2017. This was a huge year for us both financially and emotionally. We did everything from travel for $8000 and travel for free. We lost a pet, had to amputate our cats foot, and still managed to climb every mountain we could find on the weekends.
Oh, and did I mention we bought and renovated a home, HerFI won 5 photography competitions, and we went to every local political rally we could, diving into being activists for women.
Lastly, we started a blog. Three blogs to be exact with all the attached social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Our blogs are His and Her FI, Phone Photography Pro (HerFI’s) and Everyday Travel Wear (HisFI’s).
While these are the major highlights, we are grateful for it all, the big and small. We thought it would be beneficial to share what worked and what didn’t for us in 2017.
Working with your Partner or Significant Other
- At the start of our journey, HisFI was on board first and I was resistant. We could barely even talk about money. Now we work as a team and a unit despite having seperate accounts for everything. For the scoop on this see: “Discovering FI for Him”, “Discovering FI for Her” and “How Not to Tell your Spouse About FI”
Apps that Saved Us: Earny and Personal Capital
- Earny will actually constantly track your credit card purchases that offer price protection and file a claim check for you. I love getting checks in the mail just because an app is running on my phone. You can also link your Amazon account for Earny to track as well.I have received $47 back the past two months. Use our link here and get $5 back right away.
- Personal Capitol is both an app and a web based service that allows you to track your networth. You can link all of your accounts and keep a close eye on your finances including your retirement funds and investments. You can also hide certain accounts. Since we just bought a home, I preferred to not see my mortgage and always be in the red, so we each hid this from view.
- For more apps we have used see “Six Apps That Will Save you Money“
Cutting the Cable
- Best decision of 2017. This became especially evident over the holidays while visiting the family, the commercials between every single 2 minutes of a program were driving HerFI insane.
- No more cable or Hulu. We do still have Netflix because who doesn’t love Stranger Things. This brought our bills down and while paying for internet still feels like a rip, we will never be going back on the cable.
- We have the travel bug and HerFI defines herself as a wanderer. We were delighted to have completed our very first travel hack after spending an average of $5,000- $8,000 (per person) to travel in the past (see below for details in “Trash It”).
- Our first travel hack was a trip through Colorado and tons of hiking. For specifics check out “Our First Travel Hack:Colorado” and if you are headed that direction make sure to watch some of the “On the Road Videos” HerFI created of our hikes.
- 2018 Travel Hacks will include Peru and the Amazon, Aruba and Crater Lake. We wrote a guide on how we’ll book our future flights for free.
Investing more than the Minimum and Maxing it Out
- When HisFI first got a job with a 401k he researched the basics of it. Invest up to your company’s match then work on an ira. Well HisFI left it at that pretty much besides putting $1k in a roth ira. Learning that the minimum wasn’t going to cut it really was eye opening. The most important lesson was just by focusing on maxing out your retirement vehicles; ira, 401k, and HSA. You can retire with a 1 million dollar nest egg in about 17 years by maxing out those 3 every year. That’s enough to retire on for most people.
Switching Car Insurance
- Car insurance is one of those that we set it and forgot it. When initially shopping for car insurance we shopped around. At the time HisFI was using PEMCO, a local insurance company for the PNW. HerFI was able to utilize her teacher’s union to score a great deal on her own auto insurance. Well it wasn’t until half way through the year HisFI decided to shop around again which led him to Costco. They offer car insurance for members through Ameriprise auto insurance and saved me $180 a year for the same coverage.
Etsy Stores and Teachers Pay Teachers for Passive Income
- While we have tried many ventures in the realm of passive income, so far these two will be coming with us into 2018. Etsy was easy to set up and provided a great opportunity for printables. Teachers Pay Teachers was equally self explanatory and has generated the most income so far.
