Quit Working – Start living.

The Quit Work for Life Manifesto.

Why am I here? Why are you here? I’m here to be financially stable and independent that I can quit my job whenever I want. I want to be in charge of my time, I want to do things that are fulfilling to me. I hope you’re here because you too can see that the future of work is unpredictable and you want more in life than giving 40+ hours a week to someone else for little reward.

Economists once predicted that due to ever increasing labour efficiency our future would be one of increased lesuire hours, less work, more family time and less stress. 

Yeah right. Missed the mark a little bit there economists……

Instead we have long commutes in cramped cities, collections of stuff that weigh us down, job satisfaction that is little comfort as we spend hours away from family only to end up with very little cash after we buy all the supposed trappings of a middle class lifestyle and all the bills are paid.

Don’t despair, there is hope

If you are under 30 and willing to be disciplined there is no reason why you can’t quit work  before 65 (retire early) and spend more quality years doing things that make you and your family happy. The older you are the trickier it gets, but there are gains to be made no matter what decade you decide to get your financial self together.

Panning out how I can quit my job
What are my core ideals and beliefs on the journey to FIRE?

I’ve only been on this early retirement train for a year or so, somedays I feel like I found it too late, other days I am filled with optimism that it won’t be long till I have the financial freedom to leave my job. I have found that I have to change my mindset in order to make progress towards the goal of financial independence and there are a few ideas that I try keep front of mind on this journey.

I recognise that my life is exchanged for cash, 1 hour at a time.

Hours are spent working for cash, it will not be squandered, my time will not be givin in vain. I will not spend my thirties acquiring trinkets and memories of hangovers so that I have to work full time for the next 35 years.

I will have options, I will have cash

I won’t let a lack of savings put me in desperate positions where I am forced to make choices based on a lack of cash. Like having to take a job I find repugnant, make an unethical choice, move my family somewhere unsafe, sell a precious item, go without top medical care etc. Emergency funds will always be available.

I will be smart with what I have.

I will make my money serve me, I will not serve money. I won’t be a slave to a wage forever. My money will be put to work and no dollar shall sit idle. I will do my research and take advice where warranted.

I will always know where I am and where I’m going.

Tracking expenses and keeping a net worth spreadsheet up to date are the housekeeping of financial independence. I shall not slack, I shall not avoid looking at bank statements and expenses.

 

These ideas will steer me towards financial independence. Or at least put me in a better position in my old age, (no cat food dinners for me). Some days it’s hard work, some days its easy, but I know I’m doing something! Better to be living with intent, than to be left wondering where it all went 10 years from now. Sure there will be temptations (omg beer), mistakes (I’m looking at you Forestlands), slip ups but when you know the path you want to be on its hard to stay lost for too long.

 

The $ide effects of Fasting

I’ve been experimenting with fasting lately. For 2 reasons.

  1. My life is filled with excesses, food, entertainment, luxury, beverages, comfort. Fasting for a day is a good mental exercise in appreciation for all you have and it exercises mental discipline. Even though I’ve felt broke at points in my life I’ve never experienced scarcity of food or true hunger.
  2. I’m overweight and have a family history of type II diabetes. There is research to suggest regular fasting can help improve insulin sensitivity.

    Fasting has FIRE upsides!

    One side effect of regular fasting is the money you save. It’s one whole day a week where you don’t have to buy any food. I also don’t drink any beer or wine. No cooking means less power used in the kitchen. I also don’t particularly feel like being around food so I avoid doing any shopping or being anywhere near shops on my fasting day.

    I like to keep myself distracted from the lust for food so I’m often really productive on my fasting days, but usually in low key activities like doing the accounts, writing or doing a coding tutorial on the internet.

    I’ve noticed too that planning and thinking about meals actually takes a whole lot of mental energy. On fasting days I feel really free because I don’t have the hassle of organising meals.

    When fasting, drink lots of water
    mmmmmmmm Water, or as I call it……Dinner

Fasting may seem a little extreme. I see it as having a bit in common with FIRE philosophies. A little sacrifice for better health is just like saving now for future wealth. I deny myself fancy cars because I know it would be bad for my financial goals and I’ll deny myself dinner once a week because I know its doing wonders for my insulin sensitivity.

Fasting is seen as a bit fringe in my social circle, so is the idea of retiring early. Both ideas are going a little against the norm. I don’t tell my coworkers I’m fasting and I don’t talk about my plans to retire early. It does seem that most of the “retire early” crowd I read about online have really open minds and are keen experimenters. I like to think I’m open to new ideas too, It’s why I didn’t go “Retire early? That’s impossible” when I first read about the concept. So I’ll continue with the weekly fast and the weekly savings, short term sacrifices for long term gains.

