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Early retirement costs & targets - April 2021

Since January 2017, there have been 51 monthly costs and targets posts. Sometimes I feel like I've been here and already bought the T-shirt, many times over. I still find it useful though, it helps me stay intentional with my spending and keeps me mostly on track with the things I want to do.

So here goes with early retirement costs & targets post 52. Let's start with the targets.

Early retirement targets update

At the beginning of each year I set myself some targets. Hopefully they're things I want to do and am excited about, but I also use it to get through some chores too.

Over the past few months, I've also introduced some short term targets, where I challenge myself to get something done by the end of the following month. I won't do this every month, but it's another tool that helps me keep on track. I know some people might think this sounds too similar to a pre-retirement job, but it works for me.

What about those short term tasks that I set this time last month?

  1. Finish my video - yay, I did it. I can also confirm that Steven Spielberg has nothing to worry about, my effort is definitely not fit for public consumption. But for a first attempt, it's OK. I learned a lot in the process, and have much much more to learn for the next one.

  2. Fix my plantar fasciitis problem - it's improved but not fixed. I get good marks for being diligent with my stretching and icing, but I've undone part of that by running too much🤷‍♂️

  3. Decide on whether to engage a French tutor (currently I'm just using the Duolingo app) - I procrastinated until the last day of the month but eventually booked a trial lesson with a tutor on I don't know what it will be like, I just stumbled across an advert for them. It's on Zoom, somehow the distance part feels a bit more anonymous and therefore a bit less embarrassing.

I reckon that's pretty good progress on those mini targets.

What about the bigger picture items?

My early retirement target tracker for April 2021

That's not looking too bad either. I have 12 targets, we're 4 months into the year and I have 5 greens. Can I say I'm ahead of schedule?

It's on Strava, so it definitely happened!

I'm proud of my running in April. 402km, the furthest I've ever done in a month. Strava says it took me 33 hours and included 7,311 metres of elevation - it ain't easy running in a ski resort! The geek in me reckons that's an average pace of 4m55s per kilometre (7m55s per mile). No doubt that isn't of much interest to anyone, but it probably tells me that I run my long runs too fast and my short runs too slow.

I'm not going to set any short term targets for the end of May, will I be sufficiently disciplined to keep up with my targets without that? I guess we'll find out in a month.

Early retirement costs

April was another Covid lockdown for us - at least it restricts the money spending opportunities!

Our two home plan still generates two sets of bills. We've been discussing whether to try to Airbnb the UK house when we're not using it. There may not be a market for this in our location, but we're going to test the waters in the second half of the year. Hopefully it works, it will be nice if it can generate some income and also to know that we're not being completely wasteful by having a house that's underutilised.

Both Sally and I have been buying things this month. For me, new running shoes and walking boots. Sally chose plants for the garden and a new vacuum cleaner. I much prefer my choices!

Early retirement costs - April 2021

Now to the excitement from month two of tracking the grocery spending🤣. Compared to other FIRE blogs that publish costs, our grocery spend is much higher. I tracked our grocery spending in March and again in April, below is the average from the two months:

Our average monthly grocery spend

Despite our spend being sizeable and more than most other bloggers that publish costs, I don't think we're wasteful. Perhaps the biggest driver of cost are our dietary choices, vegan for me, Sally is currently following a keto diet.

I don't suspect many couples spend as much on nuts and seeds - I'll either live to 200 or turn into a parrot!🤣 Non dairy milk and yoghurt is generally between two and three times the cost of the dairy equivalent in our supermarket. We also treated ourselves to some vegan desserts and hot-cross buns, the latter were literally thirteen times the price of a supermarket option, but they were nice.

I had to laugh at myself when I ordered some vitamins/supplements. They weren't expensive but I objected to the delivery cost. My solution, double my vitamin order, add 2kg of peanut butter and 4 jars of coconut oil. Hey presto, I save €$£5 delivery costs, even if I did spend an extra €$£32 to do so. Well, it seemed to make sense at the time🤔

Well, that's it, what we spend, plus some of the stuff that I do. In case you're interested in what else I do i.e. what a normal week might look like, you might like to check out my what I do and am I bored post from April 2019.


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OOI did you pursue the COICOP mappings/categoristaion and if so, what if anything did this tell you?

Replying to

Not yet, as I only added the numbers up yesterday and got the two month average. I think I'll have a quick look in the coming week and see if it tells a story.


May 01, 2021

For language tips and motivation check out Benny Lewis podcast. Great variety of techniques and tips to keep it fresh.

Replying to

Thanks for the tip, I'll definitely check it out. I alternate between listening to music and listening to podcasts while I run so that will be a good time to try it out.


I'm intrigued with the French lessons on zoom. How does it work with you and Sally being on different diets? When I change my diet everyone else goes on the diet with me unless they want to cook their own!

Replying to

I think that can work when one person is on an "unusual" diet, but it seems harder when we have two unusual diets at play. We have made a plan to try to have two meals a week where we eat the same, but still have to put it into practice. At the moment, Sally's diet seems to include a lot of meat, dairy and eggs but no/very little carbs, so it's kind of tricky for us to match up. But I like a challenge!

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