008 | The Low-Hanging Fruits of FI

008 | The Low-Hanging Fruits of FI

In this week’s episode, Cody and TJ discuss the low-hanging fruits of FI. These are the changes you can make in your life today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, and so on that can drastically improve your financial position. Tune in and get ready to pick these low-hanging fruits!

Episode Summary

Housing:

  • Makes up 33% of average American household expenditure
  • House hacking – Purchasing a primary residence and renting out units/bedrooms in order to subsidize the cost of your housing.
  • Downsizing / Living Below Your Means – Find the most affordable housing option in your area that suits your needs. This strategy is less extreme than house hacking, but still a powerful tactic for reducing your monthly expenses.

Transportation:

  • Makes up 17% of average American household expenditure
  • Leasing a car is one of the worst financial choices you can possibly make. You are literally throwing money out of the window. Don’t do it!
  • Buy a car outright. Find something that is fairly cheap and if possible, pay in cash! If you need to make monthly payments, pay it off as soon as possible.
  • Never buy a new car. The car loses more than 20% of its value the second it leaves the lot. Find a used car that’s “like new” and save yourself from giving up your hard-earned dollars.
  • Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses… Cody and TJ bet that you can find a decent car for $10,000 or less.

Food:

  • Makes up 13% of average American household expenditure
  • When grocery shopping, make a list and stick to it! Cody recommends the AnyList app. However, if there is a similar on-sale item to an item on your list, go for it!
  • Do what makes sense. You don’t need to spend hours clipping coupons to save $0.35 here and there.
  • TJ highly recommends Aldi… he spends $50-70 per week for a family of three and claims that he “splurges”! If there isn’t a location near you, figure out which store has the best deals and shop intentionally.
  • Limit eating out at restaurants. Once in a while is okay, but too much eating out can substantially impact your ability to save money.

Services:

  • You have a lot more power than you think when it comes to service companies. Whether it be insurance, power, or electric — these companies want your business! Shop around, pick up the phone and negotiate your rates.
  • If you don’t want to call the companies yourself, sign up with AskTrim and they will negotiate your rates for you! They take a 33% cut from whatever they save, but this completely eliminates the efforts on your end.

Discretionary Spending:

  • Cody and TJ are a bit more lenient in this category if and only if you have a solid financial footing. If you’ve done everything else right, a Starbucks coffee won’t break the budget. However, if you are living paycheck to paycheck, these are things you need to cut out!
  • Track which clothes you actually wear. Donate what you don’t! Cody cleared out 75% of his closet and feels great.

Phone, Internet, Cable:

  • Cut the cord on cable!
  • You can just have WiFi and watch your favorite shows and movies online. Use an HDMI cord to hook up your computer to the internet. Don’t get suckered into the fancy bundles.
  • C’mon… you don’t need a landline.
  • Some cheap cell phone plans include Project FI and pre-paid plans. Stop paying for crazy, unlimited data plans and switch to something cheaper!

Football Season

  • You don’t need cable to watch the game! Every NFL game is available on Reddit.com/nflstreams. Or, check with your local channels to see if any games are available.

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Links from the Episode

The Company Men Movie

AnyList Grocery App

Aldi

AskTrim

Project FI

Unreal Mobile

Reddit NFL Streams

Fly to FI (Cody’s Blog)

Half Life Theory (TJ’s blog)

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