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4 Ways That Switching to a Vegan Lifestyle Revolutionized My Life and Path Toward FIRE

Switching to a vegan lifestyle was one of the best life optimizations made on my path toward FIRE.

Why?

Wealth, health, and compassion for others are all embedded into this lifestyle in a number of ways.

Building Your FIRE is all about building and protecting your assets, planning for the long term, and having a positive impact on those around you. Veganism hits all of these marks by default.

1. My health improved

My pre-vegan diet looked like this: Cheese, cheese, pizza, and more cheese. I ballooned to 260 pounds and had high blood pressure.

After deciding that I had enough of my lifestyle, I started eating vegan as a way to lose weight. Over the next year the weight just started coming off, and after I reached my goal of a healthy weight, I stopped counting calories and focusing on what I was eating.

I loosened up and started eating Oreos (yes they are vegan), vegan pizza, and deep fried seitan…and still do. Typically for people who lose a significant amount of weight, this is when the pounds start slipping back on…

HOWEVER:

That weight never came back.

I still eat what I want without counting calories within reason and as long as it is vegan, and I do eat my fair share of greens, veggies, and fruit.

This leads me to believe that if I had never tried to lose weight, I still would have lost some on accident just by eating vegan.

Besides feeling amazing and being the answer to my weight issues, reducing future medical bills and potentially adding healthy years to my life are well worth it for me.

Note: Again this is my story, results may vary, and I’m in no way saying this will work for everyone.

2. Eating vegan lowered my spending on food

We went from spending about $500 a month on groceries to $350 for two people.

To be transparent, some of this was due to being more cognizant about what we were spending, but most of this was because we were buying cheaper foods.

Since cheese and meat were the most expensive items we were buying, eating vegan helped to lower our food costs by not putting those pricey items in our cart in the first place.

For reference, here is a list I found with decent price comparison of cost per edible cup of many popular western foods.

Since vegan options at restaurants are also not as abundant (yet),  we also make food at home much more often. When we get the craving to eat out there is always Chipotle and Taco Bell for fast food and a number of vegan restaurants that we are lucky enough to live near.

Side note: No matter what diet you follow, you can make it expensive by purchasing convenience foods.

3. I got excited about food for the first time

It is a common side effect of becoming vegan to appreciate the food that you eat more than you did when you were a meat eater.

Since you lose the crutch of slathering your dishes in fat and cheese, you naturally begin to try out other spices, ingredients, and dishes.

Since I started having to cook more I learned how to detect different ingredients in prepared food and how to create restaurant dishes I love at home.

4. I have less of an impact on animals and the environment

Even though this is number four on this list, it is actually my number one reason.

Since animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of rainforest destruction (p.9) and is the main source of climate change, opting out of purchasing these foods makes a profound environmental impact.

Animals are also feeling and thinking sentient beings. It is nice to know that my choices aren’t causing them harm.

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It is easier than ever to make the switch as more vegan convenience foods are available at large chain stores. I get my tofu and seitan from Walmart!

If you go vegan, I guarantee you that your waistline, wallet, animals, and environment will thank you.

Did I miss any other reasons? Let me know in the comments!

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5 Steps You Need To Pick The Right Index Fund In Your Retirement Plan

Don’t know what fund your 401k/403b is investing in?

Didn’t know your 401k/403b was investing in a fund at all?

Don’t worry. You are not alone.

Fees could be eating away at your earnings and if left unchecked could cost you hundreds of thousands (if not millions!) of dollars over your lifetime. Continue reading “5 Steps You Need To Pick The Right Index Fund In Your Retirement Plan”

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Let’s Talk About Optimizing Your Emergency Fund

Financial independence (FI) is not binary: achieving FI is a journey, and I believe that having an emergency fund is one step in that journey.

For those of us who want to invest every dollar, it might be tempting to try and go without an emergency fund. While I get that it is tempting to game this aspect of your personal finances, trust me, you still need one. This is the bedrock of your portfolio.

Remember: The whole reason we strive for financial independence is so we can buy our freedom from the problems and stress that money can bring into our lives.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Optimizing Your Emergency Fund”

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6 Ways to Overcome Your Fear Of Cooking And Get Rich In The Process

Cooking is one of the highest return on investment skills that you can learn.

Seriously.

Not only will cooking at home save you a ton of money, it will give you a deeper appreciation of the food you eat and help you live longer. Who wouldn’t you want to do something that helps you out in the health and wealth department?

Over the past few decades, the food industry has caused our cultural culinary practices to slowly disappear (along with the money in our wallet) through the availability of convenience foods, the prevalence of fast food, and our perceived lack of time.

At a time when the average American has less than $1,000 in their savings account[1], we are spending $3,154 a year on eating outside of our homes[2]. That is just craziness. Continue reading “6 Ways to Overcome Your Fear Of Cooking And Get Rich In The Process”

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10 Steps to Retire Early by Finding Financial Independence

You read that title right:

If you follow the steps below, you too can grow your money to a point where you never have to work again, if you choose.

After all, that is our goal here at Build Your FIRE: We want to give you the tools, resources, and encouragement you need in one place to build your wealth to the point where you become financially independent and retire early (FIRE).

While yes, getting rich is part of FIRE, the actual goal here is to leverage money as a tool that will help you buy the most important resource of all: Time.

Once you achieve financial independence you no longer have to take crap from a boss, have the time-suck of work eating most of your waking hours, and most importantly, it opens up options for your life that were never possible while working a 9 to 5 grind. Continue reading “10 Steps to Retire Early by Finding Financial Independence”

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7 Habits and Skills that will Save you Money and Increase Happiness

The path to financial independence is built on your long-term habits, not one or two small actions.

For example, the stereotypical personal finance “tips and tricks” advice to save money is always something along the lines of: stop buying coffee out, clip coupons or shop around for the best price on gas. Now while those things will typically save you some money, they miss the bigger picture: You need to continually look to optimize your lifestyle and spending to bring up your Savings Rate through an amalgam of habits and skills. Clipping coupons, while maybe a nice habit, is not going to allow you to achieve financial independence on its own.

What I have written below are what I believe to be the habits, skills, and mindset that give you the best return on your investment of time and willpower that will also provide more satisfaction in your day-to-day life. Continue reading “7 Habits and Skills that will Save you Money and Increase Happiness”

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