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Working for money is expensive  RSS feed

 
master pollinator
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I think I forgot to mention another expense of working for money - the heating and cooling of work spaces. In our ordinary daily activities we don't need much heating or cooling, but to do paying work, we need to moderate the temperature of work spaces, both for our ability to concentrate on the work (which is detailed) and for the proper working temperatures of materials.

 
gardener
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I think I forgot to mention another expense of working for money - the heating and cooling of work spaces. In our ordinary daily activities we don't need much heating or cooling, but to do paying work, we need to moderate the temperature of work spaces, both for our ability to concentrate on the work (which is detailed) and for the proper working temperatures of materials.



And for office jobs, there is a dress code of sorts, and employers expect productivity to maintain a constant level, so they maintain the environment to masque the changes in seasons, which our bodies respond to with differing activity levels.

AND, speaking of dress codes or "business" or "professional" attire, that's a huge personal expense.

One of the things I liked about the job I had for ~15 years, and retired from was that good will clothes were fine. If clothes were damaged at work, and a person put in a claim for $60.00 for a silk blouse, the administrators would say "show me in your job description where it says you need to wear that kind of clothes" and of course it didn't. It was more about not enhancing sexuality, or having mottos or slogans, serviceable, allowing full range of motion without being loose enough for flapping sleeves and such to get caught or grabbed. Not wearing things around your neck that could be used to strangle you, not wearing any metal that might come off and so on. Having a pocket for your keys and alarm device were required.

People could dress out of good will and the thrift store, but it wasn't stuff you would want to wear anywhere else. That I could go to work in jeans and a tee shirt, a good will blazer in the winter, meant I did not need to spend much on work clothes, but I think work clothes are a major expense for people who work for money.
 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I think it's the obligation to work for money that's stressful for a lot of people. It's not that they don't want to work. I think many, perhaps most, people don't want to just sit around, they'd rather do something meaningful with their lives. For instance my 85 year old dad, a retired dentist and dental professor who volunteers a few days a week at the Christian Dental Clinic downtown. He absolutely adores dentistry, and even though he's probably the slowest dentist in the world, he finds tremendous fulfillment from doing dentistry for free.



Exactly!! The worst part of having to earn a living is that the work I really want to do is not the work I can get paid to do. I love field biology. I have a master's degree in it. And at any given time, I can easily find seasonal field gigs working with fascinating organisms in awesome locations. The problem is, a lot of those jobs are either volunteer (unpaid), or if overseas, the volunteer actually has to pay THEM (for living expenses). They are geared to students or recent graduates looking to gain experience for a resume. If I had the means, I would spend my life doing them; but since I do have living expenses, including travel expenses to get to the locations, I can't make that my lifestyle. So instead, I have to take a paying job which isn't what I want to do with my life.

If I was independently wealthy, I wouldn't see it as a chance not to work; I would see it as the freedom to do the kind of work I really want to do.
 
gardener
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I have always been self-employed, and have mostly done work that is interesting, but not necessarily pleasant

I have encountered many workers that I didn't like. They were fired. Many customers have been problematic. I cut them loose and don't work for them again.

There are times when I get tired of the particular type of work. Luckily, I wear many hats, and can switch jobs, within a week, just by changing up the advertising.

I have always gone with the bare minimum of overhead cost. I currently live at a job site, so, not paying rent, while in the city. I don't get to my land on a regular basis.

As I become more experienced, and my arsenal of specialized tools increases, work is getting more expensive. I'm charging people more than before.

I don't want to emancipate myself from work completely, but I do want to limit my time doing things that are real drudgery and dealing with people that bring me down. For me, there must be a quite positive financial result, for the time spent. It takes about 2 hours of paid work per day, to keep me going financially. My kids are grown, I haven't run up debts and I generally don't pay more than 20% of the new cost of anything that's not a brand new tool that will put money in my pocket.
 
pollinator
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Dale, if you don't mind my asking, what is your formula for coming up with a 'fair price' for any job that you do?  Is it simply the cost of materials X some hourly wage you pay yourself plus a fudge-factor for things like insurance/bonding, paying off higher-end equipment, etc.? Or does it vary with possible barter-able exchanges that may occur and other factors that I'm not aware of?   Thanks!
 
