attention to think that man can be happy without bearing some kind of burden. Again, many of us have a screwed up idea of what that burden must look like; and many if not most of us take on burdens that in hindsight we don't really want, because we were ill-informed at the time we took on the burdens and we lived in a society that somehow makes those burdens seem obligatory and logical.