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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:56 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:25 pm
Posts: 94

Hello!


I've actually only found this website via GRS about a month ago. Since then, I've managed to devour most of the blog posts as well as most of the forum posts. All the journals are the most interesting posts to me and they seem to contain the most constructive advice. As such, I figured my first post would be my journal.


Some background, I'm 26 M, married, 1 child. Work in the auto industry as a financial analyst in Orange County, CA (Not ERE friendly).


Basic Stats:

Gross Income: $74,500 (1 income)

401(K): $41,000

Cash: $43,500 ($30K for emergencies, $2.5K for property tax, $2.5K for upcoming windows purchase, $8K checking/building capital for taxable accounts)

Home: Equity $60K ($182K remaining balance on mortgage 5.25%)

Lendingclub: $550

No debt other than mortgage.


June's Monthly Stats:

Net Income $3,794

Housing ($1,591)

Food ($580)

Medical ($406)

Household ($303)

Utilities ($238)

Misc ($220)

Gas ($210)

Cash ($ 80)

Entertainment ($75)

Auto ($ 56)


Net $35


So for June, it looks like I managed to save $35. Not good. But to make me look not so terrible, the income for June (and every month) is post 401(k) savings at 14% of gross. So a little better there. Our son is 8 months old, so we're starting to get a hold on what he's costing us each month. (The first few months were expensive!). The $400 for medical above will be reimbursed in July via my FSA. We've been working on getting the food expenses and gas down, but it isn't easy. We also have to take turns taking care of my wife's mother who lives 50 miles away twice a month (this drives gas and food up). Generally, we save about $500 into the taxable account envelope with all the flux happening in the main checking account. Any suggestions for the above would be appreciated.


My goals going forward:


Cut data plans for cell phones in January (after contract expires). This will save $60/mo in utilities.


Start bicycling to work. Its only 3 miles 1 way, but I don't have a bike. I did ask on freecylce and craigslist, but nothing yet. Should save about $50/mo in gas.


We've cut back on eating out. It was only a few times a month, but was still eating up 40% of our food expenses (have to pay for mother-in-law frequently).


Would like to retire earlier than 50. I know this gives me time, and I'd like to think I have a decent start with my 401(k) and cash position. In addition to these, with my current employer, I'll retire with a pension (1 2/3% of highest salary per year of service up to 30 years).


I know another option would be to make more money. I do have an option for this outstanding. It would be for another $20K income, but would require about 10/hours a week extra plus my commute would go from 3 miles to 20 miles. Hourly it seems like a good move, but not sure how valuable the pension is/would be in an ERE scenario. Not to mention that I do value my time as it is.


Any input would be greatly appreciated. We're trying to do our best so my wife and I can maximize time home with our son. I'll do an update monthly and should have another set of numbers in a week or so.


Thanks in advance!




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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:24 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:45 am
Posts: 766

Questions:

Food+Household+Misc is high; are there easy cuts to make in those categories? Are you grocery shopping and cooking in bulk?


What happens if you stop working before you get the full pension? Is there an early retirement option, or are your contributions refunded, etc.


Could your mother in law move closer to you?


My suggestions (not everyone will agree):


It's worth investing in a quality bike vs. dealing with a junky freebie.


Max out the 401k, an IRA, and a spousal IRA before making taxable investments.


I'm not a fan of peer-to-peer lending as an investment. I'd invest that capital elsewhere.




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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:22 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:30 am
Posts: 861
Location: STL

Thanks for sharing Phayan and welcome to the board. I enjoy reading the journals very much as well. When I first saw your $230 utility cost I was surprised, until I saw that it includes your cell phones.


As you're working on reducing your costs, use a Pareto mindset (focus on reducing the largest costs). Your housing cost is a very large portion of your income. Even if you get exceptionally low on your other costs, your mortgage payments make it impossible to have a very high savings rate. From what I've heard, real estate is pretty expensive around there. After some successes reducing other costs, you'll want to start thinking about your options. (Are there cheaper houses fairly close? Would it make any sense to sell the house and rent? Would you ever want to move to another city or region of the country? etc..)


And I'll second Kevin about not putting anymore money into the P2P lending.




