The Quiet Tyranny Of The Workweek Schedule

Thank goodness it’s Friday, right?! Well, maybe not. Our culture has created a veritable mythology around each day of the week, all geared towards reaching the almighty weekend. The underlying message is that none of us enjoys what we do Monday through Friday and so of course we all have the Monday blues and are thankful that Wednesday is hump day and are ecstatic by the time old Friday finally rolls around. And then we repeat that cycle ad infinitum. Or at least, until we retire.

Frugal Hound apparently has Mondays too...

Frugal Hound apparently has Mondays too…

The Point Of Life Isn’t For Time To Pass

But what’s the point of just hoping for time to pass? Where’s the joy in angling for the weekend and dreading the week? Seems to me like wishing one’s life away. And yet, this is the model Mr. Frugalwoods and I have followed for all nine of our years in the traditional workforce.

It probably comes as no shock that we’re a highly routinized household with specific rituals for each day of the week. We find ourselves counting down to 5pm every day (I know this because we like to gchat each other little reminders of the time throughout the day–“it’s almost 4pm!”–as if the other person can’t tell time). And we’re certainly guilty of working for the weekend. Every single week. We’ve even orchestrated the food we eat according to the calendar with our tastiest vittles consumed on the weekends.

We know how to live it up on Friday nights!

We know how to live it up on Friday nights!

Mondays really are the worst and we both get into a funk about it. And by Friday, we’re elated and super jazzed for our customary at-home pizza and movie date night (which is pretty great, I can’t lie).

While we love our weekends, they’re often packed to the gills with projects and household maintenance. All fine and all stuff we enjoy doing, but there really is something of a grind to our current lifestyle. It doesn’t allow us to exert creativity when we feel creative or read when we feel contemplative or do physical work when we have excess energy to burn. Rather, we have to squeeze those activities into whatever space we have, regardless of what our bodies and minds feel like doing.

What? Do I look like a hound who can't tell time?

What? Do I look like a hound who can’t tell time?

Although Mr. FW and I are lovers of routine (and Frugal Hound is a stickler for keeping time–I swear that dog knows when it’s 6am every day), we’re not fans of our current mode of existence. I hate that I so desperately want time to pass so that I can rush home to the life I want to be living.

And once I get home, sometimes I’m so exhausted that I no longer have the inspiration to pursue the 10 random projects I thought of during the day. I pull all of these little post-it’s out of my bag with ridiculously optimistic to-do lists containing missives like “re-organize entire basement” “start writing book” “further research Vermont seasonal gardening”–all to be done on a Tuesday night, of course. What seems like an awesome idea at 11am often feels beyond daunting at 8pm.

Making Time Our Own

But what if I could start one of those projects right then and there at 11am as soon as inspiration struck? That to me would be true freedom and it’s exactly what I envision once we’re on the homestead. The ability to pursue what we want when we feel motivated will bring a clarity of purpose to our lives. If Mr. FW wakes up on a random Monday his head brimming with concepts for building a chair, I want him to be able to go out in the barn and start building a chair.

Likewise, if I find myself on a Thursday afternoon struck with an idea I feel compelled to write about, I’ll drop what I’m doing and go start writing. And if we both decide on a given Wednesday that we’re feeling a bit drained, we’ll put another log on the woodstove, brew some tea, and settle in with a few good books. We both have a strong work ethic and a tireless inclination to get things done (especially when working for ourselves), so I don’t worry that projects won’t get done. They’ll just get done on our own personal timeframe.

“Won’t You Miss Work?”

A question people pose to us quite often after they learn of our radical frugality and plans for early retirement is “won’t you get bored on the homestead when you don’t have jobs?” Our answer is always a resounding “nope.” And to be perfectly honest, the only time Mr. Frugalwoods or I ever feels boredom is when we’re at our jobs…

We don't exactly get bored not being at work...

We don’t exactly get bored when we’re not at work…

I get the sense from these conversations that some people fear that absent the structure of a job, they’ll be bored, disconnected, or aimless. We all operate in different ways and I know that what’s right for me isn’t right for other people. And, I’m certainly not saying that retiring to a homestead is for everyone either. But for us, that sentiment couldn’t be farther from the truth.

We’d rather execute tasks when it feels opportune, not when someone else tells us to. We don’t enjoy, or need, the imposed framework of going to work on set days for prescribed hours. For us, that schedule is discomfiting and not at all a reflection of when we feel most productive or capable. Not to mention that we don’t find our office work particularly inspiring or fulfilling.

I’m not sure if this makes us disorganized, free-spirited, rebellious, creative, or perhaps a mixture of all of the above. Mr. FW and I both have endless ideas for projects we want to tackle on the homestead and mastering our own schedules is key to their success.

The Efficiency of A Reverse Schedule

Yeah, still not feeling like I'd rather be at work...

Yeah, still not feeling like I’d rather be at work…

Another drawback of the work week for us is that it would be so much more efficient not to cram everything into weekends and evenings. If we could go to Home Depot at 1pm on a Monday as opposed to on Saturday morning with the rest of the humanity, it would be a vastly more efficient use of our time. By avoiding the schedule that everyone else follows, we’ll be able to optimize our time and do stuff when it makes the most sense. So much of what we do now is ruled by a format we didn’t create or even have a say in!

We already bend over backwards to avoid crowds by going to Costco on Friday nights and the grocery store early on Sunday mornings. But that’ll be nothing compared to the efficiencies we can realize once we’re outside the chains of 9-5. We practically salivate when we consider how incredibly efficient it’ll be to do those things mid-day on a weekday. Think of the time and stress saved!

Living, Not Passing Time

What I wonder is how we’ll perceive the days of the week once we’ve quit our 9-5’s and are homesteading it up. Our lives will be ruled by the natural world–the weather, the seasons, and any pressing concerns or dangers on our property that require attention.

My parents' palms on our most recent trip to CA

My parents’ palms on our most recent trip to CA

Our current work structure impedes seasonal optimization. Namely, we’re inside on computers during the best daylight hours! Plus, the summer is when you want to be in New England, and in the winter, you should travel. There’s no homestead work to be done in January, so why not, say, visit family in California… We already follow this reverse vacation pattern, which saves us terrific sums of money on airfare.

I do realize that once we have kids in school, we’ll have the natural pattern of that calendar to follow. But society won’t dictate that we have grumpy Mondays, sleepy afternoons, or coffee-fueled meetings of drudgery. What I hope most of all is that we’ll no longer find ourselves simply wishing for time to pass.

I want to approach each day with a relaxed eagerness–excited to address whichever projects are at the fore and relaxed in the feeling that my time isn’t tightly controlled and dictated to me. Of course we’ll still have deadlines and goals and tasks we need to complete on certain days, but my hope is that we’ll experience fulfillment and not stress in working towards our objectives. I never want to feel the heavy dread that weighs on me now as Monday approaches.

Mr. Frugalwoods and I have fallen prey to this prescribed weekly monotony, but I’m confident we can reform ourselves. For us, retiring early is a way to reclaim our lives and create a mode of existence that relishes the present moment. Sure, we’ll still look forward to big occasions and milestone dates, but we want to feel that what we’re doing every single day is actually living, not just marking time.

How does your week play out? Do you work for the weekends?

Get Fresh Frugalwoods Updates!

You may also like...

167 Responses

  1. I have a family member who works the weekend and is off during the week and loves that schedule, because of the fact there is no dealing with crowds when shopping, or getting other errands done. It does feel like a mad dash to the weekend only to try and cram everything in during 48 hours along with most other people. Once hitting FI they key is having meaningful activities to fill up that free time. I know I could find some. 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I can see how a reverse schedule like that would work well! And, I agree, I don’t foresee having any problem finding ways to fill my time after we’re retired 🙂

      • Amy says:

        I loved reading this. At 46, I retired 6 weeks ago and my husband is hot on my heels for a fall retirement. It amazes us that one of the first questions we get asked often is “aren’t you going to be bored?”. Ummmm, no.

    • I can happily confirm from my 14 years of retirement experience that having the time flexibility to avoid busy shopping times and rush hour traffic is a real and absolutely priceless benefit of being job-free.

      And as far as boredom in retirement goes, I’m amazed that people keep bringing that one up. I can tell you — and I keep explaining in my own blog — that it is a complete myth. You’ll only be as bored as you allow yourself to be out of (IMHO) pure mental laziness.

