I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Where are you and where are you going?
Cheepnis
Posts: 294
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis »

Let’s try this again: January Update

The #’s

Income: $4,893.10
Saved: $4385.30
Savings Rate: 89.62%

Spending

Rent – 212.5
Groceries – 103.19
Eating Out 10x – 60.48
Electricity – 48.81
Gifts – 41.12
Phone – 17.93
Internet – 17.5
Worms for the Turtle – 2.29
Thrift Store – 3.98

This is the first month under the new 50/50 split with the GF. I predicted the new arrangement would be slightly in my favor and I was correct having spent $6.19 less than I would have. The gap will be a little more pronounced in the summer time when the electrical bill goes down. Eating out was still a little high partly because I succumbed to a BOGO in the mail for my favorite local pizza joint. The 10x indicates how many meals we got out of the money spent. It’s a cheat to make myself feel better.

Reading

7. The Discourses of Epictetus

I received the Enchiridion for xmas. I did not realize it is so short. Having read that several times I decided to jump for the whole kit and caboodle. As with the Socratic dialogues I read two months ago I think my attentiveness to the text heavily correlated with my understanding/prior knowledge of the subject. For this reason the discourses will benefit from future visits, which I plan to do. On the whole they were not too bad to get through. The recent injections of stoic readings/philosophy into my life has really helped me focus on the things in my life that are going great, even if everything isn’t perfect.

8. Patternmaster – Octavia E. Butler

Very short. Very good. Octavia is not disappointing. She will be popping up quite a bit on the list this year I should think.

9. Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong – Terry Teachout

The world of academic jazz performance is primarily concerned with jazz from the bebop era (very late 30’s-late 40’s) on. With only a couple notable exceptions (Ellington and Basie foremost among them) the music of the swing era and earlier New Orleans flavored jass isn’t given hardly a passing thought outside jazz musicology circles. For whatever reason I’ve decided to undo my own academic indoctrination and round out my own knowledge a little more. To that end I have been listening to lots of early jazz lately and am now reading this book.

Running

Days Ran: 15
Miles Ran: 64.3

Frequency has dropped a little these past couple weeks. Exceptionally shitty weather is partially my excuse. I have gone on a couple of the 5.5 mile runs though and I’m still on track for the goal.

Investment Strategy


A few updates ago I posted my first ever-so-slightly specific investment strategy going forward. I sat down to work out the particulars and looking at my portfolio closer I have decided to change my previously stated strategy. The limiting factor is my 401k, which is already the largest single account in my portfolio, a situation that will only become more pronounced for the next few years.

I was not finding any good way to implement my prior goal while keeping low expense ratios. I’ve decided that, at my very low level of investing knowledge, sticking to the fundamentals is a better strategy than moving away from them for reasons I don’t fully understand. I have adjusted my strategy accordingly.

Current portfolio: ~60/40 stocks/bonds

The 60% stocks are split at almost an even 50/50 between an SP500 index in the 401k and VTSAX in my IRA/brokerage with Vanguard.

The 40% “bonds” are split 27.9% bonds and 72.1% cash.

Given that here are my goals going forward:
  • Continue to increase cash holdings for future large downpayment and future mortgage-included FU fund
  • Increase bond holdings relative to cash.
  • Add a small cap value tilt to the stock side of the portfolio
  • Maintain an overall 60/40 split

Jason

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Jason »

Cheepnis wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 12:47 pm

9. Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong – Terry Teachout

The world of academic jazz performance is primarily concerned with jazz from the bebop era (very late 30’s-late 40’s) on. With only a couple notable exceptions (Ellington and Basie foremost among them) the music of the swing era and earlier New Orleans flavored jass isn’t given hardly a passing thought outside jazz musicology circles. For whatever reason I’ve decided to undo my own academic indoctrination and round out my own knowledge a little more. To that end I have been listening to lots of early jazz lately and am now reading this book.
I would suggest this book. It's challenging.

