Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Declutter my life - part 4

Loosing track

The more items you get rid of, the harder it becomes to see what can still be thrown away. This does not sound logical, because less items means less items to think about. But the main problem lies in the fact that most of the things I still have left, can be easily put in boxes out of sight. This way, the room looks clean and minimalistic.
To make it easier to find new items to get rid of, I'm gonna make a list of everything I own. This way, I just have to review the list without having to look at the items themselves. And it'll make me aware of the amount of things I own.

The list

  1. computer
  2. flatscreen
  3. another flatscreen
  4. laptop
  5. computer table
  6. mouse
  7. keyboard
  8. cheap keyboard
  9. desk chair
  10. bed
  11. alarm clock
  12. desk light
  13. cd movie collection
  14. some music cd's
  15. box of items of questionable legality
  16. item 1 of questionable legality
  17. item 2 of questionable legality
  18. musical keyboard
  19. elektric guitar
  20. guitar amp
  21. guitar cable
  22. another guitar cable
  23. distortion pedal
  24. 5 mouth harmonicas
  25. irish thin whistle in D
  26. amp wired to computer
  27. 2 big speakers
  28. small wooden drawing box
  29. big wooden drawing box
  30. a little sack to put in your school supplies (pen, pensils, ...)
  31. a paper hole cutter
  32. a block of little square note papers
  33. a katana
  34. eskrima sticks
  35. 2 wooden sticks (that will become tonfas one day)
  36. a rope dart
  37. a hockey stick
  38. a billiard cue
  39. a night closeth
  40. a big wooden trunk
  41. 8 Shaman King pocket mangas
  42. a pan flute
  43. a smaller pan flute
  44. a golden chinese rat horoscope keychain
  45. a car (Daewoo Kalos)
  46. all kid paddle comic books
  47. empty classifiers
  48. 2 classifiers that hold my important papers
  49. the flemish flag
  50. a home-made pirate flag
  51. a fluorescent safety vest
  52. home-made geta
List date: 2010-06-30

This list is temporary, I still have more items to add!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Things I do to life a frugal life

How I live a frugal life

There's a lot of things you can do, to uphold a frugal lifestyle. Most of these actions are well within reach and easy to do, others are a bit more difficult. I found an interesting list on "The Simple Dollar". But the goal of this post is to give you a list of the actions that I do, so you can follow the progress in my lifestyle change a bit. And it might inspire others to come up with their own ideas.

Assumptions

This list will not be complete, because I will only list the actions that I currently do. I can (and will) do more and when I do, I'll expand this list and let you know about it.

The list only deals with spending less, not with earning more. Earning more, has nothing to do with living a frugal life.

Things I do to live a frugal life

1. Transportation - Car: I only have one car

I need a car for work, so I need to keep this one. But I only have one. For me, this is obvious. I don't understand why anyone would need more than one car, but apparently some people own more cars. You should find one as cheap in gas usage, tax and insurance as possible, for your familie size.
Ideally, you should strive to live without a car. But in modern society, that might not be possible for everyone. And those that need a car, aren't always lucky enough to get a company car. So buy a decent, used one and keep it small and cheap.

2. Transportation - Car: Gas

Gas is expensive. Make sure the gas usage on your car is low enough. You can take this into account when you buy a car. But the most important thing is your driving style. Fast accelerations cost money. Does it really matter if you get there a couple of minutes earlier? Ever thought about leaving earlier to get there on time?
Another solution can be a tank card from a company. My company pays for my gas, so that's taken care of. The downside is, that your car will wear down easier, because such jobs require you to visit clients often.

3. House - rent/buy

If you rent, make sure the rent is low enough. If you buy, buy as small as possible. I'm currently still living with my parents, so rent is cheap for me.
I'm currently looking for a house though, and I'm looking for a small one.

4. General - Equipment

Buy everything in quality material and take care of it. This way, it will last longer. I stopped buying cheap stuff. It is frugal, if you only buy exactly what you truely need and nothing more.

5. Food & drinks - Eat out less

An obvious one. Making your own meals is a lot cheaper and can be just as delicious. I never eat out. My meals are included in the rent (an advantage of living with your parents).

