January in London? - So Pretty under Snow
THE.PRESENT: "Come on Contender have some fun, get yourself one of those gadgets, go on holiday you need one and the kids do as well, a few more presents - they have not had enough for Christmas"
THE.CONTENDER: "Thanks for the pointers. At the moment we are happy with our little lot, love our community and have some great laughs."

This post - Enjoying life one day at a time, Embracing Change through planning and a little list of things to do at the start of the year.

Enjoying life now

January 2013! Waking to the smell of freshly ground coffee. Our kids are playing happily with their generous Christmas presents, thank you Santa / Grandma. School starts next week. We meet and chat about random topics with friends in the park and run around the library.

Hot warm home cooked meals are the order of the day. Delicious porridge for breakfast. Lentils with french sausages, vegetables and the last of the clementines a satisfying lunch. Soup and dips for tea.

Skype the grandparents in the evening to amaze them with the new skills the kids have learnt. Bath time, story and bed.

Time to enjoy a good book and perhaps a glass of wine, cozy on the sof,a stroking the purring cat on the lap.

Simple times for a cold, damp dark time of the year and time to get on with a few things......

What's happening with this blog?

The blog started out with an idea and a wide breadth of topics Get In The Ring?. When it was turned on in July 2012 and a modest number of people found and visited the site.

Since its early rambling days in July August and September it has now provided several planning tools, 37 posts and several pages of information. Amazingly there are now visitors from all over the world. The best post had 1,000 reads in a day.

Wow - how cool is the internet! (Thanks Revolver Maps)
Following a plan is important when making change happen

Plan is the key word in PERL. Effective planning can make a big difference. Our Tribe has seen the dramatic results from our planning. It provided us with clear goals and a way to reach them. Family Financial Freedom in 7 Years! The light of financial independence is at the end of the tunnel, real freedom to do what we want!

THE.CONTENDER hazards a guess that only a small minority of society have a very clear plan ahead. How many people have been fortunate to have extensive planning training and put it into action on a day to day basis? Both my wife and I have been extremely fortunate to have been taught these skills.

The light bulb moment for this blog:  "Hey this planning stuff we have adapted from work is great. It has helped us to plan our futures. Why not share the knowledge perhaps it will be of interest". So this was started and the posts are about our modest findings.

Self Help Books into Real Change!

Lots of self help books waffle on about do this or do that. Print out a few pages and fill them in. End result is book goes on the shelf and the person back to real life. Bills to pay, errands to run, work commitments, kids etc.

Who has the time to sit down with all of these books and actually pull them together into something concise, simple and useful? Something that is living, grows and is used each week? THE.CONTENDER has an innate interest in this area as he has been trying to do it for YEARS.

NOW! PERL is all about taking ideas from some of these self help books and trying to combine them into actionable tools. Self help becomes Self Action, Control and Review. Better concise, decision making follows. This is a result of the structured thoughtful process that takes place while planning THE.FUTURE (and learning from THE.PAST)

This process challenges areas such as procrastination, short terminism, the consumer mindset and atrophy of the mind. A positive, re-enforcing plan can start with RULES (What needs to controlled NOW: 10 Rules of Extreme Saving and 30 Rules of Very Early Retirement)

CHECKLISTS - What need to be learnt / developed / completed are there to compliment the rules CALP! Where to Live in Early Retirement?)

Finally developing second nature HABITS (just do it as a matter of course) keep you on track (6 Habits for Very Early Retirement).

Give us time and we will change

Changing your bad habits for good habits takes time. It also requires discipline while the brain is re-wired to the change in thought processes. Critical thinking skills are honed, intuition becomes more acute and emotions are tempered when making decisions.

When we moved to an Early Retirement mindset (frugality, saving, investing, embracing the world around us, health conscious, continuous learning to name a few) we ditched the "I want one of those / deserve a reward for all of my hard work" culture. This did not happen overnight. It took several years and we work on it to this day.

We found the changes to our lives liberating. A weight of expectation (which was self inflicted) was eradicated. Keeping up with the Jones' no longer mattered. We did not need the fancy house or car (even though we could). We did not want chains of debt.

