Saving for the Future While Enjoying Life Today

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One of my biggest struggles is living in the present and also keeping my eye on the future.  Usually, I do a better job of one or the other but struggle to balance both in different circumstances.  

 

My Sweet Tooth

enjoying life todayI’m at a point where delaying gratification in most areas in my life just comes naturally to me.  Although, I have not learned how to delay my gratification when it comes to putting chocolate and other sugary treats in my stomach.  It’s hard to shake off that sugar addiction, but I’m working on it.  I still have a long way to go when it comes to improving my diet.  

 

I definitely wish I had my wife’s will power.  My wife may be just as tempted as me, but she is able to abstain from the bad stuff and gravitate toward healthier options.  Maybe it’s because her mindset is just different from mine.  She’s much more nutrition-focused and views food firstly as fuel.  Oh well, I’m trying.  Saying no, one cookie at a time!

 

Savings Rates

enjoying life todayEver since I graduated from college, I’ve been pretty good with my money.  I have been able to save at least 15% of take-home pay and that figure has creeped up every year since, until we finally reached a 65% savings rate in 2016.  We hope to get past a 70% savings rate this year with a little bit of belt tightening.

 

Recently, I was curious to see how others were doing.  According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the personal saving rate in the US is 5.7%.  The average personal savings rate in the US has averaged 8.3% from 1959-2017.  The all-time-high for savings rate was 17% in May 1975, while a record low of 1.90% occurred in July 2005.

 

Why did the savings rate spike to 17% in 1975?  During most recessions, people get scared and become tight-fisted with money.  So during the 1973-1975 recession, people started to save their money again.  This also occurred during the Great Recession in 2009, when the savings rate exceeded 8% after hitting a low of 1.9% in 2005.  

 

I don’t think most of you need a refresher on 2005, but this was when tons of people were plowing their excess cash into real estate “investments” as home prices were on the rise.  Of course in 2009, housing prices plummeted.  Not a good time for some people whose homes went underwater.

 

Emergency Savings

enjoying life todayNow the scary part is that even with a personal savings rate of 5.7%, 46% of adults say they either could not cover an emergency expense that costed $400.  This just goes to show you how important it is to set up an emergency fund.

 

A while back, I was caught not being able to pay for an emergency expense when my car died.  It was the worst feeling in the world.  I had to borrow my sister’s car until I could save up enough money to buy a used car.  So ever since, I make sure I always have sufficient emergency funds available so that a situation like that never occurs again.

 

Having Fun

I had a conversation the other day with my Dad about finances.  I shared with him how we were trying to increase our savings to 70%, and he thought it was great but asked if we were having fun.

 

enjoying life todayOn face value, I thought, of course we are having fun.  We have everything we need.  My son has more than enough toys, we’ve gone on great vacations, and we’re spending money in areas that we value.  Quick side note: My son’s ball pit is by far his favorite.  He has so much fun giggling and throwing around the colorful balls (usually out of the pit).  

 

But, I don’t know why it nagged at me.  Am I so focused on FIRE and making sure that I’m never in a compromising financial situation that I can’t see the forest for the trees?

 

Peer Pressure

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.  I see all the great things that my friends are doing.  It makes me think, should I loosen up the purse strings a bit and spend on experiences that my peers do?  I go back and forth from time to time.  But, I’ve gotten to the point of knowing what would actually bring us joy versus just emulating a peer’s pursuit of joy.  

 

Cars

enjoying life todaySure, there are things that I would love to buy, like a Jeep Wrangler, or even get a classic car to drive around in on the weekends.  But I thought to myself, is it really going to be $30,000+ worth of fun?  If I was a big car guy, I might feel differently, but it’s never really been my thing.  I’ve had roommates and friends that drove Porsches and BMWs, and they’ve let me drive them.  Of course, they were fun to drive for a couple of minutes, but I’m not sure I’d have the same thrill day in and day out.  

 

Travel

enjoying life todayNow, travel is one area that I get immense joy from.  I am all about spending money on memories over material stuff.  I’d love to travel more, but with a young son that doesn’t travel very well, we are somewhat constrained, such that Iceland and the Galapagos Islands will have to wait.  Hopefully in the years to come when he is a bit older, we can all appreciate travel a little bit more together.  