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The beauty of an UNUNTU community is that a person would work 3 hours per day at something he or she likes/loves to do.  If you were a farmer, you would have workers whom you do not have to pay, from the community to help you.  You keep 1/3 of your goods produced.  1/3 would go to help feed the community and 1/3 would be sold, the profit going BACK to the community.  You would also commit to 3 hours PER WEEK to a community project of some type (your choice).  As a contributing member of the community, you are cared for.  Clothes for free, furniture for free, etc.  If you get tired of farming (or whatever else you do) you can change and contribute in another way.  At first glance you think "This is BS, it would never work....." but after reading the book by Mr. Tellinger, I am a believer in a new paradigm, a better life, the permaculture way.
 
Dale Hodgins
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It's almost always $50 an hour, if I'm using my fancy tools. If they want a flat quote, I charge more. That's for the landscaping stuff, where I'm likely to do small jobs by the hour. On demolition projects, I often take on the whole job or make an arrangement for all the salvage, where I pay a certain amount, usually not more than $200. I then sell everything that I can. Experience has taught me to not bother going to certain parts of town, unless they agree to a 2 hour minimum. It's a demographic thing.

With the house moving stuff, I charge $350 per day, plus I get to sell a few bricks or other incidentals that come down. I also scrounge around each house, and grab all of the brooms, shovels and rakes and other stuff that is left behind.

I sometimes build stuff, but usually just for people that I know. I recently salvaged some oak flooring, that is so perfect, it is going into my friend's house and won't be refinished. It's a really crowded house that isn't being emptied out. By just removing the old carpet, and putting the new floor down, a huge amount of dust will be avoided.
 
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Dan alan wrote:

Anyone can make the tools required. I have a book that shows you how to refine iron and cast in sand, make hand tools and work all the way up from earth to engines laths ect.




What is the name of this book?
Thanks!
 
gardener
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I remember getting the book called The Tightwad Gazette back in the '90s(sorry, not the book you're asking about Melissa), when I got out of college it helped my pinch pennies and I was able to buy my first house at age 25 making $10.25 per hour, while putting 10% into a 401k at the same time.

The author made a great example of her own life, making $15/hour but after subtracting all her work related expenses and adding all the extra work-related hours around that 40 hour week like commutes, her actual pay was something like $3.50/hour after taxes.

She found that there were multiple tasks she could do around the house that saved her much more than $3.50 per hour so she quit her job and worked on saving as much money as she could for the family instead (husband continued working in the Navy I think), and they ended up with much more money saved than when they both worked. She enjoed being at home with their kids far more than the commute and desk job as well. Then of course they made millions on the book but continued to live frugally from what I read.

More recently, I've found web sites like http://earlyretirementextreme.com/ and http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/ have some good tidbits on reducing expenses and saving more with the intent of retiring earlier than the standard age 67 in the US, if ever. Back in my 20s I had worked out how, based on my saving rates and expenses at the time, I would be able to retire at 42 and live on the interest, but got married and of course plans change. Now I'm single again at 44 and looking at age 50 to be able to make it happen.

I find my lifestyle gets simpler and simpler- no cable TV(less marketing to buy junk), no fancy car(thanks to less marketing), cooking most of my food instead of eating out(money saved, healthier fare), pedaling my bike to work instead of driving(money saved, free workouts). So retiring to a simpler life won't be so much of a change (I assume). I know people who pay over $600 a month just for their electricity here (pool cleaner and hot tub, 3-4 big TVs, etc), and my bill last month was $23- I did turn on the window AC a couple days when the house got too hot, little dog needs some protection!