https://www.amazon.com/Early-Jazz-Music ... 0195040430

I think the issues with Louis Armstrong is (a) Dearth/quality of early recordings (b) he was an instrumentalist only, not a composer or songwriter (I once worked on the Louis Armstrong Musical catalog and I don't think JLF could live on the annual royalties). (c) as you stated, people starting with Charlie Parker (d) He is remembered more for singing "Hello Dolly" and "What A Wonderful World" than for being the most important Jazz musician in American History. He's kind of like Einstein. A few recordings in a short span changed the course of musical history and he spent the rest of his life kicking back being Louis Armstrong i.e. smoking pot and chasing women and letting others deal with the ramifications of his genius. I'm not sure if Einstein was a pot head but he certainly MCsquared the ladies.

Cheepnis
Posts: 294
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis »

Thanks for the recommendation Jason. Mr. Teachout spends several sections of his book countering Schuller's feelings, similar to those you espouse, about Armstrong. Having experienced and being completely fed up with jazz elitism, yet also having been primarily being a student of the hard-bop era I think I land somewhere in the middle. The Armstrong Big Band and the All-Stars both made undoubtedly good music, however resting on one's laurels, especially for such a long time, does leave a funny after taste.

Reading

10. Mind of my Mind - Butler

Man is Ms. Butler great. Her books are short and pack a huge punch. Will continue to devour as the library spits them out at me.

11. Bond Investing for Dummies

This is the first "Dummies" book I've ever read and it will be the last. Holy hell it's insufferable. I got it because it was cheap at the used book store and I wanted something that outlined bond basics, which it is doing, but with way too many stupid analogies and jokes. It also seems aimed at those with terrible reading comprehension as it tells you what it's about to tell you, then it tells you, then tells you what it just told you.

Running

Days Ran: 22
Miles Ran: 101.9

Have been running the 5.5 on weekdays more frequently and also went on the 8.1 once.

Investing

Here's a breakdown of where my monthly savings is going. I estimated a conservative approximate $ amount I'll be able to save each month and then broke it down to achieve the goals stated in the last update.
  • - $3800 total saved
    • - 60% Stocks = $2280 broken down...
      • - 46% Russell 2000 (401k)
      • - 12% SP500 (401k)
      • - 42% VTSAX (taxable)
    • - 40% Bonds/Cash = $1520 broken down...
      • - 33% VBILX (IRA)
      • - 29% MWTSX (401k)
      • - 38% Cash Savings
The Russell 2000 contributions are to balance out my SP500 holdings to better approximate the total market. Once that balance is reached small cap value will be added. Many months I will likely save higher dollar amount that $3800, any extra will remain cash.

Cheepnis
Posts: 294
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis »

February Update

The #'s

Income: $4,708.82
Saved: $3,882.86
Savings Rate: 82.46%

Spending

Concert Tickets - 259.95
Rent - 212.5
Engine Projects - 148.79
Groceries - 101.58
Electricity - 41.35
Eating Out - 20
Phone - 17.79
Internet - 17.5
Used Book Store - 6.5

Overall I'm really happy with this month. I spent a total of $825.96, $7.03 under the monthly average for my loose 10k/y goal, while spending gratuitously on wants. One concert was during February and the rest of the tickets were for shows in the future. I'll have similar future concert expenses in the coming months as I get tickets for more future shows and my plan is to continue shooting for the $833/m average required for 10k/y as I do that spending.

My privileged rent situation still allows me a large discretionary budget, but I am getting better at planning out that part of my budget for the year. If I had planned better last year for the Ireland trip expenses I could have met my 10k/y goal, but I didn't. My concert expenses this year will not be as much as the Ireland trip. Keeping a rough idea of my concert schedule and absorbing those costs into the $833/m average should allow me to definitely spend less than last year and quite possibly even make the 10k goal.

NW

This is the first month since I've been tracking that my NW decreased despite my sizeable savings. Not too worried about it. I'm still a long ways off from calling myself truly FI so as long as I have a job and can continue saving I think I'm not going to care about market fluctuations much unless shit really hits the fan. One serendipitous little silver lining is my 401k contributions (which normally hit my account on the 20th of the month following the contributions) didn't hit until the 28th this month. It's almost as if the fund was trying to buy the dip. Whatever, I'll take it.

