Five Things We’ve Done to Hit Our FI

2017 is the first year that we have aimed (on purpose) to hit FI/FIRE/Financial Independence. We’ve taken to being minimalist, frugal, mindful, and happier. We’ve still traveled, but we’ve saved over 4000 since year open. It’s been a long first year with many setbacks and expenses. At the same time it’s hard to believe that 2017 is over half over. Sometimes I can’t believe we’ve done so much in one year, sometimes I feel like the new year just began.

Looking back, we have began a few things that we think may help those new to the FI game (not that we have much more experience.) These are not listed in any particular order, we advise trying them all.


We used mint to REALLY look at our expenses. 

DSC_1442
I use auto pay to keep car payments off my mind.

When we began, we were already using mint to make sure we didn’t go broke. When we got into trying to save more, we began looking at mint for trends on spending, ways we could cut back, and ways we could save. It’s attached to all of our accounts of both of our phones.

We’ve already learned how to cut back our food from over $400 a month to less than $200 a month for the two of us. We’ve cut down on spending money out for fun, and eliminated fast food *almost* completely. Each month we see the green number grow. (the green number is the net spending in the overview section for those of you that have mint) Last month, was the best month yet.

If you are new to the FI game, use mint. It can really help you to see where you are spending what and how much you could save where. It’s also a good way to track your income versus you debt.

*** Make sure to attach all your accounts as well as your loans and credit score to get the best overall view of how much you have. 

MadMan opened his 401k

MadMan Swimming
A 401k is like a free raise. Like making money while you have fun!

This one took way longer than it should have. MadMan’s work offers him a 401k even though he is a part time intern and he just now signed up for it (it’s been on the table for about two months). We’re much more excited by this than we should be.

While I don’t have the option for a 401k, or even benefits of any kind, I will be signing up for something of my own very soon. The best advice I can offer: make sure you get a job with more than money. Even if you get hourly pay, you deserve paid holidays. You deserve to save for retirement.

For other newbies out there, if you company offers a 401k you need to get on it now. Give up to what they will match. It’s free money! If you are on a limited budget, begin by giving $10 a paycheck, or even $5. Once you adjust to that, bump it up. Over time work you way up to giving the max they will match. 

*** We learned that by giving 3% a year we only made 50 less a month because of the decrease in taxes we were paying! 

We I began side hustles

i work out
Working as a personal trainer is just one new side job!

It’s 2017. It’s almost impossible to try to save money with just one job. Especially if you are a millennial. I get paid in the bottom 10% for people with my job, yet I’ve been looking for a new job for months. Saving money means I need to find alternative sources of income. To do that, I began selling my skills as a freelancer. I began writing, designing, and creating for companies other than the one I was working for.

As for ManMan, his work pays so well his side hustle is extra hours. They let him work overtime, pay him more than most interns, and offer extras often. When necessary, I take time off to get things done so that he can work extra. It well makes up for the tiny amount I missed by taking off.

If you are trying to save money, you need to find things to do to make more money. If one person makes $20 an hour and the other makes $10, then the person making more should work more, while the person making less should do the housework. It can become stressful, so remember to take breaks and try to make everything as even as possible. 

Monthly Shopping

MadDogge with a new toy.
Cheep toys – high quality. Great deals are a part of monthly shopping too.

We only go shopping once a month for groceries and supplies which includes our food, cleaning things, rent, and pet foods. Forcing ourselves not to go to but once a month means that we save money. When you go for one thing half way thorough the month, you end up getting five other things. Over time, that can really add up without you knowing.

We get up the early on the closest Saturday to the first of each month and make a trip to Aldi, Costco, and Walmart where we get everything we will need for the month. We finish everything by about 9 am then we spend the next hour packing and prepping everything. We pay all the bills and rent by 11 and we are done. Granted it requires we can ride in the negative for the first half of the month, but fur us, it’s worth it. Usually, we end up saving $50-$100 each month.

If you have a bit saved up, try getting and paying for everything at the beginning of the month. Don’t spend anything like that for the rest of the month. It might take a few months, but you will end up saving more than ever before. Look fro a post about our methods soon. 

I began this blog… MadMan watches. (So Far)

cropped-green-travel-1
I have hopes for this site. We shall see.

When I thought about the ways that I could aim to hit early retirement, I thought about how I would keep myself accountable. Since I already design for my work I thought about starting my own blog. (I could use some improvement on the writing part of marketing) It might not get a lot any traffic but it keeps me more accountable. Not only does it help me to keep accountable, I get to talk about things I really care about.

If you are on your way to achieving financial independence then you should write your goals down. You need to tell your friends. By telling someone what you are going to do you feel more of a need to do it. 


We’re still new to this and we still have over 10 years to go before our goal date. I’m sure that this year will end even better than it began and next year will be better all together. What did you think about our five accomplishments?


What do you do to save money?
What have you done this year to further your goal?
What is your planned FI day?

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