Some Mornings I Wake up Angry

I don’t know if it is weird dreams, my cold house, the alarm going off in the pitch black, my cat insisting on waking me up at 5am with some creature she’s brought me from the garden or depression. But when that alarm goes off some mornings I am pissed off. Thats the first feeling I get for the day.

I’m angry that I’ve got to freeze my butt off getting ready for work. I’m annoyed with myself that I can’t get up any earlier than 6am and I have no time for breakfast, I shower, dress and drive to work.

I don’t mind the drive to work, I listen to National radio. It’s calming and informative with a business update at 6:45am just as I’m pulling into work. One day they’ll be like, Abano shares go up by 1000% all holders can now retire! Sometimes on the drive to work I fantasise about missing my turn off. I’ll just keep driving I think, I’ll drive to Napier, I’ll buy a house in Hastings. I’ll wander the vineyards. But I never do it. I always make that right hand turn. Queueing with the other hundred or so people that start shift at 7am.

The first thing I do at work is make coffee and make my co-workers coffee. Cause thats breakfast. Then while we all break some minor health and safety code we drink coffee at our work stations.

As you may have guessed I’m not a morning person, but coffee and some nice repetitive routine work is just the thing to bring me to life…..except I have to endure a robust dissection of last nights “bachelor” episode.

At 10:30am I’ll treat myself to breakfast and check the sharemarket. Nope, can’t retire yet.

I’ll spend some time dealing with a supplier claiming they can’t supply us with ph6 buffer anymore until I send them my approved handlers certificate. WTF (Vinegar, VINEGAR from the supermarket is more harmful than this stuff!) I scan my approved handler certs and email them off. Meanwhile my bulk chemical supplier sends me 20L drums of flammable petrochemicals with incorrect labelling. No certification required.

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My boss gets on my case about spelling dnagerous wrong in an email to the compliance officer. Gah sometimes I’m just smashing out emails in the few minutes I have spare between getting through all our pathology specimens for the day. Note to self …. must be mor eproffesional.

I eat some leftovers for lunch and go back to work for a few more hours.

And really its nothing to be angry about. Its just ordinary. Nothings that horrible. I’m not mistreated or underpaid (up for debate). I’m not the victim of sexual harassment or workplace bullying.

It’s just simple everyday stuff.

I’m not sure why I feel so ragey in the mornings. Maybe its a micronutrient deficiency. I kinda hope so.

I go home and spend time with my husband, he tells me of all the good things that happened to him today, we hassle the teenager about all the hair dye on the pillow cases and nag about leaving the heat on in their room with all the windows open. Cook some rare beef for dinner with a sesame sauce. Cups of tea after dinner and few laughs later I feel like a normal person.

By bedtime I’m not angry anymore.

I’m me again…… at least until 6am.

Considering the Not so Frugal Purchase

Are you considering purchasing something ridiculous like a jetski? A $1000 piece of home brewing equipment? A fancy new smart phone? There’s a few hard questions worth asking yourself before you make the plunge.

Can you afford it? Can you pay cash and not be absolutely devastated by the drop in net worth. No wiping out your emergency fund for a new kitchen! Buying it on credit…uh sorry, no, you can’t afford it, forget about it. “Oh but I can afford the repayments!” nope, you can’t afford to buy yourself a debt. Thats stupid, just don’t.

How long will this item last? A lifetime, amazing! 10 years, great! A couple of years, its okay I suppose. A year at most because its got some “fashion” time limit on it, very very bad.

How often are you going to use it? There’s definitely a justification for buying quality things that you’ll use everyday especially when you work out a cost per use of the item e.g A jetski, maybe a couple times a summer till you get bored of towing it places and paying registration on the trailer and then it will sit in the garage for ten years. Say 10 uses, jetskis in NZ cost about $12,000 so $1000 per use. Hmmm Maybe you’re better off hiring one for now until you are absolutely sure you love it so much you’re going to use it every weekend, or better yet use it to commute across the harbour.

man on a jet ski
Just $12,000 to look as glamorous as this guy. Bargain.

How about the home-brew gear, how often does that get used? Probably once a month….for many years, at least until the doc says no more alcohol, which might never happen. So conservatively maybe 10 brews a year for 5 years, 50 brews, cost of $20 a brew.  If you brew more often or make the equipment last longer costs will drop. Still looks like an expensive spend for a hobby.

Home brewing equipment - grandfather
mmmmmmm grainfather

What about the smart phone, you use it every day for GPS, photo’s, internet, keeping in touch etc. So over a year a $949 works out at 2.60 a day. My last smart phone lasted me 5+ years (Its true I have a 2011 smart phone) so that works out at $0.52 a day. Not a bad price for having a little powerful computer in your pocket at all times.

