Does pursuing FI mean a life of deprivation and extreme frugality?

One of the questions you often see from folks who just start is how far they should take their journey to financial independence. Most folks end up very quickly on Mr. Money Mustache or Early Retirement Extreme, and see a type of frugality that can be almost frightening. Getting by on $25,000/year (MMM) or $10,000/year (ERE) seems to be almost impossible for some folks, especially folks who come to us with a lot of debt (student loan, credit card, etc.).

In addition, many folks don’t get as energized by the idea of extreme frugality that some FIRE folks really enjoy. Let’s face it, some of the people in our community definitely take a “more frugal than thou” attitude, and compete for ways to show how frugal they are being.

Still, what I like about our community is the wide variety of options, of people, of circumstances, and of goals that are demonstrated by the various blogs. You can find single people, married people, young & old, folks with kids & with just pets, extreme frugality and “fat FI” people who like to spend. It won’t take you long searching on Rockstar Finance to find someone (or many someone’s) whose circumstances come close to your own. You can then settle in for some good reading, good ideas, and excellent motivation.

For Mrs. 39 Months and myself, we’ve been long on this journey, and only really got a push once we paid off our home mortgage and became debt free. That was when the numbers all suddenly came together, and we could take a good look at how long it would be to obtain FI.

What caused me to write about this topic today? Well, it’s a little cold & rainy here in Southern NJ today (Feb 24) – like it is in a lot of the country. Mrs. 39 Months decided we should go out and have a traditional English Tea (scones & the works) at a local restaurant that caters to British food. While Mr. Money Mustache might laugh at us for this (“make the scones & tea yourself at home – and here is a great recipe”) we are making the decision to go out and patronize a local establishment.

Many folks in the FIRE community talk about intentional living, making decisions based on your wants and needs. If you feel the money spent provides you value, then go and spend it. I happen to agree with this, and going for scones and tea looks like it will provide value today.

 

What is worth spending funds on for you?

 

Mr. 39 Months

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