Once upon a time, back in 2019, I wondered, was I Mr Fat FIRE? because it seemed we spent more than most of the other FIRE bloggers who post their costs.
After a teeny bit of soul searching, I concluded I was neither Fat nor Thin FIRE, but somewhere in the middle. I was Mr Chubby FIRE. Not that the name mattered, the important thing was that:
I could afford it. Although I still had to take care in the spending choices I made. I quite like the quote “You can have anything you want... But not everything you want.”
I was thoughtful in my spending. I might spend more than some others, but I tend not to waste money. When I buy something, I know I’ll get good use/value from it.
Move the calendar forward almost four years, and not much has changed, I still seem to spend more than many, so I guess I'm still Chubby in my FIRE. And I'm still OK with that.
We spend more than most on groceries, although frustratingly I don't understand how or why and, depending on the year, we can spend some significant sums on travel. As we're talking spending, I probably ought to mention the campervan purchase too - that was a biggie!
But where I think my Chubby FIRE comes into its own is day to day living, for the little extra bits and pieces that can be afforded.
When I choose, Chubby FIRE lets me spend a little more than I need to, without worry or regret
Some examples of what this means to my early retirement life include:
Coffee machine - I treated myself to an espresso machine. I don't know much about coffee, and I'm fairly certain that a barista would rip my coffee making to shreds, but I enjoy making my cappuccinos and lattes and attempting some latte art. I paid £556/€617/$728 for an entry/mid-level machine. It's a slightly Chubby extravagance, but I've already had 2 years of enjoyment from it, and it ought to be good for a number of years yet.
Toothpaste and deodorant - an odd thing to make my Chubby list but, annoyingly, things get pricey when you try to be good and avoid plastic. My deodorant comes in a cardboard tube and costs up to 5 times the supermarket own brand, perhaps 3 times a typical branded deodorant. My toothpaste is a tablet that I crunch, comes packaged in paper and stored in a glass bottle - it's more expensive than "normal" toothpaste, I'm guessing around double the cost. However, it feels good to try to do the right thing, and my Chubby FIRE budget lets me do it without worrying too much about the cost.
Running shoes...and poles - I seem to have a running shoe fetish, having bought 8 pairs in 2021 at a cost of £992/€1,132/$1,349. On the flip side, so far in 2022 I've only bought 1 pair. In my defence, I do run more than most and I will use them all over time. As to trail running poles, I've just bought some fancy new carbon fibre poles for £133//€159/$179. The carbon makes them lightweight, important for a top athlete, but not so much for me. Aluminium would have been fine for me and probably half the cost. So why did I spend the extra money on carbon fibre poles and, as we're talking carbon, why have I got a pair of carbon fibre plated running shoes? Because I wanted them, they make feel good, and Chubby FIRE lets me treat myself to them.
Granola - I could buy granola from the supermarket much cheaper than the granola that I make myself with oats, seeds, lots of nuts, dates, raisons, maple syrup, coconut oil and cinnamon. But I bet my version is healthier and it's super tasty too, so spending a bit of my Chubby FIRE to make my own granola ought help me not be chubby in real life!
I have no doubt that if I was on a slimmer FIRE budget, I would still be enjoying a fantastic early retirement. But I can't deny that having a bit of Chubby in my FIRE is a nice thing to have.