(🔽start from the bottom and work your way up through my thoughts 🔽)

For most current version, see My Working Budget.

Feb 18, 2018, p.m.
Late in to the evening that Sunday, I again used the Compound Interest and Savings Calculator to play with different scenarios. I started with what was the minimum I could really get by on if my primary focus was just leaving the workplace. I had no big travel plans and I could do without a beautiful house. What would I need just to get me to retirement age of say 65? What could I realistically do in 10 years to accomplish this? I realized that if I were working and saving from age 34 to age 44, that would leave me only to raise money to fund my life from age 45 to 65, which is 20 years, not forever. So at 30k a year,  just for 20 years, my new savings goal was $600k. Using the calculator tool, I realized this might be possible with minor tweaking on the original budget!! I was rejuvenated....until Monday.

Feb 18, 2018, a.m.
I had already asked God to bless my budget and I was pleased that putting the original savings budget in place was pretty seamless; the spending budget is another story for another day. I still felt unsettled.  How did people do this by their 30s? 40s?

Feb 17, 2018
The Side Hustle Struggle Was Real. I hated going to the part time job. In order to accommodate leaving early on days I had to teach, I had to work late shifts at my full-time job. Including the commute, but not prep time, I was working 50 hour weeks and getting paid for 43 hours. I was not happy. So I tried what the other FIRE bloggers purported: a passive income stream through blogging.  As we already learned, that was a bust.

Feb 10, 2018
The sentiment to dream bigger than a 10 year sabbatical in 10 years lingered. The original reason I googled early retirement was to find a way out of the workforce...and fast. There had to be a life-hack to saving/investing to get me where I needed to be for good. Could I beat the 10 year sabbatical in 10 years dream? I used the Compound Interest and Savings Calculator to play with different scenarios.

·        How long will it actually take me to reach a million dollars
·        Settings: initial = $60k, rate = 6%; guess and check on the years
o   Saving 2k/month (beginner/default):  20 years
o   Saving 2.5k/ mon// 30k/ year (moderate):  17 years
o   Saving 3.333k/ mon// 40k/ year (aggressive savings): 15 years
o   Conclusion: If I save/invest as a novice as I've been doing, I'm on track to being retired as a millionaire in 20 years, by age 54 (year 2038).  If I save aggressively for 15 years, I can shave off a measly 5 years off retirement and possibly my life and retire at age 49 (year 2033).

·        What amount do I actually need to retire?
·        Settings: initial = $60k, rate = 6%;
o   On a 27k budget (using the 4% rule/ 25x annual budget): $675,000
·        How much would  I need to save over 10 years (ideal): $3,589/mon
·        How much would I need to save over 15 years (aggressive): $1,902/mon
·        How much would I need to save over 20 years (default):  $1,094/mon
o   Conclusion: If I save aggressively ($3589/mon = $43,068/yr), I can retire thriftily in 10 years at age 44 (year 2028).

o   On a 30k budget (using the 4% rule/ 25x annual budget):  $750,000
·        How much would  I need to save over 10 years (ideal): $4,063/mon
·        How much would I need to save over 15 years (aggressive): $2,171/mon
·        How much would I need to save over 20 years (default):  $1,264/mon
o   Conclusion: If I do some conscious modest saving, I can probably live a similar lifestyle as I've been doing for the last 2 years, and retire in a similar fashion in 15 years at age 49 (year 2033).

·        OVERALL CONCLUSION:  If I save modestly for 15 years, I can enjoy a modest retirement at age 49 in the year 2033. 

Call it the 30-something in me, but age 49 to me is age 50 and age 50 is grouped right along with 50s and 60s. This started to make the whole journey not seem worth it. It made me want to get one of the beautiful townhouses going up around my area for $180,000 (twice my budget for housing) and just work until regular retirement age like everyone else or at least for the 20 more years in the scenarios above.  It seemed worth the extra 5 years to live in a beautiful desirable home. 

Jan 26, 2018
The sabbatical seemed possible but now that I was aware of the early retirement community, I wanted to see what it would take to get to early retirement.

Could I get there by 40 (in 6 years)? Seemed unlikely.

What if I pinched a few more pennies? I tried that and modified my Savings Budget to 40k and Spending Budget to 27k by utilizing the tax-benefit of maximizing a traditional 401k with my employer. That made me nervous and it felt like I was on a financial diet. As with diets, it made me hunger to spend money. That wouldn't work.  I began to get discouraged and I was only 1 month in.

Can I make more money? One of the prominent themes in the aggressive savings facet of early retirement was either spend less or make more. I couldn't figure out a way to spend any less comfortably, so I sought to make more. My current job is pretty easy as far as jobs go and although many complain, I feel I am adequately compensated. Sometime before Christmas a part-time job I had applied for 2 years prior offered me an interview. I did a phone interview and was offered an adjunct position with a local community college coming in at $2,000 for the semester.  At the time, it seemed like a God-send.

date: Dec 5, 2017


Student Loans

Per Pay Period
Housing, Utilities, i.e.
·        Rent/mortgage
·        Water, power, internet
·        Property tax, homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance, if applicable



Payroll deduction
Groceries ($200)
Entertainment, Incidentals
to include:
-         Gas
-         Phone
-         Other
-         Household items

Roth IRA


Taxable account


Unexpected expenses:
-         travel
-         medical/dental
-         car maintenance
-         car insurance ($53/mon)
-         cable, tv subscription
-         home repairs, if applicable
-         family needs


  1. Budgets can be both frustrating and fun...I like your story and your voice. Best of luck on your journey!


    1. Definitely 1 of the 2. Thanks for stopping by Seth! - MERJ


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