There can be quite a negative spiral of consumerism that Americans are sucked into, our economy is based on it. I hope we are able to turn it around and find a healthier balance that's based more on a sustainable environment, and less on maximizing profits.
 
steward
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Mark Tudor wrote: I've found web sites like http://earlyretirementextreme.com/ and http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/ have some good tidbits on reducing expenses and saving more with the intent of retiring earlier . . .

There can be quite a negative spiral of consumerism that Americans are sucked into, our economy is based on it.



I am with you and I can't recommend Mr Money Mustache enough!  He is fun to read, and will hopefully inspire you to get on your bike, if nothing else.
 
master pollinator
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I can say for sure that it can be done. Since I posted over a year ago on Page One, I have retired, and at that time (May 27th 2016) I was 42 years old. Not bad considering my wife does not work, and we still have four young daughters ages 4, 10,11 ,and 12. I am entitled to my retirement account, but I chose to leave that sit and increase interest and thus build, while I get our living expenses off the farm. Like others have said, since I was always a farmer and love to farm, I feel like I am always on vacation. People scoff when I say "I am retired", somehow thinking it is not possible and come back with, "well you are just self-employed", but that is not the case at all. We could survive by not farming at all, but what fun would that be. Honestly I have a huge blessing of time for once in my life...yes I paid for it up front by being a workaholic, and there was costs to that (divorces), but I am reaping that diligence now.

But it is not as easy as people think that is for sure, and while our living expenses have dropped by 25%, there was a few things I had not calculated on. The biggest has been repairs. Part of that stemmed from several years of letting equipment that had broke, stay broke because I just did not have time to fix it, and part of it is pressing some of this older equipment into full-time service. And finally there is the time factor. Since I do have time, I can actually fix things, and fix things right, and not patch them back together. All coupled together it makes the repair aspect of things look worse then it truly is. Still I like to warn others to be aware of this issue. I ultimately got a handle on it via an Excel Spreadsheet that prioritizes equipment repair automatically for me. (I have another one that prioritizes field work).

The other thing is time. Yes I know I said it is a huge blessing in my life, but it can also be a curse. People and organizations just assume since you are retired at such a young age, you can do anything and everything at a drop of a hat. NO! It took me a long time to figure this out (1-1/2 years), but now instead of all or nothing time management, I will work in the woodlot for 4 hours, then do farming stuff for four hours, then spend time with the family for four hours, then a few hours of community time It really is not that rigid, x amount of hours on each per day per se, but the point is every day I work spend time in multiple areas of my life and not just one for the day. This has enabled me to get a lot more accomplished with a lot less stress.
 
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Travis, I know you meant 'does not work for pay' when you said this

Not bad considering my wife does not work, and we still have four young daughters ages 4, 10,11 ,and 12.

 just couldn't pass up pointing out the impossibility of this sentence as it stands
 
John Weiland
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@ Dale and Julia,   Thanks for the comments and links, respectively.   Retirement is looming and the full-time, permanent job will be done in September while I'm at age 56.  But like Travis and others, will not be collecting any retirement savings or pension until later.....will "pad" the finances with 'mercenary' employment gigs related to my occupation.  In the meantime, also learning the value of 'fix-it' when possible and saving that money for the things that need a different professional, like water well repairs, major electrical work, etc., all prioritized of course.  So much of this about real versus perceived needs as well.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Judith, I know a few couples where there is truth to a sentence like that. They aren't raising children. There is a gaggle of retired people that I see at the coffee shop most mornings. Many do close to nothing with their lives. Several of them came into retirement in a bad financial place, and only retired because they were no longer wanted or health issues forced the situation.

Those with money, live entirely differently. For some, it comes down to conspicuous consumption. Nice car, expensive home renovations, and vacations. Each to his own.

Travis, you mentioned divorces. How many?

Most really productive guys that I know, have been divorced. I have one friend who owns a fencing company. For 20 years, he put almost all of his time into the company and his home. His wife, would have preferred to spend every cent that was reinvested in the company, and this was a source of constant tension. I don't think it's necessary to share every interest with a spouse, but it sure helps if you are somewhat on the same page financially..

