I want to give you a bit of background about me before we dive deeper into the nitty gritty of financial topics. Afterall, we all need context, right?
Here are the basics:
- I am a bartender and a local tour guide in the city where we live.
- My husband and I are DINKs (Dual Income No Kids), and homeowners.
- We are pursuing FI on 2 incomes that fluctuate week to week and month to month, which presents its own set of unique challenges and advantages. [Don’t worry, we’ll get more into this in later posts]
- We sit squarely in the 12% tax bracket
Here’s how we got there: my husband and I experienced job losses that resulted in us losing 80% of our combined income in the first 6 weeks we were married! Eek! Out of necessity we had to ‘stop the bleeding’ and completely overhaul our life and spending habits. Our finances were about to make or break our relationship.
That was back in 2014. Fast forward 3 and half years to now. Our income has increased from it’s lowest low right after we were married, but we never got that 80% back. In fact, we make less combined than my sole income before the layoff. Despite our drastically lower income, this financial setback has been the biggest blessing.
Financial demise is a funny thing. When circumstances knock your entire life to the ground you have to question everything. We were forced to switch over to survival mode, and do whatever it took to make ends meet. We had to scramble, hustle, and claw our way back to ‘breaking even,’ but eventually, we also got the opportunity to build our life the way that we wanted it to look. If our life hadn’t been torn to shreds, we never would have been brave enough to change the ‘status quo.’ Without being forced, we would not have chosen to re-build our life, and in turn figure out the ways to maximize our happiness.
Let’s be clear – It was not all sunshine and rainbows. There were many dark days and incredibly tough decisions on the road from there to here. Identity crisis, unemployment, depression, anxiety, uncertainty, and some days just straight out fear of the future. Having to move from our beautiful rental home to a pretty icky rental was one of the toughest decisions for me. I’ll dive deeper into all things good, bad, and ugly in future posts, but today I want to share with you our belief system.
Our belief system
My husband and I routinely ask ourselves these 3 questions:
- What do we want our life to look like? (What things are important to us?)
- What is the cheapest way to get this life year after year?
- How do we plan and prepare our finances to become FI as early as possible? [While living a life that puts value on the things most important to us]
We have found great fulfillment and happiness by living true to the answers of those 3 questions. Being creative has allowed us to save more money than I thought possible on our low incomes, buy a house, and have more freedoms than we ever had. We’ve learned different life hacks, savings ideas, tax optimization, travel hacking, and the power of community. Earning less income does not need to be as restricting as our culture tells us it is. I am excited to share with you the financial tips and money moves that changed our life.