I'm so excited...our grocery costs aren't as high as normal, although it might only be because I'm eating from the cupboard of previous bulk purchases. Unfortunately, those stocks are dwindling - it's surprising how quickly I can eat 10kgs (22lbs) of dates, 12.5kgs (28lbs) of nuts and 5kgs (11lbs) of peanut butter. It may be a clue as to why I'm currently 3kgs heavier than I want to be!
Two other spend categories catching my eye this month are sports and medical. This month's spend in sports is a race entry for next May, but when I look at that line I can't help but see the earlier cost of replacing the bicycles we had stolen back in May. If you have a bike, but don't have a good bike lock, learn from my bad experience and upgrade your bike lock. You might be shocked at how much locks cost, but they are a heck of a lot cheaper than buying new bikes!
As to medical, if you're a reader from the USA, you'll think our medical costs are tiny. If you're from the UK, you're perhaps wondering why they're not zero. In France, we're somewhere in between (although much closer to the UK model in reality) - there is State funded healthcare, but the patient still must contribute a portion of the cost. Both Sally and I visited the doctor this month, and it's possible I'll need a hernia operation. We've not bought health insurance but perhaps that is something to re-think.
Early retirement targets
I don't know how often I've said that I'm a fan of setting goals - they really do help me enjoy my early retirement and stop me being lazy.
This year's target tracker is looking quite good - a nice amount of green, no red, and still three months of the year to go.
Now in the last quarter of the year, in addition to trying to turn some of the amber to green, it's time to start thinking of my goals for 2024. I haven't got to the detail yet, but some of the things I'll keep in mind are:
How will I keep myself fit and healthy?
Do I want to grow my friendship group a little more?
Do I want to change some of my 9-5 routine? If so, how?
Is there an adventure target that will create memories to treasure?
How can I challenge and develop myself to ensure my mind remains active and sharp?
How can I improve myself to be a better person?
I'm wondering if I should try to shake things up a bit. I'm coming to the end of my seventh year of full-time early retirement, and it's been great, so it's easy to say "if it's not broken, don't fix it." On the other hand, if I think back to my business career, successful companies didn't stay successful by resting on their laurels and always keeping things the same. They reassess - are things changing, are there new opportunities or challenges to be grasped? I think it's a good idea to do the same thing for my retirement life. Maybe there won't be any radical changes, but I do want to keep the "should I shake things up" question in mind as I think about my next set of goals.
Let me know if you have any suggestions!