I know a woman whose husband was extremely keen on every new computer contraption that came out over a 20-year period. The problem is, that it did not relate at all to his work and he never made any money from this hobby. They didn't save much for retirement.

In talking with hundreds of people, about retirement issues, I have noticed a definite trend. Those who have managed their money well, don't think the government needs to change anything, concerning retired people. Those who lived a spend as you go, lifestyle for 50 years leading to retirement, would like to see the government help retired people more.
.............
My daughter is 29 and a teacher. She is really good with her finances. My 22 year old daughter is also a teacher and pretty good with her finances. I hope it improves with age. Both of them have friends and former schoolmates, who have made no particular plans for their career. Some work for a short time, and then hop on a plane, to somewhere. There are a few who seem to put most of their money into jet fuel. It's important to them, that they get to every corner of the world. One works for an aid agency sometimes. The others are strictly tourists. I know some people who are in their forties, and have made no concrete plans, other than deciding where they'd  like to go next. We are free to make those decisions. I hope when they retire, a future government does not decide that my daughters should help these folks out with their finances.

I expect that the future will see a cohort of jet fuel papers, who arrive at retirement age, with little resources. A total side note here,... I also wonder what those tattoos will look like, 40 years down the road.
 
pollinator
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Dale- I think that Judith's post was meant to express the fact that one cannot be an at-home mother with 7 young children and not work, unless, I guess, one has servants. Also, one of the reasons I got divorced is because my husband was useless. Over the years, I took over more and more responsibilities until one day I looked up and realized I was doing everything, and he contributed nothing. Since our separation, I have received nothing, no child support, no spousal support, no gifts for the kids.

I find the use of the word "retired" when one is still working for pay as odd. It seems to me that you've just turned to an alternative money stream. Which is fine, but I don't consider that retired.

I have arranged my life so as to never need to work for more money, but I don't think of myself as retired, just lucky.

 
Dale Hodgins
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I don't claim to be retired. That's Travis.

I think he likes farming so much that he considers it retirement. It's a semantics thing.

Yes, I have known many couples where one is highly productive and one is useless. It's important to scrape that shit off your shoe, early in life, if it really looks like the other person is never going to grow up.
...................
My youngest daughter, has always been happy to allow other people to spend money on her. She recently mentioned that her mother, would like her too fly home from England, at Christmas time and she would pay for half of it. My ex-wife has never been a financial wizard, and has never worked at anything that pays very well. I tried to explain to my daughter, that now that she is a grown adult with a job, she shouldn't rely on her mother. If they did carry through with this arrangement, it would only be a matter of time, before my phone starts ringing, with my ex-wife wanting  me to pick up the bill. We talked for about 10 minutes, about her mother's job and future prospects. I told her that it is almost certain, that her mother will be the poorest member of the family, very soon, and that it makes no sense for a single woman, earning a decent living, to rely on her mother for transportation. She has chosen to work in London England. They are hiring new teachers in Victoria, where I live, right now, and the pay is better.
 
Stacy Witscher
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Dale- sorry if I was unclear, the beginning part of my post was directed at you, not the rest. The rest was a general response. I was young when I married my husband, he was/is eleven years older than I. I thought that would mean that he was responsible, ready to settle down, boy was I wrong. Thankfully, I'm still fairly young and able to start over. Live the life I want.

I understand about the semantics thing. I also work very hard, and love it.
 
Travis Johnson
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I do consider myself "retired" because I have enough years to draw off my pension fund. If I had nothing, no insurance benefits and that sort of thing, then I would have considered myself having just "quit" my job and went into farming. Maybe it is the area in which I live (rural and poor), but a lot of retired people still work for extra income here, just as I do. I am a workaholic so the day I stop working will be the day I am chucked into the ground.

But we can make it without farm income.

