For nearly all of my adult life I have been mildly obsessed with personal finances and generally saving as much as possible. This however has frequently and sometimes dramatically conflicted with my many (and typically expensive) hobbies that I truly enjoy. This includes (or has included) photography, guns, remote control planes, drones, and trucks, PC gaming, my Jeep, keeping adept with technological advancements, investing, bicycling, and probably a few more I’m forgetting. As I write this, I have my Christmas present to myself, a partially assembled, 7.5′ wingspan r/c airplane lying in the living room (kinda blocking access to the TV, and a shelf with the printer and home office supplies, and definitely annoying the wife). As I age, I’ve begun to slowly refine that list of hobbies, but still the ones that remain can consume a disproportionately large sum of our income during some years. Despite this, our average savings percentage over the past few years has ranged from 20 – 47% even while I was attending college and working only part-time. I have been reading/listening to more blogs on personal finance over the past few months (Radical Personal Finance, Mr. Money Mustache, and Frugalwoods to name a few) and have found the motivation to engage myself in more frugal spending habits. I ultimately would like to see our savings percentage jump into the 50’s or higher as I would love to be financially independent (FI) sooner rather than later. This will be something I frequently post about with tips, suggestions, things to try (or not!!!), and even questions that you (the readers) may be able to help answer. As much as this is a challenge for myself (and my wife), I would like this to be a challenge for anyone reading this to find ways to (dramatically) cut your spending. Essentially this is basically just cutting back to a life that is still fulfilling and only spending money on things that bring happiness or add value to life.
Some of our current “frugal” practices are to limit eating out to 0-2 times per month, no impulse purchases, we discuss/plan all purchases over $25, and instead of just spending our own cash on some of the niceties of life (Starbucks, the theater, restaurants, etc…) we often just ask for cash or gift cards around Christmas and our birthdays to the places we anticipate that we would like to visit and get to save our own cash for other (read as practical) purposes such as savings or legitimately needed things. I have also tried to maintain the mentality that if I buy something that will stay with us in our apartment, that something we already own should go. This is often harder to maintain, but it is a good place to be mentally. Especially if you live in an apartment (due to increased likelihood of moving and a general lack of storage space).
As you find ways to cut your own spending, please share them. I too will write about my own attempts (whether successful or not)!