FI Isn’t All Misery

I’ve come across pret­ty heavy the last few posts, talk­ing about the strug­gles of dat­ing and deal­ing with the guilt of hav­ing life be so easy, so I thought I’d light­en it up with this post!

Some peo­ple are prone to jump­ing to con­clu­sions; so when I say I watch what I spend and save a lot of my income, they auto­mat­i­cal­ly assume I live in a one room shack with a dirt floor and amuse myself by count­ing sticks. I might be exag­ger­at­ing slight­ly. Might.

Just because one is inter­est­ed in FI doesn’t mean we live a life of depri­va­tion and angst. Far from it. I actu­al­ly con­sid­er my life to be one of rel­a­tive com­fort, if not down right opu­lent at times. Being on the path to Finan­cial Inde­pen­dence is more about being cog­nizant of what you spend your mon­ey on and adjust­ing your pri­or­i­ties as such.

This post isn’t meant to brag. Far­rrrr from it. I just want to show you I am a rel­a­tive­ly nor­mal Mil­len­ni­al. I like to take nice trips. I like to play video games. I have a lot of hob­bies. In order to do these things, I occa­sion­al­ly save up and splurge on a big pur­chase. The dif­fer­ence is, I will be using this pur­chase for a very long time, so the over­all cost is min­i­mal, and I research exten­sive­ly before I final­ly pull the trig­ger to buy what­ev­er it is I’m get­ting.

Fancy Digs


I absolute­ly love my apart­ment. 1100 square feet of liv­ing space all to myself. I’ve got vault­ed ceil­ings, a fire­place, full-size ener­gy effi­cient wash­er and dry­er, a dish­wash­er and a walk-in pantry. It’s a new­er build­ing so the gas and elec­tric bills are pret­ty low, and the water bill is includ­ed in my rent.

The space is set up so the 2 bed­rooms flank the main liv­ing space. The mas­ter has slid­ing doors onto the deck and a mas­ter bath suite which includes a mas­sive walk in clos­et.

The oth­er bed­room is ded­i­cat­ed to all my books, my com­put­er stuff, and my numer­ous hob­bies (more on that in a sec­ond). It also has a big walk in clos­et that I cur­rent­ly use to store stuff I don’t want the cat to get into. You know, things like emp­ty mov­ing box­es, skis, and my Christ­mas wrap­ping sup­plies.

Not only am I pay­ing for a super nice, pri­vate, most­ly qui­et liv­ing space, but I’m also pay­ing for com­plex ameni­ties. We get free fruit at the front office, a decent­ly equipped gym, a nice pool, and a big par­ty space we can reserve.

Maybe the most attrac­tive fea­ture is my prox­im­i­ty to work. I live 1.5 miles from the office! On nice days I ride my bike to work to get some fresh air, exer­cise, lessen pol­lu­tion, and not use up my gas. I could also walk or run, but let’s be real, that’s prob­a­bly nev­er going to hap­pen. My com­mute time is next to noth­ing, which is very nice right now as con­struc­tion traf­fic is snarling every­thing up around me. It’s a bit of a neg­a­tive in the win­ter for a few rea­sons though- it takes longer to warm my car up than it does to dri­ve, and I don’t real­ly have a good excuse to stay home when the weath­er is bad. Unless my car gets plowed under a bunch of snow in my apart­ment com­plex before I can leave, which I’ve nev­er done. Ever. cough


My Sewing Machinecatharina

Meet Catha­ri­na, my Baby­lock Crescen­do sewing machine. I hes­i­tate to call her my sewing machine because that begets an image of an old, black, met­al trea­dle Singer machine. This beaut sews and so much more. A big touch screen, bright LED lights, tons of throat space, A LASER!!!!, and more stitch­es than I will ever need.

At just under $4000, this machine is the sec­ond most expen­sive thing I’ve ever bought (after my car), and is now the most valu­able. I’ve had her for almost 2 years now and I still get a bit of a thrill every time I sit down in front of her. So far, I’ve sewn 3 baby quilts on her and it is SO MUCH bet­ter to use than the machine my mom very gra­cious­ly let me bor­row. With a sim­ple tune up and blast of canned air, this baby will be used for the next 15+ years! (and hope­ful­ly many more!)

My sewing hob­by means I also buy fab­ric and tools to help me cut the fab­ric more accu­rate­ly. It’s not cheap, but I like get­ting to use my brain for some­thing to help me feel good. I also like the feel­ing I get when I give peo­ple some­thing I’ve made with my own hands!

