It’s one thing to be earning and saving as much as you can, but it’s another thing to have hobbies and enjoy life. I’m a big believer in moderation and having balance in your life. Life’s too short to be miserable and sad all the time. Things happen, and before you know it you may regret going to to extremes to achieve FIRE, and not doing the things you enjoyed when you were younger. I was a little motivated to write about this because I was a little too immersed in this myself for a little while and I think that is one of the reasons (however not the primary reason) that my most recent relationship suffered and was brought to an end.
One of the most common misconceptions made by people who pursue FIRE is that you need to save every single penny, and live frugally in all aspects. Are you really going to be miserable for years before you get there?
- Are you really going to sacrifice travelling or going out with friends occasionally?
- Are you really going to never buy another coffee from a cafe ever again?
- Are you really going to be that cheapskate that never goes out for lunch with the team?
- Are you never going to try new things just because it costs money?
Realistically, the entire pursuit of FIRE is a process, and it takes years to get there. I think you should indulge and live your life a little rather than being so laser focused on the pursuit of FIRE. Sure it may mean delaying you reaching FIRE by a year or two, but what if *knock on wood* something happened and you were no longer able to achieve FIRE? Would you be satisfied with the life you have lived so far?
What does help is having cheap hobbies, and what I mean by that is that you should find things that you enjoy, kill time and also are relatively cheap. I personally don’t have a lot of spare time on my hands, but being a mid-twenties male who is currently studying and working full time, I do like to indulge a bit when I do have free time. So what is my hobby of choice if I really need to kill time? Video games.
On average I probably purchase a new game every month or so, which averages to around $50-80 a month. This $50-80 purchases me many hours of entertainment, and especially so if it is a multiplayer game that I can play either online with some friends or with other people that I’ve not met before. People blow $50-80 easily in a night going out with friends for dinner and a couple of drinks, and all that is over in 3 or 4 hours. I’ve personally had video games provide over 100 hours of entertainment, and it cost me $20. If a video game is addictive, I can’t wait to get back to after my adult responsibilities (i.e. work and study) are no longer needing me and I have some spare time to indulge.
Now I’m not saying that you need to play video games, but you need to find a hobby that you enjoy, helps you kill time and is relatively cheap. It can be anything at all, but the most important thing is that you enjoy it and that it makes you happy. This makes the entire journey and process of chasing FIRE much more pleasant and not so dull.