Wednesday, February 10, 2016

How Much Do I Need?



I'm making tacos for supper right now.  I have roughly one pound of ground beef simmering on the stove, Spanish rice warming, and I'll add a side of refried beans. When I made taco's a few weeks ago, I used some already browned beef form the freezer, probably slightly way less than a pound, so when cooking, I only used 1/2 the packet of seasoning. I wanted to use that one up and thought I would just add chili powder if it needed more.  I gave it a taste and decided it is just fine the way it is.  Half of the packet was just fine. Not to get to reflective over a packet of seasoning, it does make me think how much of something is really needed, vs. what is just habit?

I regularly find partially drank cups of coffee laying around-left one on my desk all day today, and ended up throwing about 20% of it. I bought the 20 ounce cup at the gas station when the 16 would have been perfectly adequate. Growing up as a member of the clean plate club, I still often over eat because of not wanting to waste when I should have just had much smaller portions to begin with. I've been conscientious about the portion sizes in restaurants of late, and have done well the last two time going out boxing up half my entree and eating for a second meal.

I could apply the question of need to housecleaning products or house cleaning in general-how much do I need to clean my house? I'm kidding about the second part-no one would accuse me of over cleaning.  But I do find I aimlessly douse the toilet bowl with cleaner, give the dish water a big squeeze of dish soap, and pour a full cap into the washing machine without thought. Wasting money and sending more product down the drain than is probably needed.

These are the mundane habits that I don't think about, just do, and in that am probably using more resources than needed.  The bigger picture though is how much do I need financially in the future. A new reader, and welcome Wendy at The Contented Cavern, shares how at 56 she decided to take back her personal life and retired early. In the US, the age of retirement keeps getting pushed back later and later.  If it is still viable, I'm not eligible for social security until I am 67.  Never been one to rely on the government doing well with their checkbook, DH and I have been in charge of our own retirement planning, aiming for 64 for him, and 62 for me. He'll have a head start on me by two years. 

Lately though, as I read about more early retirees, or at least folks who have left the 9-5 grind for very part time work to supplement savings, I am rethinking my timeline, and what we really need to live off of. We have one more child to get through college, hopefully a few weddings to help fund, and I still want to do some travel and support charitable causes. Even so, knocking off a few years from our timeline sounds pretty good right now, and with planning, doable. It comes down to a question of how much do I need, now and then. Less needs now, means more funds for then. Less needs then, means additional time I can chip off the timeline. 

If you are working outside the home, what is your target age to stop working in your current schedule? Have you changed any behaviors to help you accomplish the goal?

I don't know where this picture is from, but I thought the timeline for
ramen noodles was funny. I hope to not have to eat ramen noodles in retirement. 

8 comments:

  1. I often over eat and over everything. LOL I think that we are creatures of habit and that is our biggest problem. I want to simplify everything but at times, I don't know where to start. Maybe food.
    Den is 42 and I'm 44 so we have a long way to go. I don't have a job but I write everyday. I would love for my writing income to replace his and he would be able to retire early. The owner of the company that he works for is older and her nephews will get the company if anything happens to her. And that is where it gets scary. If they get rid of the company, my hubs will prob be out of a job. SO we try and pay for everything ASAP and not carry any debt but the mortgage which we are paying down rapidly.

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    1. About 13 years ago, we had intentions of relocating to a bigger house in a nicer area. While we still would have been in affordable range based on the recommended mortgage guidelines, we had absolute sticker shock when we saw just the amount per month for taxes and insurance. We decided to put the amount of savings that was going to be on top of the sale of our current house-minus the remaining mortgage, into paying off our mortgage in full. That took another 18 months, but we have been mortgage free since 2006. Then it was kids one in college, then kid two, then the economy tanked, DH laid off, and we are so grateful we did not buy the new house. We got back on our feet within a year or so, but then have increased our retirement savings so I think it might be doable, unless we have another huge crash.

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  2. 10 years ago when I decided to quit full-time employment and work for myself I had to reconsider everything, cut back, buy less and make it last longer and question every outgoing. It certainly sounds like you're on a right track and paying off the mortgage is a massive help. xxx

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    1. It's those darn expensive kids. I think if it was just me, or just the two of us, we would have much different income needs, and would be living the vagabond life I imagine having in my retirement with a tiny little home base, but the world for living our lives. That is why I enjoy your blog so much-the fashion is great, but the spirit of living life on your terms is so appealing. We also have the health insurance conundrum-for a basic policy for the two of us will be 10's of thousands a year, so we would have to plan for that as well if we retire early.

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  3. We don't have a mortgage anymore which is a massive help but as I only get a small pension from working and won't get a state pension until I'm 67 (if then) I'm very mindful of our outgoings. There were certain expensive unnecessary behaviours of mine which I have now curtailed so to be honest I have not missed my salary. I do still help my kids if they need it but I can honestly say it's been the best decision scary at first when work has been such a big part of life but worth every reduced penny.

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    1. I think I will feel that way as well. I though wan tot provide my daughter the opportunities we were able to provide the older, so I think focus on her high school and college years, and then setting a reduced age target will be my best option.It might mean our traveling is more hostel than hotel, backpacks rather than bell hops-I'm cool with that!

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  4. A great question. I often underuse products and things come out OK.
    We are saving money this year with me homeschooling, after the kids were at private school.
    So early retirement may be an option if we want it.
    Just have to renovate the house first...holes in the roof is the next target! Quite important :-)
    Xo Jazzy Jack

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    1. I hear you on the house renovations. We have a long list of projects-necessities for past damage, and wear and tear, bu they are all pricey like bathrooms and driveways and decks. We've not had the added school expenses until college, and am fortunate that we live in one of the top school districts in the state, so all my kids have had excellent educations without tuition.

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