Work and my Mood

On the subject of having a job: things are continuing to get tighter and tighter. These big jobs keep getting pushed off. There's been numerous permitting issues and rumors of developer unease over the overheated economy. This time last year there were over 50 plumbers working for the company and after this week's layoffs we're nearly at single digits. I'm still around thankfully and am supposed to be heading to a new large job end of this month, but if that doesn't kick off I think I've dodged the chopping block for about as long as I can.

Getting cinched like this has really sent the rumor mill a churnin' and cranked the gossip to 11. It has set everyone understandably on edge and really accentuated many of my coworkers predispositions for anger and bitterness. I'll be glad when it's all over one way or another because remaining resolute and steadfast in the face of the negativity floating around has been difficult. I do think the stoic teachings I have been reading are helping, but my disposition is still far from impregnable.

I've been questioning whether or not I've learned anything from my light practice of stoicism. Ultimately my life is extremely easy right now and I have very few stressors. My response to this increased work stress, albeit a small test, seems to be evidence that I've made a little progress.

Reading

I've really been striking out at the library lately. Many books I've been finding that I want to read that the library doesn't have and the local library charges exorbitant per-book fees to use the inter-library loan program.

12. The Chrysalids - Wyndham

I've grown to expect his books to be engrossing and short jaunts, this one did not disappoint. Coincidentally this book had many similar themes (telepathy, post large scale civilization) as Butler's Paternist series I'm reading.

13. The Kraken Wakes - Wyndham

Just started. Hopefully a book is returned to the library in the one or two more days it takes me to finish this haha.

Running

Days Ran: 25
Miles Ran: 115.6

Set a new speed record for the 4.1: 34 minutes on the dot, living room to living room.

Cheepnis
Posts: 294
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis »

Thanks for the concern @MEA. I am in a good position and am thankful for that. The largest worry is, as an apprentice, if I'm laid off I am required to take whatever dispatch I'm given. I really wouldn't want to be dispatched somewhere 2 hours away or some such. Working for a company that's been able to keep me working within biking/walking distance for so long has been absurdly lucky and if I can finish my apprenticeship here then I will have the ability to decline a dispatch if it's not worth it to me (4 hours of commuting isn't worth it imo).

There is good news though: the erosion permit came through earlier than expected and I am on the new job. I'm one of the firs here which in all likelihood means I'll be one of the last here too. We're currently still working but I expect the job will be shut down by the end of next week for Covid-19. Who knows how it'll all play out but I could do with a little while off.

Reading

14. Devil Take The Hindmost: A History Of Financial Speculation - Chancellor

15. Broken Lives: How Ordinary Germans Experienced The 20th Century - Jarausch

I'd become interested in the memoir The Shame of Survival by Ursala Mahlendorf but the library didn't have it. This was the next best thing. It's astounding just how wrong things can go.

16. Irrational Exuberance - Shiller

Devil Take The Hindmost and this are going to team up and make me a real bear.

Running

Frequency dropped off a cliff the past couple weeks. Life.

Days Ran: 28
Miles Ran: 132.1

Engine Projects

I've made good headway on the Associated pictured upthread and it's running very smooth now. Unlike the IHC M's (the green ones) I'd been working on, this is a true hit & miss because it hits and then it misses. The M's are throttle governed and fire every four engine cycles. The throttle is a butterfly valve which regulates how much air/fuel mixture the engine gets and therefore its speed. A hit & miss has a mechanism that locks the exhaust valve open once the engine is above a certain speed. With the exhaust valve open there is no compression -> no suction of air & fuel on the intake stroke -> no firing. Here's a video. https://youtu.be/y_LxFNPykGw

Cheepnis
Posts: 294
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis »

End of March Update

The #'s

Income: $4745.62
Saved: $3981.76
Savings Rate: 83.9%

Spending

Rent - 212.5
Weekend glamping trip* - 150.05
Groceries - 121.07
Mechanical Inspection for car - 76.13
Electricity - 44.01
Gas - 38.31
Engine Association Dues - 30
3 Records - 28
Phone - 17.79
Internet - 17.5
Eating Out - 14
Used Book Store - 9.5
2 Pair thrift store pants - 5

*Yurt rental, extravagant food

Reading

17. Wild Seed - Butler

My favorite of the Patternist series. Both Mind of My Mind and this were great because the character Doro is so fascinating. Totally unlikable, yet supremely intriguing.

