Frugal

What Is Hypermiling?

Hypermiling is driving designed to increase the number of miles you get per gallon of gas.

I’ve got into hypermiling in the last couple a weeks as a way to cut down on transportation costs.  Ideally I would like to cut back on driving, even possibly get rid of my car.  Unfortunately, my work takes me to different locations around my area, so I must keep the car for now.  Since I have to drive, the next best solution is driving in the most efficient ways possible.  This means coasting to stop lights and accelerating slowly.  Easier said than done.  I tend to have a lead foot.

How does one start hypermiling?

Here are a few hypermiling techniques that will get you further and save money on gas:

– Roll to a stop when possible instead of braking

– Avoid stopping as much as possible

– Coast to stop signs

– Take your foot of gas on hills

– Accelerate slowly

– Avoid driving during rush hour traffic

– Turn off car when parked

– Turn your engine off if stuck in traffic

– Leave earlier so you don’t feel rushed

– Choose the scenic route, a route less cars travel

– Close windows & sunroof

– Make sure tires are full

– Remove roof rack if you don’t need it

– Don’t carry around deadweight. Good excuse to clean car

– Replace oil and get tires aligned

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The Cheapskate Next Door By Jeff Yeager

The Cheapskate Next Door by Jeff Yeager is a must read for anyone aspiring towards financial independence.  Unlike most books on finance, The Cheapskate Next Door won’t put you to sleep.  Yeager writes casually.  It’s an easy read.  He also fills the book with plenty of practical resources and examples of people living the frugal lifestyle.

This book covers many of the topics that get discussed often in financial independence community like housing, food, commuting, bartering, raising kids, insurance, travel etc.  Some of the topics will apply to your life situation at the moment and some topics you may just want to gloss over.  For instance, I skipped the chapter on raising kids, but spent extra time taking notes on the chapter involved with groceries and cooking. For the most part, each chapter gives you plenty of practical advice you can apply now.

After finishing The Cheapskate Next Door, I went back to take notes.  If I have any complaint about this book it’s that he should add a section with all the resources he mentions in the book.  Here are a few Cheapskate tips I found interesting:

Fiscal Fasting:  Challenge yourself to go a week without spending any money.

Plasma donors can typically earn $20 per bi-weekly visit. Bloodbanker.com.

Clean counters, stoves, and sinks with 1 part baking soda to 5 parts water.

If you drink only bottled water you’ll spend about $1,400 annually to get your recommended daily amount of H2O.

Find unclaimed money you didn’t know you had. Unclaimed.org.

20 Tips for groceries and cooking.

Get cheap gift certificates to restaurants.  Restaurants.com

Conclusion

The Cheapskate Next Door doesn’t touch on ways to make money.  Yeager doesn’t talk about jobs, investing, or side hustles.  Instead Yeager focuses on how to spend less. I feel this is more practical for most since you have more control on how much you spend, not always on how much you earn.

You can probably find The Cheapskate Next Door in your local library (Yeager made this book available to most libraries on purpose).  But if for some reason you can’t find this book in your local library you can buy it here.   

Cutting Your Grocery Bill: 8 Cheap Fruits & Vegetables That Will Last You A Month.

Your biggest monthly expenses will be housing, transportation, and food.  If you’re American, you can throw healthcare in there too.

Today I will focus on food.

In 2013, the average American family spent $330 a month on groceries.  That’s roughly 4,000 a year.

If you’re like me, you only have to worry about feeding yourself.  This makes it a lot easier to cut down on your grocery bill.  How much should a single person spend each month on groceries?

The early retirement extremist suggest $50-75 per month.

At first glance this seems impossible.  A few days ago I spent $50 on groceries that will hopefully last me two weeks.  Not a good start.

When it comes to food I don’t think I’m ready to go that extreme.  Trying to stay on a low carb diet means eating lots of meat and nuts, and that’s not always cheap.  I’ll spend a little extra on food even if it means delaying financial independence a bit.  I think it’s important, and there’s no way I’m going vegetarian.

However, if you’re vegetarian/vegan you have the advantage when it comes to cutting your grocery bill. Of course, everyone should be eating vegetables & fruits no matter what diet they’re on.  Vegetables & fruits should be a stable for the aspiring financially independents because they’re cheap and filled with essential nutrients.

Some vegetables & fruits are better than others.  When you’re trying to maintain a monthly grocery budget, especially one as extreme as $50-75 per month you want vegetables & fruits that will last.

