Spending Too Much

So I scored a well-paying job about six months ago and I’m trying to save every dime so I can ‘retire’ early. By that I mean have enough money to pay for food and shelter and a minimum of entertainment so that I will be free to pursue my interests without being hindered by a 40hr/week obligation.

In order to do that I setup my direct deposit from work so that $75/week goes into my checking account and whatever’s left over goes into savings. The goal is to live off only the $75/week. Now, so far, I haven’t really stuck to my guns about it. I occasionally tap into the savings account for things like weekend excursions or a nice dinner with friends.

But I’m very aware of it. I have to go to an atm and pull cash out of ‘savings’ or have to login to my bank account and transfer money between accounts. It requires forthought and planning so I don’t wind up blowing my weekly paycheck on dinners and booze without even realizing it.

Now, I’m staying with the ‘rents, and occasionally I buy food I like but my mother likes to cook and usually has a dinner made on weeknights so my living expenses are obscenely low. Add to this that my car was built in 1978 and is registered as an antique so the insurance is a pittance, plus it gets over 30mpg. Then there’s the motorcycle, which I use to commute with in the summer and take to friends houses on the weekend. It’s from 1989, gets almost 90mpg and the insurance is only $130/year. So my transportaton costs are about as minimized as possible. So after that my only real expenses are video games and eating/drinking out. And get this, I got a new gaming pc a couple months ago but I built it myself, from parts that I priced out individually and bought from all different dealers that were selling them, often times, as loss-leaders. For a similar system from Dell you’d spend over $3,000, I spent under $1,000 on the whole rig. And the video games I order used on half.com. I think the whole thing actually saves me money because it keeps me from having to find something to do every weekend (which also usually involves spending $). If I have no plans or they fall through then I just look forward to some relaxing, yet engaging war games at home. Great cure for cabin fever too.

My only other real splurge is on books, it seems about every month or two I go on half.com and spend my entire week’s spending money on 5-6 books on my topic-of-the-month. But again, why buy new? I open up amazon.com and use their recomendations system to shop around, then just end up ordering them on half.com for about 30%-40% less.

I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I don’t know what everyone is blowing their money on. It couldn’t all be going to their rent, could it?

The one thing I do feel deprived about is some ‘big ticket’ items that I’d like to have but keep myself from splurging on. Particularly a new digital camera. I use to carry mine everywhere and took several photos a day. I’ve really created quite the memory trove with it. But it broke last February so the shutter button only works when it wants to. A new one of similar quality would run me about $200-$300 but I can’t get myself to spend it. Also a nice office chair for my desk would be nice, right now I’m sitting in a wooden chair I snagged from the dining room, that’d be $100-$200. And some frames broke in shipping when I was moving last winter and I’ve still yet to fix them. That would probably only be $40-$50 to have some photos and paintings reframed. I’d like to get back into wine-making but I’d have to order a ton of empty bottles and some racks, that’d be $100-$200. But I put that off too.

These are fairly small things that would make my life better but everytime I think of spending $1,000 to clear all those minor things up I think, ‘nah, this money would be better off in the S&P 500. I’ll use the next $1,000 for that stuff.’ And on and on and on.

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