 

I had a conversation with my wife and asked her if she thought we were having fun.  She agreed that we were basically doing everything that we wanted to, and sure, we could spend more money if we wanted to on things.  But why?  We just don’t get any joy out of spending for the sake of spending.

 

So readers, do you ever struggle with living in the moment versus long-term perspective?  How do you find a sound middle ground?  Share your thoughts below.

 

 

Mustard Seed Money

Welcome to the website. A mustard seed is a very small seed but astonishingly grows very large over time. My hope is that through your financial journey that your small investment in time, money and faith will grow beyond anything that you could ever imagine.



79 Comments

  1. We try our best not to focus too hard on long-term goals at the expense of living in the present. If something’s going to bring enjoyment or value to our lives, we don’t get too caught up on the costs.

    Have you thought of local travel or staycations? My wife and I are thinking about some local trips we can take with our little guy.
    SomeRandomGuyOnline recently posted…Friday Blog RoundupMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by SRGO!!! So my wife and I did three staycations last year. We visited a couple of unique places like Luray Canverns and did some activities in DC. So we’ve definitely enjoyed them although I have to admit I’m ready to explore a little bit more 🙂

  2. What you mention is the most important: are we having fun? A journey with fun is useless to me.

    We sometimes debate if we should spend money on this or that. When i was the cheaper one before, it now is my wife. We balance each other. Having personal fun money helps also a lot. This is our no questions asked money. Right now, i save it up for a city trip. And i used it for buying tickets to an event my godchild loves. Going there with him will create a priceless experience.

    We also tuned the budget to increase our travel money.

    From a pure FI, a silly thing to do. As FI is no longer the main goal, it does make a lot of sense.
    ambertree recently posted…FI date update: ouch…!My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Ambertree!!! I definitely want to increase our travel budget when my son is older. I’d love to be in the position to really enjoy traveling and not just when I hit retirement age 🙂 I want to make memories as I go not just make memories later on 🙂

  3. MSM — I think finding the right balance when answering this question is one of the keys to life! Seriously.

    Like you, we want to spend money on memories and travel rather than stuff. And we wanted to start traveling with our kids while they were young — it’s such a unique stage of life and it’s a joy to see them experience the world. It’s not easy but gets a lot easier around age 4-5 when they are out of diapers and have more stamina, and now this is part of their lives. They embrace the idea of being world travelers. I love it.

    But yes, this is a trade off and a deliberate decision to spend rather than save. We don’t really enjoy traveling on the cheap, and we insist on paying for a hotel suite or for 2 rooms so the kids won’t drive us bonkers. And we like room service and a pool. It’s all part of the fun. So at some point we needed to decide — do we want to save more now and travel later, or do we want this to be part of our lifestyle? So we’ve made a conscious decision to spend. Some people can retire early AND travel along the way, which is awesome, but we had to choose. And we’re a bit lucky too because we don’t mind work and we are able to take advantage of 5-6 weeks of paid vacation per year + holidays.

    I’m not saying people should only live for today, but I am saying people should find the right balance to get what they truly want out of life. It’s a personal decision. Travel won’t suddenly become easier or less expensive when you get older, and I hate to say it but I know plenty of people who say they wish they could travel more … and then BOOM, they are 50-60 years old, less energy, kids are busy, and the glorious years of travel never come.

    Just my thoughts, sorry for the long comment! Great article –R
    Rich @ pennyandrich.com recently posted…Monthly Happiness Report: Rich Increases His Brain Waves By 0.0125 In March 2017My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Rich!!! I definitely agree that there is a trade off and it’s a conscious decision about whether you’re going to wait to travel and use the money for FIRE or wait until later. It’s definitely not an easy decision but I definitely want to spend time creating memories with my kids now. Who knows what the future will hold.

  4. I remember reading something similar in The Tightwad Gazette years ago-the author had a relative that admonished them for not “having any fun.” But they were having fun – just not expensive, traditional, fast-food & Disney world kind of fun. Personally I find it fun to go to museums (free), local fairs and festivals (free), bake (cost of ingredients), read (free at the library) and play at the park with the boys (also free). I don’t need to spend money to have fun.
    Liz@ChiefMomOfficer recently posted…Using Your Bonus and Raise To Break The Golden HandcuffsMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Liz!!! I definitely agree that there are a ton of free things available especially if you do a little looking. My wife and I can’t wait to get out and do a little hiking when the weather is a bit nicer 🙂

  5. In my opinion, it is good to living at the present and keeping an eye in the future. We can make a plan or budget if we looking into future. We have limited time and money, so we only can do important things we believe. Of course, everyone has his own priorities. Making family member happy should be a good choice.