6. Food & drinks - Less bar visits

Drinking beers at the bar, costs more. Me and my friends don't go out a lot and we don't go to fancy clubs, so the costs are minimal enough. Not going to bars at all, the theoretically ideal frugal way, is a little bit anti-social and makes it difficult to meet girls. But there is a difference between spending $50/month on drinks vs. $50/week.

7. Food & drinks - Bring your lunch to work

I see delicious meals being eaten at work, every day. But I consider it a luxury and never give into it. I always bring my own lunch.

8. Clothing - Adopt a minimalist wardrobe

From now on, I'm following the clothing advice from Jacob at ERE. Black, blue and gray, all the colors you need.

9. Clothing - Buy cheap

You should buy good clothes, but buy them in discount. I buy what I absolutely need, nothing more. If I buy, it's either in january (bargain season) or in september (I think... at least it's in the other bargain season). And also in Spain on the market, some stuff I need is cheap there.

10. General - Impulse buying

Buying on impulse is a bad thing. You'll buy stuff you don't really need. I've become immune to impulse buying since I started decluttering. Always think: "Do I really need this?" or "Can I solve this problem without buying something?".

11. General - Shopping

It's good to shop only when you need something, e.g. like grocery shopping. But if you only go to shops whenever you need something, you don't know what store has what items. Interesting bargains can be found, when shopping. I combine it with necessary shopping. If you need new clothes, get them. After you got them, look around for other things. You'll not be tempted to buy other things easily, because the clothes are already costing you money and you don't want to spend any more (if you're frugal, that is).

12. Entertainment - Music

If you like listening to music, youtube has many free songs. So does the internet. You could also make your own music with lmms.

You could also learn to play instruments. The internet and youtube are loaded with free music lessons. And if buy an irish whistle, for example, it'll only cost you around $10.

13. Entertainment - TV

I sometimes watch TV with my brother and my parents, but that's more of a social thing. I couldn't care less about TV itself and I'll never buy one myself.
The TV costs money, the cable subscription costs money and there's too much commercials on TV to actually enjoy TV shows anyway.

14. Entertainment - Reading

Free books are at the library. I read e-books and blogs on the computer. It doesn't cost me anything.

15. Entertainment - General

Always try to find free entertainment. The internet is full of free games, you can play cards with friends, you can take walks in nature, go for a swim in the ocean, ... use your imagination.

16. Health - Sport

Do cheap sports that require almost no gear or go jog (or find another free method to excercise). Sporting keeps you healthy. It avoids medical bills in the long run.

17. Health - Health care

I get health insurance via work. It's cheaper that way. If you have to get it yourself, try to get it as cheap as possible (while still covering the obvious health problems).

18. Transportation - Bike

I bought a bike. I use it for short distance errands. It saves on gas (althoug my gas is paid for by the company).

19. Transportation - Walk

Really short distances I do on foot. It's free and healthy.

20. Equipment - Decluttering

Decluttering makes it possible to live in a smaller house. Less stuff to have = less stuff that can break = less stuff to replace when broken.
I'm still decluttering, but I've come a long way since the first time I started.

21. Extra - Gifts

When buying gifts, you can always get something bigger and spend more. Draw a line and stick to it. For everybody you know the same price, close friends and familie get a slightly higher price. This makes choosing and buying gifts easier too.

22. Extra - Smoking

Smoking eats away your hard earned money. I don't smoke.

23. Food & drinks - Alcohol

Drinking alcohol costs money. The problem is, that I like the taste of a nice cold beer. My solution is to try only to drink in the weekend. And when I drink, I try not to drink huge amounts, unless on special occasions. But this category has room for improvement.
A good idea is to let people know you like alcohol. This way, it can become a birthday present. And if you drink in moderation, those donated bottles can last long.

24. Food & drinks - Sweets

I don't eat a lot of sweets, except for some potato chips. But that's mostly because it goes well with the beer. It's best to buy a huge pack of several individually packed small baggies of potato chips. This way, you can eat some chips, without having to open a big bag. It makes you eat less, so in the long run, you save money. Ideally, you wouldn't eat them, but they are tasty.
Any improvements in moderation of alcohol intake, will also affect this category in a positive way.