Here are a few vegetables & fruits that will last for up to  a month and sometimes longer if stored correctly:

1. Carrots – You can find a bag of carrots for under a $1.  Carrots improve eyesight, regulate blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, and improve immune system.

2. Cabbage – Under a $1 as well.  Cabbage is great source of vitamin K, C, and B6.

3. Sweet Potatoes – The average sweet potato costs $0.50 per pound.  Sweet potatoes are a great source for vitamin A, C, and B6.  They also have less carbs than regular potatoes, and taste better.

4. Onions – They basically will throw onions at you in the grocery store.  You could probably dig them up in your backyard now.  They make every meal taste just a little better.

5. Apples – Will cost you $1 per pound.  A perfect dessert.  Apples are shown to reduce risk of hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.

6. Garlic – A full bulb will be under a $1.  Garlic is a cheat code to make every meal taste somewhat decent.  It can also combat sickness.

7. Lemons – Yet another item thats under a dollar.  Lemons may be one of the healthiest foods on the planet doing everything from restoring your pH levels to fighting cancer.  Put a slice in your water bottle.

8.  Celery – This one may set you back a whopping $2 per bundle.  A great source for antioxidants.

Put these on your grocery list and you can’t go wrong.  They’re cheap, healthy, and will last you for at least a month.

* Some of these items are high in carbs like sweet potatoes and apples.  If you have been following my blog you will know that I’ve talked a lot about a ketogenic diet.  If you’re trying to remain strictly keto eating some of these things aren’t for you but if you’re just practicing a low carb diet than you’ll be fine unless you’re eating an entire bag of apples a day.

What Is FIRE?

FIRE = Financially Independent Retire Early

If you haven’t heard this phrase don’t feel bad.  I just became familiar with it a few days ago.

I’ve been reading a lot of mrmoneymustache.com , jlcollinsnh.com, and earlyretirementextreme.com lately.  All blog based on becoming FIRE.

Mr. Money Mustache: You may have heard of him.  He is one of the leaders when it comes to early retirement.  He and his wife retired when they were only 30 through frugal living and smart investments.

JLCollinsNH:  Is more FI than he is RE.  He focuses more on investing and building Fuck You Money, and lots of it.  He isn’t retired per se, although he has gone through many “mini retirements.” He only still works because he enjoys his work.

Early Retirement Extreme:  Became FI in 5 years spending only $7,000 per year.

After reading these three blogs I’ve become determined to become FIRE or at least FI with the chance to work when I want.  The truth is, I’ve been on semi retirement for the last year and I’m getting bored as hell.  I also know my pot of money isn’t going to last forever.

The semi retirement has been nice, but I’m definitely not bringing in enough money to become FIRE.  I have also been spending a bit too much, a habit I would like to nip in the bud.  In the last year, I have strayed far from my frugal ways.  Not only did my old ways save me more money, but brought me more joy.

When I was living abroad for two and half years I had already fell into a life that some of these FIRE bloggers talk about. 

My housing cost were minimal.  I lived in hostels, couch surfed, camped, and stayed at my cousin’s for a while rent free.  When I finally did get an apartment of my own it only ended up costing me $250 per month (utilities included).

For two and half years I never owned a vehicle.  Which means I didn’t spend money on gas, car insurance, or repairs.  I used public transportation, biking, and hitchhiking.

I didn’t have health insurance. Didn’t matter.  One time I gashed my knee open in Australia and had to get stitches.  It cost me $60 and I got tetanus shot for free.  God bless socialized medicine.

My grocery bill didn’t put a dent in my wallet either.  I routinely ate chicken hearts with rice.  I had no TV, just an iPad.  All my clothes had to fit in my suitcase.  I even owned a shitty little burner phone that cost me all of $10 a month.

When I moved back to the U.S. I didn’t keep up with the frugal lifestyle.  I bought a car, and drove it even for small trips that I could have easily walked.  I bought and iPhone, and became, like so many others, addicted to it.  I started to eat out frequently instead of cooking for myself.  And of course, I couldn’t find rent anything close to $250 a month.

Reading so much about FIRE in the last two days has inspired me to become more cognizant of how I spend my money.  My new goal is to become FI by the age of 37.

Why 37?

This seems about the time that most males energy levels take a major hit.  I want to be FI by that age so I don’t have to work if I don’t want, but not necessarily retire.

I also want to start investing.  Index funds of course.

Buying a rental property or two is on the bucket list as well.

I will chronicle my journey to FI through this blog, with the hopes that stating my goal to the World will hold me accountable.