    • Thanks for sharing Rich Growth Tips!!! It’s definitely tough to do both but it’s a great balancing act 🙂 My wife and I talk about priorities a lot and we’re still working through exactly what that means all the time. Since it has evolved over time.

  6. Firstly, you are an awesome saver at 65-70% of your income. Congratulations, you should be proud. 🙂

    “[…] do you ever struggle with living in the moment versus long-term perspective? How do you find a sound middle ground?”
    Of course. I think everyone that’s aware of their finances instead of spending like a drone, without thinking about it, struggles with that. For me, I can usually solve any trouble I’m having when I wonder whether I should make a purchase or not by asking myself, “Is it worth it?” In other words, “Is the amount of happiness that I’ll get out of this purchase worth the amount of money I’ll have to spend on it?” Usually the answer is no, because I have a lot of fun doing things that are free or don’t cost a lot of money. Going to the movies will cost about $10 + popcorn and will entertain me for 2 hours + some time discussing the movie, or I could just have a picnic, download a movie, or read a book for free. So yeah, I think you can get more happiness for your dollars if you spend them on something other than a $30,000 car.
    By the way for the eating sweets thing, when I decided to lose weight I decided also to have a sweet treat every single night. It made it easy for me to say “no” to sweets throughout the rest of the day because I knew I was going to have something that night. Just a thought. Good luck. -Aaron

    • Thanks for sharing Aaron!!! I definitely agree with you that spending $10+ at a movie is not something super important to me. Although I will admit that my bible study got together to watch a movie one time at the theater and it was awesome to all hang out and catch up outside of the bible study setting 🙂

      That sweet treat at night is awesome. I think I am going to have to incorporate it 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!!

  7. A 70% savings rate? Wowza! I have to admit I haven’t calculated my exact rate. we’re on track with saving for all our financial goals, but I’m sure I’ll be disappointed at the actual rate.
    That’s great that you and your wife are on the same page with not needing to spend a lot of money to feel like you are still having fun. You’re rocking it ;).
    Making Your Money Matter recently posted…Calculating Your Potential Tax Liability Under Proposed Tax ReformsMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by!!! Before I started the blog I actually had no idea how much we were saving. I knew it was a lot but had no idea what a lot was. It’s a fun exercise and definitely gave us a goal to work towards 🙂

  8. My wife and I have gone through periods where we budget and save, budget and save. Then, it’s followed by more relaxed periods where we spend, spend, and spend more. It’s a vicious cycle and not one that is very rewarding. The short term “fun” is quickly replaced by the long term “oh shit, wtf did we do?”

    Facebook is a productivity suck and a confidence killer. I actually blocked most of my friends’ updates, groups, and pages I follow a few weeks ago. It’s not worth getting sucked into and, like you experienced, it makes you question things.

    Don’t lose focus. Have you ever read Think and Grow Rich? Remember the guy that was “3 feet from gold”? Don’t let others influence you about FIRE. You’re doing the right thing. You’re on the right path. Having fun doesn’t need to require a ton of money. Things and the crap of this world passes away.

    But, the time with your family (no matter what continent you’re on) matters most. Living a life with less stress that has its foundation in accumulating more stuff isn’t going to be a good thing for your relationship with your son or wife.

    I’m with you. The things that used to motivate me — bigger house, better car, more stuff than the next guy — have just lost their luster. I want my time. That’s all. I’ll decide then how I want to spend it. But, it won’t be for more money or things. That’s for damn sure.

