Monday, April 26, 2010

The First 100,000 is the hardest?

My net worth is now hovering around 100k--to be exact, on April 6, it was $105,000. I've read that once you've accumulated $100,000, interest and investment gains start to add up and it starts feeling easier to save. I still feel like I'm a long way away from my "number" for early semi-retirement, which is somewhere between 300k and 500k. I used to think my goal was the lower end, but realistically, despite all our little frugal actions, R and I still managed to spend $40,000 last year. Ugh. Which, actually, would make our "number" 1 million. Double ugh.

I'm trying to decrease that this year, but we're not really interested in moving for financial reasons (we had a hard enough time last year finding an apartment we liked in this price range) and his health insurance and car insurance are pretty much set expenses. (Thankfully, we don't have a car payment, since the car is a hand-me-down, and it's used mostly for his brief commute to work, so gas and repairs are fairly small.)

We don't spend much on entertainment or household things. The biggest things we can cut on this year are travel (me), groceries (both), and eating out (both). It's likely I'll spend very little on travel in 2010, decreasing our expenses by 1-2000 dollars.

Groceries are a continual battle between "ooh, Doritos!" and "oh yeah, cauliflower." And there is definitely a balance between having appealing groceries on hand and the likelihood that we'll be tempted to eat out (which for us mostly means ordering a pizza).

On the plus side, our current apartment costs the same in rent as our old apartment, but our utilities costs are about $90/month less because of the smaller space and better insulation.


Anonymous said...

I can't wait to reach my first $100K. Congrats on getting there!

Unknown said...

If his commute is only short why not ditch the car (if you sell it there is a potential for a poistive creep in the budget) and bike a bicycle?? I used to ride 20km to work every day (One way!) and it's not hard, plus you can save on gym fees if you have then as he gets all the exercise commuting plus it's a great stress reducer.

Connecticut Blogger said...

Good for you for focusing on this at such an early age. I was always a super-saver, thanks to frugal grandparents, from whom I also inherited from. Thanks to them and my frugal habits, I have about $425K in savings/investments plus my home of 15 years has just a $59,000 balance left on the mortgage. I'm 50.

I'm sort of treading water right now since being laid off 8 months ago. But by being even more frugal, I've been able to live for 8 months without spending a penny of savings, just living off unemployment, some freelance writing, the occasional medical or market research study and, most recently, 5 weeks of Census Bureau work.

I've bookmarked your blog and hope to read more about your early retirement aspirations, which I completely relate to.

Connecticut Blogger said...

PS A long time ago i figured, using endless online calculators I still check in with now and then, that I'd really need $1 million to retire on. I track my expenses religiously, have done so for years, and I also average about $40,000 a year in total expenses. (I'm single.)

I don't think you could comfortably retire on less if you want to enjoy yourself. It seems like an incredibly long way to go from $425K to $1 million, and doing so in 10 years is my goal, but here's to the next bull market, the power of compounding and my own personal savings rate!