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Spending Habits for Professionals Who Want FIRE

December 29, 2019

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FIRE stands for “financial independence; retire early.”

B.C. Krygowski is a palliative medicine doctor and mother of two in Florida. She’s also a blogger writing about financial independence from the perspective of a two-physician household. Her new book is called Spending Habits for Professionals Who Want FIRE, and I have the pleasure of sharing some key aspects of the book here, in case you want to pick up a copy yourself (and I recommend you do).

If you’re a high-income professional, you may have noticed that as a group, we like to spend money. We work hard for it, and as B.C. Krygowski describes in her new book, she gets it. You likely have a busy life, especially if you’re working while raising a family. The continuous work needed to feed, clothe, and enjoy our families can lead to suboptimal spending habits if we’re not intentional.

In the friendliest way possible, B.C. tells us about common spending pitfalls, and the best alternatives she’s found. It’s easy to see why she is surrounded by friends wherever she goes: she’s a generous, one-woman brain trust, living her best life. And she wants that for you, too. Spending Habits for Professionals Who Want FIRE is already changing my mindset and my habits. Let me count the ways!

I’m looking at frugal, healthy vegan options in a whole new way. 

At my house, it tends to be lots of pepperoni and sausage, sprinkled with a few vegan jokes.

“How do you know someone’s a vegan?”

“They’ll tell you.”

I’ve dabbled in vegetarian and pescatarian diets, but always felt a vegan diet would be too restrictive. B.C. opened my mind, sharing how she incorporates vegan elements, even when the whole family doesn’t go meatless. She describes the idea of using smaller quantities of meat in her cooking, using it more as a flavoring than a main dish, a concept commonly used in other cultures. These practices can benefit both your health and your bank account.

You think you know how to buy food? This book will make you think again.

B.C. opened my mind to Aldi, a German grocery chain, and a cornerstone of her food shopping strategy. When I visited my local store, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and prices, and filled my cart for a hundred dollars. In the book, you’ll learn how stores like these keep prices so low, and which of them pass these savings on to you, the customer.

BC delivers frugality and time-saving hacks. 

If you want to save time and money, you could try grocery delivery. In Habits, the number of delivery options presented made my head spin. And the author gives pointers on each: she’s done the research for you. A key takeaway was to test the services that work best in your area. In general, you’ll save the most money if you primarily rely on Aldi or Walmart, and buy the things you can’t find there elsewhere. It makes so much sense, but I’d never thought of it that way. The way she explains her approach and its benefits really crystallizes it for the reader. 

Learn how to minimize waste.

Aside from proper storage techniques and other tricks to minimize food waste, B.C. teaches us to avoid waste in other areas of life. Did you ever think to use the rest of the liquid that comes with a sheet mask? I face-palmed while reading that tip, realizing all the times I wasted all that extra goodness. Whether it’s food or beauty supplies, minimizing waste doesn’t just benefit your household- it benefits the earth!

She’s shares frugal travel secrets

From recommendations on the best money-saving applications to those that help you navigate abroad, B.C. really brings it in the travel chapter. In it, she also shares some services and experiences that are truly worth paying for. 

Frugal Parenting Gems

Just her parenting hacks alone make this book worth reading. Her to-do list for baby-sitters is so detailed, her husband asked for one to follow. In it, she outlines the day by the hour, from what the kids eat for breakfast, to their clean-up responsibilities, and my favorite: a request that there are no dishes left for her to clean up at the end of the day. Priceless.  

Her tip on looking for childcare at the gym is worth hundreds if not thousands of dollars (depending on how much of gym rat you are)! My husband stumbled upon this benefit, and we realized what incredible value his already-inexpensive gym membership had! Don’t read this book too fast; there are game-changing pearls in every line.

She’s tried it all.  

B.C. shares what has been worth paying extra for, and what hasn’t. She outlines the benefits of laser hair removal, for example, which in the long term, saves time, money, and precious water. She even gives her honest opinion on purchases ranging from fat freezing (youch!) to a night at a Legoland Hotel (worth it). You’ll have some ideas on how to splurge well, once you’ve accumulated some solid savings with her tips. 

You’ll read this book again and again

The advice in this book is evergreen, and can be applied to different seasons of life. That’s why I plan to re-read it every few years. If you leverage the information in this book, you’ll be able to save money on your travels, on eating, on childcare, or even when losing the baby weight. While I’m pretty average at money-saving tricks, B.C. demonstrates her black belt. Consider reading and re-reading this book, so you can apply more tricks incrementally. Soon you’ll be seriously saving.

I’m a sucker for further reading.

This book is loaded with recommendations for further learning, from books to blogs and movies. I immediately dove into one of her recommendations on Netflix, The Truth About Alcohol. Not only does the message come in a charming British package, but it resonated with me, as someone who has cut back on my own consumption. I’m excited to dive into another recommendation of hers, a nutrition and self-care book called Body Love.  

In summary, if you are a high-income professional (or about to be), this book will give you countless ideas to save money while maximizing your quality of life. In this book, you’ll learn that saving money is not about eschewing convenience or luxury, but choosing them selectively and intentionally. I’ve just started to implement her advice, and I’m already a raving fan. 

To read more, and empower yourself with better spending habits, check out Spending Habits for Professionals Who Want FIRE.

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  1. Ahhh, shucks, thanks! I’m over here freezing in Edinburgh, while also blushing at the same time (never knew this was possible). 😉 Great write up. So glad you found the book helpful—I wrote it as a labor of love for my fellow physicians. Hugs!

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