    Ha, sorry this topic fires me up! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

    • I love the passion Dave!!! I definitely think it’s easy to take your eyes off from your ultimate goal if you look around too much. It’s like walking on a tight rope. If you take your eyes off you may fall but if you’re not aware of what’s going on around you, you never get to soak in what you’re doing 🙂

  9. I hear you on the sweet tooth! Try living in Belgium!! Our chocolate, our beer, our patisserie (do not image google Belgian patisserie, don’t do it!). Sigh.
    But being happy and spending money (once your basic needs are met) are not linked. And sometimes the more frugal choice can be the more fun choice (like the Vespa 125 cc scooter i bought and is tons of fun)!!
    financialfreedomsloth recently posted…Changing credit cardMy Profile

  10. For a long time I struggled with this, waffling betweeen too spartan a life and buying a new corvette from year to year. Meeting my wife broke that and change my focus. Honestly with the exception of doing something like moving to Hawaii, buying a 308 Ferrari, and living like magnum pi, I don’t want financially for anything. Given there are other non financial hurdles in he way between me and the more outlandish dreams, and I understand it, I just know spending more won’t make me happy. Am I happy? That’s a much harder questions as some days yes and some days no, but finances do not factor in to my happiness these days.
    Fulltimefinance recently posted…When you Fail to Reach your GoalsMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing FulltimeFinance!!! If you do move to Hawaii, driving your Ferrari, I can only assume you’ll have a sweet ‘stache like Tom Sellick. that would definitely be the life 🙂 Except for the short shorts. I can’t imagine that they’re comfortable 🙂

  11. honestly, the more i read your blog the more i love it. I keep finding great stuff.
    i can’t believe you just started in August. That’s crazy to me.
    your savings rate is impressive. Finding that balance is so hard. My wife is is on board with all the savings we do, but she is typically the one who gives me that look and says we need to also have some fun. No complaints here. The future is bright!
    ReachingTheCrest recently posted…What is Your Decision-Making Process?My Profile

    • Thank you for the kind words Reaching the Crest!!! My wife is ultra frugal so I definitely don’t have the same kick in the pants to spend. Which is good and bad 🙂 We’re shooting for a bit more fun this year 🙂

  12. Timely article Mustard Seed. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I have a very futuristic mindset, so I’m always focused on some goal off into the future. Right now, the main one is achieving FIRE, but there are several smaller goals along the way. I always wonder if I’m not enjoying the ride enough.

    Today, I’m taking off the afternoon to meet up with a friend to watch the NCAA tournament. It’s a small thing, but not something I do a lot as I’m usually focused on achieving more at work or on a side hustle. For me, I have to make it a point to do things like this. A few weeks ago, I decided on a whim to attend a bachelor party in Vegas. Booking airfare just a few weeks out was expensive, but it was worth it for the experience.

    I don’t go overboard with these things as booking a bunch of last second trips and expensive airfare will cut into my savings rate. But I do loosen up the purse strings every now and then. It’s also one of the reasons why I focus on earning more money rather than just cutting expenses to the bone.
    Go Finance Yourself! recently posted…How The Fed’s Interest Rate Hike Will Impact Mortgage RatesMy Profile

    • Looking back I don’t think I’ve ever regretted spending money on memories with friends. If anything, I wish I spent more often in this category.

      Hope you enjoyed your time with your friend and watching the NCAA tourney.

      How’s your bracket doing Go Finance Yourself? My bracket got busted as I had Villanova winning it all. Maybe next year…

  13. The key motivation factor to keep my plan on track is to reward my self from time to time for being disciplined. Honestly, I sometimes do get tire of being too responsible and needs to splurge a bit to get rid of the negative feelings. I have always had a weakness for food. So when I need a motivational boost, I often go and have a great meal at my favourite restaurant. After that, I go back to old boring and disciplined me.
    Leo T. Ly @ isaved5k.com recently posted…Are You Doing Enough Research When You Purchase Your Property?My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Leo!!! It’s nice to reward yourself every once in awhile. I really like to splurge every once in awhile and get a massage. But I definitely don’t do it as much as I’d like 🙂 Thanks as always for stopping by!!!

    • I am trying to do a better job with it. I definitely have thought from time to time what would happen if I removed processed sugar from my diet. I’ve heard good things and just might do it. But I am dreading when my body goes through withdrawal.

  14. It’s all about maintaining the proper balance. That’s always been my philosophy from day one. Despite always having aggressive financial goals, we always made sure to take vacations, and treat ourselves throughout the year for special occasions. Just because you want to take a beach vacation one year, doesn’t mean it needs to be in Tahiti in an over-water bungalow. A decent hotel in Playa Del Carmen Mexico will give you the same relaxed/fun feeling for a tenth the cost. It’s about spending your money wisely, and enjoying the journey without compromising the future. You’ve got it figured out!
    Max Your Freedom recently posted…Millionaire Series InterviewMy Profile

  15. Your opening line can really serve as a parable for life itself. It’s all about finding balance, isn’t it? That said, I think you raise some important points here, and the key to finding balance is to stay conscious about both sides of the board, and never let one get in the driver’s seat.