25. Food & drinks - Water

Water is still cheap and it's healthy too. I drink a lot of water. In fact, I only drink 3 beverages: milk, alcohol and water.

26. Entertainment - Staying home

Make your living area a nice one. One you like spending time in. It'll make it possible to stay at home more, where entertainment is free or cheap.
Gardening can be a pleasant way to spent time. And when your gardening skills increase, your garden becomes a great place to spend time. I just have one room to take care off right now, so I do my best to make it as comfortable as possible.

27. Extra - Credit cards

It's extra, you don't need to use it. Go get cash from the bank and use that. You won't be spending money without seeing it disappear, which helps you control your spending.
I always pay cash.

28. Extra - Subscriptions

Anything that wants you to pay in parts, is a bad thing in my opinion. The only exceptions are the things you need, like water, elektricity, gas and internet. Magazines are out of the question. I had a computer magazine, but I cancelled it. You'll gather a lot of them, while reading less than half of them completely. And most information can be found for free online.

29. Entertainment - Hobbies

Do free hobbies or inexpensive ones. It can be related to the gardening, sports or other activities I mentioned before.
I do 2 martial arts, which costs me 400 euro/year. For 2 martial arts, that's not much.
But I could stick to 1 martial art, that would cut the cost in half. I'm just not sure wether that's worth it, because doing those 2 martial arts is healthy and it improves me. Never cut back on anything that improves you.
I also play free computer games, I learn Spanish and Japanese online (also free) and I make my own honeywine (cheap delicious alcohol... a solution to one of my problems).

30. General - DIY

Make stuff as a form of entertainment. I make weapons and train with them. It's because of my martial arts interest. It might be an activity of questionable legality, but it's very cheap and gives you many hours of entertainment (in both the creation as the use).
You should also fix everything that's broken, instead of calling someone to do it. If you take the time, put in some effort or ask someone for help, you can improve your DIY skills and save a lot of money. Money that doesn't have to be paid to either a craftsman or a new item to replace the broken one.

31. General - Stop paying interest

Interest is something that should always be collected, never paid. I have no debt. And if I get a mortgage, I'll do my best to keep it as low as possible, so I can pay it off as fast as possible.

32. Food & drinks - Reduce convenience foods

They make a lot of easy to cook food, microwave meals, etc. They are not healthy and not as delicious as the real thing. I still live with my parents, so food is taken care of, but I'll always prefere the real thing above the fast foods.

33. Travel - Total cost

Go on a camping, in stead of a hotel. Ignore places that are too touristic. They give you a false image of the real culture anyway. I usually go camping. Camping is awesome. I also like to look for local bars in the back streets, away from tourists. And I like to visit small villages, most would not even consider visiting.

34. Telephone

I use a cell phone with a prepaid card. I recharge it with 15 euro about twice a year, sometimes even less. I don't like cell phones. I'd go without one if it wasn't cheaper than a standard telephone subscription. But it's mostly so people can call me, I hardly make calls myself (to the annoyance of friends and family, perhaps...).

35. General - Haircut

Cut your own hair, it saves a lot of money. I have a buzz cut. It's $50 for a buzzer and it'll last long enough to earn it's money back in ten-fold.

36. General - Take care of your belongings

It can be related to the DIY, but not necessarily. Use your appliances with care, clean them occasionally, ... It will make it last longer. I handle most of my belongings with care and I give the inside of my computer the occassional dust-cleaning. If only I would take more care of my car... a point I can still improve on.

37. Transportation - Distance

Find work close to your home. It saves on gas. Again, my gas is paid for right now, but my job is close to my town anyway. Besides, it lowers the wear on the car.

38. Clothing - Cleaning

If you wash clothes less, they last longer. My mother washes my clothes, so there's nothing I can do about that. But I will keep it in mind for when I need to do it myself.

39. Clothing - Drying

Clothes last longer when sun-dried. My mother does this.

40. General - Love

I have no girlfriend at the moment, so I'm in the ideal frugal situation. But if you do fall in love, it can only work out if the partner is frugal too or at least open to the idea.