  2. Gretchen says:

    I couldn’t have said it better! I hated being stuck inside on a computer, during the best hours of the day! I lived for the weekends, and it was horrible! So glad you guys are getting closer and closer to this homestead!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks! It definitely feels disheartening to know we’re inside for the majority of each week. Looking forward to changing that!

  3. RayinPenn says:

    I’m 60 been at this particular firm for over 30 years. I’ve never minded going to work; I feel blessed never to have never been unemployed. My work finds me sitting behind a computer searching for ‘truths’ in vast amounts of data. It can be at times mentally challenging and I’m tired at the end of the day and greatful for Friday 5:00.

    I’m coming to the end of my full time working… I’m sure I’ll miss the 9-5 job. I’ll be greatful for the life that job help me build.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s wonderful that you’ve enjoyed your career! And, many congrats to you on approaching retirement!

  4. Kalie says:

    I’m so glad you mentioned one day having kids. They have a way of making every day an adventure, regardless of the day of the week (though of course there are lots of repetitive, mundane task that go into child care). We have learned a lot about what life is really about from having children.

    I think when people say wouldn’t you miss work they might be thinking early retirement equals watching daytime television. More likely, they just haven’t thought about a way out so they need to feel okay about working for the next couple decades.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      We’re definitely looking forward to the wild adventure of having kids! I like that you characterized it as an everyday adventure, that’s kind of how I imagine it’ll be :). Yeah, I know early retirement isn’t for everyone, but I for one don’t envision missing work 😉

  5. This is one of the reasons why it’s hard for me to contemplate leaving academia. I work a lot — often including on the weekends — but my time is mostly super flexible. If I don’t have meetings or classes scheduled, I can pretty much control where I am and what I’m doing, including bailing on the office two hours “early” to go grocery shopping, or working on my blog at 2 pm (made up for usually by putting in a couple of hours on my work project Saturday afternoon.) It really suits me.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s awesome you’ve got such a fulfilling career with a flexible schedule! I’ve heard similar things from other friends in academia. Nicely done!

  6. Jenn says:

    Great article. This is something I think about a lot. I’m lucky to have a very flexible job and really appreciate the opportunity to sometimes dash by the grocery store in the middle of the day in the middle of the week!

    If you haven’t already seen it, I think you would really enjoy this article:

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I haven’t read that one yet, but I really like David Cain’s stuff, so I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for passing it along! And, that’s great you’ve got a flexible job–makes all the difference I imagine.

  7. Kathy says:

    Forgive me, but I just hafta ask….are Frugalhound’s poses spontaneous or is she so mellow she lets you pose her? She’s hilarious!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Haha, believe it or not, that is a natural sleeping posture for her! Greyhounds like to roll on their backs and stick their legs in the air, which looks absolutely ridiculous 🙂

  8. L says:

    Great post! I have been feeling the exact same way lately. We have no plans on retiring early, but I have been thinking of choosing a more fulfilling career path lately…..that is the first time I have typed that (I have yet to say this out loud). My fiance and I work compressed weeks, we have every second Monday off, which I find helps our frame of minds. Is that something you and Mr. FW could do until the early retirement?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s a great question. We’ve talked about reducing our schedules or becoming self-employed or even changing jobs, but, we both make nice salaries and we work for good organizations, so we’ve determined the wisest thing is to stay the course. It would be tough to reach our aggressive savings goals without our two full-time jobs and we’re really focused on our 2017 retirement date, so it makes the most sense to keep plugging along.

      Also, neither of us hates our jobs–we fully recognize that, as far as 9-5 office jobs go, we’re pretty fortunate. It’s more that we just don’t want to work that traditional schedule and mode anymore. And sadly, a reduction in hours would = a reduction in pay for both of us, which isn’t a trade-off we’re willing to make at this point in time.

      I think that’s exciting you’re considering a more fulfilling career. I feel like if what you’re currently doing doesn’t make you happy, it’s a wonderful idea to explore other options. Congrats for articulating it! That’s always the first step!

      • L says:

        Sorry I should have been more accruate. We still work the same number of hours just over 9 days rather then 10, so no reduction in income. It allows us to enjoy a three day weekend every two weeks which is nice.

        Not sure where this change will lead me but it is very exciting!

      • less4success says:

        I haven’t been able to pull the trigger myself, but I feel compelled to question whether working at jobs you don’t find fulfilling for 2 mores years is really the wisest choice. Have you looked around to see if more compatible jobs are waiting for you somewhere? Especially considering that you’re planning on making money while homesteading, I’d be worried that, once you’ve left the city behind, you’ll regret not doing it sooner.

        I definitely understand where you’re coming from, as I’m struggling with inaction myself, but at some point I feel like I need to start living NOW 🙂

        • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

          We really are fine with the jobs we have–it’s just the very schedule and idea of working for someone else :). Plus, we love our salaries and need to stay on track in order to reach our goal of retiring in 2017. We’re very long-term oriented people, so it’s not a struggle for us to focus on delayed gratification.

  9. bev says:

    Hurray!! Kudos again to two young people who have figured it out early in life. I don’t hear you saying you’ll never work again, but if and when you do, it will be on your own terms, and you’ve built the financial stability to be able to say and do that. Work can be pleasurable for many people, especially when you get to dictate its terms. I’m closer to retirement and, sadly, have spent my entire adult life waiting for the weekend, only because I didn’t know any better. Hindsight is 20-20! Now, we own our own small business, and while we still work hard, we enjoy it because we are building something for us. Spring has finally arrived in Vermont, it’s Friday, we’re leaving very early and we didn’t have to ask or count vacation days to do it. So happy you figured it out while you are still young!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thank you! And, how exciting that you’ve got your own business now! We view the homestead very much as us starting a small business too and so I’m glad to hear that you’re finding it a fulfilling experience. I love the idea of working for ourselves and dictating our own terms.

  10. I’ve been without a 9-5 job for 3 weeks now and am considering myself self-employed. I’m not totally free from the week schedule since my husband has a job, but his schedule is pretty flexible. The biggest benefit so far is that I’ve tried to be more aware of when I work best to put my more difficult creative work into that time – morning/early afternoons before lunch and evenings. The afternoons are kind of a waste for me so that’s when I work out, do household chores, etc. I definitely am not dreading Mondays and ecstatic on Fridays – I’m pretty psyched all the time!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s wonderful, Emily! I like that you’re able to calibrate your schedule according to how you feel–that’s something I long to do. I just feel more productive at certain times and less so at others. How awesome too that you don’t dread Mondays :)!

  11. I’ve been trying really hard to fight the mentality of “TGIF.” I don’t want to wish away my life, counting down the seconds until the weekend. So many people around me at work do this. It just makes me think… If you hate your job that much, why don’t you find another job??? {or like you, find a way to get off the rat wheel} One exception I can see to this is the situation Hubs finds himself in. He enjoys his job, but it is physically demanding. His feet are making his life miserable and his TGIF and UGH its Monday have increased while we try to fix his feet. He’s got an appointment on Monday that could be the solution. I pray to the God of Friday that this is it!!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I feel the same way–I don’t want to be wishing for Friday, but I find myself doing it every week! I hope you can find a solution for your husband’s feet. It’s great that he enjoys his job, and I hope he can find relief from the pain. Good luck!!

  12. Sara says:

    Oh, how I feel you on this post! To give so much of our lives to ‘the man’ to get to where we are really living – sometimes I wonder if it is worth it. Maybe it would be better to just work enough on and off to pay for adventuring and set out on a worldwide quest for purpose and meaning. Of course, I would have to get rid of my house and my dogs – and my kid, of course 🙂

    I know you have AirBnB plans, but I can’t remember from your talk of the Vermont homestead if you are going to have a few farm animals or not – hobby farm style. As people who like to do for themselves, it certainly would not surprise me if you wanted to dabble.

    As I farm-raised girl (who LOVED it), I can tell you that farm animals impose their own brand of time tyranny. There is no arguing with pigs, sheep, llamas, goats, cattle, horses or even chickens. They all need to be fed and watered and mucked out. In the rain, in the snow, on the day your baby is born, when you are sick – no matter what. It all has to be done and at fairly consistently scheduled times. Finding reliable help to cover these responsibilities if you want or need to go away is not as easy as you would think. My guess is that the work is dirtier and more manual than most people (including teenagers) are willing to do – even for money! A friend in our area who runs a horse barn has a terrible time finding and keeping reliable help. Same with my many relatives who are dairy farmers.

