There are different levels of "extreme" one can take, depending on what is comfortable, but, as Jacob says, "The point is to look at your entire life, deliberately." Jacob compares frugality with a small focus to a mindset that is a little more practical. An example they go into is heating and cooling the house or office rather than changing how one dresses. Jacob mentions a Japanese approach of heating in which you create a warm space beneath your desk or table.
Paul labels this a kotatsu, and Paul mentions his article, I Cut 87% Off My Electric Heat Bill at richsoil.com.
Jacob and Paul discuss the "buy more" culture, and Jacob suggests a few ways to see past it. When people asked Jacob to write a book for someone still immersed in the consumer mindset, he found he couldn't do it as he couldn't put himself back into it. Paul shares his similar difficulty of relating to someone a few points away on the Wheaton Eco Scale. Paul and Jacob discuss how ultimately, the way we live our lives is a choice, and what is important is being conscious that it is a choice, rather than feeding into cultural programming.
Paul shares his story and frustration over paying interest on loans. He was tired of being a slave to his past choices and "the system." The ERE book provides an exit strategy. Jacob has set up an ERE forum with a diverse crowd of participants. Paul asks for Jacob's take on peak oil etc. They discuss silver and gold, and Jacob talks about the value of investing.
Jacob talks about growing into a mindset rather than quick what-to-dos. He also prefers a relaxed approach to things, and sleep--not worrying about what his stocks will look like the next day. Paul brings up the book, Mortgage Free and shares its philosophy. Jacob says that a good rule of thumb for investing is to determine your monthly costs, multiply them by 300, and that is the amount you need to invest. Paul shares about an article in Permaculture Magazine of a guy who went a whole year without money. He then makes the comment that after you retire, it's still ok to make money. Jacob dislikes taking on things or hobbies that will have recurring costs. He would rather have more freedom than more costs.
A week ago-ish, I listened to podcast 059 and podcast 129. I listened to these because my journey is just beginning! And I want to get off to a good start!
Here are some of the take-aways I had from listening to these two podcasts:
-costs decrease when you have more people sharing the costs
-things of good quality have a lower overall cost because the cost is spread out over the life of the item (i.e. a looong time)
-good quality items have the potential to be resold for full value when you are done with them
-track your expenses (what, when, where, and for how much) so that you can get an idea of the cycles in your life and the cycles around you
-retirement is when you aren't dependent on a job for money
-people can and do fulfilling lives without money or on little money
I enjoyed Jacob's humor near the end of podcast 059 when he said, "It is probably better that you stay at work and let your boss tell you what to do, if you don't know what you would do with yourself without a job." Ok, it isn't just funny; it it slightly sensible, too. If some people really have no clue, then it is probably safer for everyone that way.
But for many people, who do have an idea of what we want to do with ourselves, early retirement extreme, community, and decreasing costs makes sense because it will allow us to have the freedom we need to do the stuff that we want to do.
I have mentioned, in passing, on the forum about a plan that I am laying out for getting myself on the path necessary to go where I want to in life. I'm still working it out. Perhaps, not so much, is it a plan but general guidelines. I don't know when or if I'll be sharing it online.
Returning to point: one relevant quote that I remember from some movie or show I saw a long time ago points something out, too: "People are born in boxes, live in boxes, and are ultimately buried in boxes." This seems to describe the "gray life" that Paul Wheaton refers to very these two podcasts and his recent post about struggles. hurdles, and observation. This quote also shows what i want to avoid doing. I want to grow up to be one of those fun grandparents that takes their grandkids on adventures. And I also like how one of the grandparents in a novel I read maybe four years ago said she would rather die in the Amazon Basin with a strange disease than die lying in a hospital bed. I'm with her on that! I want to work hard & smart and live life how I see fit, not how others see fit!
Seeing from how one of my older siblings has so many boxes that get packed and repacked for college. I think a good immediate goal for me is to NOT to do that. Since I'm going far up north for college, I have a practical reason to keep my "stuff" to a minimum. Also, in retrospect, when I look at the room I live in right now, I imagine I could be quite content with a house the size of my bedroom which I guess to be maybe 12' by 12' . If it was a circle, I think it would feel nicer.
So, it is about three years later (and I'm finally listening to all the podcasts in order from the beginning at podcast 001 and I've gotten back to this one here at 059), and some things are easier to say when you aren't in the midst of the more chaotic world. However, on that note, I will take pride in saying that I have done a good job of keeping my possessions to a minimum. I have fewer boxes and things than most people on campus, and I sure had a lot less than the average in my storage locker during the summer. Even then, having significantly fewer possessions than average, I have been finding that I still have plenty of crap (let's be honest here!) that I don't need or use or use too infrequently to have warranted me purchasing it (let alone lugging it up two flights of stairs without an elevator only to see it's just CRAP!!!). Being my senior year of college and realizing I am going on my own impending (uh-oh!), this podcast resonated with me on a practical standpoint: having fewer possessions makes you mobile. And buying less means you have fewer possessions and can be financially independent sooner. These are all things I want! So, it is becoming more imperative to implement the ideas of Early Retirement Extreme more intensely. Back to topic, the most pressing concern is to offload my crap I don't use before the year ends, so I have recently been using [urlhttps://givebackbox.com/recycle]GiveBackBox [/url] to use old cardboard boxes to pack up and ship my gently used stuff to Goodwill (reason being: I can't drive, so this method works for me).
A different point that stuck out on hearing the podcast this time around was Jacob's comment on "people outsourcing solutions". That's where consumerism bites a lot in the butt! I'll say from firsthand experience, a fair bit of the crap I don't use is stuff I bought because it "might be nice to have or might be useful". On reflection, I think it now makes sense to set the threshold for a purchase to be from "it might be nice" to "it's an actual absolute necessity". Otherwise, if I am making due without it, there is absolutely no reason for me to buy it, ever. There is still the thing about good quality stuff you buy once vs the poor quality you buy again ang again, which is stuff to think about when I finally do make a purchase.
Yeah, I'll just say, there is a learning process to all of this. I'm still not extreme enough! There's more extreme I can go! There's a lot more improvement to be made! But, it's good to understand that I am working my way out of the consumer mindset (maybe not as fast as I would like, but I'm still moving forward!). Onward!