I figured I would follow the lead of Mr. 1500 and Net Worth Snowball and provide some regular updates on my own finances. My eventual goal is early retirement, but I have no exact date set and instead I’d like to track the numbers over time and do some calculations based on the numbers to see when I can expect to retire and how changes in my investments (rate of return), expenses and contributions will affect that.
At the beginning of this month I published an article about getting plants free by asking for cuttings/splits. A number of people liked the idea and recommended it, but of course plenty of reddit complainers said that was worthless advice, “sketchy” and suggested people should set up neighborhood plant exchanges instead. Well, let’s try and satisfy some of the complainers by suggesting even more ways to get free plants.
I’ve been slightly overweight most of my life. Now, I was never “obese” by any numbers, but I was always a little chubby. In fact, I remember growing up my mother used to buy me “husky” jeans (She swears that never happened!). As a kid I didn’t really care or notice my weight too much, but started taking notice once I hit high school and I trimmed down when I played football for a few years. I stayed a healthy weight throughout college, but once I started working full-time in an office I ended up slowly gaining weight. I went from 172 lbs up to the 190’s and fluctuated over time. I briefly tried Atkins because my family is one of fad dieters, and that worked for a little while. I bought all these ridiculous Atkins ice creams and breads and things that replaced sugars with some weird form of alcohol. But over the long term it didn’t stick. I imagine that it’s not too unusual a circumstance.
My wife and I have a very energetic little 9-month old son. One thing we were surprised by is the amount we spend on formula and diapers every month. For a long time we’d been buying diapers at BJ’s where you can get a large pack (180 count for size 4) for $29.99. But my wife learned from a Mom’s group on Facebook about a great deal at Wegmans. They’re introducing their own line of diapers and have a $5 off coupon for any size and count pack that they carry (it states minimum 20 count, but that’s the smallest count they offer). That means you can get $5 off their smallest packs which retail for $6.79 – meaning you can get a pack of diapers for just $1.79.
Update: This coupon has expired, as of October 26th, 2013.
(Here’s a link to the original $5 off Wegmans Diaper Coupon.)
Our son is in size 4 diapers right now, so we’ve gone from spending roughly 17 cents per diaper at BJ’s to around 7 cents. So we’re loading up on diapers for our son (and the next baby!) by using this coupon every chance we have. It’s limited to one per person per visit and expires on the 26th.
We’ve printed up a stack of these suckers and keep them in the car. Every time we go grocery shopping, or anywhere near a Wegmans we stop in and grab a pack. We even handed them out to our parents to get some any time they’re nearby!
I’ve made some great progress so far in my life in striving towards financial independence. I make a very good income, I own rental properties, I started saving right out of the gate. But, alas I am not retired yet like Mr. Money Mustache did at 30 (I’m 32). What gives?
Well, there are a number of differences between our paths, but I think the biggest difference is that I made one or two major mistakes that set me back big time. The biggest by far was my divorce.
Here in Western New York we’re getting very close to our typical first frost of the Fall. This means every gardener is scrambling to make sure they get their gardens and yards ready. It’s the time of year where people start thinning and splitting their perennials: Hostas, Irises, Lilies, even Rhubarb. Which means that for someone who is very frugal and has a bare yard it’s a great time to scrounge for free plants and get your landscaping and gardening started off nicely on the cheap.