    Maybe things are different in Vermont than in Western NY State. Just food for thought as you go about your planning…

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Great question about animals! We’re actually not planning on keeping animals for all the reasons you mentioned :). We really do want to feel much less tied down and we’ve learned through Frugal Hound that animals will not wait ;). Someday we might find ourselves more interested in incorporating animals into the homestead (perhaps starting with chickens), but it’s not in our immediate plans. We want to have the freedom to travel and I fear that a passel of farm critters would make that much more difficult. But down the road, who knows, maybe we’ll find ourselves yearning for a herd!

  13. Frugal_canuck says:

    Are you inside my head? Such a timely article again. Absolutely what I’ve been thinking lately. Putting all of our energy into work with not enough left over for family and friends by the weekend. I’ve been reading a fair bit about mindfulness and it seems like a terrific approach while we are working away to stop and enjoy the moment without wishing the week away

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Totally agree! I definitely want to be more mindful of enjoying the present moment even though I’m not currently living my ideal. I feel like having that awareness is at least a step in the right direction 🙂

  14. It is so true…my half finished closet knows how work sucks the will to do/finish projects. Its tragic.

    A new baby AND a job means less time for everything. Writing, working, sleep – everything. It is worth it!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Congrats on the new addition :)!! You must have your hands full! I’m sure that closet can wait its turn 🙂

  15. It blows my mind how quickly the day passes now that I’m working from home. By the time I take care of personal things, there’s no time left for work, haha.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hah! I could see that happening to me too… there’s always another project to tackle 🙂

  16. Hannah says:

    I’m not sure when exactly you hope to have kids (and please don’t delay as a result of this comment), but I hope you get to drink in the luxury of time on the homestead before you’ve got anklebiters running around. (Kids are nearly as demanding as bosses although they are a whole lot cuter and hopefully more flexible once they can walk, communicate, and use the bathroom).

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yeah I definitely foresee our lives changing quite a bit once we have frugal babies :). But, we’re looking forward to the adventure! It’ll be a whole new world for us…

    • No Waste says:

      Just want to echo this sentiment; kids are just as demanding as a boss.

      Actually, more so.

      Based on what I have read on this site, the Frugalwoods are in for a whole new world (I too was once a member of a DINK household and my how things have changed…)

  17. Loved this post! I find myself rushing all the time trying to get things done and hate that I can’t enjoy it. Yesterday, my wife and son were looking at flowers in the garden of our apartment complex and I was rushing them to go home to eat dinner, go to bed, because we have to wake up to go to work. It’s the same routine every work day. And then on the weekends…it can be even busier running errands and doing stuff. Like frugal hound, my 21 month old is a timekeeper too…no need for an alarm clock and no more sleeping in on weekends. So true about optimizing time…I always get caught up in rush hour traffic and waste A LOT of time in my car.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      It can definitely start to feel like a grind week in and week out. I bet your baby is an excellent timekeeper :)!

  18. Incredibly well put! I can definitely relate how squeezing the things I’m most passionate about (writing, running, reading, cooking, etc.) after the confines of a traditional 8-5pm leaves me absolutely exhausted. The weekends aren’t so much for rest anymore, but to catch up on the weekly to-do list outside of work I have created. I am fortunate to have a traditional 8-5pm that definitely values family & your personal time. Once you leave the office, no one is expected to work or check their email – which gives a bit more flexibility than other roles. I daydream about all the books I could be reading if only I had the mental liveliness & time to do so! It will be incredibly exciting for you & Mr. FW to see what projects you will accomplish on your homestead when you answer the call of inspiration & with a new alertness!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s really nice that you don’t have to take work home–makes a huge difference to feel like the evenings and weekends are truly your own! Ahh yes, I daydream about reading ALL the books too 🙂

  19. Mary says:

    I am a follower of Jim Rohn who said the following on living your days – “One of the major reasons why people are not doing well is because they keep trying to get through the day. A more worthy challenge is to try to get from the day. We must become sensitive enough to observe and ponder what is happening around us. Be alert. Be awake. Let life and all of its subtle messages touch us.

    Often, the most extraordinary opportunities are hidden among the seemingly insignificant events of life. If we do not pay attention to these events, we can easily miss the opportunities.”

    The greyt-hounds have a way of keeping us on schedule! They also get me out of the house to enjoy nature and get some exercise. I happen to be one of those who loves working and spending time with people. Then going home gives me the quiet time to get done what needs to be done. You two are certainly on the right track…wish I had that much sense when I was your age.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s a wonderful quote–thank you for sharing! I certainly want to be “getting” from each day. Sounds like a goal worth to work towards! And, the hounds do indeed have a knack for making sure walks and meals are on time 🙂

  20. Steve Adcock says:

    I think it would be extremely sad if WORK was the only thing that could possibly keep you busy during the day. Asking the question, “Won’t you get bored after retirement” assumes that people’s lives are barren and void of anything meaningful. Work is a means to an end. For me, it sure as hell doesn’t define who I am.

    I used to work for the weekends, but since I found my current work-from-home gig, I no longer do. My working conditions are very, very good. I make good money while spending my day both in front of the computer doing my day job and putzing around the backyard, petting the dogs, cooling off in the pool or going to the gym at 10am. The ability to completely control your own schedule, rather than your schedule controlling you, amounts to the kind of bliss that is nearly indescribable.

    Whether it’s a Tuesday or a Saturday, honestly, I don’t much care any more. 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Sounds like you’ve got an ideal system worked out–nice! I agree with you, work is definitely a means to an end for us and certainly doesn’t define who we are.

  21. Kate says:

    I really am impressed that you both have figured out life so young, I wish I could go done the same! I know I am in no position to retire early but oh I dream of it. I have made a lot of foolish mistakes over my lifetime and now it’s time to pay the piper. I sure have found inspiration to keep pushing forward from your blog to be able to retire someday. Hind sight is always 20/20.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I think it’s all about moving forward and planning for the future you want. I like your attitude of pushing ahead and not worrying about the past. Glad you found us :)!

  22. Too much work and no play makes Fervent Finance a dull boy. Work has been very busy lately, but it’s all getting me towards my goal of FI. I don’t know whether to call you smart or lucky for having a job that you can leave at 5pm!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      It definitely helps to have that goal of FI ahead of you! Always good to be working towards something 🙂

  23. Norm says:

    We really are on the same wavelength. I was having this exact thought today! I have un-finished post-it notes too, like the one that says “wash bedroom windows.” Shouldn’t take long, but I find a way not to crawl out onto the porch roof and do it. So much of your average day is taken up by working, and especially after you add in transportation, there’s barely anything left for your own private life. It’s destructive.

    For years I had a 9 day bi-weekly work period, where I got every other Friday off in exchange for working a half hour or an hour extra on the 9 other days. It was glorious! I got SO MUCH done on those Fridays off. Scheduled appointments, getting to stores only open on weekdays, tackling projects in a big chunk instead of piecemeal. It really is more efficient. I came to depend on them. But now the powers that be decided to take away, and I don’t know what to do with myself.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      If it’s any consolation, I think we’ve washed the exterior of our windows only once…

      Every other Friday off would be a pretty ideal arrangement. Sadly, neither of our employers are that flexible and it’s not an option. But wow, I bet you did get a lot done! Sorry to hear they went by the wayside 🙁

  24. Robert says:

    Very well articulated. I feel all the same things you describe here. My goal recently has been to focus as much as possible on still “living, not passing time” as I work toward ER — finding activities I can fit into the workday so I’m active rather than just counting down the days until I’m not working anymore.

    I also couldn’t agree more with “And to be perfectly honest, the only time Mr. Frugalwoods or I ever feels boredom is when we’re at our jobs.” Exactly!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      So true about the boredom element! We’re never bored when our time is our own! And, I too am trying to enjoy every day and not just tick off the hours to early retirement…

  25. Mr. 1500 says:

    Ha, you took the post out of my draft folder! 🙂

    I cringe whenever I hear someone say ‘I can’t wait for the weekend!’ or ‘Only three weeks until vacation!’ Would someone with limited time utter those words? Hell no; they’d cherish every breath and every second.

    There is a quote in the Stephen King book Revival that goes something like this: “It is wicked to wish your days away.” How true. I can’t wait to meander through life instead of the every-single-friggin’-second-is-accounted-for life that I currently live. Wait, did I just wish some time away?!? Crap. You know what I mean.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Great minds think alike :)! We definitely find ourselves in the precarious balance of enjoying life now but also looking so forward to early retirement and really trying not to wish life away.

