I remind myself sometimes that with all this talk about saving money and financial independence, there’re still a few things that I’d buy no matter how much they set me back. Here’s a list of five of those things.
1. Healthy food
I’ve seen personal finance blogs that advocate eating spam or cup noodles to save. But for me, there’s no cheaper alternative to good health. That’s why I’m willing to spend a bit more on organic meats and produce or cage-free eggs.
Of course, this isn’t to say that everyone should eat healthy and organic. Rather, one shouldn’t eat unhealthy just to save money.
2. A bicycle
If you can’t imagine not having a car, I can’t imagine not having a bike. Not only do bikes promote good health and a clean environment, they save money. With a bike, you’ll pay for minimal maintenance and never pay for gas or insurance.
3. A short commute
Reports have shown that while we can hedonically adapt to bigger or smaller homes, a longer commute will always be tough.** That’s why I’m willing to spend more for less travel time. In other words, I’d rather have an apartment in a city center close to work than a big house out in the burbs. And in my personal experience, apartments have much nicer amenities.
4. High-speed internet
I thought I could live with slower internet, but boy was I wrong. Trying to work from home on a 6.0 mbps connection (I’m looking at you AT&T) was awful. And waiting two minutes to buffer Netflix was even worse. That’s why I upgraded to a 100 mbps connection as soon as I could get out of my contract.
Now more than one person can finally use my internet at the same time (yay).
Spending less on travel can speed up the journey to early retirement for sure. But that doesn’t mean we should stop traveling. Rather, it just means we should defray some of those expensive travel costs. For example, I use credit card promotions for flights, hotels and rental cars.
Plus travel helps us de-stress. Sometimes all you need is that one trip to Paris or India and you’re ready for another year at the office, chugging away toward financial independence.
As much as I want financial independence to come as soon as possible, I have my non-negotiables. What’re yours?
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**This makes sense to those of us who have fond memories of living in a small dorm room on campus.