Conclusion

The list contains 40 items, on 2010-06-24.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Looking for a place to live - part 2

A house

Living in an RV was option 1. I already looked into it and thought it was a viable option for an aspiring extreme early retiree.
There are other alternatives though, the most obvious being a house.
Living in a house has the following benefits over living in an RV:
  • You have more space
  • Your mail is always delivered at your living place
  • You can have a garden
  • It's cosy and can have nice room temperatures in all weather conditions
  • It's probably emotionally satisfying to own your own house (unless you have a strong nomadic desire, in that case you might be happier in an RV)
There's a lot to talk about, when wanting to buy a house, but I'm gonna keep this post about buying a house in another country.

Moving abroad

Why would anyone want to live abroad? One of the reasons could be, because it's much cheaper to live in a country where the standard of living is lower. Your hard earned money could last a lot longer there.
Another reason could be, because you like adventure and wouldn't mind spending several years in a certain country, to learn more about it.
And last, but not least, because you fell in love with another country (or perhaps even a girl from another country) and you want to go and live there permanently.


Reason 1: cheaper standard of living

In the spirit of the extreme early retirement lifestyle, this reason for wanting to move abroad, is certainly a good one. You earn your money in a country, where the standard of living is high, and you make that money last longer in a country, where the standard of living is low.

This tactic could make it possible for you to retire much sooner than expected. Or it can give you more certainty. The problem is, however, that countries with a lower standard of living, have that lower standard for a reason. And the live you have grown acustomed to in the country, where you saved the money, will not be the same in the country you'll be living in. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. It depends on the country, the circumstances and your own emotions.

Emotional counter arguments

This brings be to an important issue with moving abroad. You can not bring friends and family with you. And no matter how pink your glasses are, moving to another country puts a big gap in distance between you and your current social life. You can make new friends everywhere, but it's not easy to leave your old friends and your family behind like that.

The miracles of the internet make it much easier, but talking through a computer with someone versus going to a bar with your buddies... it's not the same thing.

You should also know, that you have to break with your culture. If you really want to move to another country, you should respect that new country and embrace it's culture. Why else would you go and live there? You can not expect to live somewhere and force your own culture upon them. That's rude and not acceptable.

So moving abroad brings about a lot of emotional turmoil within yourself and your social network. You'll have to deal with it in your own way. But I know people who moved abroad and love it, so it is possible to deal with it and family and friends may be shocked at first, but if they really are friends, they'll respect your choice and deal with it too... in time.

Reason 2: the adventure

If you want to find out what a country is like, by living there a couple of years... don't. It's much better to go RV'ing if you want to do that. It's cheaper and you don't have the problems of having to buy, sell or rent a house.

Moving to another country, brings about a lot of paperwork. If you're only going to stay for a couple of years, only to return afterwards... you're going to have a lot of trouble getting reinstated. If you keep your nationality and an address in your own country, you can still stay for several periods in another country. You'll only have to return once in a while, to collect and handle your mail. And if you decide that the new country is worth living in, you'll have connections, knowledge and more confidence to actually move there after all, if that is your wish.

Reason 3: falling in love with a country

If you go on a holiday to another country, you might have a good time there. In fact, you might have a great time there and decide to come back the next year.

Sometimes, coming back to the same country several years, can make you bored of it and sometimes you start feeling more 'at home' there. Visiting the same place every year, has it's advantages (for those that still like the place after several visits).
You learn more about the culture
You visit non-touristic places, that give you a better understanding about the country
You make friends and connections
You start appreciating the country more

Beware of being blinded by the beauty of summer, though. A country might be completely different in the winter. Especially the sunny places. They have a lot of tourists in the summer, but could be rather dull in the winter. I'm not saying they are, but they could be.
That means that you have to find out first. You need to spend several months there in the winter too. This way, you can find out about the weather, how cold it is, do the people react in the same way if you come out of the tourist season, etc.

If you still like the place after that, you might have found yourself a good place to live.

Note:
Falling in love with someone from another country is a different situation. You'll get in contact with the culture much faster and you get to know about the country in more ways. And true love can not hold you in your country anyway. That makes it a matter of finding out that you made the right choice in love, a difficult subject this blog is not about. Sorry, I can't do it all.