  26. Christy says:

    From the time I was a young child I wanted to become a teacher and today I consider myself fortunate to teach at a community college. Teaching has been both a passion and a calling for me for the last twenty-five years. That being said, the job has changed so much in recent years that I am always “on.” Students expect educators to be available on the weekend to answer questions about on-line courese or respond to e-mails. Administrators want us to skype into meetings while we attend family reunions or go on vacation.

    I came to the idea of financial independence at an older age than the FrugalWoods Family, and I look forward to the time in my future where my time is my own. For now staying present in the present is as much a part of my life as saving and investing. For the future, I am confident of my ability to provide structure for myself and pursue the things that interest me.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s wonderful that you pursued a career you’re passionate about. But, I certainly understand the desire to have your time be your own. I like that you’re able to balance enjoying your present with eager anticipation for your future–that sounds like the perfect blend.

  27. Mr Zombie says:

    Great post!

    I do find it a little sad that sometimes my mindframe is “I can’t wait for X years down the line when I am FI”, it’s like wishing away years of your life.

    Most of our natural life follows some sort of cycle, right. We feel energetic and we feel tired. We are happy and we are sad. We feel hungry and not hungry (ok that doesn’t work). Even the stock market and the economy follows a cycle. But these cycles are never ‘fixed’. Sometimes it feels like the only thing we tend to anchor down, as a society, is the working week. ‘You must be here between these hours. Those are the hours that you shall work, regardless of productivity’. I generalise, of course.

    What is a shame about working during the week like this, is that we then squeeze in chores around our time at work. And they become exactly that, chores. Tasks that we hate, only because we are tired and rushed. Cooking doesn’t have to be a chore does it (I love it though 🙂 ). Even doing the washing up or the ironing doesn’t have to be.

    Still, like you have mentioned before, it is a privileged problem to have 🙂

    Have a good weekend,

    Mr Z

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Well said. This is exactly how I feel: “Those are the hours that you shall work, regardless of productivity.” It’s just not a schedule that accounts for anyone’s natural rhythms in a day. And, I totally agree on the chores. Mr. FW and I enjoy doing stuff around the house but hate that it gets truncated into very small allotments of time. And, yes, it certainly is a privileged, first world problem!

  28. Mrs. Maroon says:

    Yes, yes and yes!! Everything you’ve said. It all floats around in my head, but you’ve managed to get it down on paper (screen). Although it’s still wishing time to pass, bring on early retirement!!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Haha, yes! It’s that odd balance of enjoying the present but hoping for our ER date!

  29. middle class says:

    I’ve been fortunate that I like my current job and have/had good relationships with most of my bosses and co-workers. While I can’t say that my time is maximized working for “the man”, it is possible to make it better so you’re not counting the days til Friday or trying to do everything on weekends. First I take lunch at 11:30 instead of noon. That extra half hour makes a huge difference in terms of traffic and parking. At lunch, I either read a good book, go out or run errands such as grocery shopping, oil changes and hair cuts. Doing all these errands at lunch saves me from packing everything in on the weekends or after work. Again, I’m able to do these things because my boss who trusts me to do my work and manage my own project deadlines. There is also downtime during my work (sometimes) that allows me to blog, write, and take online classes.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That flexibility sounds great! I usually have to eat lunch at my desk and continue working, but, I’m OK with it since it means I can usually leave right at 5 :).

  30. I think that is the one slight edge of freelancing. You pretty much do work every single day (including weekends), but the flexibility is there, which is why I can work out at my optimal hours between 8-10am. Of course with that comes many sacrifices too. People who would get bored with “no work” have no real hobbies I think. Even when I’m not “working” on paid stuff, I’m constantly working on creative projects, working out, reading, etc. Trust me, you won’t get bored. 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Managing your own schedule definitely sounds like an upside! And, I can’t see you (or me) ever being bored :). There’s just too much to do/explore in life!

  31. Michelle says:

    Love Love LOVE this post. Even though I am still working, the fact that I am my own boss means that people often say the same things to me. “Aren’t you bored?” “Don’t you miss working?”

    I’m still working! I just actually like what I’m doing now.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s wonderful that you love what you do! I look forward to being my own boss too–I just really like setting my own goals/parameters/hours.

  32. Devan says:

    You speak the truth, Mrs. Frugalwoods. I’m in Western Mass, and as the weather warms, I already find myself beginning to inventory those precious summer weekends, thinking about what projects and adventures and travels we can fit in and what we just won’t have time for because 5 of every 7 days have already been scheduled for us. My husband and I are making progress toward financial goals that will allow us more flexibility in our work within the next few years, so that we can exit the weekly grind and focus on the side gigs we’re passionate about. In the meantime, I’ve taken a cue from you guys and have begun getting up earlier and building time into the morning to put some of my best energy toward the things I really want to be doing. I’ve found that the challenge of getting out of bed on a weekday morning can be transformed, when you know you the first work you’ll be doing is for yourself. I’ve been reading Frugalwoods for a few months now, but this is my first time commenting. I really enjoy your writing, and you’ve inspired me in many ways. Putting some frugal auto-pilot strategies in place has been helpful and actually really fun! As an example, I challenged myself to pack my own lunch for work every day in April and I succeeded! Thanks for all the effort you put into the blog, it’s one of my favorite reads each week.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hi, Devan! Thank you so much for reading and thanks for commenting–it’s wonderful to hear from you. Congrats on packing your lunch for all of April–that’s some serious money saved! And, I’m so glad to hear that frugal autopilot and getting up early have both had positive impacts for you. There really is something special about the early morning hours. Even though I’m still a bit sleepy, I find that I’m often at my most creative (in fact, this post was written in the early morning hours : ) ). Sounds like you and your husband have a great plan in place to be able to leave the weekly grid–that’s awesome. I wish you all the best and I hope you’ll share more on future posts!

  33. This is some good stuff. My ER goals are still far off (10 years), so I really need to change my attitude about work itself. I shouldn’t blame the system and I can make myself happy wherever I’m at. I feel like it’s easy to think about ER and focus only on all the positives instead of just realizing that we have the ability to be content with any situation (not that we don’t want to change it). Just be more conscious about it all instead of going along with the crowd and complaining all the time. /endmumble

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I think you hit on a great point there–it really is possible to feel content with (almost) any situation and getting to that place is a good thing! It’s certainly something I struggle with but am working towards.

  34. Revanche says:

    I stopped working for the weekends when I reached one of my career goals of hitting a level of autonomy that meant that I worked Sunday through Saturday on my own self determined and regulated schedule. There were still external deadlines to mind but by and large I had a certain amount of control over that. That meant I could drop what I was working on to walk Seamus or throw a toy for him, or travel with PiC during his vacation time, or run errands during the week without fretting about cramming it in precious Saturday or Sunday free time.

    Having Little Bean has changed some of that due to childcare constraints but we’ve still made that work to our advantage. I worked many more hours than the standard 40 because flexible hours were so easy to pop in and out, and I don’t do so many hours now, but I still don’t stress about clocking in and out because I know the work will get done.

    I will miss being able to avoid high season for travel once LB is in school, I didn’t know that vacations aren’t excusable absences having never been on vacation during the school year as a kid!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I have the same fear of vacationing during the high season once we have kids in school too! I much prefer counter-scheduling everything. That’s great that you’ve had flexibility in your work hours!

  35. “Weekend” has almost no meaning for me. Mr. FP is around more on the weekends, so that’s nice, and I don’t take Big Brother to preschool on Saturday or Sunday, but I haven’t had “weekends” in years!

    On the one hand, I can go to an exercise class or ride my bike to Starbucks if they send me a half-price coupon; on the other hand, it’s hard to find time for concentrated projects with the kids underfoot. I’m getting better at this now that they play more independently and we have a backyard they can play in.

    You guys seem really with it and I’m confident you will be able to do lots of things with your future Frugal Babies in tow… I will, however, point out that 1pm is toddler naptime, and you will probably be at home with a good book or catching up on some sewing (or whatever quiet hobbies you happen to pursue) or something at that time rather than at Home Depot :-).

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Good to know about nap time! I’m sure we’ll recalibrate much of our schedule once we have kids 🙂

  36. +1 to the comment above about animals on the homestead. I want to raise some, but we will have some years where we only have meat birds or hogs, so that after slaughter we get a breather for some possible travel.

    And consider homeschooling, even if for only some of the years. School schedules are their own tyranny.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      We’re actually not planning on having animals–at least not at first because we do want to have as much freedom as possible. I could imagine us deciding to at least get chickens later on, but, we don’t want to dive into farm critters immediately. Homeschooling is an interesting option and I imagine something we might consider once we get to that stage.

