About Us

We are Jen and Chip, Mrs. and Mr. Happiness Gratis (HG).  Mrs. HG is the mastermind behind the blog, and Mr. HG is editor-in-chief, occasional poster, and tech support extraordinaire.  We are a DINK couple in pursuit of financial independence, and pet parents of 2 little dogs. We are middle-aged, full-time, W2 employees working in the healthcare sector for medium sized organizations.

Mrs. HG
Mr. HG
Two little dogs

The inspiration for this blog is meet a variety of objectives:

  • Mindfulness of the simple pleasures in everyday life
  • Creation of a digital photo journal of our fun, frugal adventures
  • Providing a placeholder for future bucket list adventures
  • Allowing an opportunity to share frugal wins with others who are frugal-minded
  • Tracking our journey to Financial Independence (FI)
  • Chronicling our concerns and worries about Health Care for Early Retirees
  • Transitioning to retirement from our 9-5 jobs
  • Consideration of geographical arbitrage upon retirement

Our journey to FI began in late 2015 as I (Mrs. HG) was increasingly dissatisfied with my job.  The middle manager role was stressful, and I was spending too many hours at the office.  Resentful of the never-ending task list, I found myself not able to disconnect from the office.  I began daydreaming of leaving it all behind.  Perusing the internet for lower cost of living areas and best places to retire, I fell into the rabbit hole of Mr. Money Mustache.  The blog post Shockingly Simple Math rocked.my.world.  Suddenly the path to early(ish) retirement seemed crystal clear, and actually well within reach.   I just needed to get buy-in from Mr. HG, and for us to turn the tide on the wave of lifestyle inflation that we had succumbed to in our 30s and 40s.

Armed with fanatical ideas (series of simple small steps to drastically reduce our expenses) and talk of a “5 year plan” I presented my findings to Mr. HG.   He was… ummm… skeptical.  At first, anyway.  I continued to share with him overviews of our financial situation.  I created a Personal Capital account to track our spending and our Net Worth, and showed him our progress every few weeks.  Bar graphs are fun when you are rocking the numbers!  Before long, he was 100% on board.  It was not long before making small changes in our daily spending allowed us to accelerate our savings.  This, coupled with nice market gains in 2016 and especially in 2017, our retirement accounts accelerated like Justify out of the gate at Belmont Stakes.

This blog will chronical our adventures as we continue the journey to FI, and will help inspire us to live life to the fullest along the way.

Thanks for joining us.

In Good Times, Happiness, and Health.

Jen