Conclusion

Deciding to move abroad, can have many reasons. But they all imply in one way or another, that you like the new country and are ready to become a part of it.
A big downside to it, is that you'll have to leave your old life behind. That's not a big problem when it comes to culture, but it is a big problem when you loose contact with friends and family. Modern technologie can only substitute a part of real life, not everything.
In the end, it's you who decide what's best for you and whether it's possible, both financial and emotional.
But it is a good option, one that I'll also keep open in my search for a place to live.

Declutter my life - part 3

Broken bonds

I got rid of some more items. Nothing special and unfortunately, nothing big either. But gone is gone. Another emotional bond broken. How I love this feeling...

I had some wooden sticks and a piece of wood laying around. I was going to make something with it, but I changed my mind. So this thaught me an important lesson:
Don't do today, what is not urgent. If you postpone it, you might be able to hold it off long enough untill it's not important anymore. Thus, the postponing will save you unimportant work.
Next time I want to do something, I'll see if it's important enough to do immediately. If it's not, I'll postpone it long enough to see whether it's still important or not.

It's comparable with wanting to buy something you're not sure you actually need. If you postpone the purchase, it'll become clear that you actually don't need it, thus saving you money by postponing. Postponing is a good tool. Just make sure you don't abuse it... some things are urgent... they have to be done and they make postponing still a possibility, but not an option.

Too much stuff

I also had some books that I probably won't be able to sell anyway, so I gave them to my mother. She knows someone that can use it.

I still feel I have too much stuff though. Probably because I do. I still have toys from when I was little. They still need to be sold. I have some board games I never play (anymore)... Yes, there is much room for improvement.

I also have other items that are already on sale, but so far there have been no interested parties. I'll keep it online until after my vacation in july, after that I'll give or throw it away.

I also have a mexican hat. I used it last year on a festival. It's a cool hat. But the only time I use it is on a festival. So I already found a solution for it: I'm gonna ditch it at said festival. More info on that later...

Put them in sight

All the items I don't need anymore, are not in my room. They're in a small attic. This is good, because than they are not in the way. This is bad, because you might forget about them, if you don't see them. But that's where I use the following trick:
Find some items you want to get rid off
Put them in the way (so they take up valuable space)
Put them online for sale

Now if the items aren't being sold in a month, you'll be annoyed with that stuff being in the way and taking up valuable space. This will motivate you to take more action to get rid of it. If it can't be sold, give it away. If you can't find someone who needs it, throw it away. You'll want it gone as quickly as possible.

Conclusion

Decluttering has become somewhat of a hobby that's entwined with my new simple lifestyle.
There will be a day, when I can truely say,
that the items that I own, are all I really need.
It will be a day, where all my belongings will fit in my small Daewoo Kalos.
But today... today is not that day (yet).
Thank you for listening.
You have been a terrific audience.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Blog theme

I'm playing around with the blog theme, so my apologies if the theme changes while you are reading the blog. I'm testing out the new theme engine from blogger. It looks better then my previous theme. I'm gonna try to personalize it later.

Looking for a place to live - part 1b

Detailed costs of living in an RV

I just made a calculation about what it would cost, to stay for 3 months in a camping.
I took the fees of http://www.campingjoncarmar.com, a good camping in the North of Spain, as an example.
If you go outside the high season, you have to pay the following fees:

Motorhome: 13 euro
Person: 6.40 euro
Elektricity: 4.20 euro

If I recall correctly, that would be the only expenses you need.
If we add this up, we get a total of 23.80 bucks per day.
3 months is approximately 92 days (I count 2 months of 31 days and 1 of 30 days).
If you stay longer than 7 days on the camping, you get 50% discount.
So in total we got:
23.80 x 92 = 2189.6
With 50% discount, this becomes: 2189.6/2 = 1094.8.
This is the total for 3 months, which makes for a total of
1094.8/3 = 364.93 euro per month (446.02 USD).

I don't know about other countries that well, but that's a heck of a lot cheaper than renting or buying a house in Belgium.

You also need the propane thanks, so it's a good idea to round this number up to 400 euro/month (488.88 USD). That's still cheap. And the standard of living is a little bit lower in Spain, than it is in Belgium, so you'll save some more money while staying there too.