  37. Katedev says:

    As I work 1430-2300 Monday-Friday at a job I adore, I need to tell you that it is not all roses and kittens shopping during the day. I actively avoid stores during the day. Why? Because that is when the mommy and me brigade is out. Almost everywhere I go, be it Trader Joe’s or Target, there are women and their children. And they are all looking at me askance because I’m not toting a tot or have one in a sling, or have one in the cart. Or all of the above.
    So I shop either really early, or really late. Or at Home Depot where there aren’t many children.
    My stats: 39 years old, nurse, married for 17 years, no children.

    • Carrie says:

      @ Katedev
      Should moms and their kids not go out and shop during the day? I guess I don’t understand ( what seems to be) your very negative view of moms and kids. Don’t they have just as much right to be at a store as you do? Maybe try to flash a smile their way next time instead of feeling bothered by them. It’d probably brighten everyone’s day 🙂

      My stats: 40 yr old homeschooling mom, married for 15 yrs with 4 children.

    • Revanche says:

      I won’t speak for any other mothers but as a new mom with a baby and still working full time, if I saw you shopping at the same time my look would be a laugh & touch of wistfulness: “I remember working nights and shopping solo! That was awesome.”

      Though I have to agree with Carrie that your view of moms w/kids sounds a bit negative. The “mommy and me brigade” phrase sounds somewhat pejorative, I suppose.

  38. Even Steven says:

    Where do I begin, really really liked this post. Making Time Our Own, couldn’t agree more, I feel like telling people no really I’m OK with relaxing and working on projects that I find interesting, sure it’s nice to bike to work, but wouldn’t it be nicer to bike to the lake for a picnic instead or grab your coffee and enjoy your Monday with a hike.

    When you mentioned Costco on Friday night and Sunday morning grocery shopping I thought you were reading my Google calendar, I went to Costco last Saturday because we were near by and I repeatedly said please do not let me ever do this again, the stress and the people makes me want to crawl into a ball in my back seat.

    Lastly, I’m sure the Kirkland brand is good for pizza and well priced, but if you see a Home Run Inn pizza at Costco I suggest you give it a try,, might be the best frozen pizza out there.

    Hope you guys have a great weekend.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Costco on a Saturday sounds like my version of a terrible nightmare! Friday nights are truly the best time to be there–it’s almost an empty store.

      Agreed on the delight of biking just about anywhere but work :). I’ll check out Home Run Inn pizza, but, I gotta tell you, the Kirkland brand is super delicious and it’s about $3/pizza!

  39. I think a lot of people live for the weekends simply because the week can be so draining. I think even if you enjoy what you do, it can be tiring with how much gets packed into a week. If you are even busy 2 or 3 nights of the week you can easily be drained by end of the week – again, even if you absolutely love what you do. The weekends are definitely filled with projects for us as well, and with applying to grad school (and attending it) we are both busy almost constantly. I like the plan you have for your homestead and clearly it’s the life you desire.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Good luck with grad school! Oh man, I didn’t have anything resembling a weekend the whole time I was getting my Master’s, but, it was worth it in the end.

  40. It’s so true … even as a stay at home mom, I look forward to the weekend where the schedule lets up and we are free to do the things there is no time for during the week. It’s the same way with payday. You want the money but you don’t want time to fly;0)

  41. Mrs SSC says:

    I swear we were just having this conversation last night! Part of what has put us on this train of thought is the amazing spring weather we are having this week… Just staring out the office window and wishing we could be doing anything outside!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Agreed! Today is going to be our warmest day yet this year and where will we be? Inside our offices…

  42. Kimberly says:

    Kids don’t necessarily impede travel. We worldschool – a version of homeschooling – our three daughters. One has graduated at 16 and attends college, another graduating this year and only a middle schooler left now. They have traveled all over and seen the things up close that most only read about in books. Plus grades are really not important. Its about the journey, not the end result.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Sounds like a very interesting system! I like the idea of taking kids around the world–I know I’ve learned so much by traveling. Thanks for sharing!

  43. Tre says:

    I have to admit that I take advantage of working from home to do my shopping in the morning when everyone else is working. It’s great!

  44. Very true. I used to count down the days and the hours and watch the clock as if I could, through the magic of telekinesis, move the hands closer to 5 every day. I realized at some point that it’s a waste to live that way, but didn’t really internalize it until after I retired early.

    Shortly after early retirement, I realized “hey, this is the rest of my life. If I’m not doing it now, I’m never going to do it. No excuses!”. I still feel like the days slip by without a lot of accomplishments, but that’s mostly because I prioritize fun and leisure much more highly than being productive.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s kind of how I imagine we’ll feel after retiring too–that it’s the time to live and do everything we want to accomplish! I like that you prioritize fun, that seems like a great way to keep the balance of not being dogged by the old “productivity” mentality (which gets me sometimes).

  45. Caitlin says:

    I agree with and enjoy this post, but as some other commenters have mentioned, it seems a little sad to wish your life away–even for the next few years before you can retire early. I completely understand your points and I feel this way too sometimes, but there are several things you can do to mitigate the downsides, even without a major work schedule overhaul. One major thing that came to mind is to plan something fun for Sunday evening. It sounds odd but most people are free and it gives you something to look forward to. My extended family and I get together almost every Sunday night for a small potluck dinner, rotating who is hosting. It’s very casual and gives us a chance to catch up. We show up around 5:30 and leave by 8:00 at the latest, so it’s not a big time commitment. When I host I always have leftovers so Monday’s lunch and/or dinner is taken care of. It’s a nice distraction so I rarely get those Sunday night blues anymore.

    My work schedule isn’t flexible and I have limited vacation time, but I try to make the best of things. I try to make a list of three things to do each day. If I get more done, great, but if not at least I got those three things done. If you can go to Costco Friday night, you could also go to Home Depot on Friday night or another weeknight. For a big job like organizing the basement, I break it down into smaller parts and put one smaller part on my list for a weekday. It’s certainly nicer to get a project finished in one go but it’s not a requirement for most projects.

    Again, I don’t disagree with any of your points, but I think there are some good solutions for the interim, especially for people who aren’t quite as close to early retirement as the Frugalwoods (myself included). It’s a good motivation to save money and work towards a better working situation, but we don’t have to wish our lives away, either.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yep, totally agree on not wanting to wish life away–especially these years before early retirement! For us, it’s all about finding ways to enjoy the present while looking forward to the future.

  46. MEL810 says:

    My problem is that, at my age (almost 65 ) and with my health problems, I feel drained after work no matter what I do. By the time I get home ( I take the commuter bus and read on the bus) and we have dinner (later than I like because he is on a 12 hour day but he is on 7 days/off 7 days) and wash up, it is almost time to go to bed. Not the life for me.
    I don’t hate my job but I am getting truly bored with it now as my tasks are so repetitive. I have designed a few ways to liven things up but still the bulk of my work is boring me to tears. Fortunately, I can put on headphones and listen to music! On warm sunny days I take my lunch break in the plaza down the street and read a book while I gobble my sandwich. That does help. My office used to have a great view from our window but once the frigging mega law firm decided they need a new humongo office building, it was adios beautiful window view. This links to an article and picture of our ugly view!
    My job does have a sense of mission, even if I am bored: I work in the Central Registry of Child Abuse and Neglect and my job is screening forms of applicants to jobs/positions (teachers,daycare,foster/adoptive parents, volunteers, nurses,home care workers,etc.) against that database. My job is to keep offenders against children from working with children. It is often the last line of defense against an offender being with kids. And I see some things that would make your hair curl vis-a-vis offenses against kids. And idiots who know they have a CRS charge trying to work with kids. FIND ANOTHER LINE OF WORK, A**H****! Working with kids is NOT for you!
    Having said that, between the stress, the boredom and my health, I may not last until I am vested. So right now I am getting training from a few online venues so I can transition over to doing work that I love on my time. I do want to do something with my art and design work and with data/information search of some sort.
    The up at 6:30 a.m. thing is for the chickens. I am a later in the day person by body clock and always have been. Getting up even earlier to do more ain’t gonna happen.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That is wonderfully important work you’re doing, even if it is boring. And, it’s great that you’re exploring other avenues–it would be awesome if you could find something that you love and that’s fulfilling!
      P.S. Too bad about your view.

