You may have picked up a few hints that I can be a frugal weirdo when I want to.
I’m the person who has talked about getting rid of toilet paper and using only washable cloths.
I”m the female who’s never had her eyebrows ON FLEEK.
What I may not have mentioned so far is that I am also the weirdo who has a cold shower every morning no matter what season we are in.
I can’t tell you why I started having cold showers.
I think it was a way of waking myself as I worked full time as a teenage single mum so the long hours and caring for DD1 took all my energy.
But that was a long time ago and this is now a totally ingrained habit to the point that wherever I am, whatever the outside temperature I always have a cold shower.
In fact I have a love-hate relationship with my local swimming pool.
Love swimming, hate the showers as they only provide hot water *shudders*.
What has this to do with financial independence, retirement and being frugal you might ask?
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The First Blast Of Cold
Getting in to a shower knowing you are going to be hit with a wall of cold water when you are still half asleep and warm from your bed is stepping outside your comfort zone.
When you are concentrating on early retirement you have to make choices about what you do and don’t do and make choices, investments, that you might not be 100% comfortable with.
You know the initial cold water won’t be the best feeling in the world but the end result is you will feel wide awake and ready to hit the day running.
When you are saving money you choose to not spend all that you earn and go without things that previously you might have defined as luxuries (cable TV, takeaways, coffee on the go).
You do so knowing the end result – more savings/early retirement – will be worth it.
In the winter you run the risk of brain freeze where the water is that much colder than the summer.
You know it’s going to come, its just a case of when.
Can you get yourself completely wet, long hair and all, before the brain freeze hits?
When you are living below your means you will aim to live the best life alongside saving as much as possible.
Like brain freeze you will find a savings point where it becomes painful to continue saving. Brain freeze stops you before you go too far.
You cannot continue showering when the brain freeze hits.
Generally Cold/Being Practical
Having a cold shower is not a luxurious feeling although in the heat of summer they can feel good!
Early morning cold showers are practical and a means to an end.
You are showering to wash your hair and get ready for the day. Showers don’t have to be wonderfully enjoyable, they are what they are.
Saving for financial independence and early retirement is about making practical decisions. Do we save now or splurge?
If you intend to save £X every month then you have £X less to spend so must spend wisely what you have left.
You live a more deliberate life making choices about everything you do or don’t do. 99.9% of people who end up retired early don’t do so by mistake or without design.
They have been deliberate and practical about their journey, making conscious choices that will have taken them out of their comfort zones at times because they were focused on their long term goals.
Mid Shower Savings
When Mr2p has a shower he has a hot shower albeit fairly short. But like many people he doesn’t turn the shower off part way through – despite me asking
(I’m such a nag!)
Having a cold shower is very different. You are straight into practical mode.
Turning the shower off once your hair is wet is sensible due to the cold.
You use enough water to get thoroughly wet but don’t luxuriate in the water whilst soaping and shampooing.
You use just enough water to do what you need it to do and no more.
When you are aiming for financial independence you are focused on spending what you need to, what aligns with your values, and no more.
You are concentrating on the bigger picture, the longer term rather than short term luxury.
You are conscious of every little expense including your water bill and do your utmost to reduce them penny by penny.
Every time I shower I am reminded that I am saving water by turning off mid flow.
Given we have a power shower, this means I am saving 9 litres for each minute the shower is off.
Unsurprisingly a cold shower does not take very long.
My showers are always shorter in length than Mr2p’s even though I have long hair to wash and Mr2p sports a 3mm buzz cut.
I am focused purely on washing my hair and getting clean.
There are no thoughts of getting myself warm or waiting to wake up fully or just another minute of enjoying the warm water.
Showering is a practical action, a job to complete and move on from.
Aiming for early retirement you will be looking for ways to streamline your finances and time.
The more time you save the more time you have to spend on creating a side hustle or two.
Financial independence devotees don’t waste their time.
They are keen to maximize family time and making money time because their time is precious.
Often FIRE devotees are aiming for financial independence precisely in order to gain more time.
