Tanner: If I had to guess, I would say in terms of the entire population, I'd probably be in the top 1% of most frugal people, maybe top 0.1%. Here's our couch. We got it free. We found this patio furniture for free on Craigslist. I don't really like to buy anything. And in fact, it kind of makes me anxious. Every year or two, I'll get a new pair of running shoes. Last time I bought running shoes is actually a used pair. We've decided to invest in maybe cheaper hobbies than most people. As eclectic as ever. How's it going, Mike? Board game Meetups led me to meeting a few folks that I really enjoy spending time with, and so we get together regularly to play board games. Chris: Ooh, sick burn. Tanner: Yeah. I don't really feel like we're missing out on anything. We have everything we need and we're generally really happy. My name is Tanner Firl.
I'm 29 years old. I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I plan to retire at the age of 35, and I've saved $380,000 for retirement. Our house is in south Minneapolis, and I live with my wife, my kid, and three cats. I've always been the primary income generator in the household. My wife makes a little bit of money from hobbies and she definitely saves us a lot of money by being the primary cook and homemaker. Lean Fire is a subset of people that would like to reach FIRE, financial independence, earlier than most people in the movement. Generally, by saving money at a higher rate than most people in the FIRE movement, I'd estimate we put about 50% or so of our paycheck, maybe a little bit more towards savings. My personal brokerage account has $221,000 in it. My Roth IRA has $57,000. My health savings account has $26,000 in it and my 401K has $75,000.
A lot of people in the FIRE community have really definitive FIRE numbers. For me, it's a little bit more flexible. My lower bounds for retirement is $625,000 because I figure I need about $25,000 a year to live. So $25K sounds really low and it is for a lot of people, depending on where you live and what your risk tolerance is, that might not be completely possible. Your life changes over time and you never know exactly what to expect. And so there's a fair amount of variability. Retiring, it's not about sitting on your couch watching Netflix all day or going to the beach and getting a really nice suntan.
It's about getting to do whatever you want in life. We were always very frugal. Growing up, I remember going to the bowling alley. It was always a treat when we got a gum ball. Whenever we wanted something, we would have to spend our own money to buy it or wait until our birthday or Christmas. That led to me and all my siblings having newspaper routes where we deliver newspapers every day. We looked for other ways to make money as well. My parents just gave me a loan directly. So when I graduated from college, I worked on paying that off for a number of years. I believe the interest rate was 3%. It took me about five years to pay my parents back. I could have done it faster had I wanted to, but I figured that the difference would be better spent investing in index funds. I always put in as much as I could in order to get the employer match on my 401K. Parallel to that, I was also investing in index funds at the time.
A little bit after I graduated from college and started making kind of real money in a professional job, I took FIRE to an extreme that I, I think generally it's safe to say is unhealthy. I would get very, very anxious about saving as much money as humanly possible. I get really, really anxious about making more money so that I could retire as early as possible. I put things off in my life that I really wanted to do in order to try and and retire even earlier . I would spend all of my free time trying to make money.
I had these ideas for side hustles and I was doing those things not because I enjoyed them, but because I thought that I'd make a lot of money. And when those things weren't panning out, it led to a lot of frustration. I was putting off like having kids because I wanted to make money. Thankfully, I have kind of done a complete 180 on those issues and I don't have that sort of relationship anymore.
I'm still very frugal and spending money still does make me a little anxious, but it doesn't affect me so much. And I've learned that it's okay if it takes me a year or two longer, if that means that I can enjoy the present significantly more. Oh my goodness. We were able to pay basically our entire mortgage and then some renting out the downstairs of the house on Airbnb. So that was really, I think, my first significant side hustle . Downstairs, so this used to be the Airbnb space. So we had just a bed down here and at one point we had a TV and a mini fridge and a toaster. I think as we've been together a little longer, my wife is becoming more frugal. In general, I'm definitely the more frugal one in the relationship. I don't have too many things that I buy on a regular basis outside of just like food and the mortgage and utilities.
I know a lot of people spend a lot of money on groceries, and we do to an extent as well, because I do like to eat healthy. That said, there's a lot of ways that you can eat healthy and cheap at the same time. Instead of eating a bunch of meat, you can eat a bunch of beans. Beans are super cheap. You can buy a huge bag of beans for a couple of bucks that'll last two months. And the same thing with rice. We're fortunate that we live in Minnesota because there's this awesome nonprofit called Ruby's Pantry. Hello, I'm here for pickup. I have two bundles. That takes a bunch of food that would otherwise go to waste. It's things that can't be sold in the grocery stores for whatever reason. You never know what you're going to get. But for 25 bucks a bundle, a bundle is about half a carload, they just give you a ton of food. Thank you. Appreciate it. And then you drive off and you have probably half your groceries for the month, if not more.
A lot of the free things we find for kind of where you'd expect, Craigslist, online marketplaces. But we also have kind of garnered a reputation with our friends and family as being frugal and thrifty. And so we do end up getting a lot of free things. You know, a family member, will see something free on the side of the road and will think that we might like it. That's how we ended up getting our running stroller that I use to run with my son. We got a bunch of hand-me-downs from my sister who have had kids, and that's all the clothes that our son wears. My hobbies include running almost every day, listening to podcasts, playing video games with my wife, going for walks with my family. I meditate daily, chat with my family on Zoom once a week. I like to bake. Another one of my hobbies has always been board games.
I think a lot of things that bring people fulfillment in life and happiness don't cost that much money. I think a lot of people look at the FIRE movement and they think that a lot of these people are just not living their lives at all because they are just so busy stashing away money. I don't think that's a fair representation because in life there's no short supply of experiences. Most experiences that will make you happy are probably free or extremely cheap. Obviously, money can put a roof over your head, put food on the table, but when you're saving money, you're essentially buying freedom. So the best way that you can spend excess money is ironically, by saving it to give you more time in your life back to you to spend however you want..