  47. Kim from Philadelphia says:

    I have cut back on my hours over the past several years-!sparked initially by my Mom’s illness and my subsequent caregiving to her. I had worked 50+ hours a week plus every third weekend. I now work no nights, no weekends, and 3.5 days a week.
    It’s made a huge quality of life improvement as far as my relationships and mental health.
    Do I miss the additional income? No- because I’m also a frugal weirdo and chose to slow down in my 40’s.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Sounds like you’ve struck a great balance! And, that’s fabulous you don’t need the additional income–way to go on frugaling it up.

  48. Great post! I love the thoughts and “answers” to people’s questions about what you’ll be feeling after you quite your job. I wouldn’t miss mine either. 🙂

  49. brian says:

    I agree with stephanie and justin above… that I’m working from home every day, I feel like the day flies by and I can’t get everything done that I want! Yet, I’m still crazy productive the entire day, but I do now prioritize my own physical needs (run, bike, pull ups, cooking healthy cheap food…) over my need to get some work done.
    I’m finding that I still enjoy having a ‘schedule’ to keep, and I now look forward to phone calls as its a good way to keep in touch with others.

    Its an adjustment, for sure, but a good one. Keep dreaming big and hustling to get what you want….it will be here before you know it! And don’t let anyone every make you think that you’ll be ‘bored’ in retirement. Boredom comes to those who are idle with their life, not to people who are self-motivated enough to create popular blogs from scratch.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Working from home definitely sounds like it brings a better balance to one’s day. That’s great that you’re able to do it!

  50. Jessica says:

    Yes, this! Once I started to realize how much time and energy my job takes up it really started to bother me. Right now my work schedule dictates the rest of my life. I really would love the flexibility to handle errands mid-day or to work when my energy levels are highest. And as much as I try not to wish for the passage of time, I still do it every day that I’m at work. I hate that!

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Yep! We do try and “leave work at work” in order to maximise the time we have together in the mornings and evenings… but it is astounding how much of our waking hours over the course of a year are devoted to our employers. Not something we want to continue for very much longer!

  51. Monica says:

    I had to chuckle as I read this post. I have a very flexible job (academic research scientist) and am more or less my own boss, so for much of my life I never had to set the alarm or arrive at work at a specific time (with exception for a meeting or flight here or there). I would just wake up when I woke up naturally, get ready and go to work. Of course, being ambitious and loving my job, I would spend quite a lot of time at work and was very happy. However, I had the freedom to come and go as I pleased, to do errands in the middle of the day or on my way to work. It was all quite nice. THEN I HAD CHILDREN. Actually, not all that much changed while they were in daycare (at my workplace) because no one at daycare cares when the kids arrive, so I continued with my no alarm clock mornings for a blissful 5 years more. However, when my oldest went to actual kindergarten, suddenly we had to have a real schedule and I had to start actually setting an alarm (I was 45 by this point so I had quite a good ” no alarm clock” run). In any case, I hear you – and I hope that once your have your family, you are able to adult accordingly (home school maybe?).

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Hah, starting an alarm at 45 seems like winning to me! Thankfully we wake up pretty early somewhat naturally, so I’m not too worried about kids disrupting our schedule.

  52. I currently work very part-time, even though we could use additional money to pay off our debts faster, so I can work around my daughter’s school schedule. I love having several weekdays off each week, for precisely the reason you mentioned: everything is so much less busy than on the weekends! On Mondays, after my daughter gets on the bus, I immediately get in my car and drive to the grocery store, which is blissfully empty at 8:50 on weekdays!

    I think the structure of work has evolved a great deal in the last decade or so, and it’s great that it can be defined and organized in so many different ways now. Of course, there’s still more work to be done on this…

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Yeah, a flexible work schedule is becoming more common with knowledge workers. Though that often is a double edged sword. Flexible often means “always on call”. At least in the IT space this is a common complaint. Sure it’s no big deal if you come in at 10am on tuesday… but if something goes wrong at 4am on Sunday morning you’re going to be paged 🙂

  53. I used to think that I’d never want to retire until I was physically unable. But recently I realized that the work I find most satisfying is things like growing and making my own food, organizing and serving others. These are things I can pursue more if I weren’t working traditionally. So now I’ve changed my financial goals to save as much for retirement as I reasonably can with the hope that I can retire early enough to enjoy those other types of “work.”

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Yep, we’re on the same page there! Plus the satisfaction of building something (metaphorically or literally) yourself, to be used by your family, is an amazing feeling.

  54. Kirsten says:

    You echo a lot of my reasons for wanting to be a stay at home mom. Some if it is for the kids. Some of it is for me. I have already held my dream job and moved on from it. I feel like, at 35, I am past my career prime. I’m done with it. What I do now is boring. I hate going in to work and I don’t really see other jobs being much better. I’m good at what I do… But it’s just boring to me.

    And then I have to cram all my living in to Saturday (because Sunday is church, then baby naps, then evening church service and then we are done). That’s every errand. Every bit of cleaning. And despite my best intentions to be more productive – it never happens. It leaves me feeling suffocated. I just want to be able to do things when I want to do them!!

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      The “weekend sprint” can be very demoralizing. I know that we have things on our “this weekend” list that have been there since February… there’s always more to do than time to do it!

      Honestly, every once in a while I’m tempted to take a vacation day just to catch up on home projects. But then I feel like I should be using those days for actual rest and relaxation… 🙂

  55. William says:

    Great article, thanks for sharing your personal thoughts and experiences like this!

    “What seems like an awesome idea at 11am often feels beyond daunting at 8pm.”

    This sentence in particular really hits home. Often I blame myself for being lazy instead of admitting I am just drained from my daily energy after a full day of work. Lots of plans and ideas, little time and energy. Lets change that asap!

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      I do really feel like we all have a certain amount of “thinking” that we can apply in a day. When that tank is empty… personally I can’t do much more than sit on the couch and veg out!

      It’s one of the reasons we now tend to get up early and go to bed early. By shifting our extra time in the day to _before_ we go to work, we get to spend part of our “thinking” on personal projects before it’s consumed by our employers.

  56. I have to say it does often feel like I’m working for the weekend (now that 80’s Loverboy tune is stuck in my head) yet sometimes I’m OK with the office routine. For me, my ideal situation would be to do my current job but on a part-time basis and it’s a goal in mind for ten years from now at the latest. You’re not alone in your feelings. Frugal New Englander’s unite! Cari in New Hampshire 🙂

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Woohoo New England! I too enjoy my current job but just kinda wish I didn’t do it 60 hours a week. I wouldn’t be shocked if I end up doing a bit of consulting after moving to the homestead… just to scratch that itch.

  57. Mrs. Frugalista says:

    I am a school teacher and despite of the challenges, I love that my work schedule is 7:30-2:30. Teachers do put in many hours after work hours but I can grade papers or plan lessons sitting at bench at the park, while waiting for the doctor to see me etc., not to mention summers off. I feel grateful for my work schedule.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      That does seem like a pretty good schedule! I know some teachers that do year-round school, and I always felt they were getting the short end of the teacher-schedule-stick! 🙂

  58. Jamie says:

    Have you ever considered homeschooling? I can’t remember if I’ve read about it on your blog.

    Our kids went to school for a few years, then were interested in homeschooling. It was something my husband and I had always been interested in doing with them, so we were happy. 🙂

    My husband works a 9-day fortnight (extra minutes on the other days, so no loss of pay). He also works different day-shifts, so some mornings he is here until 9.30 and other days he is home at 4pm. It allows for some great flexibility (but not are good as being retired!)

    We run our homeschool terms with 5-week terms followed by a one week holiday/break. It is rare that it falls in line with the regular school year, so we can do things like climb Mt Kosciusko on a Friday during school term and avoid the masses! We are also planning trip to Europe and the Middle East later in the year. We will probably use those weeks as our ‘long holiday’ for the year, take a week off for Christmas and then do school through the summer, rather than the usual 6 weeks kids have off over Christmas break here in Australia.

    Of course, we are still a bit tied down with after-school activities, but they are much more flexible than the standard school week most families face. And we can always take a season off from soccer and do something else. Schools here frown on you taking any time off during the school term.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      We’re not closed to the idea of homeschooling. It seems to offer a ton of benefits, but also take a ton of parental time. I think we’ll have to see how the schools are in our eventual homestead town and then make a decision. Many of the very small towns we’ve looked at so far have quite good schools… with very small class sizes.

      But that schedule flexibility of homeschooling is very appealing.

