I have been looking forward to welcoming my next guest on the “Thrifty Tips” Series!

Principal FI is an informative blog with an honest account of their path to FI that was born out of career frustration. Principal FI (PFI) is one half of a partnership with Teacher FI (TFI), and together, they devised a 10 year plan to Financial Independence. Let’s here from PFI:

Pick the thing you’re never going to give up. Then, figure out a way to do it for less.

Too often, the path to financial independence is based on deprivation. And often, our biggest expense is something we love. There are two problems with that.

First, it’s like a diet. If you take a favorite food and completely cut it, you crave it all the time. That’s a prescription for failure.

Principal FI Banner

Second, reaching FI takes awhile and you shouldn’t be miserable on the way. Or – more failure.

So, what’s the one thing you know you spend a lot of money on, but just can’t give up? For some, it might be picking up that morning coffee. (Can you make it yourself?) Or maybe it’s travel. (Tried travel hacking?) For us, it was books.

Yes, books. You see, we are both lifelong avid readers. That shared love is one of our tightest bonds. On top of that, we’re both educators. Reading is important.

Even once we started paying closer attention to our spending, we had an accepted rule: spending money on books was okay. I don’t regret it. Yet, we ended up with a room full of shelves of books that we’d never read again. Then, the shelves were full and they started stacking up on the floor. Then, everywhere else.

Just for the amount of space alone, it was a horrible idea! We transitioned to Kindles (which is very convenient) but didn’t stop buying. Let’s do some quick math – we each average a book a week. Assume $10 per book. In your average month, we’re spending $80 just on books. That’s almost $1000/year!

So, we took the thing we loved (that was also a huge financial leak), and got intentional. We went through our library and kept only our most loved books. The rest, we sold to a local used bookseller. We could have taken cash, but they give double in store credit. We kept that and use it for gifts, since we often give books.

Now, we use digital library loans for all our reading. It’s super convenient – we can browse and place holds online. If they don’t have a book, we request it.

When ready, they’re delivered to our kindles. We’ve had to learn a bit of patience, but we’ve never been without something to read. We just might not get a new release instantly.

We still read just as often, but now we put an extra $1000 into our retirement investments!

About the Author

Hello! I’m PFI from a site focused on financial independence for educators (and other passionate professionals.) My wife and I are both career educators. We spent more than a decade doing the work we love while completely ignoring our finances. That got us nowhere fast. Now we’re paying attention and on track to be financially independent in 7 years. We’ve made a lot of changes to get here and I’m honored Thrifty asked me to share.

Where you can find Principal FI

Twitter: @FiPrincipal
Pinterest: principalfi

If you found this advice helpful then please share it and comment. 

The “Thrifty Tips” Series is all about advice and tips from the FI community for the FI community!

If you have one piece of advice you wish someone told you, a frugal life hack or anything that will help someone get that bit closer to FI, then get in touch by emailing or send a message on Twitter. I would love to hear from you and feature you in a post.

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