My Bike

Let me intro­duce you to my love­ly bicy­cle, Jaque­line. She is a 2 year old Can­non­dale Quick. I call her Jack because Jack be nim­ble, Jack be quick. I real­ly like to name my inan­i­mate pos­ses­sions, if you can’t tell. I’m guilty not using her quite as much as I intend­ed, but I still con­sid­er the ~$800 I spent to be well worth it. The rack on the back and the splash guards were espe­cial­ly great buys! They’ve come in handy for things like rid­ing to work and back, and for things like the 25 mile char­i­ty bike ride I did. It’s nice to come into work after it’s rained and NOT have a huge wet stripe on your back from the pud­dles.


I’m a real­ly big fan of com­ing home, mak­ing some food and then veg­ging out on the couch in front of the TV if I don’t have any­thing else going on that night. My com­put­er is a vital part of my enter­tain­ment library. I stream Car­di­nals games to my TV from my com­put­er, and use it to get almost all my oth­er media. (Movies, music, etc).

I was per­fect­ly con­tent with my 2009 Mac­Book Pro, but the hard dri­ve died, so I expand­ed my skill sets and built my own desk­top from scratch. One frus­trat­ing search for capac­i­tor caps lat­er, I had a run­ning com­put­er! I loaded it with Lin­ux (Ubun­tu) since I didn’t feel like deal­ing with a Hack­in­tosh nor did I want to run Win­dows. As you can see, I have yet to spring for a prop­er com­put­er chair to com­plete my com­put­er set­up. I’ll get there one day!

Not pic­tured is my TV set­up, but rest assured it’s awe­some. I got a 42″ flat screen short­ly after grad­u­at­ing from col­lege, and gave my old one to my sis­ter (where they’re still using it!). I love to play all sorts of video games, so I have a col­lec­tion of con­soles to include, but not lim­it­ed to, a Playsta­tion 3, Wii, Wii U, and an Xbox 360. So far, I haven’t found a rea­son to upgrade to a PS4 or XBONE, espe­cial­ly as I rarely play video games now. I just don’t have the oomph or brain pow­er after I get off work, so I lim­it my video gam­ing to the week­ends for now.


meadOne of the biggest splurges in my bud­get comes from spend­ing mon­ey on alco­hol. It doesn’t real­ly mat­ter if it’s from a restau­rant, a bar, or the gro­cery store. I am unfor­tu­nate­ly gluten intol­er­ant, so I am forced to pass on the free beer peo­ple offer me. This means I usu­al­ly have to spring for my own bev­er­ages, and since I can’t drink beer that means I’m lim­it­ed to wine, cider, mixed drinks or moon­shine. Just kid­ding on the last one. Moon­shine is gross and I don’t want to go blind. I’m not a big fan of wine, so I usu­al­ly drink some form of cider or a mixed drink. All of which are more expen­sive than beer (unless I’m at one of the numer­ous brew­eries my town is home to).

I’ve recent­ly dis­cov­ered the deli­cious­ness that is mead. Let me tell you, it can get pricey FAST. I balk at spend­ing $20 for a bot­tle of reg­u­lar wine, but was seri­ous­ly con­sid­er­ing buy­ing a bot­tle of mead that cost close to $60. I went with the bot­tle that was “only” $38 (pic­tured to the left) and I’m glad I did. It’s deli­cious!

[PS if any­one lives close to Prescott, Ari­zona and wants to send me some more mead from Super­sti­tion Mead­ery, I’ll love you for­ev­er!)

I’m well aware of the finan­cial and health reper­cus­sions of alco­hol, so I tend to lim­it how much I buy and con­sume. I thought this post by Cait Flan­ders was sober­ing (pun not intend­ed) on just how quick­ly the costs from going out can add up. I’m cur­rent­ly strug­gling with my work sit­u­a­tion, and it’s a dai­ly strug­gle for me to avoid wash­ing away my feel­ings by down­ing some alco­hol. I also find it rather depress­ing to drink alone, so I tend to only drink in social sit­u­a­tions nowa­days.

So, as you can see, just because I’m focused on max­ing out my 401(k) and Roth IRA, doesn’t mean I live a bor­ing or super cheap lifestyle. I’m com­fort­able with this lev­el of spend­ing, and quite hon­est­ly enjoy the dis­trac­tions my more expen­sive addi­tions bring me. If in the end it takes me anoth­er 6 months or a year to achieve FI, so be it. I’d rather be hap­py when I retire than have more mon­ey and no hob­bies or friends.

What do you splurge on? Do you have any “guilty plea­sures”?

