Hi, there. If you’re just joining My Early Retirement Journey, I had some struggles early in the Journey with how exactly I fit in as I am in the FIRE community. There are some good tips in the FIRE blogosphere about how to live frugally and maximize savings, but not everyone’s advice can be applied to your life. It’s your life! Live it the way you want! Here are some things I still do or buy that are not particularly FIRE-Friendly so to speak, but it makes my life easier and in the end ..it’s my money… I do what I want!
1. Paper plates, bowls, and utensils. I still use paper plates and bowls and plastic cutlery. I can hear the cringe of environmentalists. I try to eliminate as many barriers to healthy eating as possible because I love eating junk food straight out of the package. If using a paper plate means I’m more likely to eat something more nutritious, that’s what I’m going to do. If using a paper plate means I’ll bother heating something up without worrying about washing dishes, that’s what I’m doing. Hey, I no longer use feminine hygiene products and will never buy a baby diaper and my offspring will never need to own a car or a home because I don’t have any offspring! Take that, carbon footprint.
2. Cut fruit and chopped onions. I buy pre-cut fruit and chopped onions. I do this because again I try to eliminate as many barriers to nutritious foods as possible. Sometimes, I buy whole fruit and it’s unripe or tastes bad. Then I stop eating it for awhile. If it’s already cut I can at least examine it before I purchase it. Also cut fruit feels luxurious to me. It’s my tiny luxury on this side of My Early Retirement Journey. Also, who likes chopping onions?
3. Single-serve applesauce. I buy single-serve applesauce instead of a big jar. It’s easy and portable and counts as a serving of fruit. I keep one in my lunch bag for backup. I’m not at my best every morning. The struggle to get to work is overcome by just getting there. Anything else is just extra.
4. Single-serve oatmeal packets. I buy single serve oatmeal packets instead of the cost effective economy size. See above. This is also part of Operation: Back-up meals. Sometimes I just don’t feel like eating. And when I do, it’s usually when I’m already at work. No matter how many meals I eat everyday for the last 30 something years of life pre-planning a meal is something that just seizes my brain sometimes. If I’m not hungry now, my brain can’t possibly fathom I’ll be hungry in a few hours. Although… this last winter because of my tooth I was eating a lot of soft foods, so I did get wise and carry around an old mayonnaise jar full of quick oats. That worked.
5. Bottled water. I started buying bottled water in 2017 because the tap water was making my stomach upset. It turned out there was this pink sludge growing on the tap. So I cleaned it but got leery about drinking out of the tap. It’s been about a year, and I’m slowly incorporating tap water back into my life and bleaching the tap more often.
6. I don’t comparison shop for groceries. I buy most things from Wal-mart and suspect that the savings even out in the long run. Shopping for one doesn’t warrant the energy required to comparison shop.
7. I don’t use credit cards for rewards or travel points. I was in credit-card debt twice and I purposed to never use credit cards again; full disclosure I still have one open with the lowest limit of $500. I haven’t used it since getting out of credit card debt in 2016. Keeping it open may help with credit score, but since I don’t use it, I don’t know if that’s true.
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