What is NOW really important to us is family, friends, community, health and the great outdoors. At this point in time it is important to us that we live in a safe, unblemished environment so the children can develop without the "noise" of modern life around every corner.  

Our hard earned savings and "controlled" living (not simple or modest we have been fortunate to live well) gives us this opportunity to do whats right and best for us. It is in the NOW we are making it happen: PERL Short Term Planning.

What are some good things to do NOW? (THE.CONTENDER Tribe's January to-do list...)
  1. De-clutter - it is nice to have space and get rid of the burden of things. Less stuff encourages more frugality? and more time to think and more space to entertain friends in the house
  2. Add any un-wanted stuff to Craiglist or try to sell on Amazon
  3. Pay off any outstanding bills before the interest kicks in
  4. What odd jobs are needed (fix that leaking tap or loose door handle?)
  5. What do do with all of the Christmas chocolate - ration it or give it away.
  6. Check the cupboards for food close to its sell by date and live off it for a week before buying more.
  7. Any insurance costs coming up - research some alternatives now to bargain with when renewal time comes.
  8. Clean the house (It is not spring yet but boy oh boy the dust of Christmas has settled under the sofa!)
  9. Have a break - too much food, TV, alcohol, late nights, noise, you name it. Relax, put your feet up, and have a break.
  10. Write thank you letters and cards
  11. Get involved with some community work
  12. Learn about investing
  13. Learn about the big issues facing the world in the next 30 years
  14. What are your short term plans for the year?
  15. What opportunities are there to increase your income or reduce spending?
  16. Visit some friends and play with the kids and have friends around
  17. Create a list of fun challenges for the year (e.g. climb a mountain or create a family play...)
  18. Create a list of healthy meals and put them on a whiteboard in pain view
  19. Create a standard printable shopping list (you can cross off what you don't need before you shop)
  20. Tidy up outside in the garden or sweep the drive - set an example
  21. Write something on your blog / in your diary..........
There are a few items to keep our tribe lively in the winter month of January. Not new years resolutions but a bunch of stuff to tidy up after the holidays, fix things, socialise and build healthy habits.

Good luck with your own January To-Do List.

NOW THE.CONTENDER needs to get on with finishing the PERL series of posts and THE.FUTURE he will be what he will be....we have plans for him!

Peace and prosperity


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Are you planning for financial independence and wondering what to do with it. If so is any of the content on this blog of use to you? I would appreciate any comments you have. All the best C

Welcome to FISH !
You have come here looking for answers. How to get out of debt? How to save and invest? How to retire early and how you want to live in retirement.

Well this is the right place for you as out tribe has been through all of these steps. We no longer work for a corporate employer and have saved enough to retire early. How we did this is shared here on this site for you.

Our little tribe found out these secrets to financial independence in our late 20’s. Since then we have taken early retirement, in our late 30's, in just 7 years. We now live in the South West of France with our two young children.

Along the way I decided to share everything I learnt. My articles and tips on aggressive saving and compound investing are there to help you meet your financial goals fast. I discuss ways to help you decide what you want by building a life plan. This helps to work out how to get where you want to be whilst avoiding the pitfalls along the way.

My expertise was built up working in blue chip corporate jobs, extensive reading and putting it into practice. I have condensed this knowledge into simple strategies to help you meet your goals and not those of the bank or the place you work.

There are free planning tools on this site that help you make a life plan. A plan for your future. The tools calculate how to reach your financial goals in a timeline that suits you. The tools help set out your life goals, make them happen and how to exceed them.

There are tips on how to simplifying your life to remove day to day headaches. These include ways to pay off debt fast buy eliminating wasteful spending habits. How to reduce your monthly bills through choices that actually improve your health and wellbeing. Identifying things you don’t need that sap your time and wallet.

There are little sustainability projects to reduce your dependence on shops and utilities whilst saving money to spend on things you want.

All of these little steps will show you how save 50%+ of your salary so you can meet your goal whatever it is. This huge saving rate can be compounded for very early retirement. I am sure you will find something here for you.

Darren Lee (A.K.A the Contender as in my blog)