Early retirement costs & targets - March 2021
I have to laugh at myself, at some of the things I look forward to. I remember the anticipation ahead of the longer travels we've done since retiring early, and before getting our apartment in the French Alps ready for our first winter in the mountains. They were big things to get excited about.
But I can get way too excited about little things too. In last month's costs and targets post I challenged myself, by the end of March, to come to a decision on my campervan plan and to make a start on making a video. And answering a comment from Dan, I said I was keeping track of our grocery spend in March. Maybe excited is an exaggeration, but I have been looking forward to seeing if I've met those challenges and I'm intrigued to see where the grocery money goes.
I'm going to start with the targets, so let's get into it...
Early retirement targets update
Boom!💥 we've ordered a campervan! So, yeah, we not only came to a decision, but we acted on it too - I figured that was the best way to stop us changing our mind next week. I'm still not 100% convinced it's a good idea, but one thing for certain is I won't be sitting somewhere in my old age saying "I wish I'd tried it". I won't go into more detail now, I'll save that for when we get it.
The other challenge I set myself was to make a start on making a video. I started, although my efforts faltered towards the end of the month. For a newbie, video editing is difficult and takes a ton of time. Amongst the many things I'm figuring is that too much footage is confusing and that the quality of what I have leaves a lot to be desired. I feel the trick is to keep the camera still and let the action move, which is not what I've been doing. I'm sure I'll end up with a pretty poor video, but will have learned a lot in the process.
My exercise targets are also holding up well, 333km run in March which is the most I've ever done in a month. I've had problems with my plantar fasciitis for almost a year now (for non runners...a foot injury) so need to fix that. Once that's done, I want to start some intervals and fast/short sessions to work on my speed. Maybe they can be some upcoming short term targets.
The only target that's in my control (i.e. not impacted by Covid) and isn't going well is investing spare cash, and this morning I heard that markets are hitting new highs which I'm missing out on. Oh well, did I mention that we're getting a campervan and I'm doing a great job with my running targets!🤣
I don't think I'll set mini monthly targets/challenges every month, but it's working well right now so I'm going to do it again for April, challenging myself to:
Finish my video
Fix my plantar fasciitis problem - this means committing to various stretches and treatments
Decide on whether to engage a French tutor (currently I'm just using the Duolingo app)
Reflecting for a moment, it's crazy that I've had an injury for almost a year and haven't done anything about it. Last week, I really enjoyed writing my post about gratitude - it was the first time I'd specifically set time aside to think about some of the things I'm grateful for. As well as taking time to be grateful, taking time to look after ourselves is something we should do too, which for me this month means trying to fix my foot.
Early retirement costs
A quiet month money wise, which I'll take as being good news. Sally bought some snow shoes (the modern version of what used to look like you'd strapped tennis rackets to your feet) and we have the extravagance of two homes which also means two sets of bills. Of course, today's normal means no café or restaurant costs which saves money, but isn't what we want - it would be nice if that can change soon but as we will enter a new lockdown tomorrow, I'm not holding my breath!
As there isn't much to talk about in our costs this month, thank goodness there's the excitement from tracking the grocery spending🤣. When I read other FIRE blogs that publish costs, our grocery spend always seem to be much higher, and I'm not sure why. Here's where we spent our grocery money in March:
Certain parts of my plant based/vegan diet cost us extra such as the non dairy milk and yoghurt which probably average twice the cost of the dairy versions. I also paid a small fortune for some vegan cookies - they were sold by weight which caught me out, I think gold is cheaper! Sally has been on a keto diet and has bought low carb bread and pasta which are probably four or five times the price of normal bread and pasta, but she now has quite a stock in the cupboard. The companies making this stuff must be laughing all the way to the bank!
Other than my accidental cookie purchases and some experimental chocolate buying, I don't think we were particularly wasteful in what we bought. I'll try to keep track again in April as the average of two months may be more representative and so that I have another set of data to look forward to and entertain myself during our upcoming lockdown month🤦♂️.