Welcome back to My Early Retirement Journey. In case you’re just joining us, here’s a little bit about me. I am a single 30-something, openly Christian, hesitantly immigrant-y, human woman. I love watching TV while eating takeout, and I want to retire early. I currently work as a consultant in a tele-health call center making around $40/hr. I started my professional life in 2015 at the ripe ole age of 31 after a few false starts. I spent 2016 paying off about $10,000 worth of credit card debt. I spent 2017 paying off about $20,000 in private student loans; I still have about $300,000 in federal student loans for which I am currently on an income-based repayment plan for the next 25 years, give or take. I started really getting into savings and investing late 2017 when I stumbled upon the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) community. In 2018, I made the decision to try to save for a sabbatical and maybe if all goes well continue the journey to early retirement. Along this journey, I give weekly updates just like this one. Come along with me, I urge you!
Monday – This weekend was splendiforous. Been having some trouble with my GI system that got a little worse after my surgery. Yes, world, I did an enema! Not just one…two! I enjoyed it so much the first time, I had to try it again (NOT!). TMI? Probs. Eh, what are you gonna do. So went to work feeling a little lighter if you know what I mean. Also created a very bare simplistic time-budget…
Realized I have more time than I thought. Hmm…more on that later. Tried to find a way to see my cousin this Wednesday since I have the day off and it’s her birthday. Too bad she lives in Michigan. 12 hour drive. Even tried last minute flights. Was willing to spend $433..yes you heard me… but cheapest I could find was close to $700.
I keep doing this…this last minute planning. Planning a trip in advance is of no interest to me but wanting to go when the mood strikes me seems to be the only game my Brain wants to play. I can tell you it’s gotten me zero places in the last 2.5 years. Oh well. Gonna have a staycation Wed.
Tuesday – So today in frugal living…well, I don’t particularly identify myself as frugal. I’m frugalish, frugalesque, frugal-adjacent at best. Anyway, I was going to say for the last couple weeks I kind of made up my mind to always keep rice cooked. It keeps something on hand and it seems to keep longer than I thought. I think I’ve kept rice in the fridge for about 2 weeks and eaten it without issue. And if worse comes to worse, I can freeze it. Never really thought about that until I tried a few freezer lunches and realized oh, they have frozen rice. I can do that too! The simple things. Anyway, so far so good. Sometimes I just eat it with fried eggs and salt and I love those dried sprinkle onions that you find in the seasoning aisle. No one should follow my food choices, it’s a definite work in progress.
Wednesday – Had a pretty nice day off. No temptation to go to work. Working late shift this week anyway so that might be partly why. Watched some season six episodes of Married at First Sight. It’s getting harder and harder to watch people make the same poor choices in relationships. But I have a completely one-sided view on that type of thing. Tried to find a way to watch Investigation Discovery for free. I don’t know why I keep coming back to these crime shows…they make me so scared. Got me thinking, if I were president (you know like the elementary school prompt), I’d create a Let Her Live law. The idea being men that engage in heinous violence against women but then end the victim’s life to try to hide the evidence could let her live and if they confess the crime within a year, the death penalty would be off the table, something like that.
Thursday – Oh my gosh, what a day! Well I can tell you my pseudo-bowel prep and enema adventures from the weekend must be kicking in or it’s this A2 milk I started drinking. So much to say! I told myself to try to limit blogging time to Tuesdays and Fridays, but I didn’t want to forget everything I had to say, so here I am Thursday at 10:41pm EST blogging. Anyway, did my errand run at Walmart. The bill was only about $25 but of note was the junk I bought.
Last week was another junky haul and this week my sugar binge continues. I’ve been having trouble lately mustering up an appetite. Sometimes that happens in the summer to me, I think. But I’ve been using that as an excuse to buy garbage. Today’s grocery haul garbage: 1 box Frosted Flakes, a 2lb bag+ of generic Crunch Berries (it was cheaper than the smaller box). #ughfoodwaste. And a package of festive Oreos. All unnecessary and NOT on my list. I only had produce and Ziploc bags and soda. Soda is also a junky item, but sometimes in the summer it seems to help cool me down.
In other news, I submitted my 5 week PTO (paid time off) request for Sep 2019. Mini sabbatical, mini-retirement here I come?! I figure I can save 200 hours of PTO between Sep 2018 and Sep 2019. I picked those dates because my 3 year anniversary is this Sep 2018 and my PTO accrual rate goes up to about 7.3 hours per pay period. And in one year we accrue 22 days of PTO. So it seems this goal-setting mindset is pervasive. On my day off this week, I just decided instead of taking these short breaks, I’m going to try to take one long break. I’ve been trying to figure out how to take time off since I started working.. haha… it’s what began this whole journey. Ideally, I’d love to relax, restore, and just have a retirement preview-cation… maybe explore some early retirement spots…maybe not… no pressure.
Oh another good thing, Aunty MERJ has a doctor’s appointment. One of her sisters is taking her to the doctor next Tuesday! Win! I didn’t have to do anything. Like Tuppeny pointed out, I can lend a hand at least in the administrative tasks of elder care. I’ll likely find other ways to be helpful, but I don’t have to do it all!
In blogging news, still grappling with how active I want to be on social media. I’m not active on any social media in my real life specifically because it started to negatively affect my quality of life and perception of reality. I think until I can stop having ups and downs with the psychological aspect of blogging, I’ll let it be for now. I like writing so much, but I get so seduced by the reported successes of others!
Friday – Working 11:30 to 7:30pm today and it’s inching by. No complaints overall. Did a minor Google search this morning for a side hustle gig. Nada. I know I should be resting, but with all this daylight, there’s money to be made! Trying to get excited about a Netflix premiere, Set It Up; planning to get pizza after work; got soda on Thursday as mentioned, and popcorn, and cookies. We shall see! I think I keep binging on cereal because I haven’t been able to drink milk for about 10 years and I missed it! After awhile, I suspect even the A2 milk will turn on me so I’m having a bit of FOMO with breakfast cereal. Yassss, queens, this is 30s. How was your week?
TV this week: Married at First Sight -Season 6, New Girl – Seasons 4 and 1, Ali’s Wedding
Takeout this week: zilch as of Friday 5:49pm
BlueBird balance (no affiliate): $68.28
Note: I use the Amex BlueBird prepaid card in my current Working Budget for regular monthly expenses (groceries, eating out, phone, gas, etc..). My last budget update 03Mar2018 showed this line item as $540/mon (down from $600/mon), but in April 2018 I decided to challenge myself to $430/mon based on my idea that my bare bones budget, if needed and possibly in early retirement, is 500/500/500 housing/student loan/expenses. Since my loans are currently $566/mon I subtracted that $66 from the $500 for expenses and rounded down.
Next pay date: $215 is auto-deposited the 8th and 23rd of every month.