18. Double Star - Heinlein

At only 120 pages this is padding the list a bit, but hey it won the Hugo for best novel before the novella category was created so I'ma just pretend it's 1956 and count it! I find Heinlein's characters have a cocky self-assurance that can be pretty grating, this book is no exception. I do like many of his ideas, though, and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is so great I keep coming back to him even if I've yet to read anything of his that approaches that book's greatness.

19. Kindred - Butler

Her books just read. The words fly by sooo easily. I read a review of her that characterized her prose as lean, which I think is an apt description, however it doesn't fail to capture in it's leanness a rich and detailed and textured reality. The reality of Kindred is devastating, what a horrendous and atrocious time in our history.

On to...

20. Stand on Zanzibar - Brunner

I'm hot and cold on Brunner but I have high hopes for this one.

Running

Days Ran: 33
Miles Ran: 159.6

General

As my #'s make clear I haven't stopped working yet. My state is on a stay at home order with all non-essential businesses to remain closed but construction hasn't stopped yet. We'll see how long that lasts. So as the world shuts down around me my life has remained pretty much as it was.

The general consensus among my redneck coworkers is Covid 19 is a hoax or not worth the hassle. As far as they're concerned the orange menace speaks in axioms so whatever comes out of the WH stands. I'm taking my own necessary precautions and am mostly comfortable with going to work since we're easily able to remained spread out while working anyway. I can't really stop working without giving up my spot at the job which means I've currently decided to don the golden handcuffs through this or until construction gets shut down.

NW is down a good chunk and as stated in the "Stock Market Bloodbath" thread I'm finding it pretty easy to weather. My number, enjoyable as it was to watch in grow, wasn't directly effecting my life at all. I'll keep on keepin' on whether that number goes up or down. Still DCA'ing as normal right now.

jacob
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Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by jacob »

Cheepnis wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:27 am
20. Stand on Zanzibar - Brunner
I think The Sheep Look Up is better even if Stand on Zanzibar is the famous one.

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 1162
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am
Location: Earth

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Cheepnis wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:27 am

Running

Days Ran: 33
Miles Ran: 159.6
How did you manage to run 33 days already?

Cheepnis
Posts: 294
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis »

Jacob, thanks for the rec, I'll add it to my ever growing list!

2b1s, that is a **cough** running tally for the year.

Cheepnis
Posts: 294
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis »

Spending

If I'm sticking to my $10k/y goal that is an average of $833/m. This year so far I have yet to go over that and the outlook is good with the health crisis that my spending will remain low. However, by the second of this month I had already racked up $650 in spending! MISC Amazon stuff late last month + 6 Month car insurance premium + new tags is partly to blame and the other large bit is that the weather turned to total canine excrement and I had to replace my 3 year old work rain gear, goodbye $150! If there's any one thing that justifies plumber's wages (or high construction wages in general) I'd say it's that there's got to be somebody out there in the 40F sideways rain installing various things so that some other MF has a room with running water and lights and temperature control to exist in. Work was truly miserable a couple weeks ago, but the fresh rain gear kept me some semblance of dry. + my new rain jacket has neoprene wrist seals, so that's pretty great!

As of this writing I'm up to $730 in spending. With only one more trip to the grocery store and electricity left to buy this month I should make it in below $833. I'm not approaching this month-long crunch from a scarcity mindset as much as realizing that if, due to a confluence of infrequent bills, the worst I have to complain about is I don't have as much room in my budget as normal that I've got it ridiculously good. The more reading I do, fiction, non-fiction, whatever, the more I realize how absurdly lucky I am to be alive at this time. We've got it so stupidly easy. 28 days of only buying food & electricity ain't nothing to bitch about.