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17 thoughts on “FI Isn’t All Misery

  1. Are you a younger ver­sion of me?! I lived in a huge one bed­room apart­ment near work out of col­lege and even­tu­al­ly bought a 1200 sqft two bed­room apart­ment to live in by myself and it was mar­velous, except now I share it with my boyfriend and it feels so much small­er. He’s cute though and cooks, so it all works out 😉

    • If I am a younger ver­sion of you, my future looks bright! Got any more of those cute guys who can cook lying around!?

      • Thank you — that is very sweet! He only start­ed cook­ing after we start­ed dat­ing, so I’m not sure what to sug­gest there. Cook­ing for two is way more fun so I don’t blame him. He also loves index funds, max­es out his retire­ment accounts, hates debt, spends con­scious­ly, is against hav­ing more than one car, and isn’t against my plan to not have kids though I think he would have them if he was with some­one who want­ed them. I’m not let­ting go of him!

        • Does he have a twin? Per­haps a younger broth­er? Haha I’m glad to hear you snagged your­self a good one! Don’t let him go!

  2. Well said. A few years ago I paid $799 for a tra­di­tion­al mat­tress after I tried a few “cheap” online-store “free tri­als” that just were not com­fort­able. I agree that it’s more being thought­ful about your pur­chas­es vs. mind­less­ly spend­ing mon­ey rather than liv­ing as min­i­mal­ly as pos­si­ble (though noth­ing wrong with that if that’s your thing- it’s not mine)

    BTW Did I read else­where that you have some­thing going on with a Dutch­man? Good for you!

    • What’s the say­ing? Imvest in what goes between you and the ground: tires, mat­tress­es and shoes. I’ve found that’s pret­ty good advice!

      I do have some­thing going on with a Dutch guy! He’s pret­ty great although since we live on dif­fer­ent con­ti­nents things prob­a­bly aren’t going to advance much fur­ther than our cur­rent sta­tus. Makes me sad but long dis­tance rela­tion­ships require a lot of work.

      • I hear ya. I couldn’t do long dis­tance unless there were plans for one per­son to move so that it was no longer long dis­tance. Anoth­er con­ti­nent would be that much trick­i­er, but cer­tain­ly an awe­some sto­ry to tell if it worked out.

        I actu­al­ly plan to leave my cur­rent loca­tion at some point, but I think it’s just too much pres­sure to try to date some­one from out of state, I’ve tried the MMM forums. So I most­ly stay local with my dat­ing escapades. It’s prob­a­bly for the better…yet iron­i­cal­ly of the peo­ple I’ve met, I know I pre­fer the more mod­est Mid­west­ern and South­ern types (most­ly trans­plants who have moved here from elsewhere).…so you’d think I should just move some­where where that type of per­son is more com­mon rather than the rar­i­ty. We shall see!

        • My com­pa­ny has loca­tions close to him, so I’m hop­ing I can move over there. We orig­i­nal­ly met when he was in town on busi­ness, so he’s put in a request to move here but there aren’t any open­ings 🙁 We’re try­ing as best we can!

          • Gwen~ That’s so cool! That doesn’t sound so hope­less to me. Plus liv­ing abroad with a local would be such a cool expe­ri­ence even if it is not a for­ev­er thing (but hope­ful­ly it is, if that’s what you’re look­ing for!)

  3. Wow! You are rockin’ it girl! The mis­sus and I are bed­ding down at your place.

    Then all the trav­el. Whew! I am exhaust­ed just think­ing about it. I hear you are going to Fin­Con, you went to Ecuador and Camp Mus­tache III, but not a word about the World Dom­i­na­tion Sum­mit in Portland(Mr. Mon­ey Mus­tache is there this week). You are liv­ing right.

    I fell in love when I saw the sewing machine. I mar­ried Mrs. Accoun­tant the moment I knew she could sew her own clothes.

    Awe­some, Gwen! Keep it up.

    • Thanks Kei­th! I would’ve loved to be in Seat­tle with Pete but I don’t have enough vaca­tion days. That’ll be one thing I look for­ward to when I’m FI! Trav­el when­ev­er and wher­ev­er I want 🙂

  4. Splurges: Mat­tress, house (we went mod­est, but still a huge splurge), our new couch (saved up all the cred­it card rewards for 5 years so I would feel less guilty about spend­ing $2K). I do splurge on shoes, although it’s dif­fer­ent. I buy less fash­ion­able shoes and more com­fort­able pairs of work shoes. I bare­ly have any high heels because I can’t stand the pain any­more.
    Savvy­Fi­nan­cial­Lati­na recent­ly post­ed…Sept 2016 UpdateMy Profile

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