      • Hi, great post! I was just going to ask the same, if you’ve considered home schooling. My wife and I are hoping to have a child by the time we retire (in 3-4 years) and are considering the idea of home schooling. Even though it would take a lot of our time, we’re very attracted to the possibility of being able to travel and take our future children on trips during the off seasons. Agree, it’s a very appealing endeavor.

  59. Greypaws says:

    ROFL — Quote “Mr. Frugalwoods May 4, 2015 at 7:19 am
    Hah, starting an alarm at 45 seems like winning to me! Thankfully we wake up pretty early somewhat naturally, so I’m not too worried about kids disrupting our schedule.”

    Dear Mr FW, seriously, those cute beasties will disrupt your schedule from within a month of conception until the day you draw your last breath! It’s okay to think otherwise for now but be prepared to do a total 360. You will also discover the benefits of 20 minute cat naps. Ask both sets of your parents, relatives, friends about the pitfalls of parenthood 🙂 Now that’s not to say the cuties don’t have their rewards, (we have one of those cuties ourselves) otherwise the human race would have died out centuries ago. My brother & SIL couldn’t have children and although they grieved their absence in the early years of marriage, since then they’ve changed their minds. They have made a wonderful life for themselves, wouldn’t have changed a thing and are actually happy the way things turned out.

    I personally think part of the week drudgery, TGIF and overload weekends/days off is because we don’t take enough time to smell the roses, each & every day. You’d be amazed at the burst of energy and how much you’ll look forward to a weekday evening if you execute an impromptu picnic outdoors if the weather is nice or on the living room floor if it’s cruddy. Everyone pitches in to get the meal ready & does the same with clean up. Does anyone still get out the game boards after dinner or put pictures puzzles together with the whole family crowded around the dining room table? That’s some of the stuff we always did with our son, even on school evenings and still there was time to do chores and homework. You’ll get more out of your quality family time if you turn off all electronics & phones/TV’s ect. Unless you are on call for your job or the president of the US, the world will not end if you aren’t online for 2 hours.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I hear ya on kids changing everything! We’re definitely looking forward to that whole new adventure filled with extreme surprises :).

      And, amen to smelling the roses everyday! We love taking walks with Frugal Hound on weekday evenings, which is such a wonderful way to recharge and enjoy our time together. I love that you did all that fun stuff with your son on weeknights–I bet he has wonderful memories of that!

  60. Chonce says:

    Love this! You summed it up perfectly. It’s so easy to get caught up in that mindset of living for Friday when you work a 9-5. I’ve been trying hard to avoid it though and actually start looking forward to Mondays and the week. Life seems so much more meaningful when you’re living for each day and not just waiting for time to pass by.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks! We try to take things one day at a time, though sometimes it’s tempting to only focus on the homestead plan. I think a healthy mix of dreaming and reality is what we’re striving for in the end.

  61. NZ Muse says:

    Aw, this bums me out! Sorry that your jobs feel so unfulfilling. I genuinely enjoy my work (of course it’d be better to be independently wealthy and occasionally I do wonder if I shouldn’t just have gone into something heinous but lucrative, made and saved and invested all my money, and then quit the rat race … but realistically I don’t think I could have handled that.)

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Heh, don’t be bummed on our account. We have it pretty darned good. Our jobs do good work, pay us well, and treat us with respect (mostly). It’s just that we’re realizing more and more that we’re not the 9-5 type, even with things we otherwise like.

  62. susanna says:

    I love this post. It’s my view entirely. Unlike you guys, however, I have not historically stayed the course thanks to a good plan. In my past10 work years I have had probably 5 jobs. I bail because I feel that I am throwing away my life looking outside at the real world and living until my next day off. I think those fortunate people who found work that is truly meaningful and interesting to them are the luckiest of all. I work in a well-regarded helping profession (after going back to school to get my degree when my daughter was launched), but I am once again unemployed after bolting from a claustrophobic job. I wish I could accept or get over this overwhelming feeling of throwing my life away when I am required to be at work. I seem to have boundless energy and enthusiasm for everything else in my life.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Yeah, it’s a tough slog sometimes. It’s also sometimes hard because we *probably* could do the homestead plan now and be fine. We’re working for another 2 years for an added financial safety factor… which occasionally isn’t all that motivating. 🙂

      For us, it does really help to have the broader goal of what we want to do post-jobs. The homestead keeps us engaged on days where it would be easy to checkout.

  63. Cat Alford says:

    Nicely said. I think you def will enjoy all those days on the homestead. At times I get a little antsy working from home even though I have total control of my day. Some days are definitely better than others, some days are more structured than others but yes the point is that you can go somewhere at 1pm without hoardes of people and that is a definite plus.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Ahh yes, avoiding the hordes sounds like bliss :)! I need some structure in my days too–I look forward to being able to create it myself. I am a routine-oriented person at heart 🙂

  64. I admire your endless ideas Frugalwoods. It’s like every idea you come up is really good and can get positive results in an instant! By the way, me? I like working on weekends for my side hustles, which is the only time I could have to get more much work done. Enjoy all days on the homestead!

  65. I hear the same thing about retiring early: “won’t you miss work?” I think people get confused with the idea of having a job vs. having work. Not needing a job to pay the bills doesn’t translate to not having work to do! I enjoyed reading the post.

  66. Chris Muller says:

    I actually am starting to dread Sundays, just in anticipation of the upcoming Monday, on some weeks. I think it’s great that you have your goals in mind on what you want to accomplish and what kind of life you’ll lead after you get out of the rat race. My wife and I are in the same boat. Some people truly love working long hours and long weeks, and that’s great, but we too would rather experience life and not blow through it by working forever.

    One temporary solution is to find a job that you absolutely love (ok, not realistic…but how about something that you are “pretty good” with?). I know this is easier said than done, but as my wife says – the job we have is temporary. We can quit at any time we desire. Kind of scary to think about, but it’s true. We don’t have to be slaves to our jobs, we just get stuck in a rut. If you can find a job that you like 50-60% of the time, then you’re on track. I noticed a dramatic change when I went from a job that was the same tasks over and over again, to a more freeing leadership position where I create my own goals and workday. It definitely has it’s challenges and frustrations, but it’s helped get me through the week, lol.

    Excellent post, though – you’ve said the words that all of us are probably keeping in our heads and it makes me feel better that I’m not the only one. Thanks again!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I’m with you on having jobs you’re “pretty good” with–that’s definitely the boat Mr. FW and I are in now. Nothing really wrong with our jobs themselves, just with the fact that we have to be there all day every weekday :). Glad you are charting your path to freedom too!

  67. I so dread the approach of Mondays – it’s like that feeling even creeps into Sunday night.

    I get a taste of what retirement will be like when I sometimes take time off work without going anywhere – it’s an awesome feeling on the Sunday night knowing that you don’t have to do anything or go anywhere the next day, or for the next week! But then my holiday is over and it’s back to the grindstone…

    I get the same confusion from people at work about missing your job, and them seriously not being able to think of how they would spend their time, because the concept is so foreign. When I retire they’ll probably assume that I have had a mid-life crisis as they wouldn’t know how else to explain it!

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Yep, that sunday malaise is something that we’ve worked hard to avoid but still creeps in from time to time. It’s so easy to let it put a damper on Sunday… but then you’ve let work take half your weekend too!

      Let ’em think you are having a midlife crisis. More like a midlife awakening 🙂

  68. Shannon says:

    I find that I have made myself so crazy busy with work, hobbies, training, volunteer efforts – that I am just waiting for the weekends (which are equally busy but no work at least), and even early retirement (5 more years). I’ve just gotten myself into so many things I don’t like what I’ve done. Usually my workday sleep is sacrificed just so I can attempt to fit it all in. I’m currently taking steps to make my working years more enjoyable by clearing my plate, because I can’t just keep waiting for the weekend or waiting for ER (nor can I just drop certain things, I have to ease out of them). I always get so upset with myself when things don’t get finished – yet I rarely cut myself slack and think “well no one get can get all that done in 24 hours so relax!” Usually my husband has to say it to me. I can just imagine how busy I’ll be when I have an extra 40 hours a week to do whatever I want! Overachiever much?