Work

I've been learning how to operate a Trimble robot total station. It's a layout tool that is far faster than pulling string lines and measuring everything by hand. They're not cheap, and despite having owned one for several years now, the shop hasn't hardly used it on any jobs because nobody is technologically competent enough to learn it. Actually, that's not true, the younger people (apprentices) could learn it just fine but there's still heavy mistrust/non-use* of technology at the company and strong resistance to apprentices having skills the journeyman don't. Work politics.

I taught myself how to barely use this thing by reading the manual. This was for a small job that had a ridiculous budget and with a foreman who trusts me so he let me "waste" a couple days playing with it. I think that was a little proof of concept for the company that the thing actually works. Now it's getting used on a big job. I had to re-learn it since it's been a year and half, but I've already gone from teaching myself about 20% of it's functions up to maybe 50%. Basically I'm in the process of specializing within my specialty which will perhaps be good for job security down the road. I can do the work of 4 guys by myself with this thing. Its benefits won't be hard to see on paper.

*I still get mailed a paper pay-stub every week, fill out paper time cards every week, sign paper safety sheets every week, and my boss, who's in his late 30's, needs my help taking files from dropbox to a flashdrive. That's the level of technological competency I'm dealing with here.

Reading

Almost done with Stand on Zanzibar. I've enjoyed it, though I find it takes me a good 20-30 pages to settle into it each reading, after which it becomes much more enjoyable. Still no clear plot line, just some stuff happening, but that's ok. Reading pace has dropped a bit since my GF isn't working now and I'm bad at reading with distractions. Excuses, excuses...

Also the library being closed has really limited my supply of non-fiction. I have plenty of used sci-fi paperbacks to make my way through but I suspect I'll be bored of those long before the library is back open. Covid-19 might push me to buy an e-reader.

Running

Days Ran: 38
Miles Ran: 187.1

I've graduated to the 5.5 mile run as my standard afternoon jaunt. The 4.1 will only pop up if I'm crunched on time or something. It's also time to start running the butte again. Doing that for a month should push me into a new fitness level.

Scott 2
Posts: 1632
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Scott 2 »

I've found it's better to relax budgets a bit when contending with things like work expenses or random synchronization of unusual (but required) expenses. Keeping my mental resolve and quality of life high tends to offer a better overall result, even if it means slight deviation from my typically arbitrary goal. As I've gotten established financially, I have much more regret over the times I deprived myself to meet an extreme standard, than when I spent the extra $100 for whatever.
Cheepnis wrote:
Sat Apr 11, 2020 9:53 am
Basically I'm in the process of specializing within my specialty which will perhaps be good for job security down the road.
This is very smart. What a great way to differentiate yourself, taking advantage of skills that come "easily" by nature. A 4x productivity multiplier, especially if you can scale it to training others, can open a lot of opportunity. In my field, even that first 20% on a superior tool often puts you far ahead of the typical worker. Full understanding makes you nearly indispensable, especially if you leverage it politically.

That's where I tend to focus my effort - what work can I do, that gives me a skill or tool I can keep, that makes me even more effective in the future? The best part is, this strategy snowballs. Because you are so much more effective, you get more flexibility, letting you invest even more time in productivity multipliers, getting even more freedom.

As you learn to think that way, it spreads beyond whatever skill you started doing it in. The opportunities are everywhere.

Cheepnis
Posts: 294
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis »

Right now with my ability save so heavily I find that I'm motivated to work around the larger necessary expenses, but I do think that as time goes on this will probably relax. I don't see myself as motivated to optimize every month if I'm no longer hitting 80+% SR consistently.

The Trimble in my unique situation probably doesn't have a ton of scaling potential. It only takes one person to operate, the company only owns one unit so far, and the number of times that two units might be needed simultaneously in our medium sized market is low. Couple that last one with the fact that many people at the company are still opposed to using it that I'll probably just turn into the "Trimble guy" and head to any job it gets used on.

