So Mrs. Funance and I are about four weeks into parenthood. It’s been an up and down ride which I think most people would say after having their first child. Here are some reflections on the experience so far and how it relates to personal finance, FIRE, and money.
So far we are spending less money than pre-baby
This is perhaps the biggest surprise so far, but at the same time, maybe shouldn’t be. No longer are we planning to go out on Saturday night or even picking up take out to eat at home. We preparing a huge amount of food before our daughter was born and froze it so have been eating that. Plus, the holidays have been ongoing which has meant there is always someone in the family we are connecting with and having a meal with. This combined with the fact that we are just home all the time now has really cut down our spending.
This trend in lower spending won’t last
We will enjoy it while we can. Because once daycare kicks in when my wife goes back to work we will be looking at an extra $1100 a month out the door (roughly).
Christmas was cheap this year
We tend to overspend on Christmas gifts most years. Both on each other and our friends and families. Not this year. We have been focusing on adjusting to our new life as parents and, quite frankly, Christmas shopping got away from us this year. We really limited our spending to parents and close relatives in the form of giftcards. Using giftcards as our primary gift this year really limited our ability to overspend because we aren’t picking up that little trinket that costs only $15 and using it as a stocking stuffer.
Food costs are way down
I’ve alluded in prior blogs that our food costs have been our biggest source of consistent overspending. Whether it’s fast food, eating out, poor planning with our grocery store purchases. We consistently go overboard on our food expenses. So far we haven’t really done that post-baby. The biggest reason is that we prepared a ton of food ahead of time as I had mentioned above. But we also aren’t leaving the house a lot which is limiting the opportunities to buy fast food and quick convenience purchases. The one time we did go to Wendy’s it truly was a treat for us and we made it an experience, not too different from how we would have previously treated a night out at a fancy restaurant. I’m hoping this trend will continue into how we view food purchases in the future.
FIRE and most FIRE related items in my life are on hold
Or at the very least they are moving along at a slower pace than before. I just now am starting to update our spending report for November. Normally I do that the first weekend of the month. I haven’t thought about this blog in a few weeks between work and caring for our daughter. I haven’t checked our net worth lately. I definitely still care about these things. I just haven’t been able to prioritize them the way I’d like between our daughter (who has not been a good sleeper and been very fussy) and helping my wife adjust after a c-section. Slowly but surely these things are getting back on track.
I am more interested in my health than before
I think most people want to be healthly. Why wouldn’t you? I have long wanted to drop some weight but haven’t really taken the steps necessary to make that happen. I find my approach to making that happen a little bit different right now than I did previously. I don’t have the time to exercise like I had in the past so I am focusing much more now on eating better and calorie count. This is not easy around the holidays, but truthfully this is probably the way to go about doing it anyways for long-term results. To me, this is an indirect way to impact financial independence. One of our biggest long-term costs can be healthcare. And if I am a healthier person, with a healthier lifestyle, then that means I can hopefully lower one of my costs in early retirement. Plus, since I’m not able to devote as much time to side hustling or blogging, focusing on my health is a way that I am able to stay connected to my financial goals, even if it is indirect. And having that emotional connection to the bigger picture through day to day actions helps me stay engaged.
I am still the same person I was before
This isn’t necessarily related to finances or FIRE, but I think it’s an important thing that I want to comment on. Leading up to becoming a parent I read and heard all about how having a child changes your life and changes what matters to you. And I won’t deny having daughter has changed my life, but I still feel like the same person I did before she was born. I care about the same things. I still want to find time to watch wrestling and play video games. I still want to retire early. I still think my marriage is the most important relationship in my life (and my wife agrees). We both love our daughter and there moments of pure joy in raising her. But there is still joy in finding an hour to play Xbox or watch an episode of Monday Night Raw.
I guess the only reason I bring this up because I think having a clear idea of who you are is important no matter what stage of life you’re in. If you’re fighting for Financial Independence do it because you are running to something rather than away. I’m not necessarily running to a life of playing video games and wrestling, but those things and other priorities still remain to me. We just now have another person to share it with.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.
I am thinking the next blog post will be a stereotypical “What are your financial resolutions in the new year?”. Stereotypical? Yes. But helpful, because it forces me to think about how I want to change and grow in the new year.