So for not so frugal purchases, make sure you can pay cash without it setting you back, that it’s going to last and you’re going to use it often enough for the cost per use to be really really low.

What else should we keep in mind?

When we want something bad enough its easy enough to justify it to ourselves, we can make up any number of reasons, truths or half truths (I will surely use this jetski every weekend for the rest of my life!) to get ourselves the object of desire. It can be difficult to sort out these half truths from the facts until after the event has occurred, just like how I promise myself I’m going to eat healthy this week but by Wednesday I’m chowing down on a cheeseburger. It’s hard to protect yourself from future you! Future you is probably going to get sick of jetski maintenance after a couple seasons!

A good budget can help protect you from excessive spending, at the very least all your savings and emergency funds should be out of easy reach and a discretionary fund for free spending is a must. Becoming financially independent doesn’t mean not having any fun ever, but large purchases should be well considered and delayed. The dent in the timeline to financial independence that these kinds of purchases cause should be carefully weighed along with how often you are making these larger not so frugal purchases. A new smart phone every five years is pretty good going, a new smart phone every year is something you might need to reflect on.

 

I Quit my Side Hustle

After 2 years of pouring beer and handing out samples in stores I finally decided to call it a day.

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The last job they booked me was a big box supermarket that had recently started to stock craft beer. It should have been an easy gig but this store seems to have a higher ratio of weirdos and assholes. After laughing off insults and rudeness, keeping a smile on while listening to some jokers superman fantasy (non-sexual but oddly violent) I decided that actually this wasn’t worth my time anymore.

I stuck out this side gig for 2 years (on top of a regular full time job). I initially took it because I love craft beer so it seemed like an easy way to make a little extra cash.

Over the years I’ve met some really amazing people. I have to say that craft beer people are some of the nicest I’ve ever met. But I want my weekends back! I need to spend more time with the love of my life and less time trying to convince green bottle beer drinkers to give IPA a crack.

A lot of bloggers will try convince you to get a side hustle. They are after all a brilliant way of bringing in extra cash and if you are smashing down some debt its bloody brilliant but unless you are some kind of stamina machine its going to eventually take its toll. However 2 years worth of extra income have certainly helped us get ahead with our investing.

I’m not ruling out going back to working a second job, I’ll always keep my eye out for something interesting and I’m lucky enough to not need the income so I can be picky about what I do and leave before I get too burned out or jaded.

Hey if you’re desperate to get a side hustle going anyway check out Side Hustle Nation – How to Earn an Extra $1000 a Month as a Brand Ambassador



February Expenses and Savings!

Oh man, the things I did this month. WAY MORE SPENDING! But also so much AWESOMENESS!

Took a plane to Christchurch to watch my brother in the Coast to Coast. It’s a mad event where people run/cycle/kayak from one side of the South Island to the other (IN ONE DAY!). It was an amazing day and quite emotional. I was really proud of my brother but it was pretty hard watching him at some of those checkpoints, I could tell he was in a bit of pain but he just kept on pushing. It was a 14 hour day of racing. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world it was really inspirational.

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My brother had a very deep connection with my Grandparents. Both have since passed and my Grandmother suffered through an oesophageal cancer. This was the second time he’s done the coast to coast and each time it was to get donations for the Cancer Society. His goal was to raise $24,000 he’s pretty close at $15,657. I would not be surprised if he raced again just to get to his goal. He is that kind of guy.

So a weekend away certainly added to the budget, but I don’t regret it at all. I also had a few other unexpected expenses. Last months water bill was double the usual! Why? Well it was A BLOODY LEAK. Under the concrete floor of the garage. Re routing the line coast $864! Also my laptop seemed to be dying a spasmodic beachball death but a new hard drive seems to have solved things ($173). Cheaper than a refurbished laptop thats for sure. There’s years left in this baby. Woo! Thanks to husband for perseverance on that one! So many OS installs.

Oh and I went to the dentist : /

So here’s the damage.

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I had to top up the rental property mortgage this month. But that was only 2% of the budget.

Oh and we took on a youth. Yep we have an 18 yr old living with us, they are paying a small contribution towards expenses but really its about helping them get some qualifications (high school GED I guess for those in US). We have free second chance education for anyone under 19 who dropped out of high school. So extra groceries and what not to keep the youth comfy. (Apparently they like the nutrigrains and mac and cheese)

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Spending money – yep a large category. It was buying YNAB, a new laptop hard drive and some craft beers. That’s it!

Clothing – I gifted my husband some new undies. No regrets.

Holiday spending – Damn I ate out A LOT on that weekend away. Sometimes cause of family pressure. But it was worth it. I also pre booked some tickets for next months Beerfest getaway.