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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:09 am 

Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:25 pm
Posts: 94

@KevinW - Food is high. We're working on that. I think we are clost to only $400 for July. Slowly whittling it down and cutting out eating out as much as possible. Its hard with work people always wanting to go out, but they are more and more understanding of it. We are eating at home a lot more, but still not cooking in bulk. Household is really a group-all for anything bought at Target or the like. We just moved in few months ago, so buying things like faucets, light bulbs, handles for kitchen cabinets. It should settle around 100-150 a month soon. Misc is Amazon.com purchases. Most of it is baby stuff, diapers/wipes, with about 20-40 in goods for us.


For the retirement portion, the pension is fully funded by the company and I'm 100% vested at 5 years. I can also start taking it earlier if I have 10 total years, but each month before 62 years reduces the benefit amount by .5% (6%/year).


Mother-in-law situation is currently inflexible. Not to sound too harsh, but she probably will not be around for very many years. She's been on dialysis for over 25 years now and its remarkable that she's made it this far. The drives up are so she can she my wife and our son while she is able.


Per your suggestions, I do have an option with my work to receive $300/year in "wellness" funds. I used mine this year for freeweights, but if I wait till January I'll be able to use it on a bicycle. With only 5 months left this year, it might be worth it to wait it out. I'll keep the money going into the retirement accounts for now.. but I was thinking it would be useful to have taxable accounts available for the time in between retirement and taking the pension.


Lendingclub was more of a I'm bored experiment. Started with $500 a year ago, made a little over 10% since then. But I won't put any more in.


Thanks for the advice! Keep it coming. I'm excited to see how July comes out.




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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:11 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:22 pm
Posts: 26

I don't know the california market, but you may be able to look into lowering your mortgage rate. I was able to modify mine about a week ago to 4.75 with citimortgage. They already owned the loan, so it was $475 for the modification (they just checked income, since they weren't taking on additional risk - they already owned the risk. Only change was the rate - no final date change or increase/decrease in principal). That would only be an option within your existing bank, but far cheaper than refinancing.




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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:49 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:25 pm
Posts: 94

@ TMiller - I was reading up about the Pareto mindset earlier and agree that's where I need to focus. Reading everyone's journals makes me think I spend way too much on housing as well. We actually purchased the condo we are in now because its cheaper to own it than rent a 2 bedroom. (The condo is a 3 bedroom). I did do some cash flow analysis in case I would need to relocate (wasn't for ere reasons at the time, just covering bases) and I could rent out the property I am at a profit even with 10% management fee. So we are open to relocating, but it probably can't happen until something changes with the mother-in-law situation.


@Seabourne - Mine is with Wells. I'll call them today and see what they can do. I've been shopping around trying to get refinance quotes, and they all cost between 1500-2500. Haven't thought to call them though. Thanks for the heads up!




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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 6:02 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:45 am
Posts: 766

For house parts try cross shopping at a ReStore (Habitat for Humanity surplus) and eBay.


My wife and I used to drop a few hundred bucks at Target/Costco every month, and then quit cold turkey. We joke about how we can't even remember what we used to buy there. I'm sure a bit of it was one-time household setup stuff, and a bit of it was groceries, but the rest was probably unnecessary crap and impulse purchases. If you don't already, you might try preparing a list ahead of time for those stores and sticking to it strictly.


Contrary to popular belief it's possible to access retirement accounts early. You may want to research the 72t rule and the rule about withdrawing Roth IRA contributions. I am in favor of these schemes, but it's a hotly debated issue in ER circles.




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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:48 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:25 pm
Posts: 94

Hi,


Update for July time.


I'm changing the format a little bit. I was using an average income before, but figured I might as well show the actual dollars as that's easier.


Here are the last 3 months:

May June July

House 1,591 1,591 2,631

Auto 61 56 56

Food 690 580 549

Household 756 303 161

Utilities 384 238 202

Gas 488 210 211

Misc 400 530 271

Travel 564 - -

Cash 200 80 -

Entertainment 48 165 178


Total 5,182 3,753 4,259


Income 7,351 3,076 7,843


P/L 2,169 (677) 3,584


It's not the cleanest format either. My income shows such large variances because of a bonus in May, and I received some paid leave time taken in June, but paid in July. I was also reimbursed for some of my medical expenses (misc line) of the past few months in July. I think the totals and averages are a better story. As well as the expenses trending.


We spent less on food, household, utilities and misc. All great points. Makes me feel good for tracking it. Although, my wife is becoming less and less enamored with the budgeting. The extra money in the mortgage is for an extra $1000 in principal we paid as we had the money. Our son is almost done with formula, maybe a month or two left. Once he's on normal food, it will hopefully get cheaper.