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Overachievers unite! We’re guilty of trying to smash 30 hours of projects into 24 hours of weekend 🙂

  69. I’m on maternity leave right now and it is WONDERFUL. We’re spending time together as a family and operating on our own schedule. It feels like an opportunity to catch up on life – all those little tasks that constantly fall to the bottom of the to-do list. We have so much flexibility, that sometimes, I’m not even sure of the day of the week! Of course, there is also plenty of precious time to snuggle with my newest little one. If only it could last forever. I dread going back to work. But this is a good reminder of what we’re working for: in being frugal and hustling to make extra money, we WILL be able to finance this type of freedom in the future.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Yep, one of the benefits to coming to this idea at a relatively young age is that we know we have tons of time post-retirement to look forward to. It seems like every week I add something to the list of things I want to explore post-job. I have a feeling that there will still be too much to do every day, but a different feeling about it.

  70. I always wondered about the weekend thing. I’m overjoyed when I don’t have to work. But most people then save all of their errands for the weekend. At best, they get everything done on Saturday and get ONE quiet day a week. Whee?

    I work from home (and have a husband who can’t work) so we’re able to get 1-2 errands done each day. Our weekends, therefore, are pretty quiet. On the other hand, we don’t do our own home maintenance, and we don’t clean nearly as often as we should.

    As for not working… It sounds good in theory. But I get bored. On the other hand, our health problems mean we’re home a lot. Netflix, Hulu and reading only get you so far when there are so many free hours in the day.

    I think one way to avoid working for the weekend is to have some fun stuff set aside for each day. Or at least every couple of days. On Mondays, there’s free pool at a local bar. So we go and play for free. It’s something to look forward to — especially because the grind of starting a new workweek can get you down.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      We do try and get some errands done during the week, though we both sometimes need to work later in the evening. The joys of the modern workforce… we’re never really “off” work, just an email away!

  71. Bill says:

    I have been able to design my life so that my weekends are pretty free. I live in a small apartment that probably takes an hour to clean and usually that is the extent of my chores. So many people I know spend all weekend doing projects and other house related work that I have a hard time understanding why anyone would want to own a home. It seems to be so expensive in dollars and time.

    One thing I struggle with is impatience, I am saving about 40% (on gross wages, no one every says how you calc saving rates, gross or net pay?) but I still don’t think I would be able to be FI until at least 45 (I’m 30 now and single) and that still feels so far away. Luckily, I like my job and my boss, but I am a CPA and work on 10-K/Q’s (the financial statements) for a large bank which means 10-12 hr days for a few weeks every quarter end, so that part is a grind and as I mentioned I have a ways to go before I reach FI. This job also requires working weekends during quarter-end as well so luckily my life is pretty simple outside of work.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Good point on the homeownership aspect. There certainly is a decent amount of work in regards to the house. For us it’s worth it, but I can see how it could easily not be worth it for someone else in the same situation.

  72. I wonder, reading all these comments, your blog, Mr. Money Mustache, how many people are actually doing “extreme” early retirement?

    How many people are even aware this is a concept? I’d really love to know those numbers.

  73. BeSmartRich says:

    Due to my career, I often work during the weekend. Especially busy audit season around March- April and every quarter ends. I hate it but this is what’s expected.

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Weekend work is the worst. Thankfully for my job if I have to work on the weekend I can usually do it from home. Not ideal, but better than going into the office.

  74. Hammo says:

    I recently (a few days ago), retired from the daily grind, and found it funny that people couldn’t understand that I wasn’t going to another job. Sure, I’m young enough and while I still have the energy, I’m going to start to enjoy the journey of life a little more. Everyday for me is now a weekend, although as I attempt to scrape together a living, everyday is also when I do my work. It’s just doesn’t feel like work when it’s something you enjoy.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Congrats to you on your retirement! That’s wonderful that you’re doing what you enjoy. I agree–it really doesn’t feel like work when you’re passionate about it.

  75. CBuggle says:

    Guys. I quit my job. It was a very high-paying job (I did get a substantial retirement account out of the deal). I’m 32, I have enough savings to last about 3 months if I’m careful. I have taken a voluntary plunge into what might end up being poverty. Many things have been slowly contributing to this decision over the last four years. What pushed me over the edge was that my health began to deteriorate. I know how to take care of myself. I know all about self care, rest, good nutrition, exercise, spirituality. But these tools were not enough and they couldn’t stop the anxiety, insomnia, and depression that were a result of working in an abusive, hostile office. The work itself was fine, but I couldn’t do it anymore under such toxic circumstances. Many, many things helped to give me the strength to do this. One of those things was starting to read this article when it was first published and becoming so enraged by its truth that I couldn’t even finish it.

    This may be the worst choice of my life or the best one. In my heart I feel relieved, optimistic, and peaceful. I need to take some time to recover physically and emotionally from this, but once I do I feel that I’ll be in an even better position to practice frugality because I will have more time to take care of things myself, cook my own food and actually enjoy it. And most of all, I will not feel the need to medicate the stress and emptiness I feel through buying things. I thought I had been pretty frugal over the last couple of years, but I see now how the imbalance that my work was causing me prevented me from seeing and putting the energy into practicing frugality to its fullest. For example, I didn’t have the energy to think about borrowing tools that I only need to use once, so I’d just buy them. I wanted to learn how to knit little baby slippers for gifts for friends’ baby showers, but I couldn’t think about using my valuable down time to do one more thing. My property value is slowly decreasing because I’m so worn out from work that I haven’t been able to keep up with the yard and design it in such a way that it uses less water.

    I admire you, Mr. and Mrs. Frugalwoods. Thank you for the ways you support me (and who knows how many other readers) without realizing it. I’m chuckling to myself because according to frugality text books, the choice I made is probably the worst one ever and maybe you or other bloggers would never in a million years have recommended that I ditch this awful golden handcuffs job, but I did!!!

    My future plans include going on the vacation that I’ve been planning for months and already paid for (a volunteer vacation in the back-country doing trail work in exchange for some down-home cookin’.), taking some time to catch up on home maintenance, then getting a mellow, low stress, minimum wage, part time job to supplement my savings while I get into a better routine of self care and look for more fulfilling and less tyrannical work.



    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      HUGE congrats to you! Sounds like a transformative and much-needed change for your life. I think it’s awesome that you’re prioritizing your health and what you want out of life. I have a feeling you’re going to be able to make it all work out. I think when we focus on what we need and what we want to do every day with our time, the results can only be positive, life-affirming, and pleasantly challenging. I wish you ALL the very best in this new adventure and I sincerely hope you’ll keep us posted! Congrats again!

  76. Diana says:

    I’ve definitely been a livin’ for the weekend gal as well, which is an enormous FIRE motivation, like a lot of people. I recently switched from a job where you HAD to be there 8-5 (your computer would EMAIL YOUR BOSS if you hadn’t logged in by 8:07 or something!). Now I’m still in the grind, but at a much more casual place (and in management, wahoo!) where if I want to go to the 11:00am yoga class down the street, I totally could as long as I scheduled around it and stayed a little late. This is a massive improvement in terms of dreading Mondays. Still very motivated to do something about this long-term, but this small change of having slightly more flexibility has made me a lot more loyal to this job, and feel a lot more adult, frankly. It’s not a good feeling to feel like you are being watched like a hawk and untrusted.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s wonderful that you’ve found a job with a better work/life balance–what a relief! I can’t believe your computer would email your boss–that’s just bizarre. It’s definitely not a good thing to feel micromanaged and untrusted all the time. Congrats on getting into a better situation!

  77. Christine says:

    I decided a couple years ago that I no longer wanted to be on this hamster wheel of wishing the days away and only looking forward to the weekend… but I’m not a very patient person so I wanted to create that life now, in my present circumstances. So, I started taking a look at everything that felt like drudgery – and removed it. Some things were able to happen quickly (like learning how to say “no” to things that did not align with my current life focus)… and some things took time (like getting promoted at work and then finding a remote position with a new company). But two short years later, with nips here and tucks there and adjustments all over, I have achieved that life now. I’m a single mom (with no support), with a 13 year old car (that isn’t as pretty as she once was but is reliable), and with a flexible remote work-at-home job for a major insurance company. The key for me was to stop thinking “I’ll be happy when -fill in the blank-“, became grateful for everything I was blessed with at that moment, and shed the limiting beliefs and programming that were actually the only things holding me back. Much love to all of you taking control of your own life!

  78. Liz says:

    Sorry, I didn’t read all of the comments to see if someone else has already suggested this, but you mentioned being tethered to a school schedule when your kids are in school. If you homeschool, this isn’t necessary! We homeschool and this is one of the things we love about it – we are free (and so are our kids) each day to spend our day as we want to!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get new posts via email. No spam, we hate it like greyhounds hate having their teeth brushed.