Episode 002 – Happiness & Low Hanging Fruit

Now we’re cooking with FIRE!! Second episode wasn’t nearly as rough as the first one. Still rougher than I wanted, but it is up! A lot more focus on content and less on the format. Without further ado, here it is:

There was a lot of information in this episode. We started off by examining Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and then used the Consumer Expenditure Survey to take a look at the average household expenses. This was an amazing chunk of data that provides a very interesting look into the habits of the average US Expenditures. Since I’ve spent such a long time changing my habits, I almost forgot what is considered normal and acceptable in this day and age. All of the data from the Bureau of Labor CE is located here.

As always, miscellaneous files that I downloaded are available in the Shared Files directory on Google Drive, and the show notes and slideshows are available to view here.

There was also a clip from my friend Lillian over at OhMyDollar!. I am so appreciative of the fact that she let me use this snippet of her podcast. It wasn’t anything planned, but just good timing that she released a podcast shortly after the first episode. For those of you who are curious, I pulled that clip out of her 3rd podcast, called New Years Resolutions & Picking a Rewards Card.

I also wore a collared shirt and my GF shaved the sides of my head. Do I look more professional? No idea, but it’s much cooler without that much hair.

While I didn’t mention it in the episode itself, I used some additional data while researching regarding the specific costs of food, and a couple different food plans published by the USDA. Those reports are available here.

There were quite a few small challenges in different areas, so here is a quick recap.

  • Eating Out
    • Determine the number of times you outsourced food preparation in the last month. Reduce by 2 over the next month.
    • Eat out 1x/week or less for the next month. This includes vending machines!
  • Non-Alcoholic Drinks
    • Determine what you need to make your favorite drink at home. Figure out how long it will take you to be in the black.
    • Figure out how to make your favorite beverage at home, locate a recipe if needed, and make it.
  • Internet, Cable, Phone
    • Look at your channel lineup if you have TV service. Compare to your viewing habits and see if you are paying for more than you need.
    • Call your provider, and get your bill lowered. Don’t fall into the trap of paying for more service that you don’t need. Your benchmark is your current bill. Beat that.
  • Water
    • Make a list of all places inside and outside your house that use water (don’t forget outdoor spigots). Identify if they are leaking.
    • Get the model number of your toilet to figure out gallons-per-flush.
  • Electricity
    • Identify everything in your house that is plugged in.
    • If it’s something you forgot about, unplug it.
    • Use a Kill-A-Watt () to determine how much energy is being taken up by devices plugged in, both while they are on, and while they aren’t.
    • Unplug devices that aren’t in use, or install an outlet switch. A basic one has a switch on it, and is mechanical. 3/$13. Or get one with a remote to turn outlets on and off.

Overall, what did you think of the episode? I feel good about the progress I’ve made from a visual perspective, and I liked the fact that the content was better this time. Comment below!

Also, don’t forget to tag @frugalfireshow on clips you make rocking some of these challenge.

Edit: Got some feedback, and I will use that as the basis for this episode’s poll.

Even at 2x playback, your energy level registers somewhere between Grateful Dead fan and Antebellum Southern porch on a hot day

This is a bit of a struggle for me. I get so excited about this stuff that I have a tendency to be bouncing off the walls, talking fast, jumping between different thoughts, etc. So I intentionally slow down to make sure I get the point across.

Compared to what you prefer, where was Jordan's energy level/speed of talking?

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