Moving abroad

This excercise also showed me a new angle on motorhome living. It can be used for another purpose too: as a temporary living place, in case you want to go live abroad.
It will give you several options:
  1. You can live in the new country, without having to buy a house immediately.
  2. You can visit family and friends, without bothering them too much.

In regards to the first option

This allows you to find out what it's like to live permanently there. If you decide, during your stay, that you don't like it after all, you just start the motorhome and your on your way again. It's a good way to explore different areas or countries, so you can find the perfect place to spend the rest of your life.

In regards to the second option

You can visit relatives, without the need for them to provide you with a place to spend the night. You have your home and accomodations with you.

Conclusion

Living in an RV remains an interesting option, that I'm going to investigate even further. I'll also look and write about other options, but for now, it's one option that available and it appears cheap enough to support a lifestyle of extreme early retirement.

Looking for a place to live - part 1

An RV as a cheap place to live?

For someone who tries to retire extremely early, the housing cost is one of the most important one to consider. It's the biggest expense in any sane budget. To cut back on the costs here, one should strive to find a place that's not too big.
The housing price will go up with every bedroom it has extra. So less bedrooms equals less money to borrow to buy the house, wich lowers your mortgage.
I'll write several posts, that document my search for the ideal place to look, which has to be beneficial in reaching my goals for early retirement.
And to start off, I'll write something about an extreme example I'm interested in: living in an RV.

Why would anyone want to live in an RV?

Well, if you live in an RV, your housing costs will be a lot lower. That might be one of the core reasons anyone would like to live in an RV. But there is also a sort of 'nomadic' component to it. You have all your belongings in a small space, which means that you can move easily. After all, it's called a 'mobile home' or 'motor home' for a reason, right?
If you buy a small RV, parking is not a big problem. It's an ideal solution for those that like to travel a lot. They can go and see the world, taking their precious home with them.
So what are the advantages, disadvantages and which of those make living in an RV appealing to me?

Small spaces

I like big spaces. Yes, if I'm outside, I like to be able to look far to the horizon. This is a problem on the inside of the RV, because it's designed to be small. But with an RV, you can drive to sunny places and be outside a lot. And there's a lot of space outside...
The small space itself, could also cause problems for storing your belongings. If you have too much of them, there might not be enough room to put everything in. But as I wrote in another article, having too much items is nothing more than excess emotional bonds that make life more difficult. This problem is already being taken care off, because I'm constantly in the process of decluttering my life. I live in a small room at the monent, even a smaller place than an RV (although that's just the room I sleep in and entertain myself in). But it has forced me to get rid of all the stuff I no longer use.
I'm actually striving to decrease my possesions to a point that they can fit in my car. And if it fits in my car, it will definently fit in any RV.

The costs of living in an RV

The good thing about the costs of living in an RV, is that you have no property tax to pay and the initial investment is much lower than that of buying a house. The bad thing is that you have to pay gas. And with rising gas prices, it does not sound like a low cost. You don't have to travel if you own an RV, but your RV becomes your car too, so you'll have to drive it anyway.
But let's presume that you can keep the gas costs to a minimum. What other recurring costs does an RV imply?
There's propane, because you need to be able to cook. The propane thank probably needs to be replaced every 3 to 4 weeks. That's not so bad, because in a house, you might use propane thanks to cook too.
Elektricity... something modern life requires. But you are not hooked up to the power net, so you'll have to get elektricity from the RV battery. Most RV owners use a special battery for their suppliances, in combination with one or more solar panels. This way, the energy from the sun gets stored in the second battery and their elektricity is taken from sunlight, without the danger of not being able to start the RV after a few days being stationary.
I'm no expert in that field, but that looks like a pretty cool solution. It's definently one of the things I like about living in an RV. But the costs of a solar panel are pretty high, I think... ? Well, it'll probably pay off in the long-term.
Another important cost are the bi-weekly fees you need to pay to dump your sceptic thanks in an RV-park. But compared to rent or a mortgage, those costs are very low. You'll also need to fill your water thanks, possibly at the RV-parks too.

