Once I saw the reality of how we spend our money I realized that we have a lot of flexibility in how we spend. I thought we were pretty good. We are pretty frugal people. We don’t waste money. And then I saw the dark side of our spending. We spent over $700 on eating out in September and almost $1300 on groceries and household goods in March. This is for 2 people. We are two fully grown, relatively thin adults that really don’t make all that much money. I was shocked. Okay so now we know. It’s been a couple months. We know how much we can save. We’ve got our savings rate up to 67% and we are just getting started! Here are some things we have done to reach this number and some things that we hope to do in the future.
Our grocery budget is now $100 per week which is well below the cost of the “thrifty food plan” from the USDA for cost of food in Hawaii. Of this we spend about $20 per week at our lovely Farmers Market, supplement with produce from the garden, and then the rest at local grocery stores with a visit to Costco every 8 weeks or so. This might not seem super frugal and maybe we could trim a bit out of this but eating good food makes me happy so…we can spend a few extra dollars. I am a foodie after all. We’ve learned some great plant forward Indian recipes. We are also pasta aficionados and have been known to make many a quick puttanesca. And we bake our own bread using a bread machine we found at a moving sale.
Now we spend about 3% of our income on discretionary spending. Our friends like to eat out and that’s usually when we spend it. The relationships, the community, is worth a little bit extra to us. According to this awesome spreadsheet and retirement calculator from the MadFientist, this will increase our years to FI about 0.8 years. That’s sorta okay with me.
We are inherently tight-fisted when it comes to our cash. Because of this we are a 1 car household and we have a car that gets an EPA-estimated 30/42 MPG rating. I also saved a ton by shopping around for our cell phone service. We switched from Verizon to Mint Mobile and cut our bill by $120 per month. Our major remaining expense is our mortgage at $1497 per month. Our game plan to tackle this one is to rent out our guest room which should help a lot. And once we get enough stable income coming from our online work to continue to save at the high rate and cover our cost of living, we can skip town, rent or sell our house and start living the FIRE nomad dream.