Un-FI-Friendly, But Totally Necessary Purchase

[Editor’s Note: This is an independent post written by JJ. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.]

I’ve been all-in for the FI (Financial Independence) movement for two years.  We have achieved a lot in that time including paying off $50,000 in student loans in 1 year, which I hope to post our strategies this summer for you to read. We have moved our lifestyle towards minimalism and will be doing so even more in the near future (another post I hope to publish this summer). We have achieved a lot in these last two years and have even bigger goals and plans moving forward.

In addition, we fight hard for our lives to be simple even though we stretch ourselves too thin by saying yes to too many things at once.  In fact, my wife just started reading The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands. She has taken away so much great information, and she just started the book.

But here’s the thing, even though we track our expenses, aim for a high savings rate every month and live on one income, there are things that we really like to splurge on.  One of those items is tattoos!

Tattoos are expensive, but we absolutely love tattoos.  In March, my wife and I both got new tattoos and even though it is completely not FI-friendly because we could have used that money towards debt or investments, it’s completely necessary for our emotional happiness.

All of the tattoos I have are meaningful to me is some way. I never get a tattoo just to get a tattoo.  In fact, it often takes me months if not years to decide on a design idea. This tattoo happened that same way.  I’ve always wanted a sleeve, but I’ve never found the design I like enough to have it tattooed on my arm. I also have never felt like the timing was right for a sleeve.  While tattoos are becoming more and more popular, and accepted, there are still many people who do not want to see tattoos. The main place for that is employment and often I think people are judged based on their tattoo and for having a tattoo.  Oftentimes people are told to cover up their tattoos at work.

I feel like I’m at a place in my life and career where I am comfortable showing my tattoos; plus my current place of employment isn’t against tattoos which is helpful. In addition, it’s a great conversation starter with students.  Many students want tattoos and then they see my tattoo and ask about it. I’m able to talk with them about getting a tattoo and the things to consider. So, let’s discuss those considerations before I reveal my new sleeve, well phase 1 anyways (I have plans to add to this sleeve in the future!).  

If you’ve ever considered getting a tattoo, here are some things to consider based on my experience:

  1. Find a tattoo artist you trust.  You are making a decision that will be with you, literally, for the rest of your life.  It’s kind of important to get it right the first time. We found our forever tattoo artist and he has done all of our work.  My wife and I will go to him with our idea and he will take it to the next level, every time. Huge shoutout to Smooth! You’re the best!
    1. In addition to finding a tattoo artist you’re comfortable with, make sure the artist is qualified, studio is clean, and needles are new and sterile.  Smooth has a great guide for finding the right studio and artist on his site.
  2. Find a design that you will love for life.  Take your design to your tattoo artist and get their thoughts.  Smooth always takes our design ideas to the next level. He never forces his design on us, but it’s always better than what we come up with so we always go with his design.  Some studios will not allow you to customize or design your own tattoos which is another reason to find the right artist and studio.
  3. Are there any medical reasons that you cannot get a tattoo?  Each person’s body handles a tattoo a bit different so make sure you do your due diligence.
  4. Where on your body do you want your tattoo?  Some places hurt more than others. Related to this, how do you handle pain?  While everyone reacts differently to getting a tattoo, to me, it hurts! I literally almost cried getting my sleeve…and that’s after I almost passed out.   
  5. If you’re getting your tattoo in a place on your body that’s difficult to cover, is that ok?  What situations would you have to cover it. For example, you think your employer would be ok with you having a sleeve so you get one, but then find out that it’s against company policy. Are you ok wearing long sleeve shirts everyday at work?

So….the moment you’ve all been waiting for, let’s check out these beauties.

My newest tattoo which is phase 1 of my sleeve:

Image 1

Image 2

My wife’s newest tattoo:

Image 3

What un-FI-friendly purchases have you made?  

What splurges do you consider to be absolutely necessary to your happiness?

5 Fun and Inexpensive Hobbies To Try This Summer

[Editor’s Note: This is an independent post written by JJ. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.]