Other plus is I got a raise. It's only 2.85%, but about 90 bucks a month post tax/retirement.


Still working on a bike. I've been looking on Craigslist, trying to get something decent shape for around $150. (Figure taxes on the wellness fund of $300 is about $75. But a decent new bike will cost more than $300 plus delays in actually riding to work... about the same right?)




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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:30 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:30 am
Posts: 861
Location: STL

That picture isn't working (for me at least)




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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:56 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:25 pm
Posts: 94

I couldn't fix the picture. Tried linking from googledocs with no success. So, crappy text table will do I guess.




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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:57 am 

Joined: Sun May 08, 2011 5:33 pm
Posts: 61

Hey, welcome to the forum!


What's your plan for paying off your mortgage? If you're planning to get rid of it in the next few years, you might think about refinancing to an ARM.


I'm lucky in that my ARM has reset lower every year. (Bought in '05 with 5.25%, it dropped to 3.125% in '10, and now it's 2.875%.) Makes a HUGE difference in the payments--about $700 total.


Cheers.




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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:55 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:25 pm
Posts: 94

Hi, Thanks for the welcome.


Right now I'm working with Wells Fargo (my mortgage owner) on doing a streamlined refinance for either a 30 or a 20 term rate and dropping the rate at the same time. They are still seeing what they can offer me (they seem confused because I qualify and am not underwater). This way I can get away with zero closing costs per Seabourne's advice. I'm not too sure on an ARM because I'm almost 100% sure interest rates will be rising in the new few years.




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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:49 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:25 pm
Posts: 94

So no go on the no cost/streamlined refinance. They said it was an FHA program that ended a year ago. To refinance would cost me almost $4,000 but would bring my interest rate down about 1 point. I don't plan on selling the place, so it still might be worth it. (Could rent it out now and have a positive cash flow of 2-300/month post all fees (10% mgmt fee, insurance, etc.)). I also think if I hold out a little longer the government might intervene again. Especially if we go into recession #2. Even if this is a slim chance, interest rates keep dropping. Either way I need to do something to get costs in line.


From everything I've seen/read I'm paying too much for housing. I did a search on Craigslist for smaller and cheaper homes, but there was nothing within 20 miles of my work for under $1,200 (2 bedroom 1 bath me wife, 1 child 1 more next year). It seems like I'll need to move out to a cheaper locale. Anyone have experience with picking up and moving somewhere just for the cheaper Cost of living?




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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:45 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:25 pm
Posts: 94

So I finally got the images working (below). August was a pretty terrible month financially. Air conditioner broke ($580), booked a hotel in Vegas for my wife's 30th birthday ($600), and took out $400 cash for a work vegas trip. (only used about $250, rest is in our wallets now)


On the bright side, net worth still went up. But that's it for the positives.


Negatives are that I currently can't refinance due to our HOA being in two different lawsuits. :( Still spending too much overall. And no real plan to correct this. Going to forgo a trip at the end of the month to curb some expenses. Hoping that September will be under the $4k expense mark (already had to pay another $270 for the air conditioner though... going to be tough).


'August'




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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 12:35 am 

Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:25 pm
Posts: 94

Time for the September review.


Still chugging along. I've revised a few things:


Switched to a 4% withdrawal rate (by the time I retire, I doubt I'll need it to last 30 years)

DW is now on board with the savings plan. We finally set aside 2 hours to go over everything (from basic concept of ERE and FI to how we get there).


Some good things:

I met my goal of staying under $4K of expenses. And that's even with $750 in travel (tickets to a family reunion in GA).

Household was under $500 and thats inclusive of $270 in air conditioning repairs.

Utilities were at an all time low.

Food was at an all time low.

Misc was also at an all time low.


Some bad things:

MIL is going to have surgery soon. This means increased driving to visit and make sure my in laws are okay. Food will probably increase as well.

Bought tickets for a family reunion. Also going to buy airplane tickets in October for visiting family in Nov.

HOA is still settling the bankruptcy. This is causing home values to continue to decrease.

Stock market got destroyed and so did retirement account.


Goals:


Keep the rest of the year's expenses under $4k/month (inclusive of trips/gifts).

Read 2 books on economics/investing a month.

Put up new drywall in bathrooms.

Repair dilapidated smoker that I got for free from my FIL.


