No Buying Update – March 2016

Good people are better than big money…

If you don’t know what my 2016 No Buying Resolution is all about read this.

So how did I do in March?

  • Bike spending = $55 [a couple minor service items and some spare parts]
  • Beer = I bought a 6 pack each week
  • Savings goal = achieved 100% of my savings goal this month

I had an unplanned downshift on my contracting gig that reduced my income this month and for the foreseeable future. I’ve been managing to save extra above my goal in previous months, but with less coming in that may not happen. I’ll post about the downshift process/experience separately. Suffice to say it’s not idea from a saving as much as possible perspective. On the other hand I am taking advantage of my extra time off my riding more and hanging out with friends. That’s not a terrible trade off.

As I have posted in my earlier updates buying very little has not proven to be much of a problem. There have been some things I wanted to buy that were not essential, but it’s not hard to remind myself that I’m trying to save money and buying stuff is not helpful in achieving that goal.

If I was just saving money to be wealthy or to buy something super fancy later I think it would be a lot harder to stick with the plan, but what I am saving for is my freedom. The freedom to do what I want when I want. The freedom to spend time with people I like for no other reason than I like them. That’s a goal that is infinitely more awesome than a new bike or a bling car.

Stay strong. Save your money. Be free! 🙂


4 thoughts on “No Buying Update – March 2016

  1. hey Vik, curious how many years from now (and how old you’ll be) when you reach your ultimate goal of ‘freedom’….you don’t want to be too ‘creaky’ I take it…
    to do so would certainly mean you aren’t saving to buy a home, at least in your area!
    Personally, I bought a condo 11 years ago (beaches, Toronto) for $380k which would now cost $800k. I own it outright, which is the major piece of my ‘retirement’ plan.
    good luck, you live in a fantastic area!


    1. Hey Lou,

      So my “plan” is to save as much as I can through 2016 & 2017. I have set an arbitrary savings goal based on some financial simulations that I should be able to achieve by the end of 2017. Once I hit my goal I will reassess where I am at financially. What I do will depend on how my investments have performed. If they do exceptionally well I may be able to work less sooner. If they perform really poorly I’ll have to work more longer. I’m also using this time to reduce my spending/cost of living. If I can take $5K/yr out of my needed spending that saves $125K from the investment goal I need to hit before I am “free”.

      I am currently 47 and I will be 48 at the end of 2017.

      If I was 35 I would keep working full-time until I hit my ultimate target and then stop working [for the most part] to do what I wanted. Since I am a lot older and not as close to my “freedom” goal as I would like to be my thought is to switch to part-time work at the start of 2018. This will give me a lot more time off than I have now to enjoy my interests while still earning enough to cover my actual cost of living. It also means I can “test drive” my retirement budget for a while longer while not needing to rely on my investments.

      How long will I work part-time and how much is part-time? That really depends on where my investments are at. If I am doing really well I’ll look for the minimum work that will cover my cost of living… so probably 40% – 50% full-time. If I am not as far along as I would like I’ll work more 60% – 75% so I can keep adding to my investments. Either way [whether I keep adding or just let things grow on their own] I’ll keep working until my investments hit my target.

      My GF has to work full-time for another 10yrs. So I’d definitely want to be mostly free by that point so we can travel and do stuff together.

      One thing I am keeping an open mind about is the fact that although not working at all sounds great while I am sipping a beer on my deck Friday evening after a week of work it may actually turn out that is not something I’ll actually enjoy. So as I reduce my hours if I get to a point where I am happy with my free-time vs. work-time balance I may stop there. I suspect that would be in the 20-30% range….say 3 months a year or 1 day a week. If that happens my financial goal can be reduced accordingly based on this income.

      Nice work on the condo! Have you thought about selling and moving to a low cost of living location or are you staying in TO longterm?

      I’m about 25% owner of a house in Victoria. The bank owns the other 75%! I’ve looked at the numbers and it would actually cost me $650/month to live in a paid off house vs. renting and investing my equity in the stock market. So at some point I’m either selling and going traveling for a decade [maybe when the GF retires] or I’ll refinance and pull out as much equity as I can to invest. I don’t want a paid off house at least while interest rates are this low.


      1. In reality, it’s basically about having the financial flexibility to do the amount and type of work that is fulfilling and enables doing other stuff in life that is also important.
        Harder than it sounds, but Vik’s outlook on that is impressively well thought out. It doesn’t exclusively mean early retirement, or having a pre-determined amount of time to spend with good people or doing fun things

        Basically, the most common one is people being totally stuck working full time until an age where they’ve been long since fed up with what they’re doing, and being unable to pursue other things in their life which are super rewarding.

        It’s one where risk-based financial planning points towards most people being happier while still working, and having the flexibility to decide how much time and geographical restriction they put on themselves to do so being much more enjoyable than hitting a boundary condition of mathed-out savings that has a specific confidence interval of being able to ‘not run out of money’, but I think the approach outlined above is not only more realistic, but for a lot of folks a more realistic interpretation of what fiscal freedom without significant drawbacks really looks like.


      2. The key is to not latch on to any one-size fits some solution you find online. You need to eductae yourself about the personal finance world and identify which tools will work for you. Put them together in a plan and get started.

        As you go forward monitor how things are going and don’t be afraid to make tweaks to optimize your performance or make wholesale changes if what you thought was the “best” way forward proves to be unsatisfactory.

        This all starts with spend less than you earn and pay off all your debts [except perhaps your mortgage].


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