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Early retirement costs & targets - February 2023

I continue to be a fan of setting targets, which is probably something that a lot of people do. I also like to check I'm making progress by following up on my targets once a month, I have a sneaking suspicion that far less people do this bit! In my retired life, I like the structure that the process of target setting and reviewing gives me, I like that it stops me being lazy, and I like that it helps me get the things done that I want to do. There may be a few chores within my targets, but the vast majority are things that I'm excited about or topics that I'm interested in.


This month is the first time that my blog posting target hasn't been green - I only posted twice, slipping below my target of at least 3 posts a month. I've made a mental note to fix this in March.


Outside of that, I'm happy with my progress. My exercise regime is on track, just as well as I'm entered for London Marathon in April. While my hopeless French is still...hopeless, I've signed up for lessons which must be a step in the right direction. Sally and I went to Lyon for a weekend which gives me a tick against my visit somewhere new target and also contributed a couple of nights towards spending 30 nights in the campervan this year. I booked accommodation for the Tour de Mont Blanc hike that I'm doing with friends in July, completed an action from my list of "50 things to make the world a better place" and did some research on French capital gains tax which made me fall off my chair!


Here are some photos from our trip to Lyon. Sally's favourite part was the frozen yoghurt!

I didn't do so well (aka, I did nothing) on imagining a new adventure for Sally and me (the mere mention of this makes Sally nervous), nor with my volunteering target. But, we're only two months into the year, so there are another 10 months where progress can be made. I'm feeling optimistic, which is the best and happiest way to be.

Early retirement target setting
My early retirement target tracker - February 2023

Early retirement costs

A retired friend sent me a message this morning telling me that he and his wife had a busy month and their expenditure had hit £1,200 / €1,356 / $1,428 for February. We spent almost three times that amount, and I don't think we had a crazy month either! What it does demonstrate is that there are a variety of different price (cost) points in early retirement - we're not all the same.


Where do we spend the extra money compared to my friend? I don't really know, but I suspect across the board we spend more. Groceries are always higher than I expect and, while we don't go out loads, our going out and coffee shop/casual dining spend adds up. Ignoring the "manque neige" sign (lack of snow) was a mistake that resulted in a damaged ski and subsequent repair cost, but fortunately it wasn't too expensive. Sally's sister visited, so Sally bought some lift passes and hit the slopes for the first time this year - a good cost. Another good cost was my French lessons, let's hope they make a difference, and Sally's crafting/hobby activities are in full swing and giving her much enjoyment. Last but not least, we spent a weekend in Lyon 2 nights in the campervan and 1 night in a hotel), Sally booked a hotel in London for when she goes to see the Tina (Turner) musical next week, I booked my flight to London for the marathon and also the accommodation for our 7 day Tour du Mont Blanc hike in July. So we might have spent more, but when I write it down and see where the money has gone, I don't regret the spend at all. The other important aspect is that we can afford our spend.


Interestingly, my friend could spend the same amount as we do if he wanted to - although he and his wife are retired, they still saved 60% of their income in February. I guess the moral is that:

You can spend as much as you want so long as you can afford it.
But you don't have to spend just because you can afford it.
How much do we spend in early retirement
Early retirement costs - February 2023

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Looking forward to reading about the Mont Blanc trip.

We have a child free week (& a bit) this year and looked into it.

Eventually we were put off by the likely heat and the nagging concern that it might be a frat party on legs.

Hope you prove me wrong.

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I'll let you know. It could be hot, but we'll just have to deal with that if it is, and so long as we drink enough and use sun protection then we'll be fine.

I hadn't thought that it might be a frat party, although I am intrigued to see how busy it is. We're starting on a week day (I think), so I'm hoping that might put us out of sync with the busiest days, but that might be more hope than realism. Anyway, time will tell, and then I will😀

No doubt you'll enjoy your child free week whatever you do, and miss them a bit too.👨‍👩‍👦‍👦

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Geof Wassell
Geof Wassell
Mar 13, 2023

A charity comment: recently, we have seem the very upsetting events in Ukraine and have been tempted to donate to charities. We have friends with children in Ukraine and are holding our spare room in case they choose to migrate. As regards charity we have chosen to donate funds to the very nice guy who was looking after my wifes mothers family grave since his other job has been a defender since 2014. The results of our input are immediately put to good use whether it be augmenting the meagre family income to look after those left at home or to buy really good boots and warm clothing. We are both well past fighting age and feel that our efforts…

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Our contributions to charity also include some direct giving, although it isn't the majority. Deciding how to contribute to charity can be confusing, but I believe, whether making a judgement to give directly or via a formal charity, the act of doing something is better than not doing so.

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Like Shona, my goal of keeping up with expenses is red too. And I know it keeps me from wasteful spending, I just hate it. So tedious...

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I quite enjoy tracking our spend, which I think must make me weird!

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Hi David, thank you for your update - missed your blog. My 2023 target was to emulate your monthly expenditure table. This target is still red as I've found it difficult to keep a detailed track of all the spending (credit card, bank accounts, cash, some receipts hard copy, some electronic & all across two people). How do you do this both in terms of tracking the spending & do you do it on your mobile or sit down in an office and fire up a laptop? Many thanks!

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Hi Shona,

I'm probably a bit old fashioned, so I fire up the laptop and use a spreadsheet. I know there are apps that I could try to use on my phone, but I quite like inputting the costs into the spreadsheet because it reminds me of what we've spent and lets me do a quick "am I happy with that spend" check.

Almost all of our spend is using our bank cards so I normally just go onto internet banking and manually type the transactions into my spreadsheet. I tend to do this between every 2 and 7 days so I can remember what the spend was for. Once I set my spreadsheet up (which I did years ago)…

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