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Fall Finance Cleanup

I recently spent one week on vacation, away from the demands of the daily grind. I slept in and unabashedly ordered room service breakfasts dangerously close to noon. I spent mornings in bed reading books or giggling at the Florida news headlines. I stayed up late reading books about finding my calling in life whilst shunning my ego. I went to the gym for hour-long elliptical or treadmill sessions hoping I’d feel slightly less guilty about indulging in a dessert or three at dinner. On port days, we trekked the hills of downtown Halifax and endured hurricane winds to see the Bay of Fundy and stumbled upon boho chic storefronts in Portland, Maine. I figured the week of relaxation would rejuvenate me and prepare me for another long slog at work.

That’s not how things unfolded, though. I was slow and unmotivated returning to work on a Sunday. I dragged myself through, hoping I’d ease back into work mode and be raring to go by Monday. On Monday I woke up with a pounding headache, body aches, and sinus pain and pressure. As a strong believer in the mind-body connection, this was a clear sign that things weren’t right. When the idea of returning to work precipitates a full blown influenza episode, I am clearly in the wrong place. So I decided to take the next week off to eat healthy foods and take long walks and read books to nourish my soul. At that point, I will decide if I can over-medicate myself enough to endure my horrible workplace any longer.

In the interim, I am utilizing my time off to clean up my finances.  Since I’m unsure of my ability to return to work, I’ll need to prepare for a potential drop in income. Thus, I decided to go through my bank account / credit card transactions line by line and scrutinize each expenditure. It’s amazing how our little expenditures can make major dents in our budgets. By doing this, I realized just how many of my costs are unnecessary and don’t affect my overall happiness. Having already applied the Pareto Principle to cut my spending on major expenditures like housing (mooching off parents) and transport (driving an older car bought second hand) this was the next logical step.

Here’s the breakdown of the savings I’ll realize:
-removed US roaming from my mobile plan: $15/month
-cancelled Audible subscription: $20/month
-cut bank fee charges: $12/month
-switched gyms for parents and I: $100/month
-cancelled auto charity withdrawal: $30/month
-made lump sum payment then refinanced mortgage: $600/month

My total savings from about a day’s worth of work: $777 per month and $9,324 per year!!! As someone who considered herself frugal, I was appalled at the amount I was spending on useless shit. I’d need an additional $233k in my retirement nestegg to fund an additional $9,324 in annual spending (based on a 4% withdrawal). Ugh, I’m nauseated just thinking of the additional years I’d spend chained to the pharmacy counter just to pay for THINGS THAT DON’T MATTER. Over the next week, I plan to actually calculate my monthly passive income and monthly expenses and determine if I can officially declare myself officially FI.

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