The whole family has the flu this week, so instead of “Deep Thoughts with Mr. Tako”, we’re going with some lighter fare, “What I do all day in my financial independence”.
Let me start by telling you it’s not all bonbons and champagne. There’s hardly any excessive sloth either! In fact, I usually have a pretty busy schedule. Let me take you through a typical day in the life of Mr. Tako.
This is what time we should be waking up, but after a long night (tending to sick kids), you can just forget it. Talk to me later…zzzZZZzz.
We could hit ‘snooze’ on the alarm clock, but we’ve gotten rid of our alarm clocks. That’s not to say we’ve gotten rid of alarms to wake ourselves, but we’ve gotten rid of the archaic device known as a “alarm clock”.
Why do we dislike alarm clocks? Alarm clocks are unitaskers. They serve 1 purpose; to wake you in the morning (OK, they do tell the time), and they run all day. Sucking up electricity while you’re at work. There’s no slackers allowed in our house, so we unplugged our alarm clocks and retired them. Instead, we now use our favorite multitasker – our mobile phones.
OK, I won’t lie, this is the time we actually wake up….after we’ve hit the snooze button on the smart phone a few times. We get our morning started doing all the usual things. We wake up, shower off the grime, get dressed, brush teeth, etc. Our pant legs usually go on one leg at a time, just like everyone else. There is probably nothing about this part of our routine that is out of the ordinary. No special millionaire pants, sorry.
By 8am we’re having breakfast and then I’m seeing Mrs. Tako and Tako Jr. #1 off for the day. I usually start my morning with a cup of tea. I’m partial to Twinings English Breakfast. Yes, it’s a guilty pleasure. I realize I could save money by just drinking water, but it costs so little compared to other beverages, I justify it as ‘affordable’. Starting at $0.10 per serving, I then throw in a little sweetener and cream. I probably end up at $0.20-$0.25 for my cup of tea. I’ll break the bank with my bad habits here folks!
At this point, I check my email and sip my tea while I wait for Tako Jr. #2 to wake. Once he’s up, I’ll get him changed and ready for the day. He’s only 11 months old, so he still needs lots of care for this basic daily stuff. I feed him breakfast – which usually consists of a nice bottle of milk and some fruit yogurt. We’re talking about $1.00 (at maximum) for his breakfast.
9:00am – 12:00pm
After I’ve finished breakfast with the baby, it’s usually ‘play time’ with the little guy. This involves me on the floor playing with him, or reading a book. If the weather is nice, we’ll go for a walk, which is actually a really strange experience. When we walk, it’s like the zombie apocalypse happened, only without zombies. Essentially, the neighborhood is completely empty. Most people in our neighborhood still work, so I suspect it wasn’t zombies. There’s also very few retired people who live in our area (due to its HCOL). Our walk time ends up being a very eerie experience.
Tako Jr. #2 and I will usually do our lunch around this time. We don’t eat out, or get take-out. We do things pretty frugal. I usually eat leftovers from a previous night, and he’ll eat some baby appropriate fare (soft veggies, fruit, rice, beans, egg, etc). At maximum, our combined lunch cost is probably about $3-4.
I think this is the best time of day. Why is this the best you ask? This is Nap Time. Tako Jr. #2 typically decides he wants to go down for his nap around this time. This also means that Mr. Tako gets to go down for his nap. After being up multiple times in the night (taking care of kids), my nap time is essential.
2:00pm to 4:30pm
I call this time ‘Errands & Projects’ time. Typically Tako Jr. #2 and I will go run our errands around this time. Maybe I drive to the library or go grocery shopping. Usually the stores are pretty empty, and parking is no problem. We’ll typically pick up a weekly deal that interests us. This is usually some seasonal food that’s on sale, and a loss-leader. A good example was the roasted salsa post from last week. When things go on sale, that’s what we eat.
We can get in-and-out of the store very quickly compared to the usual rush-hour times. What would normally take one hour on the weekend, takes a half-hour. Just one more way your life becomes more efficient (without even trying) in financial independence.
If I have a project I’m working on, this is also where I try to squeeze it in. Typically my projects consist of yard work, home repair, building things, and of course, working on this blog.
Around 4:30pm, I’ll start work on the evening meal. Almost everything is made by hand with fresh ingredients by either myself or Mrs. Tako. A typical meal usually consists of some combination of a protein (chicken, fish, beans, or pork), vegetables, and a starch (potatoes, rice, or rice-noodles). I tend to cook Mexican, Thai, and traditional American foods, while Mrs. Tako tends to cook asian fare like Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai.
Typically we sit down to dinner at this time. With two young children, mealtimes can often get ‘interesting’, but I will leave that to your imagination. A typical meal in the Tako household is around $2-$5 per serving.
After mealtime we usually have some time with the children before their bedtime. Activities will vary from drawing, coloring and crafts, to music, puzzles, and games. These are essentially free activities that can be set-up and put away quickly before bedtime. Any craft supplies needed we either get from our local Buy Nothing group, or recycled from other household items.
We are big believers in reading, so every day we read to both boys before bed. Yes, every day without fail. Even on trips or vacations. Usually we read books borrowed from our local library.
Finally, by 8:30pm we have both boys to bed, and both adults collapse into a comfortable chair for a well deserved rest. I usually work on this blog, and other projects before bed. If it’s a weekend maybe we’ll watch a movie, or have another family over for dinner. As I’ve discussed in previous posts, we dine out very rarely. We can cook healthier, better tasting food at home (at a much lower cost) – and we have the time to do it.
What’s Special About Financial Independence?
That’s our day. Our schedule does vary some, but those are the events that make up a “usual” day. What? Did you expect some big surprise? Something that only millionaires get to do? I’m sorry to disappoint!
What’s interesting to me about our schedule, is how it changed once we became financially independent. The changes are centered around time and money, as you might expect. So far, it’s been paying fairly large dividends:
- I have the time to stay home with Tako Jr. instead of commuting to a daycare. This saves us a large amount of money.
- I go shopping during the day, picking up special deals, and this saves time and money.
- I have the time to work on personal projects, like this blog.
- There is time to make fresh homemade meals every day, saving us money and eating better in the process.
Our lives are centered around home and family right now. Time still comes at a premium, but there is just more of it now. As spring and summer approaches here in the Pacific Northwest, our schedule will get more adventuresome. We’ll spend a lot more time outside. We have a family trip to Hawaii planned, and there should be lots of hiking this summer once the weather improves.
[Image Credit: Tumblr, with mods by Mr. Tako]