Decluttering, simplifying and focusing on our finances

I am insanely excited about the possibilities lying ahead of us. But I must admit I am slightly overwhelmed with the amount of things that I need to do to get our lives simplified and organized in order to accomplish what we are set out to do. Luckily, there is a great amount of information shared by the online FIRE and minimalism communities. I don’t need to list their names. You know who they are; mustache guy, F… you guy, samurai guy, cracker guy, the minimalist buds, Mr. Becker  and others.? I know, I know. I should stick with my day job. But, to be honest with you,  I really don’t want to which is why I am more committed to FIRE than ever. Let’s see where this journey takes us.

When you have kids the amount of toys and little things accumulated over the years could fill up a whole storage facility. How did I not notice the amount of things we accumulated over the years? Most of which, were not even being used. Kids go through stages plus they want things because other kids want them. New toys get used for a minute and then they get placed in the corner of their room.  A few weeks later they want something different and, us being the good parents we buy them. We feel like we have to. Why? Because when we were young we didn’t have the toys that we wanted. We didn’t want our kids to feel the same way and be deprived. We end up taking old toys and placing them in the basement or the garage or the attic or the storage facility we rented. It’s not like we leave them there and just forget about them.  Every once in a blue moon when we clean those spaces, we go through those items. We know that we should get rid of them. No one uses them anymore. Then we magically remember how much we paid for them and that makes it hard to part with them. We think “what if those not so little rascals want to play with those toys again”.  So we try to justify why we should keep storing these things. The last time I went through their toys, I had to slap myself a few times to remember that my two kids were in college and high school. They will never play with those old plush toys or baseball cards again. I finally took action and donated most of the stuff a few months ago. I just wanted to claim all that space back. Unfortunately this was before I remembered there is a web site named EBay. We could have made some money and invested it. Oh well, live and learn.

It was a similar story when we went through our own stuff. We knew we weren’t going to wear those sweaters we bought a few years ago. Those darn outlet stores and their good deals. That was retail therapy for us, taking a break from work and our daily grind. It made us feel good – for a minute. I am proud to say that, moving forward, I made a commitment not to buy anything to wear unless I absolutely need it. I can’t not say the same thing for Mrs. DailyGrindFree, yet. I understand it is a process and it requires adjustment and certain things take time. I know someday she will join me.

What else have I been doing? Well, every time I have a few minutes I try to read what other FIRE bloggers did to accomplish their goals. There is so much information out there and it’s a lot to take in.

This month is going to be the first month for us to start tracking our spending. I have a ballpark idea but now I am going to thoroughly track every last penny we spend. We would like to know how much Mrs. DailyGrindFree and I need when we call it a day. I am planning on getting solid numbers by the end of the year to help us decide when we think we should be done.

I see there are many people using Personal Capital. It really seems like a great tool. However, I am really having a hard time bringing myself to give access to all my financial data. Am I just being paranoid? Please, help. Any comments and suggestions on this subject would be greatly appreciated.

The next thing on the agenda is our house. Our current house is tad smaller than 4000 sq. foot. Having said that, please know that we live in a cheaper section of US. Looking back I know this house was not a good investment. House values do not go up much around here. It is nothing like San Francisco. Our house is the biggest expense we have and it costs a lot to maintain it. I plan to get it ready to sell this Spring. I have been thinking about buying a property where I can live in a few years and then rent it for some residual income when we decide to call it quits.

I am currently working on getting numbers together to find out about our net worth. As soon as I have those numbers I will post them.

Enjoy your long Labor Day weekend!

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