Don’t Forget to Indulge and Enjoy Life Along The Way to FI

Overwater Bungalows in Bora Bora, Tahiti
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Indulge in things that make you happy, then ruthlessly cut the rest!

Updated: November 17th, 2023

As I write this post, I want to acknowledge that the life I live is one of privilege. I have never had to struggle to put food on the table, find a job, pay the bills, etc.

I am a white male in America, who hit the lottery with great parents, a solid education, and excellent role models. I acknowledge all of that. I am as privileged as privileged can be.

So this article is not intended for anyone currently struggling to make ends meet.

This article is not for anyone digging their way out of debt.

This article is not for anyone who cannot put food on their table.

Don’t forget, you only live once.

I am 100% for earning, saving and investing as much as you possibly can. That means cutting the fat, and that means making sacrifices.

But we all agree that we only have one life to live. ONE.

That is it.

There are no do overs and I certainly don’t want to live with regret. Neither should you.

So this is about embracing the one life that we have. To me, that means that we should be embracing having fun, pursuing our passions, and finding hobbies/things to do that give us joy.

After all, we are all simply searching for happiness and joy are we not?

Finding joy and happiness it the ultimate reason to go after Financial Independence like a dog with a bone. Why else do we need to be financially free if not to live life to its fullest every day?

You may be in the process of pursuing FI, making sacrifices, being frugal, and earning/saving/investing as much as you can to reach that moment when you are 25x expenses and can walk into your boss’s office, drop the mic, and peace out.

But what if your plan has you still 5,10 or 20 years away from FI? What then?

We can’t all be sacrificing without living life. And there are so many free options out there to live our best life. So by all means we can/should utilize the free options.

Those include everything from hiking to meditation. From journaling to spending time with family. From reading library books to talking walks around your neighborhood. FREE is awesome.

However, we also can’t deny that there are things that we each enjoy that cost money.

When you find the things that you enjoy, there is no reason to not figure out how to work it into your budget.

Spend your money on things that bring you joy

My wife and I got married at the age of 24, which this day in age is pretty young.

Neither of us wanted kids right away, so our goal was to travel for 5-6 years before thinking about kids.

We started off with a Honeymoon to Europe and we never looked back. We budgeted $10K for our 2 week trip and we saved for a year to take the trip of a lifetime.

And every year since we have carved out vacations and experiences big and small.

Traveling has opened us up to new cultures and experiences, giving us time to reconnect, and enjoy the finer things in life.

We have stayed at 5-star resorts. We have stayed in everything from Overwater Bungalows in Tahiti to a Houseboat in San Diego. We have stayed in cramped small hotels in Europe and hostels in NYC.

The point is, that we decided that traveling and spending money doing it is worth doing NOW and not waiting to a later date.

I have never regretted a trip we have taken, and often the worst trips and worst moments, make for the most fun stories.

Find the things that make you happiest and indulge away

But even travel really only occurs here and there. When you most need a break from the daily grind. What about those other moments?

You should indulge in your hobbies that you enjoy, even if it is expensive.

I grew up playing golf (see told you I was privileged). And I still love golfing, so I make sure to indulge every so often and get out there and play.

Do you love video games? No reason not to indulge in that!

Or what about massages or fine dining? Indulge!

Skiing? Snowboarding? Indulge.

Is your passion astronomy? Indulge in that $1,000 telescope.

Spending a small portion of your budget on things that you enjoy is necessary. It is a must.

It is too easy to get stuck in the frugality mindset. Too easy to get obsessed with only investing. Too easy to focus on our careers and forget about the things that we enjoy in the process.

But we only get this ONE life, and you best enjoy it NOW, even if your goal is Financial Independence. Even if your goal is still to Retire Early.

FI takes sacrifice, but it is entirely possible to achieve FI and live a fun and fulfilling life in the meantime.

Happiness is what we are looking to achieve, and while money can’t buy happiness, sometimes it is the perfect vehicle to pursue what can make you happy.

