Hristo's FI Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Jason
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Re: A glimpse into how you poorly manage a budget with a family

Post by Jason » Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:35 am

Hristo Botev wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:20 am
Yep. If any of you out there in the ERE community is looking for a lucrative side hustle, there's a growth industry in "child-centered, expert-guided, emotionally absorbing, labor intensive and financially expensive" child rearing

when no one knows what the world will look like when they reach adulthood.
Welcome to Jason's Internet Trolling Empowerment Camp. Now, your rich, idiotic parents are throwing away good fucking money for you junior douchenozzles to learn what's its like when the parental controls come off, so STFU and start texting what you really feel about the little snot-nosed entitled asshole farting beside you. And make it good or you'll be crying like Michael Jordan after his dad got shot for the rest of the summer. Let's go, asshats. You're not going to learn staring at me like the dead fucking deer your drunk mother hit when racing back from banging your uncle.

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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by jacob » Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:37 am

This talk of the constant need to be productive and organized wrt child rearing reminds me of this:
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/an ... -debt-work

Supposedly, burnout is more prevalent in the Millennial generation compared to older ones. That doesn't mean that it doesn't exist in other generations. I've experienced various levels of burnout over the years and I'm wondering whether it's a result of having spent decades in a combination of competitiveness and organized use of time that begins to spill into all aspects of one's life similar to what kids go through today. That basically taking an activity that's internally motivated and imposing an external structure (schedules and measures) to increase productivity which substitutes the inherent motivation away and if done in excess eventually removes inherent motivation for ALL activities---even basic tasks---as this spills over into the rest of one's life.

The result is that the mind with it's limited amount of decision and planning-energy starts sorting and ignoring all the high-effort/low-reward efforts. A result might be that nothing gets done for its own sake anymore. Fun is gone. It's all about striving and achieving and anything that doesn't satisfy one of the generic achievement metrics one has internalized instead, it won't be done.

Also: http://earlyretirementextreme.com/produ ... -eggs.html

Hristo Botev
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Re: A glimpse into how you poorly manage a budget with a family

Post by Hristo Botev » Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:08 pm

Jason wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:35 am
What's the monthly charge? And do you offer a multiple kid discount?

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:18 pm

jacob wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:37 am
DW and I were talking about the task thing this morning in response to one of the comments someone had left on the NYT article, about kids not having to entertain themselves anymore, and about parents being scared to let their kids be bored anymore. They've got every second scheduled with school, sports, tutors, other extra curriculars, homework; and any second they don't have scheduled they've got an ipad or whatever in front of their face. Interesting anecdote from the Harry Crews' memoir is that he got interested in writing because when he was a kid him and his neighbor would spend hours upon hours inventing epic stories based on the models in the Sears mail catalog, which was the only printed material in the house other than the Bible. Kids will find stimulation anywhere. Seems like kids need to have that sort of unstructured play time where they have to entertain themselves.
Last edited by Hristo Botev on Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:59 am

My third book of 2019 is Rod Dreher's 2006 book Crunchy Cons. I'm 3 chapters in at this point, and so far there are a whole lot of parallels with the ERE thing (e.g., don't drive when you can walk/bike, limit TV, avoid consumerism for consumerism's sake, etc.). From the book description: "Dreher introduces us to people who are pioneering a way back to the future by reclaiming what's best in conservatism--people who believe that being a truly committed conservative today means protecting the environment, standing against the depredations of big business, returning to traditional religion, and living out conservative godfather Russell Kirk's teaching that the family is the institution most necessary to preserve." It'd be nice if more "conservatives" were focused on actually preserving the "Permanent Things"--families, churches, local economies, the environment--through practicing and promoting on a policy level where appropriate green eating, liberal arts education and traditional (parochial/home-school) schooling, arts, sanctified religion, independent and locally-sourced consumerism, and non-automobile transportation options. Instead, just like 13 years ago when Dreher's book was published, conservatives today just seem to be focused on paving the way for the Amazons and Googles of the world to run roughshod over our democracy and our culture.