This is the thing, I think it really ties into early retirement, and that is being debt free. We own our house, have no credit cards, pay everything in cash; so for us, farming income goes right back into the farm so that the next generation will have an even better farm.

Here is a case in point. We are in the midst of a $13,000 government grant to build swales, an access rood, nitrogen fixing biomass, and some critical habitat. All that stuff...being government mandated, has minimum requirements, but when the USDA showed up last week they were blown away because I surpassed them immensely. As I said they wanted a swale, I built a super-swale which is more of a sediment pond with a three foot porous rock dam at its outlet. The access road was supposed to have a foot of gravel 12 feet wide. Mine is four feet deep and twenty feet wide. And I planted twice as much nitrogen fixing grass just so that I had a good field. Some do just the minimum required, then take the extra money as profit. Not me, I put all of it (and more) back into the farm.

As for divorce, I have had two. The first was a 9 years, but working on a 12 week on/2 week off schedule out of state was hard. I told her numerous times though that if we just stayed the course I would be home all the time in only a few short years. But they say a woman falls out of love when her husband is gone, but a man falls into love even more. In any case she got into drinking and drugs, something I have always steered clear of and then was...well...VERY social lets say. So that ended in divorce, and today...with her history of drug use, would not be surprised if she was even alive. Too bad, she was a good girl.

So then I got married again, and was for 6 years to a jet setting tourist teacher no less, but she wanted nothing to do with the farm. Oh she would brag about all the stuff "we" did, but I can't remember her helping much. Nor was she into being social, which included me as well. I never cheated on her though, just so everyone knows.

Now I am married to Katie and I could not be happier. We are on our 7th year of marriage and doing just fine. Katie always wanted to "have a few acres" not knowing just what that would be. She will drive tractor, feed sheep, really anything that must be done. That is just what we do. So Judith is right, Katie is as much a workaholic as I am, maybe more recuse 4 daughters is a lot to care for. But in 24 days, all 4 daughters will be in school so for 7 hours we will be free to do things together, so my load will be lightened by having Katie to help me more. her load will be lightened by our older daughters being bigger too, we are about to enter a new phase of life. I am just glad I am retired and can enjoy it.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I know people who really like their work, and I know people that hate it. They absolutely dread getting up in the morning. Of course I wonder, why don't they do something different.

In a couple hours, I will go to look at a new job, where the house needs to be put on a trailer and moved. I'm looking forward to the treasure hunt. I always pour through every corner of the job on the first day, so that I can grab all of the garden tools and other stuff that they left behind. Parts of the job are drudgery, and that's okay. I get paid pretty well to do it.

When this job is done and I collect the money, I won't reward myself by splurging on something I don't need. I'll take a little break and then move on to the next thing.

I don't expect to retire from this anytime soon although I would, if a better opportunity came along.
.........
Here's the most important thing about retirement. The quality of life, will depend largely on your health. Therefore, no matter what is done financially, the most important thing is to look after your health, throughout life.

Health is part lottery and part planning. I can't control things like my skin tone, which make me more prone to wrinkles and skin cancer. I can wear a hat. I can control my diet and whether or not I choose to have self-destructive vices.

There are many semi-retired people, who live comfortably, mostly on residual income, but they also have some means of earning extra money. I think that will be me, until I'm 105. I equate complete retirement, with uselessness. That extra income, doesn't necessarily need to be cash. If someone was to produce all of their own food and other things that they need, they aren't completely retired.
 
Stacy Witscher
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Travis - I understand what you mean about the pension fund. My father retired like that a couple decades ago, but continued to work until a couple years ago, in the end, back at the original employer, kind of. For myself, I don't want to earn money from my homestead because I don't want to deal with the government, more than I already do. Because of some traumatic experiences, I don't like strangers on my property, and will limit it as much as possible. By the time I got married at 22, I already had two kids, one from a previous relationship and one from my intended, so expectations were different than many young couples. I have never been a childless adult, my perspective is different.

