Courtesy of the Mad Fientist
Brandon, aka the ‘Mad Fientist,’ is a former software developer who achieved financial independence and early retirement at age 34.
Today, he writes about money and his own financial journey on his blog the Mad Fientist.
For Business Insider’s “Real Money” series, he shares how he spends his money in Edinburgh, Scotland.
He doesn’t usually spend a lot when he is at home, but he splurges on food, drinks and entertainment when he is traveling with his wife.
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I’ve been saving money my entire life.
For the first five to seven years of my career, I wasn’t saving for anything in particular. I was just saving because I wanted a portfolio. Then I learned about financial independence, and I was like, ‘This is perfect. This is what I’m saving for.’
Now, since I’ve retired and my wife and I moved from the United States to Scotland, we optimize our spending when we’re at home. We don’t have any crazy recurring expenses. We eat healthy, go to the gym, do our hobbies and things like that — but we don’t spend that much when we are at home. And that means when we do want to go somewhere, we can then feel like we can spend as much as we want.
We can afford to travel all the time, and yes we can afford to eat out all the time, and we can afford to do a lot of things all the time, but we find it more enjoyable when we treat ourselves every so often and give ourselves something to look forward to.
I tracked my spending for a week. This week was a great representation of how I spend my money because we laid low and also took a short trip to Manchester, England.
Here’s a look at what I spent:
Every month, my wife and I generally spend about $500 at restaurants, $317 on travel and $266 on alcohol.
Shayanne Gal/ Business Insider
The bulk of our spending is discretionary — which is great! All of our core expenses are super low which means we can spend freely on the fun stuff when we choose.
My wife and I settled in Edinburgh for the year in 2017 and rented a $1,412 a month, fully furnished two bedroom apartment. We were planning on having a lot of guests this year (which we did), so we decided to splurge on a spare bedroom.
Our everyday travel costs are quite affordable because we don’t drive a lot and we invested in a cheap 2006 Honda Jazz a few years ago. Not only do I love the car, it gets 50 miles a gallon and only cost $34,000 to buy. If anything ever happens to the car, we’ll just buy a new one instead of paying a ton of money on car insurance.
Alcohol was quite high, in which we will be cutting down on next year — we spent $266 going out to bars or picking up beer.
We spent $335 (65% of our weekly spending) on Wednesday and Thursday when we were in England.
Shayanne Gal/ Business Insider
My typical day involves going to the gym which costs $17.99 a month for a membership, doing some hobby stuff, stopping by the grocery store and sometimes visiting the local butcher shop.
I do most of my shopping daily because it’s nice and easy to pop in when I’m on my way back from the gym. I hit the grocery store 5 times this week and spent $66 total.
I have some income from freelance work from my blog Mad Fientist, but I spend most of my time enjoying life and traveling with my wife. This week we hopped on a train to England on Wednesday to see one of my favorite bands in concert.
On Friday I spent $34.93 — a typical day for us in Edinburgh.
Tyle_r/ Shayanne Gal/ Business Insider
I went to the gym in the morning and stopped at our local grocery store and butcher shop to pick up some dinner for $34.93.
At home I just did some normal routine stuff — made progress on a few hobbies I have, got some freelance work done, had dinner and relaxed with my wife. We don’t have an actual TV or cable, but we usually watch about an hour of TV on our computer monitor after dinner every night and then read in bed before we go to sleep.
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