Anyway, interesting read. And thanks to Dreher's unexceptional writing style and proclivity to repeat himself, it's a book that you could probably tear through in just a few hours.

suomalainen
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by suomalainen » Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:06 pm

Hristo Botev wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:59 am
Instead, just like 13 years ago when Dreher's book was published, conservatives today just seem to be focused on paving the way for the Amazons and Googles of the world to run roughshod over our democracy and our culture.
Although this probably isn't fair, what IS a fair definition of what conservatives stand for these days? Other than lowering taxes and anti-abortion, which seems to have been pretty consistent for like 40+ years.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:03 am

suomalainen wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:06 pm
I'm certainly no expert on American conservatism, and what conservatives in general do and don't stand for, but what conservatism means to me is that we should be as skeptical of big business as we are of big government (I suppose in the vein of Teddy Roosevelt), and for many of the same reasons, as big business has the potential to become tyrannical just as big government does. And the way to practice that personally is through supporting businesses that are small and local and independent. On a policy level, it seems like conservatism have become synonymous with Ayn Rand libertarianism, which doesn't seem right to me. I don't think it is a traditional American conservative position (see Russell Kirk) that the free market and business should be allowed to run amok, unfettered and unchecked by regulation. Rather, I think traditional American conservatives would believe that there is an important role for government (federal and local) to play in checking big business, to ensure as level a playing field as possible and to make sure they aren't doing things like ruining our rivers and air with no recompense. And that government impose those checks when necessary through regulation and through the antitrust laws. I think the problems conservatives have (or should have) with government regulation is that they often result in making the playing field less level because a small family-run farm can't afford to put in handicap accessible bathrooms for its non-existent employees, or whatever. Big business uses these regulations to increase barriers to entry and stifle competition.

On the government side, I don't think it's necessarily accurate to say that conservatives are always for lowering taxes. I think there's some nuance there. I think it can be a conservative position to say that the federal government has gotten too big and has way too much control over our daily lives in a way that does not create healthy and productive communities, families, and individuals. And so we should be in favor of giving the federal government less of our income. Conversely, I likely would be totally in favor of redirecting those federal tax dollars (and even sending more of my tax dollars) to state and more importantly county and municipal governments. Because I can vote with my feet and choose to live in states and municipalities that use public money wisely in a way that does in fact create healthy and productive communities, families, and individuals.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:04 am

Just saw this on the Kirk Center website (https://kirkcenter.org/conservatism/ten ... rinciples/), which says what I was trying to say much better.

Ninth, the conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passions. Politically speaking, power is the ability to do as one likes, regardless of the wills of one’s fellows. A state in which an individual or a small group are able to dominate the wills of their fellows without check is a despotism, whether it is called monarchical or aristocratic or democratic. When every person claims to be a power unto himself, then society falls into anarchy. Anarchy never lasts long, being intolerable for everyone, and contrary to the ineluctable fact that some persons are more strong and more clever than their neighbors. To anarchy there succeeds tyranny or oligarchy, in which power is monopolized by a very few.

The conservative endeavors to so limit and balance political power that anarchy or tyranny may not arise. In every age, nevertheless, men and women are tempted to overthrow the limitations upon power, for the sake of some fancied temporary advantage. It is characteristic of the radical that he thinks of power as a force for good—so long as the power falls into his hands. In the name of liberty, the French and Russian revolutionaries abolished the old restraints upon power; but power cannot be abolished; it always finds its way into someone’s hands. That power which the revolutionaries had thought oppressive in the hands of the old regime became many times as tyrannical in the hands of the radical new masters of the state.

Knowing human nature for a mixture of good and evil, the conservative does not put his trust in mere benevolence. Constitutional restrictions, political checks and balances, adequate enforcement of the laws, the old intricate web of restraints upon will and appetite—these the conservative approves as instruments of freedom and order. A just government maintains a healthy tension between the claims of authority and the claims of liberty.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:48 pm

Not surprisingly, this is all a whole thing that I wasn't even aware of. David Brooks talked about the difference between economic conservatives (your libertarian types) and traditional conservatives (your Russell Kirk types) 7 years ago. https://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/25/opin ... -mind.html

suomalainen
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by suomalainen » Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:32 pm

Just saw this too. Very timely.

https://www.vox.com/2019/1/10/18171912/ ... -trump-gop

I'd be very interested to see the Republican party regain some semblance of...well, of sanity frankly, but also to move towards some vision of governing that's actually tethered to reality. It's just been...weird...

