Family of Four Taking Flight to Financial Independence

Family of Four: One Year Budget in Spain Less Than $30,000 (An Update!)

So where are we with our journey to FI?  We are now on track to reach FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) within the next calendar year (as in on or before August 2020).

As we've mentioned previously, we plan to take off to Spain for at least a school year (and possibly go back for more).  We have a few important updates.  But first, be sure to read our previous post Family of Four: One Year Budget in Spain Less Than $40,000.  It provides specific details regarding our estimated spending (at that time).

Update: Rent / Utilities

We secured an apartment (in the historic Albaicin neighborhood of Granada)!  

As we originally mentioned in our first post on this topic, our goal was to keep our rent / utilities below $1,750 per month.  After much thought and research, we decided to rent through Airbnb (which should work for our Non-Lucrative Visa applications).  We found a great little 2 bedroom / 1 bathroom apartment (newly renovated) in the Albaicin (which is the neighborhood that we wanted) for only $930 / month.  We also have found a school for the kids that we are strongly interested in (more on that another time).  It will only be approximately a 9 minute walk to school (yes, we said walk!).  Granada is a walking town (with public transportation also) which is one of the reasons why we picked it.

Granada is located in the Andalucía region of Spain.

So why the Albaicin?  The Albaicin is a Medieval Moorish area that dates back Nasrid Kingdom.  It has narrow winding streets on a hill with little access to cars, and it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994.  We love the history and that it is so different than what the kids / we are use to now.

Back to the apartment / financial information ...

The great thing about renting through Airbnb is that the internet, water, and trash are all included in the price, so the only other utility we have to pay is electricity.  

Also we no longer have to worry about the exchange rate because this price is locked in using USD so if there are some currency exchange swings while we are in Spain, they will have minimal impact on our daily lives.  

To sum it up, $930 per month in rent and maybe $150 per month for electricity (at most).  This puts us at about $1,080 per month which is way less than our goal of staying below $1,750.  We also don't plan to be there during the warmest months (warmest = July and August) since we will arrive in Granada in September so that should help keep the bill lower.  It does get cold in Granada (compared to what we are use to in Houston) but since the apartment is fairly small, we think we will be able to heat it easily (without running up the electricity too much).  Yes, the apartment has A/C and heat (which is not available in all places there)!

How does this impact our overall spending for our first year of retirement? 

In our original post we wanted to stay under $38,400.  Now that we have some concrete numbers to work with, we will provide a financial update.

So we have lowered our already low spending from $32,071 to $27,871 (compared to our last post / estimated spending).  We will probably apply some of these savings to more travel because it is so cheap to travel between countries AND because our goal has never been to spend as little as possible.  It's about spending on what is important to us and staying within our means.  It is a balancing act!

We will continue to update this post as we go along.  

From Tara: 

So what is next?  All things!  Here are some areas that I am working on / need to work on ...

Granada, Spain: I'm researching more about Granada, Spain.  I'm mostly focusing on this right now (with the exception of several areas under "Preparation."  Again, another balancing act!).

  • History (And what to eventually share / teach the kids)...
  • Places to See
  • Basic Facts
  • Important info for living there (versus visiting).
  • Family-friendly info.
  • Other important places to know about (doctors, etc).

Preparation: I won't dive into this too much, but this involves things to take care of here and prep for when we arrive in Spain.  Here are a few examples (but there are many more!):

  • Non-lucrative Visa: I am handling this one.  A lot will go into this application for all four of us.  More on this monster another time.
  • Our Home / Our Stuff
  • Visa process for WHEN we arrive.
  • Research golf for the kids for when we arrive (our oldest plays and our youngest is also learning!)

Again, just a few examples!

Education: Although I've already found a school (hopefully!) that I am interested in for the kids (thanks to making connections with some wonderful American expats in social media groups), there is still much I would like to do to prepare.  For example (a few things to share):

  • Enrollment Process
  • Second Choice School Options
  • Creating curriculum to supplement their education (for example: English)
  • Plan for supplementing their school education through World Schooling (through travel ... ?  By helping to write blog posts?  Etc.)

Four Take Flight: There is much I want to do here to improve our blog purpose and experience over time.  Again, a few examples:

  • Improve actual blog.
  • Social media platforms.
  • Erik providing financial consulting.
  • I will provide more art curriculum / other education ideas and curriculum.

Travel: I'd like to research some of our travel plans and preparation PRIOR to arriving in Spain ... Where to?  Here are some places we are thinking.  What do you think?

  • Madrid
  • Barcelona
  • Malaga
  • Granada's more local beaches / mountains
  • Paris
  • Morocco

What do you think?  We will provide financial updates / general updates as we prepare to take flight towards financial independence.  Any questions about our journey?  Where might financial independence take you?

-Erik (and Tara)

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