    • Thanks for sharing Lars-Christian!!! I definitely feel like it’s a tight rope act that can be navigate at times. While not easy with a little focus and determination it’s definitely doable 🙂

  16. 70% saving rate is incredible. All about finding that balance. Even when we spent 50 months paying off our debt we still managed to find things to do. Low cost or free things, but we still lived. Once we became debt free we increase our budget a bit in this are, but still focused on building wealth.
    Brian recently posted…Rant: Gift GivingMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Brian!!! When you pay off the last little bit of debt it is a game changer when it comes to saving money 🙂 If anything once we paid off the mortgage we got more focused on building wealth 🙂

  17. YES!!!! Absolutely! I have a twinge of guilt when I think about my upcoming europe trip because that’s…around 3k that could be going into my retirement. But I DID save for it and I DON’T do this kind of trip every year. I don’t “deserve it,” but I earned it and I chose it. Sometimes you just have to be OK with certain things happening now and certain things happening in the future.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Do You Want Your Kid to Be A Star?My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Tonya!!! I still remember my European trip and from time to time watch it on our Apple TV 🙂 Making memories is definitely a great way to spend your money!!!

  18. I absolutely struggle with this. Its easy to get consumed thinking about the future and reaching FI and forgetting that things are pretty great in the here and now. Thanks for reminding me.

    • Thanks for stopping by Stafford!!! It’s definitely hard to stay in the present and the future at both times. Definitely something that we’ve been working on 🙂

  19. Wow 70% savings rate. That’s fantastic. U will definally start calculating our savings rate now but it won’t be anywhere close as we still have our mortgage. We generally go on one nice trip per yr (usually cruises) This year we didn’t and just did the great wolf lodge thing. It was a fantastic time, but when we go away my wallets wide open. Well not wide open but we are there for a great time and generally the trip is paid for before we even go so it doesn’t really phase us. We get a seasons pass for the 3 of us to one place for the summer and go there constantly and camp regularly. I think we as a couple are both on the same page with finances. So if we go out we don’t mind spending on activities but don’t splurge going out for dinner/ clothes any more. As long as we are putting atleast $1000 bi weekly away in some sort of savings. I’m happy. I know friends who go out for dinner/beers 2 or 3 times a week and have fun, but then are stressing about money. Simple fix but most people don’t see it.
    Passivecanadianincome recently posted…Stock Watch – March 2017My Profile

    • My wife and I love cruises!!! When my little one gets a little bit older I’d love to take him again. I think he was a little bored on the ship b/c there was only so much he could do. But hopefully moving forward he will enjoy it b/c cruising is super fun 🙂

  20. I had a “come to Jesus” moment a few weeks ago when I attended both of my kid’s school events, which were musical performances done by the school’s kindergarten class and second grade class. The kid’s dressed up and each performance had different themse (nursery ryhmes and Disney). I then thought about how stressed out by work I was that week, and how much joy these two events brought me. I literally smiled for days thinking about it.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that spending more money is BS. This only motivated me to get my retirement papers ready, and try to engineer my layoff.

    For travel, I highly recommend you start travel hacking today. Even though your son isn’t old enough to travel yet, you will have a bank account of miles and points to go anywhere you want to go for free, or nearly free. It’s very easy to do once you get the hang of things (just keep signing up for new credit cards with large sign up bonuses, rinse, repeat).

    In fact, I am going to add my favorite travel hacking website to my blog. I like it because the author is not beholden to the credit card companies like some writers are.
    FinancePatriot recently posted…Our 2016 tax return exposed; The good, the bad, and the awesomeMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing FinancePatriot!!! I definitely need to get in on the travel hacking and will definitely head over to see who you recommend. Thanks for the tip!!!