Jason
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Jason » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:37 am

This thread seemed like the most appropriate place to link this:

https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2019/01/48506/

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:55 am

DW and I are doing the Whole30 thing for January (my idea, not DW's, as DW knows way too much about nutrition to think that Whole30 is anything other than a stupid, pseudo-science based fad diet). Some thoughts 15 days in: (1) it's expensive to buy groceries on a diet that eliminates cheaper, plant-based proteins in favor of more expensive proteins; (2) seriously, no legumes?!?--why the f*#k not?; (3) sadly, the last time I went even a day without drinking was during my 10-day hospital stay in August--I was well overdue for a reset on my alcohol consumption, and it's been great; and, finally, (4) I do feel great, incredible even, better than I think I have felt during my entire adult life--though I'm pretty positive that has nothing to do with eliminating legumes and everything to do with eliminating alcohol, sugar, and processed foods and limiting carb intake.

A note on budget, we've been especially conscious of our spending this month, and halfway in we are going to come very close to actually sticking to our budget for most line items (we're currently on target for a 60% savings rate!). But, we had budgeted $400 for groceries (and home stuff, like toilet paper), and 15 days in we are already at $401.75. Granted, we are eating all of our meals at home this month (we've spent $16.08 of $250 budgeted for restaurant, all of which was money spent on the kids). And our separate alcohol category is showing a big fat $0 (as opposed to $270 spent in December and a whopping $360 in November). Nevertheless, when ALL of your calories for the month come from fresh vegetables and fruit, meat, eggs, and nuts, with no legumes or whole grains, it gets expensive. We've been having to go to the market every 3 days or so to re-stock, spending on average $45 per trip.

So, going forward starting in February, I think the plan for the remainder of 2019 will be:
  • Stick with whole foods and avoid processed foods, purchased from either our local farmers' markets or our larger, independent and locally-owned market;
  • Re-incorporate legumes and whole grains, especially for things like Instapot bulk recipes we can make on the weekend and then eat for lunch during the week (which will result in a drastic cost savings);
  • Limit alcohol intake to social settings and occasional red wine at home (probably 4-6 bottles of wine a month b/w DW and me); and
  • For meat and dairy, we've gone back and forth with veganism through the years, but my thinking now is to limit cheese intake to just the occasional cheese plate and wine date nights with DW, and to limit meat intake by only buying from local, environmentally-sustainable, grass-fed-type producers, which will be expensive enough to prevent us from consuming too much.
This plan seems to strike the best balance between eating: (1) healthy; (2) inexpensively; (3) in an environmentally-sustainable manner; and (4) in a manner that supports local, independent producers.

suomalainen
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by suomalainen » Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:50 pm

Hristo Botev wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:55 am
I do feel great, incredible even, ... everything to do with eliminating alcohol, sugar, and processed foods and limiting carb intake.
Approved
we are going to come very close to actually sticking to our budget for most line items (we're currently on target for a 60% savings rate!)
$400+$250+$270 = $920/month, on pace for $802. Congratulations
limit cheese intake
Heresy

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:09 am

I've struggled with various work/school commute options this school year. At first the thinking was I'd take the kids on bikes 3x week and DW would take them in the car 2x/week. That plan quickly deteriorated into some bickering because it just wasn't that clear who was primarily responsible for getting kids to/from school as various work/social things popped up and as weather played a factor. So I figured it was worth it to avoid the bickering if I was primarily responsible for the kids' school commute, with DW filling in on random days when I have a work thing or whatever. With winter, however, it's really not safe to have the kids riding bikes given that it's now pitch black when we should be leaving for school. The kids have lights, of course, and I have a pretty low threshold for what I consider safe when it comes to bikes; but even I have to draw the line somewhere. So I've been driving more than biking the past month or two, and I really, really hate driving. Anyway, starting this Monday we tried walking to school, at my 8-year-old's suggestion. I was skeptical that the kids could handle the walk, which is 1.6 miles. But they have seemed to enjoy it so far, especially because they get to walk by themselves (without me) for the last 1/4 mile or so when they are in sight of the school and my work is in the opposite direction. We've also found a route that goes through quiet neighborhood streets and avoids the major traffic arteries, so I'm not constantly worrying about my 6-year-old running into traffic. It's close to 5 miles of total, round-trip walking for me, as I have a little over .5 mile left to walk to get to work after I drop them off. But our city is one of those cities that's been inundated with the Lime/Bird e-scooters, so I might give those a try sometimes on my walk to pick up the kids in the evening. Plus, from an exercise standpoint, 4-5 miles daily walking would replace the 11 miles of daily bike commuting I was doing before I switched jobs, which would mean I can forego the gym membership. So I think that between walking and riding bikes (as spring comes along and it gets lighter earlier), we should be able to avoid the car 9 days out of 10; reserving the car for especially bad weather days.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:49 am