Time to spend on what they want to do rather than what they need to do.
Final Rinse/Having Enough
We have a mild climate here in the UK so my showers tend to be 100% cold from April through to October.
This keeps my showers restricted to just enough to do the job.
I remain focused on what my shower is about and as soon as I am clean and rinsed the shower is done.
When you are aiming for early retirement you are aiming to reach your enough point.
When you have enough you are financially independent and can retire if you want to.
You remain focused over a long period of time on what it is that you are trying to do.
You don’t lose sight of this, you track your spending and know when you have reached your goal.
Late Oct – Mar I start out with cold but turn up the heat on the final rinse.
I am still maintaining my frugal muscles but its about being realistic.
I am not going to get through an entire hair wash and rinse cycle in the winter without a little warmth. Hello brain freeze!
When you are focused on your finances you have to be realistic about your long term goals.
FIRE followers know they cannot live on rice and beans every day for years.
In theory it’s possible but probably not sustainable by choice.
The reality is you need to have flexibility and understanding of what your pain points are in order to keep on track with your goals.
Daily rice and beans is definitely well beyond my pain point as is a cold shower with constant brain freeze.
But having rice and beans or a little brain freeze on a less regular basis is ok.
Treats & Curve Balls
As with everything in life there are exceptions to my cold shower routine as there is to FIRE followers and their goals.
Sometimes I can’t cope with being 100% practical from the minute I wake up and have that full cold shower.
Sometimes I recognize that today is not that day and I need something different to get me started.
For me this about having tired days, days where I wake up super tired.
My body can’t cope on those days so regardless of the season I finish with a decent hot rinse.
As an early retirement wannabe I know my goals, budget and targets are what will get me there.
But sometimes life happens and throws a curve ball.
And when life happens your budget might go out of the window temporarily.
This won’t derail a FIRE wannabe. They incorporate flexibility to allow for life’s little challenges.
Curve balls might mean changes to your budget, it might mean you need to re-think your side hustle or your retirement date.
But they don’t stop financial independence from happening, they just have the potential to change how it happens.
Do you test yourself with cold showers when it’s cold outside? Do you do something that links to your savings journey?
Last Updated on 3rd April 2023 by Emma
21 thoughts on “Daily Cold Showers And The Financial Independence Movement”
Wow Tuppenny, that’s hardcore with full on cold showers! Very impressed, not sure I could manage that on a long term basis!
It’s amazing what you can get used to! Much easier on days like today of course. Hot water on dry skin doesn’t feel right to me – weird I know 🙂
I’m not sure about literal cold showers (except when the weather’s as hot as it is at present) but I like the FIRE idea. The only problem is, as I’m already in my 60s it’s a little too late to go for that option.
Maybe FIRE in your own mind? So if you are still working and thought you would retire at 67/68, maybe aim for 66? Any extra day you claw back is yours to cherish. Cold showers in this weather are especially easy, only problem is the water isn’t cold enough for me! Thanks for stopping by!
Nice correlation Tuppenny! Great advice and tips too.
Thank you Helen – have I converted you to the joys of cold showers too?!
I’m impressed with your ability to have cold showers!! I have cold showers here in Thailand cos they cool me down in the heat. But whenever I’m back home in my mum’s house, I take long, luxuriating hot showers or baths… Not very frugal or environmental, but such a treat!
I agree there’s nothing like a cold shower to cool you down in the heat. But a cold shower at 6am serves another purpose – you get very focused very quickly, especially in the winter when your aim is to shut the cold off as quickly as possible whilst still achieving a full shower! I’d love to enjoy a hot bath but I gave them up after spending too many say twiddling my thumbs wondering what I should be doing to enjoy it!
Hilarious. You really ask another human to stop the shower mid way through.. Tup, I didn’t realize you were such an ERE (early retirement extremist) at heart! What a fun post. Saving water never seems to be high on my money saving list… growing up…our whole town paid $6/mon for water per household… is it a lot more where you are?
