A happy discovery

Yesterday Mr. LL and I were out to lunch at a popular Salvadoran restaurant with two friends of ours when one of them mentioned that it was her goal to be retired in 7 years thanks to reading the blog Mr. Money Mustache after the author was featured on Slate.

We have been reluctant to share our plans and goals about retirement and cutting spending with other people, since it isn’t super conventional, and we have started to make more dramatic changes in our lives that people may or may not look askance at (and who wants to be judged?).

Once our friend mentioned Mr. Money Mustache, though, all bets were off and the four of us couldn’t seem to stop talking about early retirement, finances, and What Would Mr. Money Mustache Do?  Is that a Mustachian decision?

For two hours.

After which we made some tentative plans to start taking turns cooking at home as part of our social life, and we were renewed in our motivation to become financially independent early (or earlier).

I sometimes joke with my husband about how Mr. Money Mustache is his guru, but that’s probably not far from the truth, since reading the blog has been the impetus for new changes and challenges in our financial lifestyle.

Maybe I won’t be telling all my friends about my plans, but it seems like a good idea to develop a social network that shares in and supports the kind of goals we have for ourselves.

I didn’t know how to quit you: Comcast

Comcast.  A source of fist-to-the-sky spending rage.  As we began to notice the steady increase in our internet/cable bill, we started to research alternatives.  Was Clear the right one for us?  Could we go back to CenturyLink, which we had canceled when we dropped our home phone line?  None of the alternatives really dropped our bill enough to be worth the trouble of changing to an unknown service.

We tried calling Comcast to cancel just basic cable, but it turns out that if we canceled our basic cable (which we never watched anyway), our internet bill would increase by $10, which would bring our bill down from $75 to around $73.

I think too many people have tried to “cancel” Comcast, so the customer service representative I spoke to was pretty indifferent and flippant about our toothless and uninspiring threat to leave them for someone else.

Then we found FreedomPop, which apparently resells WiMax from Clear.  We got the box and the $18.99/month plan for 10GB of data, and we are currently in our second month of reliable, fast, cheap internet service.

And I have to say that I got a lot of satisfaction out of letting Comcast know that I was quitting and that, no, there was nothing they could do to keep me.

Was It Worth It? Joining CrossFit

Before we embarked on our extreme savings spree in March, I joined CrossFit.  In January 2013, I started with 4 classes per month for $70.  In February I increased to 8 classes per month for $140.  I am currently at 12 classes per month for $175, and have no plans to increase the frequency.  However, this is a really expensive habit.

The Pros:

  1. New exercises every day: I was stagnating in my fitness level at my old gym.  I lacked the interest or motivation to change up my routine, and when it comes to working out, I have always done better when I take classes.
  2. A personal trainer (almost!): My teachers always provide useful tips and feedback on my form, in addition to telling me what and how to do new exercises.  They always help me with scaling back or making adjustments for old injuries.
  3. Motivation/inspiration: I always feel encouraged to do better and work harder when I am in a group.  Despite being very motivated in other areas of my life, exercise is something that I like to do but need a push to really get the most out of it.  Plus, my partners and group-mates always cheer me on!
  4. Increased level of fitness: Over the course of four months now, I have gotten stronger, decreased my body fat percentage, and feel good about my progress.  Exercise is already a mood enhancer for me, but now I feel proud about going to class because I can really see and feel the difference.
  5. Ease of access: I am always able to use the equipment I need when I need it.

The Cons:

  1. The cost(!): I previously added on to my husband’s primary gym membership for $35/month, and yes, it does pain me to pay $140 extra per month for CrossFit classes.
  2. Hours: I can only take a class on the hour.  If my work runs long or traffic is bad and I am late for a class, I cannot work out that day without changing my eating schedule, showering schedule, etc.

Bottom line: Worth it (for now).  It’s an expensive indulgence that provides a lot of value for me.  It might be something I phase out as we make more spending cuts.  Then I can look into amassing equipment for a home gym, or rejoining my husband’s gym and dealing with planning workouts, lack of equipment, too many people, etc.

Ejercicios en español

En esta sección, practico la lengua de español.  Ocasionalmente, trataré traducir las entradas de blog (¡con suerte!).  A veces, voy a escribir de otras cosas interesantes.  Muchos de mis estudiantes hablan español, y mi escuela tiene un programa de inmersión bilingües (español e ingles).  Por eso, necesito practicar más.