Questions:


We have $30K in an emergency fund that's all cash and another $13.5K thats cash as our operating fund. We only really need $5K in that account. My question is what should we do with the other $8.5K? I already contribute $191/month to both an 401(k) IRA and a Roth IRA. I don't like the investment options they provide though (all terrible mutual funds - I've moved to a much higher level of cash/gov bonds allocation in order to stem the bleeding). Should I use the extra money to:

A) Pay off mortgage quicker (5.25%)

B) Start a taxable account and start a PP

C) Fully fund the Roth (Another few hundred bucks a month)

D) Keep it in cash

Any opinions would be appreciated.


Images below:

September'




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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:17 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:40 pm
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I would do A or C. A if you are risk averse and want to lock in a 5.25% return, otherwise I'd do C. Seems to me that your tax rate is probably not that high if you are a one income family, and you can withdraw contributions from the Roth prior to 59.5 (there may be a short waiting period, I can't recall.)


It costs me $193 every two weeks to fully fund my Roth IRA, so would cost you double that for you and your wife. Perhaps you could split the difference and do both? You can only put in $5000 a year into a Roth. Stocks just tanked so now wouldn't be a terrible time.




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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:44 am 

Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:25 pm
Posts: 94

Let’s see how October rolled up:


So, there were two expensive parts of October, 1 I had to pay the first installment of property taxes, $1400 and 2 it was DW’s 30th BDay so we went to go celebrate. (still figuring out how much this cost, maybe about $600 in travel and food).


There were some good parts too. We went through the emergency accounts together and found our emergency funds were really at $36K instead of $30. So that was nice . And DW finally got paid for the last 6 months, so about $1,400 of the extra income line is from her. During our overview, I also found that I was miscounting my additions to the Roth and 401(k), I was only counting one paycheck a month, vs the total monthly contributions. I found I’m already at the max for the Roth, so need to figure out where to go next. And I did put up new drywall in the bathrooms. Success!


Budget good things:

Household was under $400.

And that’s about it. We still have about $200 of the $500 cash we took out. But will just use it throughout the month. And I’ll be getting back about $350 from another couple who went on our trip with us. This will also get reflected in November.


Home values are continuing to deteriorate in our area. Banks have increased their foreclosure activity, so supply is outstripping demand. Not good for us. But we’re staying put so it doesn’t affect us day to day. And retirement accounts jumped up in response. So it kind of balances out.


Moves for November:

We’re going to consolidate my wife’s accounts into my DiscoverBank account to at least move away from .01% interest to 1% interest. And I’ll probably further move that forward into a laddered CD system over the next 5 years.

Going to keep the next two months spending under $4k. Should be fine as the trips are paid for.

So now we’ll have about $50K in cash in one account or through CD’s. I see this as excessive amount of cash but just need to do something with it. I found I’m already fully funding my Roth. So I’m thinking about paying down the mortgage with a chunk of it and starting a taxable account with some (would be ETF PP). If I want to keep $30K in emergency money, that’s about $10K to each other cause and seems like a good start for both right?


Image below:






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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:49 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:20 am
Posts: 260

You have made a good choice in purchasing your home near your work. I would not worry about the market value of your home if you do not plan to move. It may not be ideal but you made the best choice you could at the time.


You seem to travel a lot. Not judging, but is that sustainable with your savings plan?


Do you have a bike yet? Biking to work is a good way to stay healthy and also not be so reliant on a car.




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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:56 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:25 pm
Posts: 94

The travel was all unplanned :(. Family reunion this year in GA as my grandparents are getting to that stage in life. And my wife and I just had our son almost a year ago and this will be the first time everyone gets to see him. And unless my DW turns 30 again, no more travel for her bdays. We do budget about $2k for travel a year, but I'm always happier when we don't use it.


Thanks for the comment on the home. I always worry about it. I think about renting it out instead, (we'd be about $400/month profit), but then I'd lose money when I try to rent something else nearby.


I don't have a bike yet, but its in the plan to get one this month. Throught my work I get a company car, they pay insurance and registration on it, and they swap it out about every 10 months. The plan is I start riding the bike to work and my DW will have the car in case of emergencies. If it works out, then we'll get rid of her car and our only vehicle costs will be gas then. (Next car I'm getting gets 40MPG, so hopefully the plan works).


Thanks for your advice sky!




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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:25 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:25 pm
Posts: 94

Hello!