  21. This is something I also struggle with. I can be very goal oriented and be to future focused. Fortunately my husband helps balance me out! And like many other people have commented, spending on experiences has made my life far more fulfilling than striving to acquire a lot of material possessions. I’ve also found that doing simple things like riding or walking for transportation is really enjoyable and helps me live more in the moment. I also am working on saving 75% of my income this year and that’s mostly possible because I’ve found hobbies I genuinely enjoy that don’t cost much (or anything). I think key to having fun and being happy is to identify what that means specifically to us and not worry whether it fits into conventional norms!

    • Wow saving 75% of your money this year is tremendous!!! I have hit the wall at 65% and am really trying hard to push over the top to 70% but wow 75% is fantastic. I definitely need to find some cheaper hobbies 🙂

  22. It’s good to stop and think about the present sometimes. My brain is wired to always have the end in mind, so I have to sometimes force myself to live in the moment. While I am a big car guy, I still enjoy spending my time and money on creating memories than buying material things. The important thing is that you and your wife are in agreement on your plan.
    Joshua Zirilli, CPA recently posted…5 Simple Steps to Start a Budget TodayMy Profile

    • I definitely agree Joshua that we have to be in agreement when it comes to our plans. Lucky for me she edits the blog so she’s always providing feedback so I’m not sharing in a vacuum 🙂 So I think we’re on the same page unless she’s going back and re-writing large portions of the posts 🙂

  23. I struggle with this particular puzzle all the time. I am very goal oriented and now that I have FI in my sights (hopefully less than 3 years) it is becoming harder and harder to not obsess. Thankfully we have a sweet travel budget as part of our expat assignment, so we can take guilt free vacations! 🙂
    Mr. Zero recently posted…Wealth Building and Weight Loss – Zero StyleMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Mr. Zero!!! Three year is no time at all to be financially independent. I am definitely a little envious especially if you have a large travel budget 🙂

  24. These are some great advice. Often we forget to have fun while enjoying the journey. Luckily for me, I live in San Francisco so there are many great amenities of city living that doesn’t require much spending. And if I do spend, I love the there is the “option” of splurging in experience where it really counts. Last year I was able to take a road trip with my Parents down Highway 1 to Hearst Castle, Las Vegas, and Grand Canyon. It was nice to know that money wasn’t an issue, and no penny pinching along the way.

    It helps that I’m minimizing my life, so “things” aren’t really what I crave. But memorable experiences are more important, and having the option to execute it on a whim is really a comforting felling.
    Micro Dividends recently posted…17 March 2017 – M, MMT, AMGN, GOOD, JCI, VGR, DAL, FLO, NAVIMy Profile

    • Oh man I would love to visit the Grand Canyon. That is definitely on our bucket list. Hopefully when my son gets older it will be able to do that 🙂 There are definitely some days that I really wish I was on the west coast and could check out some of those sites 🙂

  25. I struggle with this all the time. I see people saving 70% and I greatly admire that and just think it would never happen for us. For example, my wife can’t understand why I would love to pay off our house. As she says I have never met anyone so “obsessed” with paying off the house and/or debt. For me it is about security, but I want to “live” as well. I think I have a great amount of FOMO (a blog post coming shortly) and it impacts my mindset quite a bit. I play a lot of mental monetary gymnastics with myself.
    Jason recently posted…Neighborhood Real Estate ObservationsMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Jason!!! You’ll have a much easier time hitting that 70% mark when you don’t have a mortgage 🙂 Plus once it’s paid off your wife won’t ask you why your so obsessed anymore 🙂 As someone that has paid off the mortgage it is definitely one of the best things that I have done and my wife definitely is in agreement 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by T!!! I definitely agree having an emergency fund is important. I definitely have gotten in trouble when I didn’t have an emergency fund.

  26. I think this is one of the hardest challenges fo anyone going the FIRE route or just trying to increase their savings.

    One of my favorite hobbies is playing poker. And it seems to contradict everything I know about personal finance, but there are some months, I have to swing the pendulum from one being saving oriented to being a poker player. At first it was a hard balance to obtain but it’s getting easier to allow myself to have those months where I don’t break any personal finance goals in order to be happy.

    Great post and blog!

