Frugal by Choice — Waldo's Journal

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waldo
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Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:02 am

Frugal by Choice — Waldo's Journal

Post by waldo » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:53 am

Hey! I've lurked on these forums for a while and finally decided to contribute something back. Most people don't understand the choices I've made in my life especially around voluntary frugality, but I hope you will :)

Summary:
  • Mid-twenties
  • Remote software engineer
  • >$200k income with >90% savings rate
  • Minimalist, nomadic lifestyle (no permanent home, travel a lot)
I have been extremely lucky in my life to be in the position I'm in — things could have turned out very differently. Mind you, I had to deal with a lot of shit growing up, but at least I had the luxury and privilege of growing up in a first world country (not US :lol:).

Expenses

My 2018 expenses will be below $8k barring any unforeseen events.

I'm guessing it would be around $12k/year without my all-expenses-covered business trips. I am lucky to have access to cheap public healthcare.

Lifestyle

Backpacking in the wilderness has taught me to how little I need to be content and dispelled any desires I might have had for luxuries. I decided to make the most of my low needs and high tolerance for discomfort by traveling permanently with nothing but the contents of my 25 liter backpack.

I don't own much else beyond my stored bicycle and backpacking gear. I'm in the process of donating and selling the few unnecessary things I still have tucked away. I could just dump them, but I try to follow the zero waste principles where I can.

Lets start with the downsides: my friends are spread out all over the world (this is mostly an upside for me though!), it's hard to find a partner who would fit into my lifestyle, and I miss the comfort of my own home when I'm feeling the blues.

With that out of the way, I’ve spent my time in about 10 countries in 3 continents this year. I usually like to stay put in one place for about a month (even longer would be ideal, but my business trips break things up). I find slow travel to be more immersive, more enjoyable, and significantly cheaper.

I usually travel and backpack alone — I love being able to do exactly as I please without compromise. Despite or maybe because of it, I enjoy meeting people on the road. I choose to be exposed wide variety of travelers and locals by finding accommodation in hostels and shared AirBnBs or through housesitting and couchsurfing. Yes, it's occasionally uncomfortable, but the people and the memories easily make it worthwhile.

Work

A few years ago, my life was more or less equivalent to my job. I worked even during the weekends. I genuinely enjoyed what I was doing, but I didn't have to discipline to consistently go beyond my comfort zone.

These days I find myself at the other extreme — I understand the transactional nature of work and realize that the marginal benefit of hard work is not worth it after certain point. I get my job done, but my work now revolves around my life instead of the other way around.

Future

I value my youth so I plan to quit working for money entirely sooner rather than later. I'm already financially independent and mostly doing what I want to do, but I imagine that life without the constraints of work would be even better. I continue to work only because it would be difficult to find a job with similar levels of income, flexibility, and freedom. I will quit without question if my employer ever forces me to work in an office or if they deny my unpaid time off requests for my wilderness adventures.

Stahlmann
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Re: Frugal by Choice — Waldo's Journal

Post by Stahlmann » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:15 pm

wow.

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daylen
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Re: Frugal by Choice — Waldo's Journal

Post by daylen » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:17 pm

There's Waldo!

wolf
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Re: Frugal by Choice — Waldo's Journal

Post by wolf » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:50 am

+1 to Stahlmann --> Wow!

Welcome Waldo! Nice nickname. Does that come from "Walden"?`

Looking forward to read more about your background. Really man, awesome.

Maybe you can share your thoughts here? Best way to get rich?

Take care and enjoy work&travel! :)

thrifty++
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Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Frugal by Choice — Waldo's Journal

Post by thrifty++ » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:58 am

Holy shit! I cant believe you have nailed that level of income,flexibility and financial dependence at your mid 20s!! I have not seen this before.

waldo
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:02 am

Re: Frugal by Choice — Waldo's Journal

Post by waldo » Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:31 pm

wolf wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:50 am
Welcome Waldo! Nice nickname. Does that come from "Walden"?`
It's just a random name that popped into my head. I think I know it from Where's Waldo.
wolf wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:50 am
Maybe you can share your thoughts here? Best way to get rich?
Here's how it went down for me:
  1. Be frugal from a young age (partly inherited from my parents who grew up poor and partly because we were poor refugees)
  2. Spend a good chunk of your childhood fiddling with computers
  3. In your teens, teach yourself how to program and, perhaps more importantly, learn how things work under the hood
  4. In early twenties, use acquired knowledge to get a software job
  5. Hop jobs a few times until you get a high income job in the Bay Area
  6. Do good work
  7. Convince company to let you work remotely
  8. Save >90%
Probably not easily reproducible though! ;)

waldo
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:02 am

Re: Frugal by Choice — Waldo's Journal

Post by waldo » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:29 pm

thrifty++ wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:58 am
I cant believe you have nailed that level of income,flexibility and financial dependence at your mid 20s!!
Like I said, I got really lucky with how everything worked out. Very little of this was premeditated. I discovered the concept of FIRE two years ago and it just made perfect sense given my circumstances at the time.

It has been a fun journey not just financially, but also in terms of my progress as a human. Back then I was not happy with myself and was weighed down by a lot of emotional and psychological baggage (anxiety, insecurity, loneliness, etc.). I'm so thankful to have been able to dig myself out of a hole that I didn't even know I was in.

On that note, here's a quote that really resonates with me:
Edith Wharton wrote:I believe I know the only cure, which is to make one’s center of life inside of one’s self, not selfishly or excludingly, but with a kind of unassailable serenity—to decorate one’s inner house so richly that one is content there, glad to welcome anyone who wants to come and stay, but happy all the same when one is inevitably alone.
Last edited by waldo on Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

jacob
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Re: Frugal by Choice — Waldo's Journal

Post by jacob » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:18 pm

waldo wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:31 pm
  1. Be frugal from a young age (partly inherited from my parents who grew up poor and partly because we were poor refugees)
  2. Spend a good chunk of your childhood fiddling with computers
  3. In your teens, teach yourself how to program and, perhaps more importantly, learn how things work under the hood
  4. In early twenties, use acquired knowledge to get a software job
  5. ...
Yup ... I don't think it's generally realized/appreciated how even early-twenty-something programmers often have 10-15 years of experience already because they started serious hacking at age 10 or so. This is vastly different from most other fields.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Frugal by Choice — Waldo's Journal

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:18 pm

waldo wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:31 pm
It's just a random name that popped into my head. I think I know it from Where's Waldo.
And here I was, thinking that you were inspired by RW Emerson. You’re a complete disappointment to me and I doubt you’ll ever amount to anything.

Welcome.

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