Amy Rutherford: In 2006, we met in colorful Colorado. Back then, we were mindless spenders. We tracked every penny we spent and weren’t concerned about the big dollars that were flowing out of our bank account. We thought our spending level was okay because we weren’t in debt (other than our mortgage) and were maxing out our 401ks while adding to our savings and investment accounts at a steady pace. Even so, we spent an average of $115,000 per year for many years. This number doesn’t include income taxes, savings or payments to our mortgage principal. JUST SPENDING! When we started to look into our retirement, we assumed we would spend $120,000 a year.
We had an epiphany in 2014. Spending less meant we didn’t have to work as long. Cutting back made us happier and kept moving up our planned retirement date. By living with less, we were able to say goodbye to our careers in 2015.
From the beginning of our relationship, we treasured experiences over things. As we continue to downsize, our new life is filled with fun, frugal (or free!), fulfilling activities and we’ve never been happier. We spend less time acquiring, maintaining, upgrading, insuring and thinking about our stuff. While it may be cliché, less truly is more. In 2016, we spent $43,000. That year, we took 3 international vacations and traveled (by plane) around the US several times. Tim had back surgery that year which meant a $6,000 deductible. So, $43,000 isn’t lean or mean. There’s fat in there, too. We continue to seek and find ways to further reduce our spending.
We are re-engineering our new lives with purpose. Our path includes more travel and embracing a healthier lifestyle. These days, we are active volunteers, house sitters and travelers.
We blog at http://www.GoWithLess.com. We write about how we retired in our forties and how we plan to stay there.