I am a teacher with seven weeks of school left until summer and I am definitely ready for a break. I have a lot of great professional development planned and I also have some relaxing trips to enjoy.  Additionally, I’m a father of a 4-year old who will be attending summer school which will leave some much needed ME time.

Hey, it’s kind of like a math equation: summer break + son in summer school + wife still working = hobby time for me.

Just so we’re clear, I love my wife, son, school and spending time with family, but I also feel like I can get back into the summer hobbies I had before our son arrived.  So this summer, I have some super fun and inexpensive hobbies that I am going to try and I think you should too.

1. Geocaching

I love geocaching and spent many days off during my summers (before my son was born) traveling around Wisconsin geocaching.  A person really doesn’t need to buy anything to start geocaching which is one reason I love it. You can use your phone or buy an outdoor GPS if you’d like.  I recommend riding your bike when geocaching. It gets you outside and you get a great workout.

If you have never geocached before, I highly recommend you learn about it and try it out.  It’s a lot of fun! If you’re ever in Wisconsin and look at a log in a geocache and see Prof3ssor, that’s me.  Also, if you’re in Wisconsin and interested in trying out geocaching, send me a message and let’s go treasure hunting together.

2. Dungeons and Dragons

Ok, before you judge me, I just started playing this with friends.  I was always intrigued by the game, but never really knew enough about it nor did I know anyone who played.  A friend of mine learned how to play and suggested we get together as a group so I said yes. And you know what, I love it!  My character is a Mountain Dwarf Fighter named Flint Fireforge.

I’m a fairly strong introvert who doesn’t show a lot of (or any as my wife would say) emotions, but playing this game with my group of friends allows me to come out of my shell a bit.  I’m able to act in a different way than I typically do every single day. I’m able to be silly and feel comfortable doing it.

3. Exercise

Last summer I had an inflection point in my life.  We were moving back closer to home. I was leaving a great job where I had the opportunity to do some really great things.  Moving back was the right decision and I was all-in. After our move, I realized that much of my identity, outside of being a husband and father, came from my accomplishments at work.  So leaving that work, left me with a feeling of emptiness. It was a really hard time. I was struggling. It was affecting me in all aspects of my life. I was not a great husband or father, and I was in a pretty dark place mentally and emotionally.

I look back now and realize I was at a crossroad.  I could either try to move forward on my own or swallow my pride and realize that I needed to talk with someone.  I called a therapist, made an appointment and just talked about how I was feeling. It was the best decision I could have made.  

I have friends who refuse to talk to a therapist even though I know they’re hurting inside. Swallow your pride and go talk to someone.  You don’t have to tell anyone and you can travel as far away to see someone as you want.

Once my emotional and mental health were back on track, I realized I needed to pursue healthy eating and start working out.  I loathed working out prior to last summer, but going through what I went through made me realize that I needed to get my priorities in the right order.  I also yearned for more time with my wife and I knew I could get that time in the early morning while she and I worked out. I’m in a much, much better place emotionally, I’ve lost 25 pounds and I’m working really hard at eating healthy every day.

My wife and I work out every morning.  Lately, my son has also been getting up early and working out with us. We are both seeing some really great definition and progress.

4. Woodworking

Last summer I really got into woodworking projects.  I built a few things and they actually turned out. It was great motivation to keep going so I did, but then school started and I haven’t built anything since last summer.  I found a site that I absolutely love and it makes woodworking a lot easier. Check out Ana White.  I’m excited to continue to build things this summer.

5. Metal Detecting

I recently found out a co-worker of mine loves metal detecting and is willing to show me how to do it.  I’ve always been intrigued by metal detecting, but haven’t had the time nor did I know anyone with this hobby. Now that I know someone, I’m excited to learn more about it and maybe even try it myself. Maybe he’ll let me borrow one of his metal detectors for the summer to have some fun.  

So, that’s it.  What hobbies do you enjoy?  What plans do you have for the summer?  

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