Meditate every morning before work
- We use the app Headspace and love it! You do have to purchase a subscription, but I have found this worth it for my function and improvement. After we feed the animals, let them out, and make some coffee, it is then time to meditate. The app allows you to choose your time from 1 minute on the rushed morning to 30 minutes for the experienced yogi. This app has a beginner pack to teach you how to meditate if you are unfamiliar as well as packs that focus on a specific area of intention like “Self Confidence”
Making our Own Bread
- I know, we talked it up in our first video. It did save us on a per loaf basis, however we found that the amount of time prep that went into it was not worth it for us. We did find a few places that make fresh bread without all of the additives and try to stick this as a regimen instead. If it works for your family, keep doing it! We will be trashing this idea for 2018….plus our bread machine wobbled off the counter and now must RIP.
Travel with Tour Companies
- HerFI makes it a habit to leave the country every summer. In July of 2018 we traveled to Ireland and HisFI finally got the travel bug. (YAY!!!) While we used HerFI’s union deals to book the trip it still cost use a HUGE chunk of money. The trip was also with a tour and we did not get to do all of the hiking we would have liked to. The trip was incredible, but also slightly restricted. No more to travel companies or not travel hacking.
Traditional 40 year careers
- You have heard this before if you are in the Choose FI community, but we both decided that we were not going the traditional route anymore. We want to build something that allows us to be nomadic at least in the realm of work. We do not want to be sitting at the same desk or teaching the same class in 40 years. We are not sure what this will look like yet, although we hope it will be a blend of travel, photography, video and exploration with our fur babies.
- HerFI is a teacher and decided to record two classes for Skillshare. One was for traditional film and how to build your own camera and the other was on creating patterns in Photoshop. Recording yourself is always a challenge, but HerFI it glad she did it. Despite sharing the classes they have yielded very little in return and considering YouTube offer most everything for free, I do not see Skillshare as a worthwhile venture. Users eventually pay for a subscription.
- While we were never ones to buy bottled water, we were consuming large amounts of Nespresso capsules. We sold the Nespresso and bought an espresso machine instead. I mean, we still wanted good coffee. For how it actually saved us money and the official coffee calculator see here: ” Coffee Savings”
Working out in a traditional way
- We are trashing the go to the gym everyday and walk on the treadmill. Prior to 2017, HerFI was a workout fiend trying to make it to the gym everyday, both exhausting, stressful and when is the stair climber ever fun. On top of this HerFI has memberships to yoga, zumba and another workout class. Too much $$ and not enough time to go to them all. While HisFI was in the opposite direction and rarely worked out.
- HerFI purchased a 24 hour gym membership with Costco that lasts two years and costs $15 a month. Only catch is you have to pay for it all up front. With this she will workout about 3 times per week doing everything from Boot Camp to Weight Lifting. A large group of HerFI’s friend circle attend the same gym classes making it fun and social. HerFI cut all other class cards and memberships except for her yoga studio which is authentic and about stress release. Plus their 10 class card never expires so money is not wasted.
- HisFI started to bike for his commute. He bikes rain or shine and even in the ice. There is a fantastic bike trail next to our new home that takes him halfway to work without ever having to go on the roads. For more on how to make your commute fun check here.“Life Hack: Making your commute fun.”
Those That Inspired Us When it Was Tough
The listed materials are ones that we found inspirational for one reason or another. Not all of them are connected to FI directly, but they helped us on our journey.
Books (Affiliate Links):
- Mindless Eating: Why we eat way more than we think by Brian Wansink
- The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
- Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
- The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell
- Photographs Not Taken by Will Steacy
- We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Documentaries on Netflix:
- Tony Robbins “I am not your Guru”
- The Hunting Ground
- The Most Hated Woman in America
- After Tiller
- What the Health
- In Defense of Food
- Abstract Docu-series
- Tales of Light Docu-Series
Our journey to FI has been a short one this year, lasting only 5 months out of 2017. Yet, in that time, we have saved, scraped and most importantly educated ourselves on money. We learned to set goals, communicate, and are excited to continue with what we have started.
Hint: One of our goals is to share more video based content!