Restaurants – One Saturday date night at Deep Creek brewery for husband and me plus two pizza nights, one at home and one at a friends for our D & D night.

Bonus month because I ended up doing two weekends on-call for extra monies. (Usually only once a month) So income was up a bit.

Still managed to save heaps despite the speedy month! It feels like even a small amount of discretionary spending easily leads to a budget blowout. $8326 is just such a massive amount of money.

 

5 things to make Mondays better.

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If Mondays don’t make you want to retire early then maybe you’re a liar 😉 Or just one of those really well adjusted people who love their work or can find satisfaction in any job well done and have the mental fortitude and social skills to deal with annoying people….(so what’s it like being a rare and magical unicorn?)

Anyway if you need help with Monday’s (at least until you have enough money invested to QUIT WORK) I’ve spent the last few years working out mental tricks to help me get through the day.

1) I am already retired but they really need me so I’m working this one Monday for free.

Yep, I pretend I’m working for free, saving the day by turning up, being a rockstar for one day and never coming back. I breeze in pretending I have the gratitude of all my coworkers and managers just for turning up. I do my best work, everything a glittering example of why I’m the very best! Then I leave working, having saved the day, feeling awesome.

 2) Stoicism

The ancient greek art of pretending everything could be way worse than it is, so this Monday is really no discomfort. Well I’m paraphrasing quite heavily. I found it a guide to being happy without wanting for anything. Reading this book helped me for a few months before I went back to my feeling of dreading Mondays. I probably need to read it a couple of times a year for it to really stick. This book is quite a good introduction to stoicism and how you can use it to curb desires for excessive comfort and material things. A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy*

3) Abundant fake smiles.

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Before!

Sure it makes you look a little manic, but doing is being. Yes the facial expression you wear can re-inforce your mood. So if you’re wearing an unpleasant expression you’ll feel even worse. So I slap on the fake smile until I feel better. Eventually that fake smile turns into a genuine smile and by the end of the day I feel pretty good! And the people I work with feel better too, I’m much nicer to be around.

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After !

4) They can’t all be bad – Hunt out the non-jerks.

A couple of my coworkers are pretty negative, but on the other hand there are a lot of brilliant people as well. So if I’m having a bad day I check in with one of these people see what they’re working on, if they’re not too busy I ask if they will show me it and tell me a little more. I learn something and feel refreshed and more enthusiastic about my work in 5 minutes. I wonder if these people know how much they lift me up when I need it.

 5) I’m here to grow and learn.

There must be an opportunity somewhere to learn something be it technical or even personal. I have to remind myself to hunt out the parts of the job that force me to improve myself. I don’t avoid the challenging tasks that others would rather fob off onto other team members. I sign up for any extra training offered and try to get as much out of the job as they get out of me. So my job improves me as a person and then I feel like its more worthwhile and satisfying.

Anyway I hope these thoughts help you get through your Monday where ever it may be. So until we all retire, Happy Monday everyone!

 

*Affiliate link

 

January Work Selfie Highlights

As you can see I pack my own lunch to save money….mmmm leftover roast chickens.

Packed my own lunch for all of January! Think of the savings!

Living the good life, while saving heaps.

I’ve found they key to really feeling like you are living the good life is to get back in touch with nature. Nature isn’t trying to sell you anything, make you feel less than you are for not owning something and it has no secret marketing agenda. It’s a wonderful reset for a stressed and over busy mind.

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So lately we’ve swapped pricey brunches for bushwalks and lazy afternoons at the pub for a picnic and swim at the beach. Truth is we are blessed to live near a multitude of swimming beaches all within a short drive. Thanks to urban planning in the 60’s large tracts of bush remain house free and there are many well-maintained walking tracks to enjoy, the closest is about 150 metes from my front door. (540 hectares of parks & bush reserves!)

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Find the nature closest to you, it could be a park or a garden, a river walk, a lake a spot to sit and stare at the landscape, a friends backyard or even a few potted plants/herbs/vegetables that you can take care of.

Nature is mostly free and amazing. Sometimes it’s hard to drag myself away from the laptop, but cultivating a love for the outdoors has been a very enriching part of my life. I’m still not up to the level of overnight hikes or camping (I’d miss my cosy bed too much!) but I am quite happy to spend the whole day hiking to a lovely spot and back. To be honest I like the fact that day trips are cheaper too as I don’t need to buy/borrow any camping gear.

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Visiting new spots creates new memories and has stopped the weekends blurring into one big hazy blob of watching TV, browsing the internet and drinking too much wine on Saturday night. Instead I have memories of birdsong, wildlife, great conversation uninterrupted by cell phones and a feeling of wellbeing that just can’t be bought.

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