This post is by my lovely wife, Mrs. MilitaryFIRE. As we approach 3 important milestones (First baby, first military move, and second anniversary) she has this advice to offer as a military spouse on a FIRE path:
I wouldn’t call myself frugal but by definition, I guess I am.
Since my husband has started on this journey to financial independence and early retirement, I have reaped the benefits of having a personal financial guru. I have never been a big spender or a woman who enjoys shopping by any means but I wouldn’t call myself frugal. For some reason, this term just has a negative feeling as if spending any kind of money is prohibited. We have tracked our spending and know where every penny is being used. When I asked Mr. Militaryfire what was left after our money was dispersed from paying our debt, bills, retirement etc. I was left with the answer of “zero.” One thing came to mind and that is what will we use if we wanted to spend money?
See our February Update: We’re Broke
I am an educated consumer.
Like I said before I don’t enjoy shopping and never have. I learned from an early age that earning money is hard work and to spend money foolishly is to collect debt. Before getting married to Mr. Militaryfire, I hardly ever spent money and if I did it was usually for things I needed, not wanted. I calculated very carefully where every dollar went because I was chained to my $107,000+ student loans. I became very familiar with coupons and understanding what products to buy and where they were the cheapest. Even if I only saved a dollar, that dollar was going to stay mine.
See our very first post about beginning to pay off my $107,000 student loans
A new perspective.
At 34 weeks pregnant, I have come to the realization that saving and planning for the future is without a doubt a great thing, however, sometimes we need to enjoy the present. Mr. Militaryfire and I have gotten so caught up into achieving our financial independence that we have forgotten to spend on us. What does this mean? This past weekend, we decided to go out to dinner just the two of us for the first time since our anniversary back in June. I had forgotten how much I love going out to eat and just enjoying the two of us because as we get closer to our due date, it will never be just the two of us again.
Spend the time and the money on experiences.
My advice for you and your partner:
- Go out to eat, enjoy each other’s company with no distractions. This creates meaningful conversation and quality time with each other. There is no cooking involved, cleaning up, or being distracted by a TV, radio or cell phone. You don’t have to go to the most expensive restaurant to find amazing food. Do your research and get recommendations.
- Go to games, concerts, plays, museums, etc. things that you enjoy doing as a couple because you will be creating memories and experiences that will be worth looking back on.
- Go on adventures. Take a trip somewhere, it doesn’t have to be international or take a plane ride to get there but go explore together. This world is beautiful, go see it!
- Surprise each other with little things. Doesn’t have to be bought, could simply be a sticky note that says ‘I love you.’
Find the time and spend the money to go on dates because eventually (and for a while), it won’t just be the two of you anymore. While the future is as close as tomorrow, learn to splurge a little in the present especially if it brings you and your partner closer. Create experiences that will be remembered for years to come.
Mrs. MF is right.
We I had got caught up crushing our debt. Since we are in a more comfortable position now, we have taken the time to be together, even if that means spending some of our ‘stach. The caveman figured it out- to get fire you’ve got to rub two sticks together. To get to FIRE, you need teamwork.