Early retirement costs & targets - August 2019
It seems longer than five weeks since my last costs and target post, I think because of what we've packed into that time.
There was a campervan trip in Germany followed by a three day cycle ride from Berlin to the Baltic coast. Our daughter came to visit for a weekend, which we combined with a day trip to Geneva. And then there was our Route des Grandes Alpes bike ride where we crossed the Alps from Lake Geneva to Nice on the Mediterranean Sea. I rarely feel that I'm being lazy, and definitely not this month.
Doing a lot of things can cost a lot of money. It doesn't have to, but it can. Our Germany and the Route des Grandes Alpes trips meant that August wasn't cheap - almost 60% of our costs for the month were on these two trips, with some more costs to come through in September.
We're still spending a lot on sports related things. This month Sally bought a new sports watch for the Grandes Alpes trip (the battery life on her old watch didn't last the longer days in the saddle) and I've bought some new running shoes ready for our trip to California, Costa Rica and Colombia - we leave in three days and I don't think the airline would have let my old running shoes on the plane!
Compared to other FIRE bloggers, we seem to spend much more than most which was something I would feel guilty about. I'm making my peace with this though, and so long as the spend is on the right things and is done consciously, then I'm OK with it.
For those who like the detail, here's what we've spent against the various headings in August and the eight months the year so far:
It's going to be interesting to see what September costs will look like. We'll have the second half of the Grandes Alpes cycle trip, maybe the property tax bill plus the cost of the first part of our travels to the Americas. I'll see if I still claim to be more relaxed about the costs once I see those costs mount up!
Checking in on my targets and recording progress (or lack of it) on a scorecard really works for me. At the start of the year setting the targets gets me thinking about what's important to me and the areas where I want to focus my efforts. The monthly check in then helps to keep me on track.
For the first time this year I don't have any solid red marks on my progress traffic lights. Even my GoPro target has a tiny splash of orange progress on it, although based more on effort than results. I took my GoPro on our Route des Grands Alpes cycle tour, took quite a lot of video, and then managed to delete all the video files by accident. I was not happy! Sally managed to recover the files, but they won't play - I think we need some technical help.
Running, and exercising in general, is going well. I feel fitter now that I'm running and cycling regularly, but there are two tests coming up. Test number one is to keep running while travelling over the next three months. During our four months of travels last year I ran only a handful of times, so if I do the same this time it will undo all the progress of the past months. The second test is to progress from simply running to improving my running i.e. getting faster - I haven't figured out how to do this on my own without other people to push me. To help my focus, I've entered London Marathon for April 2020, although training in a ski resort through the winter seems to be impossible.
By the way, I've added a new target of healthy eating starting this month. On the whole, my diet is mostly OK, but I believe it deteriorated during our travels last year. With more travels starting in a few days, I'm hoping that this new target will keep me on track with healthy eating. It doesn't mean that I can't have ice cream and cake at all, just not too often and not too much. I'm convinced that healthy eating shouldn't feel like a chore because eating fresh and healthy should be delicious. It's more about me not being lazy, not going for the easy, less than healthy options, and not falling for the unhealthy choices that the marketeers try to point me towards.
Well, that's it for August, I'm looking forward to an exciting September as we start our travels. Early retired, it's not a bad life🏝