broke
Debt FIRE Student Loans

February Update: We’re Broke

Since the beginning of 2017, we have been living paycheck to paycheck. The other night, Mrs. MilitaryFIRE asked how much we were making after each paycheck. “Zero,” I said, “we’re essentially broke.” We started the year with our checking account below its normal level due to some 2016 year-end IRA contributions and we haven’t been able to bring it up yet. A higher than normal heating oil bill set us back even further this month. It’s a tough situation to contemplate, but for the first time since my FIRE conversion I’ve come close to tapping into our emergency funds to

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FIRE

Learnin’ and Planin’

One of the disadvantages to the military lifestyle is the inability to iet up a forever home until later in life. While the moving and travel may be a bonus for some, I’d be happy to set up shop in one place for the rest of my career. Our family is all located in New England, and we want to start building our life here too.lver In the past few months, I’ve come to the somewhat disagreeable conclusion that for at least the next 12 years we will be stuck in a cycle of renewal. Each new place we go

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Investing

Our Passive Income Goal: $2,400/yr by 2020

It is February 2017 and our family has almost no passive income! What is passive income? It is an income source that requires little to no work to sustain itself. Some examples might be royalties from a book, rental income, or profit sharing from a business you part-own.  Looking around the FIRE community, many people rave about owning rental real estate. While real estate is certainly a possibility we are willing to entertain, the frequent moves we make in the military coupled with the steep learning curve have so far kept us away from property ownership.* Why passive income? Because

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barber
DIY

DIY: Your Barber is Stealing Your Wallet

I love to make my own stuff- I’ve made my own boats, bed, cheese, maple syrup, wine, Mrs. MilitaryFire makes greeting and holiday cards and we grow a garden. I hunt and fish. While functional and edible items are a useful side benefit of these activities, I’m hard pressed to say any of them really save money, especially if I value my time at greater than $0/hr. Most of the time I spend on these hobbies is meditative, quality time in nature, good exercise, or a creative outlet.  Even our urban garden yields only limited profits given the constraints of

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Investing Tax TSP

7 Lesson Learned by Debunking Retirement Plan Scammers, Gamers and Detractors

Retirement Plans, especially those sponsored by an employer (the 401K, 403b, and the TSP) are probably the most powerful and simple tool you have on your path to wealth. The TSP in particular automatically leverages the power of index investing for incredibly low fees. It has Roth and Traditional options, Targeted Retirement Funds, and starting in 2018 will come with a government match for those who opt in. Why are there so many people out there advocating against the TSP or trying to game the TSP’s investing practices? Greed. It is all about Greed. Detractors Dave Ramsey, the famous radio

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Tracking goats
FIRE

How do we track our spending? January Expenses Revealed!

If you want to make it to Early Retirement or Financial Independence, you absolutely must know what your spending is. Tracking your expenses is the only way to gain a holistic view of your spending habits. I I have said before, tracking is not budgeting. We are “toughening up, cupcake”, avoiding the excuse to spend and not using mental crutches to curtail our bad habits. For a family which has never tracked expenses before, this exercise can be painfully enlightening. Carried over several months and years, your recurring expenses drill a painful hole in your wallet. Tracking helps spotlight wasteful spending

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