I was just four months into a yearlong stint teaching English in Seoul, South Korea, when I met Sally at a party five years ago.
I was struck by her big smile and bright eyes—and we hit it off instantly, bonding over our private-school jobs and shared love of travel.
We began dating soon after, and as our relationship progressed, my one-year stay evolved into two. And when my second teaching contract came to an end in March 2011, I asked Sally to leave South Korea with me—and she said yes.
In search of adventure—and because we’d heard it was easy to get a 12-month “working holiday visa” there—we decided to spend a year living in Perth, Australia, working in restaurants, coffee shops and bars to pad our checking and savings accounts along the way.
When our Australian visas expired, we agreed it was time to settle down for a while, so we moved to San Jose, Calif., which was close to where I grew up. At that point, we’d been together for years, and knew that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. So in April 2013, we decided to get married.
Living the Fast, Good and Frugal Life
Part of what I love about my relationship with Sally is that we share the same goals and values. We’re especially interested in travel, adventure and relaxation—and we’ve realized that the way to achieve the financial independence necessary to enjoy these things early in life is to live frugally, a topic I often blog about on my own site.
We do that by keeping our transportation costs in check, eating at home and saving half our income—mine as a software salesman and Sally’s as a government employee—each month.
When spending our fun money, we follow the “fast, good and cheap project-management triangle”—a diagram that illustrates the idea that you can only prioritize two of the three characteristics. So if you want to buy something good and cheap, it won’t be fast. Alternatively, if you want something cheap and fast, you’ll risk quality.
By doing our research and practicing patience, we’re able to source the best deals on clothing, travel and other lifestyle purchases without making any sacrifices—a principle that we also applied to our wedding planning.
RELATED: 10 Questions for … a Wedding Planner