Cord cutting costs more than cable? Shocker. And to think these people thought they'd get the better of the "cable" companies. As long as the library is free, and they don't figure out a way to re-charge me for listening to my CD collection, I'm set on entertainment.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:10 am

Jason wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:37 am
This thread seemed like the most appropriate place to link this:

https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2019/01/48506/
@Jason: I missed that you'd posted this until just now. Good read. Of course, St. Ignatius says it better:

"Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul. All other things on the face of the earth are created for man to help him fulfill the end for which he is created. From this it follows that man is to use these things to the extent that they will help him to attain his end. Likewise, he must rid himself of them in so far as they prevent him from attaining it. Therefore we must make ourselves indifferent to all created things, in so far as it is left to the choice of our free will and is not forbidden. Acting accordingly, for our part, we should not prefer health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to dishonor, a long life to a short one, and so in all things we should desire and choose only those things which will best help us attain the end for which we are created."

prognastat
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by prognastat » Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:15 am

How did you manage to spend more after cutting the cord? Did you sign up for a bunch of streaming subscriptions?

Hristo Botev
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Hristo Botev » Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:37 am

prognastat wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:15 am
How did you manage to spend more after cutting the cord? Did you sign up for a bunch of streaming subscriptions?
Not me; this article popped up in my newsfeed about the Netflix price hike: https://www.cordcuttersnews.com/after-n ... ke-a-look/ Friends/neighbors tell me they are spending more now having cut the cord than they were with cable, once you add up the PlayStation Vue or YouTube or whatever and then all the add-ons (HBO, etc.) and the price of Internet, which had been bundled with cable. For us, we pay $20 for internet and then we are at the tail end of a year-long Amazon Prime membership that gets us their streaming TV, but we're not going to renew that as we try and spend more of our dollars on local brick-and-mortar stores and less time watching TV. We did a Playstation Vue subscription when the World Cup was going on so that we could watch the games, and that was fine as it was cheaper than going to a bar to watch the games. And that was fine, except I hated all the other time-sucking crap that was out there, and damned if I can keep the kids from turning on the Disney channel. My idea of cord cutting would be for FIFA, or MLS, or Premier League, to offer a standalone soccer only option without blackout restrictions. I'd pay for that. But I don't think that's likely to happen because the licensing deals are too lucrative. Live sports is the only thing I feel I miss out on by not having cable or some sort of cord-cutting streaming service. I love all the great TV serial dramas that are being produced (Game of Thrones, Homeland, Vikings, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, etc.), but I can get all of those at the library on DVD.

Jason
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by Jason » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:04 pm

Netflix stock popped yesterday after they announced a $2 per month increase - from $11 to $13 - in monthly subscription fees. Wall Street took it as a sign that people are hooked enough that they won't lose membership. HBO currently stands at $15.00 per month.

Since we've gone DVD, we have not wanted for content. Will me miss the GOT episodes? Yes, but considering that we didn't watch it in real time the first go round, we will survive. Our savings is $60 approx. per month.

prognastat
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Re: Hristo's FI Journal

Post by prognastat » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:50 pm

If you are trying to replace everything cable offered without having cable yeah you'll end up spending far more, but the idea is that you only get the things you really want and not all the stuff bulking up most cable packages that you'll never watch.

Prime + Netflix + Hulu = 8.25 + 8.99 + 7.99 = $25.23

Add in free content such as youtube, pbs, crunchyroll, funimation, crackle, local tv from an antenna, DVDs/Discs from your local library and you literally have a lifetime's worth of content available for far less than even basic cable packages. If you already have Prime simply for the shipping benefits the effective added cost is only $16.98 a month.

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