A typical rate for water is more like £30-£50 a month depending on how much water you use. Could be more if you power shower, use washing machine daily and use a hose on your garden. I’m mainly ERE in winter whilst having my cold showers, that brain freeze is serious stuff!!
Well hats off to you for the dedication to the cause!!! There is absolutely no way I could do this! I will confess to being somewhat like-minded though in that I turn the shower off half way through while I’m washing my hair 🙂
Congratulations – you may well be the ERE of the UK 🙂
Ha! You’re forgetting the small issue of a costly DD2 who negates any water savings I may make 🙂
Your post made me shiver haha and I agree with the above, you are hard core! I don’t take cold showers even when it’s hot, I’d go down to lukewarm!
My hot showers are pretty quick though and yes, I too turn the water off while I’m washing my hair!
Mr2p is the same, no matter how hot the weather he won’t go fully cold, got to have a little heat. Great to hear you save water during your shower, that’s your frugal muscles kicking in!
First off, I’m impressed that you take so many cold showers, Tuppenny! I’ve read quite a bit about the health benefits of cold showers and the bracing impact they can have, but I’ve never been able to do it consistently.
Then again, my showering routine is usually in the evening as opposed to in the morning after waking, so I’m not normally trying to banish the morning fog. Right now the only cold showers I typically take are in the summer after I’ve finished weed-eating our one acre or so. Body temp is usually quite high and the cold rinse feels really good. If I don’t take a cold shower after weed-eating, I find that I’m still sweating after exiting.
The parallels you drew in this article are excellent! I never thought there could be so many, but you did a fantastic job outlining the correlation between cold showering and financial independence. Dead-on, for each and every point made!
Thanks Mr FFP! It’s amazing what you get used to, especially first thing in the morning when you are only half awake so can’t make an alternative decision to the cold shower! Weeding is definitely something I would need a cold shower once finished, actually think I’d want a fully immersed cold bath 🙂
I have that same problems with being sweaty after summer showers… ugh. These days I have been thinking about taking baths…but i can’t bring myself to do it just yet…
You are so cool!
(see what I did there? 🙂 )
I think I might have to experiment with this, having recently read about that Norwegian (or something) dude who is basically hard as nails and takes daily ice cold showers, and hiked Everest in shorts and shoes only!!!!
Obviously I’d never take it that far but it’s clear there is something in this “cold exposure” malarkey which is good for the health, and as a non caffeine drinker now it’s a great way to wake myself up in the morning!
I’ve managed to turn down the temp to luke warm this far, and am going to see how cold I can get it, maybe wait till April time before going full on cold though!
One annoyance is that our shower has a minimum setting and will never go “fully cold” but the showers at work which I use just as often I can go fully cold on.
Hi TFS! I don’t think I’m hardcore enough to take ice baths/showers and I’m very much into multiple layers when walking – more than Mr2p that’s for sure. But there is something about those first blasts of cold water that are really invigorating. And they sure do wake you up! At this time of year I do rinse on hot – brain freeze ain’t fun! I’d love to hear how you find full on cold.
The cold shower is an artform
I run the same regime – mains cold every morning. Its starting to get good again now the temp is dropping. You get very dialled into the mains water temp in a way I doubt most people are.
I’ve not had a hot shower for over a decade or so.
The fella FS is talking about is Wim Hof. I’ve tried some of his breathing techniques as well as the cold water exposure, they are totally mad – you can hold your breath for 2 or 3 minutes at a time that way.
You should ween yourself off finishing on hot if you can. If the heads a problem then have the water hit you on the back not top of head – that helps with the ice-cream head issue.
When it gets really cold focus on your breathing
Hi Rhino, how fab to see you here! Those who have hot showers don’t realise that the cold water is very different according to the seasons. Loving mains water now, summer time it just isn’t cold enough is it? So glad to ‘meet’ another cold shower aficionado. I do try to keep to cold for as long as possible but with long hair that brain freeze can get to me toward the end. I shall research Wim Hof and check out his breathing techniques, love the idea of being able to do full cold 365 days of the year. Thanks for stopping by!