Dale - I loved being a line cook,  but the restaurant industry is brutal, no breaks, often multiple hours worked off books, rampant sexual harassment, low pay. All this and they expect you to be grateful to learn under this or that amazing chef. After a while, the stress got to me. Now, I'm focused on getting my health on track, after the years of abuse, alcohol and drugs are also rampant in the restaurant industry. I don't ever expect to be retired, in the sense of not producing my food.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Strange thing the food business. It's the only thing I know of where people take a year or two training, so that they can earn less than average income. There will always be those famous chefs we see on TV, but there's sure a lot more people flipping burgers for bugger all.

Both of my daughters did waitress work and harassment was never part of the deal. They worked high-end restaurants and not places where alcohol is the main thing on the menu.

I'll never get why someone would work behind the scenes for minimum wage, when they can work at the same place as a waitress and double their pay with the tips. $20 an hour is about the minimum here, that a waitress would expect to go home with. Half of that is the base wage and the other half is tips. If it doesn't come out to that, move on to another restaurant or to another town where this is easily done.
 
Stacy Witscher
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I went to culinary school, so I wasn't flipping burgers, although I would have made more money working at a chain restaurant than fine dining in SF. The alcohol and drugs were a cook thing, the restaurants always gave some free drinks after a shift, and drugs were often used to keep energy up. The harassment was also a back of the house thing, not by customers, but fellow employers or bosses. One job, I couldn't reach for things on the shelves in the walk-in without someone's hands all over me. Most of the cooks in fine dining are in it for the glory. Chefs are artists. Wait staff are usually doing it for the pay. I wouldn't want to be wait staff because I don't want to deal with customers. The biggest perk was the food. I ate a lot of amazing food, food I could never afford. And our families were always comped about half off the meal, when they came in. But now, I know how to cook all this stuff myself, so I do. We are having stuffed, fried squash blossoms today.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Whenever there is workplace harassment in North America, it can be dealt with, using a camera. These things usually go to five figures, when you have good video evidence.

I just got back from looking at that job. It's a simple panabode,  which is squared logs about 5 inches thick, with a double tongue and groove holding them together.

I went scrounging, and found a short handled shovel, which will be given to a woman who is 5 ft tall, a Troy-Bilt rake, that I will keep, and a double headed axe which I will sell. There were other things including a gas powered John Deere lawn mower and some lesser garden tools. If they are still there when the job commences, I will try to sell them. The job doesn't start for a few weeks, but I've already been paid to go and look at it.

I also harvested a liter of blackberries, from the yard. Overall, a positive little excursion.

Look closely at the photo of those berries. I was wearing my sun hat. You can see my reflection, in dozens of the little segments.
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Melissa Erin
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Mark Tudor wrote:I remember getting the book called The Tightwad Gazette back in the '90s(sorry, not the book you're asking about Melissa), when I got out of college it helped my pinch pennies and I was able to buy my first house at age 25 making $10.25 per hour, while putting 10% into a 401k at the same time.

Thanks, I'll check that out anyway. Have seen early retirement extreme, there's a thread here on it too, right? Jack Spirko interviewed the author, interesting stuff. Going to check out those other sites too. Frugality reigns!

 
Mark Tudor
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Melissa Erin wrote:
Thanks, I'll check that out anyway. Have seen early retirement extreme, there's a thread here on it too, right? Jack Spirko interviewed the author, interesting stuff. Going to check out those other sites too. Frugality reigns!



Yeah I consider the ERE web site to be the modern web version of the Tightwad Gazette, providing tips and ideas for cutting costs in a time-efficient way. A person can start with whatever steps they are comfortable with to reduce costs and increase savings, and as they settle into habits a person can try additional steps to further the process. Sort of like the financial version of Paul's Eco Scale, there's a bit of a continuum.
 
That's my roommate. He's kinda weird, but he always pays his half of the rent. And he gave me this tiny ad:
Rocket Oven plan download
https://permies.com/t/rocket-oven-plans
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