Indulge but for half the cost

A balanced budget is key.

If you love golfing, consider golfing at the cheaper courses in the area. For instance, an average round where I live will go for about $50-200 at a nicer course. Instead, I opt for the cheaper courses. I enjoy golfing, not partaking in the nicest/prettiest course. So I spend $30-$40 tops.

Massages? I love massages. And not the kind that you get at the Massage Envy’s of the world. I want to really have a full spa day at a nice resort. We wait until the offseason and then snag up deals on Travelzoo and other platforms for 50% off.

Eating a nice meal out? We use Yelp to try to scout out 5-star restaurants that are around town but aren’t overpriced. Then my wife and I will often times share an appetizer, entree, and dessert. ONE of each. A great meal, typically for under $100.

And how about traveling? We use simple travel hacks to save money traveling, without skimping at all.

Spending smartly allows us to continue to indulge, but at 1/2 the cost.

We indulge and spend on a variety of things, but then we find ways to aggressively save in other ways.

Ruthlessly cut unnecessary expenses

Even though we indulge in many of the things that I mentioned above, we still find ways to save as much money as we can on the flipside.

It is all about balance.

I am my own handyman. If anything breaks around the house, I look up the solution on Youtube and attempt to tackle it myself.

I am my own landscaper. Trees need a trim? No problem.

I am my own pest control. Instead of that costly monthly pest control fee, I spray our house down myself.

I am my own financial advisor. This is more recent, but now I am my own financial advisor, saving 1% a year!

I am my own security install technician. Our home security/monitoring was outrageous, so we switched to Ring, for pennies on the dollar.

Prepay expenses when you can get a discount

For us this is car insurance (10% discount if you pay 6 months in advance). And many SaaS services like Dropbox or Google Drive are cheaper if you pay yearly vs. monthly.

So you see, we have found real balance in our budget. We can indulge in those extra things that bring us happiness but also cut back on the things that don’t.

Don’t take life and don’t take financial independence so seriously that you forget to live

Enjoy life.

Spend money.

Enjoy life.

Save money.

Find balance.

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  1. Agree with the thought that you need to spend along the way and enjoy life. My wife is also like TPM’s, very frugal. That allows me to spend more on my joys. Golf, cars, travel back to home country. We are hoping to get to Europe next year for a cycling trip which she really wants to do. But we were also able to save and invest enough that retirement is now very easy. But as Steveark says, giving is also important. I read in another blog who quoted a proverb from somewhere, if you want to be happy for an hour, take a nap. for a day, go fishing. for a year, inherit a lot of money. But if you want to be happy, help other people. This resonated with me and I will try harder to share my good fortune.

  2. For almost the entire 43 years we’ve been married we’ve always had a fishing boat, a tennis club membership and given 10% of our gross income away. Those things mattered to us enough that we decided we could live with a slower path to FI in order to have fun along the way. Not the cheapest hobbies in the world and certainly giving that much away was bigger than our house payment even. But there are some things that are musts in life.

    1. I love that you guys give so much! My plan is to open up a Donor Advised Fund and take our giving to the next level in the future. But we also try to do small things like leave water/snacks for delivery drivers during the holidays, buy gifts for Christmas Angels or similar type orgs, and we always donate to local charter schools in our area that need additional funding for kids with learning disabilities. Even small things can add up!

  3. I am fortunate to have what we need and not want for much, but when I truly want something I buy it or do it! This has been true even before reaching FI. My wife and I were just talking about our travels with our nine year son. He has stayed hostels and five star hotels – all fun!

  4. My wife is one of the naturally frugal ones, I am not. I like to splurge from time to time, and on things I enjoy. Like golf.

    We can’t wait to travel. This year we booked some drivable destinations, next year will be different. Looking forward to surrounding the kids in a foreign culture.

    1. Yeah same! We have a road trip vacation planned for the summer. Next year we’ll look to get back to international travel. I’d love to get back to Europe and dip the kids into a foreign culture as well.

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