  27. It’s all a balance. Work/life, saving/fun, etc. Judging by this post and others you have written in the past it doesn’t seem to me like you are living the life of an ascetic. Looks like you are enjoying the journey while making wise decisions about your financial future. As you mentioned, you seem to be happy with your general lifestyle which is what really matters. Side note: delete Facebook. It’s worthless. It’s a waste of time, think about how much you spend looking at other people’s lives when you should be your only yardstick to measure by.
    DivHut recently posted…Recent Stock Purchase II March 2017My Profile

  28. I absolutely struggle with now vs. the future. Mr. FIRE is constantly telling me that there is no point in retiring early if we’re tight-fisted with our money now and we’re going to be the same in retirement.

    That being said, I don’t feel like spending money would be the key to improving my life. In fact, all the things I’m interested in doing have up-front costs, but are long term quite cheap. Brewing beer/mead/cider, owning a small self-sufficient homestead, and even my most expensive dream of Hang-gliding. It might cost a bit to get started, but hemorrhaging money isn’t going to make my life any happier.
    LadyFIRE recently posted…Ratesetter: Peer-to-Peer LendingMy Profile

    • I definitely agree that spending more money probably won’t me happier. Although traveling around the world with unlimited funds might be fun 🙂

      Like you we have pretty inexpensive hobbies so it doesn’t cost us too much 🙂

  29. This is a great post. I’ve thought a lot about each of the points you mentioned.

    Including my stock sharing plan at work, I’m saving about 15% of my income. Congrats on being able to save 70%. That’s remarkable.

    Also, I feel the same way about cars. I’m just not a car guy at all.

    In regards to your question, I have struggled with living in the moment. I’ve been too much of a saver at times, and too much of a spender at other times. I find my middle ground by sticking to a consistent rate. I can slowly improve it over time and be happy with the results.

    Thanks again for sharing the post!
    Graham @ Reverse The Crush recently posted…Blog Numbers and Income report for February 2017My Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by Graham!!! It definitely took me awhile to start saving as much as I did but I had to knock out all my debt before I started hitting these numbers. Keep up the awesome work and you’ll get there 🙂

  30. MSM – It sounds to me like you are where you want to be (minus travelling right now) but are doubting it. Last year, after paying off a substantial amount of student loans ($102k), I suddenly became obsessed with sticking to a tight budget, and growing our retirement savings, and saving more to purchase another house hopefully not too far down the line, etc.
    A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were talking about ways to further cut spending, and during that conversation we both agreed that even with budgeting the way we are budgeting currently, we still don’t feel like we are missing out on anything. Sure, we don’t buy new clothes and gadgets constantly, or have 400 channels on cable TV, but none of those things are important to us anyway. And, you see people doing plenty different things on facebook, but let me just say the vast majority are likely broke or very over extended financially.
    Like you, travel is the one thing that is important to us, and even with our budget the way it is, we still try to travel as much as we can. We brought our then 9 month old son to Europe for a week and a half last year and had a blast. He’s about 16 months now, so travelling with him isn’t much of an option at the moment(sounds like your little one is maybe close in age?) but we hope in another year or two we will be able to start travelling with him again and sharing our experiences together.

    I think you are striking up a good balance as it is from reading your post. Keep saving up that travel money, and who knows you may find places closer to home where you can go for the weekend or an extended weekend and bring the little one along until you get to the point where you can bring him somewhere further.

    Side Note: I saw that you mentioned going to Iceland. My wife and I went there 2 years ago and loved it. We are also hoping to make another trip there sometime in the future when we can bring our son along with us. 🙂
    Chad @ Finding Your Financial Balance recently posted…Coming soon…My Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by Chad!!! Sounds like we are living similar lives right now. My son just turned 18 months old and we can’t wait to go on vacation with him in the future. Especially to Iceland. You’ll have to share your thoughts? Too young for a kiddo, if so when are you planning to bring your child 🙂

      • I’m hoping maybe around the time he is 2.5 to 3 or so we can bring him overseas again. Of course our trips will be different than before, but there is so much cool stuff around the world to see even for small children.

        When we were in Iceland we traveled up to Akureyri in the north and went on some tours with a company called Saga travel. We saw the northern lights, from a natural hot bath, saw some cool waterfalls, ate some great food and made new friends. Very much more relaxed than in the capital Reykjavik. I’d have to do some research on family things to do In Iceland before going back, but going to see whales is already on the list!

  31. Great article. It’s definitely something many people striving for FI need to constantly remind themselves. It made me think of this awesome quote from the great Jim Rohn.
    “Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.”

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