The overall costs?

I think that with carefull planning, the costs of living in an RV can be much cheaper than living in a house. But RV's weren't build for permanent living, so you'll put a lot of money in modifications and appliances in the RV will break faster. Adding everything up, you will still be cheaper off than with a house, providing that you don't travel too much, to keep the gas costs low enough.

My view on living in an RV

I think it's the perfect solution for travelers, as long as they stay in the places they visit for a couple of months. You'd never have trouble finding a place to sleep, you don't have to worry about your belongings at home... they are with you all the time.
But it will cost money to maintain and upgrade, so in the end, it's only worth it if you want to live the nomadic lifestyle.
The main issues I have with it are that the material breaks faster, there are not as much camping sites or RV-parks in Belgium as in the U.S. and parking places here tend to be rather small.
And the biggest downside is that housing prices rise with the year, so the sooner you buy a house, the better. Well... I'm not really sure about that yet, but I tend move more towards that way of thinking.

Conclusion

With careful planning, living in an RV can be cheaper than living in a house.
It has it's downsides, but also it's charms.
At the moment, I think it's better suited for people that have a more 'nomadic' personality, but I'm keeping it open as an option. If it appears to benefit my journey towards my goal of extreme early retirement, then I'm willing to try anything. Wouldn't you?

Notes

Some blogs I found to be an interesting read on the subject are:
and

Monday, June 7, 2010

Two types of businessmen

Two mentalities

The way I see it, there are two types of businessmen (or women):
A The salesman that can sell almost anything he wants
B The man behind the screen, who's good with money and knows how to make the right decisions

Type A

The first type will generally be more extrovert. They know what to say and will stop at nothing to convince others of their beliefs, if they need to. They are people of action. They like to take action and they like to experience action.

Type B

This type can be both extrovert and introvert, but because they are thinkers, I'm more inclined to say that most of them are introverts. They know how to handle money and they know how to make good decisions. They make strategic decisions and think ahead. They are planners. Failing to plan, is planning to fail, in their book.

Type A and early retirement

Looking at this type in terms of early retirement, they can get the money they need, whenever they want to. If they lack money, they'll sell something. If they have nothing to sell, they'll buy something and sell it with a profit. This is a good skill.
There is a small problem with their mentality, in terms of the early retirement, though. Because they like action, they'll try to get it in their free time too. This can be in many forms, but a lot of them cost money. They might like computer games, skiing or snowboarding, paintball, carting, or other hobbies with a lot of action. And most of these high action hobbies, cost money.
They like to live in the moment. If they need money, they can get money. But they'd rather use it, then save it. If there's a person with an early retirement mindset, who also falls under this cathegory, we have a clear winner. It would be a person who can get there and he can get there fast. Unfortunately, most of them do not have the early retirement mindset.

Type B and early retirement

These people are not that good at getting the money they need to reach early retirement. But they will take their time to become good. They will make a plan and try to stick with it, unless circumstances require them to make plan-changing decisions. In terms of early retirement, they will take their time to set up a system, that let's the money gradually come their way. Certainty is more important than quick results. Those who have the early retirement mindset, can get there. It'll take longer for them to come up with the money, but with careful planning and making the right decisions, it will happen.

The last of the coffee table

Remember that coffee table I was going to get rid of? This gives me a good example for these two mentalities. I consider myself to be of type B. I can't sell things, I'm not good at it and I don't really care much about getting good at it. It's just not my thing.
My brother, on the other hand, is a very good salesperson. He likes to sell stuff and he often succeeds in making a profit.
So what did I do to get rid of the coffee table? Nothing, I told my brother to sell it. He actually sells most of the stuff I want to get rid of. That means it's less trouble for me, more chances of actually getting it sold and for what he earns, I split it 50/50. All I have to do is take pictures and give it to him. It's a win-win situation.

Final notes

I talked about two types of businessmen. These types are what I believe to be true. They are not facts, but my personal view on the matter, perceived through observation of both professional salesmen and company bosses I have had. It doesn't matter what type you belong to, if you are aming for early retirement (or even extreme early retirement), both types can get there. All it takes, is to know your qualities and use them to your advantage.