I ran the numbers for November, but Dropbox ate them. Luckily they were great. First time in a few months my savings % met the 50% mark. Hoping we can hit it again for December, even with all of the Holiday stuff going on.


Some progress: Consolidated some of our bank accounts to move cash from .05% interest to 1% interest. Moved half of my retirement (max allowed) to Schwab and reallocated it to a PP. Bought a bike using some Wellness funds provided by work (we pay tax, I'll be out approx. $60 for new bike and helmet). I'll be able to ride to work going forward, calculated that I'll breakeven on the bike after 7 weeks. Not too bad.


Things still need to work on: Increasing wife's buy-in on ERE. I say I want to retire by the time I'm 45 (19 years from now) and she still kind of thinks I'm kidding. I know better than to push it, but still hurts the progress without full buy-in. I still have about $15K of cash that I'm not sure what to do with (already have emergency fund funded and operating cash at goal levels). Either start a taxable account or pay down the mortgage. It would be almost 10% of our principal in that one payment and would knock years off our mortgage (5.25% - still can't refinance due to HOA in a reorganization). I just don't want to tie up any more money into real estate (seems like bad diversification).


No big plans for December except a few Holiday parties. So expenses should be limited. Hoping we can get another 50% month under our belts. Hoping we can just spend some time with family and friends, eat a good meals and have a good time.




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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:22 pm 

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Okay! Here are the numbers for November and December. Things are still going great. Managed to continue the over 50% savings rate. Had a couple of high expenses, but was planning on them so I guess that works out. Food was high as we had our son's first birthday part (maybe $200/food to feed 40 people). Auto was high because we travelled so much over the month due to the Holidays. Home was expensive as we bought some new blinds and some gifts for the house. All of it was planned though and it all fell to where I thought it would. So no real surprises.


All the accounts are still trending up. I moved some money to the emergency fund, but its just bucketing at this point. I really only want $30K in the emergency fund and $5K in the operating. So we have some cash that we need to either invest or pay the mortgage down with.


Category Breakdown:


For 2012 we're going to keep paring down the food expenses. Its really the main area we need to focus on. Our son has moved on to mostly real food and whole milk, so no more expensive formula (or at least limited exposure). No more expensive baby food either. I still don't see it going below $450 regularly, but that'll be the stretch goal.


Home will go up as I'll start apportioning the property taxes on a monthly basis instead of two large hits throughout the year. Not sure how I'll do this yet as I only made one payment last year and will have three this year (tax reasons). I'll probably just use the total of 3 payments/12.


Autmotive will decrease as my bike is now commute worthy. Just got my bike rack attached last month and have everything set up. I've been practising the ride ont he weekends and don't think it'll be a problem to go the 3 miles in traffic. Granted, it's only a 3 mile commute one way, but it should save 30-40 bucks a month. I'm also swapping out my company vehicle from an SUV to a 4-door hatchback effectively going from 19 MPG to 35 MPG. DW will use this for all the trips to see her mom. This will save us around $100/mo hopefully.


Utilities will go down as well. My cell phone contract is up this month (FINALLY) and we'll be transitioning to page plus once its over. Currently we have two smartphones with data through VZ at approx $125/month. We'll both be going to PP $30/month plan (so $60). Should be an easy $50/month savings (accounting for random overages and initial set ups).


The rest of the accounts are pretty much set at this point. Once we get the cash accounts finalized and consolidated, we'll do something with the excess money in the emergency fund (invest or pay down). I'll keep putting the max Roth IRA amount as well as an equal amount into my company 401(k) (for company matching). I'm not adding any money to the lending club account, but not taking it out either. I just keep rolling it to see what will happen.


Income wise, I'm probably not getting a raise or a bonus for 2012. So it'll stay flat. But DW and I are trying to start a small company at home using out specialized skill sets. We've got one client so far and are getting about $100/mo. It's only a couple hours a month, but trying to grow it.


In the last 9 months I shaved 20 years off my estimated years to retirement. Sadly this started at 135 years. 115 more to go. (Although, if I continue to shave off 2 years per month, I'll be done in about 5 years...)




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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:04 am 

Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:25 pm
Posts: 94



So January is off to a pretty rocky start.

Bad News:

- DW’s car broke down and had to pay $600 to get it fixed up and perfect again.

