It’s All Replaceable

This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.

I hate to admit it, but I’m forgetful sometimes. There are days when I leave the house and for some reason, forget to lock the door. The crime rate in my city is fairly low, so the risk of theft is minimal, but it’s probably not one of my best ideas. My wife and I laugh when we stop to think what we would really lose if someone came in and emptied our house of everything we owned. Our condominium insurance covers the contents of our house for $20,000 – we would have a hard time spending half that amount of money to replace clothes, furniture and electronics stuff.

Most of the money we spend in a year (from reviewing our “non-fixed” expenses) is traveling, driving around the province to visit friends and family. Our spending around the house is minimal, at best – other than attempting to increase her clothes collection. My TV is over 10 years old, and I dread moving it around (it’s a beast). Our furniture is serviceable and comfortable and works for us.

When we started down an Early Retirement path, we knew we would have to prioritize our spending away from typical “luxury” items to shift that money to paying down all debt and eventually ending up with enough money invested to be financially independent. If all goes well, we will achieve financial independence by the time I’m 45 (11 years from now).

Besides our house, our personal balance sheet shows very little in the way of assets. Everything we own can be replaced with a few calls to Kijiji sellers. I have maintained my “student” lifestyle, which does provide a certain level of freedom – a lack of attachment to “stuff” has definitely assisted significantly in our financial plans. If anything, we would probably enjoy our home more if we emptied it all out and started over again.

My wife and I talk about all of the things we could spend money on, and prioritize away from items that we didn’t care about and spend as little as we can on things that do. I think our decisions are a little different than a conventional household because we have a significantly shorter window available to us to achieve the financial goal, which forces us to optimize much more.

I’m not really sure whether my spending patterns would be a lot different without setting the goal I did, but I find having even a moderate goal in mind forces me to think and make do with what I have, whether it’s a conscious decision or not.

What kind of stuff do you just stop caring about in order to increase your saving level?

6 thoughts on “It’s All Replaceable”

  1. We only buy used clothes, furniture, toys, strollers, etc. We figure paying 20% of the price of a new item saves us gobs of money over time. I agree with you, we are less attached to our stuff as well.

  2. I don’t care about getting my hair professionally cut or styled, having someone else do my nails, eating out, or owning a car. This frees up lots of extra money for the things I do care about, like saving 40-50% of my income for early retirement. I buy my clothes on sale or at Winners, and at this point could go for at least 10 years without buying another piece of clothing, with the exception of underwear, which is precisely what I’m planning to do.

  3. hahaha… I have found that since I shaved my head 12 years ago, that I have saved a lot of money on hair cuts, hair product and shampoo.

    I shop at RW&Co at the end of January as they usually have their big inventory blow out sale and sell Pants and shirts for $9.95 each, so spending $100 gets a few outfits and such which last for quite a while.

  4. I don’t own a normal upright vacuum. I have a shop vac that I bought a long time ago … and so I’ll spot clean periodically … but a full/thorough vacuum with the shop vac is seriously not fun so I don’t do that very often. As much as I hate it though, I still haven’t been able to bring myself to spend the couple hundred dollars on a regular vacuum … I keep saying maybe next year. 😉

  5. There were many things that led to us saving enough money to pay our mortgage off this year. It’s a big chunk of experiences I share on my blog. We didn’t worry about buying second-hand clothes and items around the house. It made more sense to shop second-hand for items that were just as good if not better. We picked up FREE stuff when we could especially if it was something easy to fix like the Craftsman Lawnmower that needed a cleaning and $9 filter and looks brand new now that was FREE. Last week I picked up a barrel planter and it looks brand new now after a bit of elbow grease.We didn’t spend a fortune on food, eating out especially and I have an allowance. We did whatever it took but still managed to enjoy our life together doing things we enjoy. Sure we haven’t been on any trips but now we can do whatever we want because we will have options. I think it’s all a personal choice. Some people might not agree with the way we chose to save our money where others are doing the same. I say do what makes you feel comfortable.

  6. “What kind of stuff do you just stop caring about in order to increase your saving level” – slowly, almost everything!

    Data plan? Gone. Private transportation? Gone. Eating out? Gone. New electronics? Very rarely.

    Personally, reducing attachments to things and even unnecessary services has been quite rewarding, and I plan to slowly poke at what else might be weighing me down emotionally and financially.

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