Where to Start

So firstly, welcome on board!

Having spent some time reading, commenting and generally being a nuisance to the FIRE community, I thought I would hop aboard and provide my own random thoughts on my journey to FI.

I am not claiming to be particularly frugal or even offer the magic bullet of how to do it easily (does winning the lottery count?!) but more to prove what can be done with a little determination, and a nod towards the pointlessness of trying to “Keeping Up With The Jones”.

There is no doubt about it though, London is an expensive city to live in. Accommodation costs are high, transportation costs can be high. I dont believe it is realistic for most people to do the Mr Money Moustache approach of living within walking distance, or potentially even cycling distance in London. I know I could cycle to my current place in an hour (strangely only a bit longer than it takes me by public transport!) but then I would have to shower, take in a change of clothes etc. – none of which is possible.

Why isn’t it possible? I have no locker or storage area at work, I can’t even leave my laptop. In the world of hot desking, my entire office is in my rucksack, and I dread to think what state that would make my shirt be in by the time I got in!

But thats enough ramblings for now! My stated aim is to try and publish one article a week (on average), and I am sure I will re-arrange things as I slowly learn more about WordPress!

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Author: fireinlondon

Fighting the high cost of living in London

13 thoughts on “Where to Start”

  1. Great to see a new blog started!

    I recently moved jobs (in central London) and was no longer able to walk in to work. As you say, for me the problem with cycling is the clothes changing and showering – I think my new job does actually have facilities, but using them would be an enormous faff. So far I’ve compromised by travelling into work on the tube with a folding bike and then cycling home in the evening – that way I can do all my showering and changing in comfort and privacy. This only saves me any money because I’m able to use Oyster Pay-As-You-Go to pay for the journey in the morning only; it sounds like you’re on a rail line where season tickets are needed to get anything like acceptable fares, in which case this probably wouldn’t work for you. (I have worked with people who take the train to the central London terminus and then cycle from there to work, but I don’t know if there’s any cost saving to be had there.)

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  2. Hi Steve,
    Thanks for popping by, and congratulations on being the first comment on the blog as well 🙂

    London does have some quirks to the travelling in, and I think if you are able to work in jeans and a tshirt it is easier I think than if you are in a suit or even just a shirt (and obviously trousers!)

    I am indeed on a rail line, although could relatively easily get to a tube, or even a boat all of which I could take the bicycle on, but its a major pain at times! The cycle back is something I have thought about, and may have to do next summer, but I dont think it will save me much, I have analysed my spend to the nth degree on travel however you have given me a great topic for a future post as well, so thank you 🙂

    FiL

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  3. I cycle in from Kingston to the City everyday and work in a hot desk office. Saves £180 a month. Stop being a fanny and get on with it. Replace “I can’t” with “why can’t I?”.

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      1. Keep shoes in the office. Suit folded in the rucksack. Shirts are non iron and box folded, like when they come out of the packet new. Keeps the front crease free. Easy effort on the way in then wet wipes and deodrant in the shitter. Hard on the way home to a nice shower. Job done.

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        1. Hi Waylan,

          I tried the folded shirts before but they didnt work at all well, but given your comments I may well try that again. I don’t have anywhere to keep shoes at work.
          On the wipes at work when you get in, either I am not fit enough (most likely!), but nor would I be comfortable doing just the wipes after a bit of cycling – but thats me.
          Can you let me know the decent rucksack you use that allows you to keep the laptop, chargers, breakfast etc. separate from your suit and stop it crumpling the shirt? Intrigued to know how – as it would make a difference.
          I would probably still not do it over winter, but 🙂
          FiL

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    1. Haha that’s a pretty harsh second ever comment for the blog. Give the man a break, not everyone wants to cycle an hour to work every day and as he points out you can catch up on reading or do other productive stuff when on the train so it’s not all about the money and/or how much of a fanny you are 🙂

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  4. Hey FiL aka LR… 🙂

    Great to see you blogging and wish you all the best with it!

    I think even if I lived within cycling distance to my workplace, I wouldn’t – when I was a student, I cycled a few miles to lectures but I recall how hazardous it was on the roads back then. I was a lot younger too!

    That said, lots of people who live near where I work cycle in as there are both locker and shower facilities, plus a salary sacrifice bike scheme – wonder if the government will scrap that as part of the recent proposals?

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    1. Hi Weenie,

      Thanks for stopping by! I think there is something to be said about being comfortable with it as well – I actually dont mind the journey in as I can catch up on reading, however it does cost me money compared to cycling!

      If I had a locker area then I may do it, but again the problem is how to keep the shirt and suit smart and well presented, and thats the harder part for me!

      I have to say I didnt bother with the government cycle to work but got a dirt cheap second hand bike – no one is going to want to steal it 🙂 I am sad that I will start to get taxed on my health and dental insurance – I may choose not to renew the dental as its probably not worth it with the tax implications, but the medical I will probably continue with, but lets see!
      FiL

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  5. Hi FiL, Great to see you’ve started a blog, I’ve enjoyed your comments elsewhere.

    I work in London and have a locker and shower facilities. I’d be really hesitant about moving to a job that didn’t have them now. It is so much better than public transport (for me).

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    1. Hi Playing with Fire,
      Thanks for stopping by, and always good to hear the feedback 🙂

      I think it is easier if you have a locker and shower facilities, or are fit enough to cycle without getting too sweaty or wet 🙂 For me, my career choice does limit my ability to say no to specific locations so I just accept that I can’t always win on that side, so I look at how to make it as efficient as possible.

      I may yet give it a whirl cycling in but we will see! 🙂
      FiL

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  6. I’m with you re the cycling. I mean what if it’s raining? It rains most of the time in Scotland. I’d be soaked. I don’t have anywhere to store waterproofs or a gym and I go to meetings etc with clients.

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    1. Hi Laura,

      Thanks for stopping by and joining the discussion!

      I dont wish to start a debate on the UK and independence, but I would be with you not cycling in! I think it is difficult, and what can be done with what you have to do. I have to take my entire “office” – so laptop, chargers for laptop and phone etc. – and never know which office I may need to visit, its tricky. It is also part of the journey, of what you are willing to give up (another future post!)

      For me its the balance I dont feel that I can do it, but there ya go – or I dont want FI enough to give up that!

      FiL

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