- Food was almost $900… not sure how that happened. I didn’t eat it. I know we paid for a dinner for DW’s sister’s bday ($120). $55 of this is renewing Costco membership. Either way, $600 or so went to groceries. Which is out of control. We’re going to have to take a better look at this and identify where the money went and if there is a way to reduce it. Other than those two items, things look about as they should.

- I thought my income would stay flat, but I didn’t count on not getting some government assistance that we received last year. Between that and no bonus, might be making $7K less this year. 

Good News:

- I’ve made some good changes this month too. We are no longer using Verizon for our cell phone plans. Moved both plans over to PagePlus. This will save about $65/month in the Utilities category.

- I’ve also started biking to work (only 6 times last month, but a start is a start). We’ve also gotten my MIL to pay for some of the gas because most of it is used to trek up north each weekend to visit. So gas was only $60. Hopefully we can keep it to 1-2 tanks a month.

- I’m showing the Home exp line to include a portion of the property taxes so it evens things out a bit. And we used some of our excess cash to pay down the mortgage ($5K).

- DW and I are increasing the side hustle to a real operation. We funnel clients through her mom’s company, it’s in her name, but we do all the work. We get 80% split of the revenue. This make it easy as far as paperwork and structure. MIL gets a cut, but she takes the risk so that’s fair to them. So far, it’s made about $500. Haven’t gotten paid, but that’ll happen once clients pay. We’ll see how much time this takes up and if it’s worth it, but if it is, it’ll go a long ways to covering my primary income shortfall.

To Do:

- Most of our accounts are all balanced now. I still need to do something with about $10K of cash. It’s earning .9% right now, which isn’t great. Mortgage is still 5.125%, so that’s always a good choice, but I still want to start a taxable account. Still can’t refinance as the HOA is still in the midst of litigation.

- I’m going to try to bike to work at least 10 days in the month of February.

- DW and I are going to Vegas in February, separately. So this will add a few hundred in expenses. She’s going with some friends for a 30th bday. I’m going with work people. Hopefully not too expensive.

- Household expenses will vary throughout the year as I redo both bathrooms. I’m going to attempt to do most of it myself and take my time. I haven’t bought anything yet, but have been studying this for months and feel comfortable taking it on now.

- Food challenge in our house to spend less than $400 in groceries.




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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:58 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:25 pm
Posts: 94


February was much better than January. This is more like a typical month and things went better than planned.


Our Food was down to $439 which is almost to our food challenge level. I really didn't think it would go that low. If we take out some meals that will be reimbursed, our food was only $372! Pretty happy about that. We did eat a lot less meat though. Vegetarian mondays. Limited eating out. Bringing lunches to work.


Biking to work is going well. We only spent $90 on gas which is a substantial win. That is only biking about half the time too.


Household category is doing fine. We spent some money putting up blinds and babyproofing last month and it was in line with projections.


Utilities are coming down as expected due to switching our cell phones from VZ to P+. The going from post-paid to pre-paid is kind of annoying though.


In other news, I have a job interview tomorrow. It's a second round, but its closer to a sure thing at this point. I've been losing sleep over the stress of it though. There are some good things about it: I'd be getting more money (aka closer to ER), I'd be working for a better company in a better organization (more stability and opportunity). There are a lot of uncertain things too though: We'd have to move (not altogether bad, I'm tired of paying HOA fees 380/mo!!), we'd be farther from in-laws and would have to spend more on gas (an extra 60 miles... could be a good thing ;) ), we just put our son in some gymboree classes and he'd have to leave that.


I just don't know what to do if I do get an offer or how to properly value it. I asked for about a 10% increase in pay, but that's still negotiable. Just not sure if its enough to warrant moving. I'd like to get out of this condo and into an SFR so the money is going to equity instead of HOA fees too.


What do you guys do in a situation like this?




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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:50 am
Posts: 1705

I think I would try to project out a few years if I were you instead of just looking at what changes would be in your immediate future. Which position will put you closer to your goals in 3-5 years -- the one you have now or the prospective one?


You'll want to write down some "best estimates" of your finances in addition to the other consideration.


It sounds like you will be fine whichever one you pick, so don't stress out about it too much. There will be many more forks (opportunities) down the road.


Oh, and its better to move around when the kids are smaller than when they get older, because they are not really much attached to their school/friends/environment when they are little.




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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:00 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:38 pm
Posts: 108

+ 1 to Dragline .. not that I have an easy time doing that myself.




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