There is great potential to increase my effectiveness in the future, though. Right now the machine is only as good as the layout information loaded onto it. Right now the company pays another company to make that information. The people at the company are not only not plumbers with no field experience but also have never even operated the machine they're making the information for! So there's plenty of times we go back and change things after I've already laid them out with the machine because we can tell things aren't going to work.

I already have some light CAD experience and I can't imagine making the point files is very hard considering you're only laying points over an already designed system. Having someone in-house with the ability to make points would be much cheaper and decrease headaches out in the field. I'm looking into what training I need to get myself to be able to that.

I'm cautiously optimistic that over time I can forge a niche for myself in the way you describe. The biggest hurdle will be the winning over the old guard with the new technology!

Scott 2
Posts: 1632
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Scott 2 »

Another angle - regionally or nationally, there could be in person training on the tool. Depending how careerist you want to be, that's a potential networking opportunity. Initially as a student, but then later as a trainer. Even if you can learn self directed, many cannot.

Winning over the old guard is always a challenge. I'm constantly beating my head against it.

Cheepnis
Posts: 294
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis »

Scott, that's not something I could pursue within the union in any capacity, but it's not a bad idea as a potential move out of the field.

Reading

21. To Say Nothing of the Dog - Willis

I'm a fan of comedic writing in general, but I'm finding this to not be as enjoyable as, say, a Discworld novel mostly because it's too long. The comedy often comes at the expense of plot movement and the number of pages that are humorous but plot-stalling pages is too high. If the book were trimmed down to 300-350 pages it would be better. Nonetheless it's not terrible and I'm not sad I read it.

Running

DR: 40
MR: 202.5

I only got 2 days of running in but I set a new distance record for the year at 9.9 miles. Running on the weekend when I'm fresh, not worn down from work physically or mentally, and can run in the morning is soooo much more enjoyable than running after work. I have a good time after work many jaunts, but damn it's hard to get out there if my knees/hips are already talking to me from the abuse they got that day. I'm sure workin' a desk job is equally draining mentally, but having a well rested body really makes running so much better.

$1200

I'm doing a very non-frugal thing and spending it all. I'm completely cheating and not counting it as income or as expenses. As far as I'm concerned the money isn't really meant for me since I've kept my job so I'm using that as an excuse to spend it at small businesses.

A hobby of mine since shortly after high school is picking up vintage stereo equipment on CL or at thrift stores, fixing it up, using it, and either keeping it or selling it depending how much I like the piece. I've taught myself some light circuitry repair/diagnostics in the process and become pretty good at soldering on pcb's. I got a thrashed TOTL Sansui 9090db Stereo Receiver in a trade a couple years ago (I recapped his Mac4100 for it) and have been working on it on/off since then. It's the most complicated and also most trashed piece I've worked on. While I've made some good progress I've been stalled out for some time because it's really too far outside of my skill range to completely fix.

There's a vintage stereo shop in town that will do a full restore for $600. After that I'll build it a new walnut cabinet and I'll have my forever stereo. I'll never need anything with more functionality or power.

I'm considering building myself some nice speakers with the other half the money. I've got some Epicure 20+ cabinets that have been laying in the closet for forever. I'd have to re-veneer the cabinets and there's a small business run by a former Epicure employee that sells handmade replacement drivers for all EPI/Epicure products. I truly don't need these as I have already accumulated several pairs of speakers I love. I'm pining though. My largest hesitation here is, unlike the 9090db, the end result here likely wouldn't be worth the money I put into them.

Image

Image

Full disclosure: this is all rather humorous in light of my recent posts in Gen-X's journal regarding audiophile equipment. I don't consider myself much of an audiophile and don't expect either of these pieces to actually improve the quality of my system very much from a sonic perspective. It's just that having some totl shit would be cool and having a few more inputs on the stereo will be nice. Does that justify the price tag? Prolly not but I'm an irrational being.

Cheepnis
Posts: 294
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis »

April Update

The #'s

Income: $4,121.68
Saved: $3,256.38
Savings Rate: 79%

Spending

Rent - 212.5
Rain Gear - 149.59
6m Car Insurance - 133.30
Groceries - 105.88
New Tags - 61
Records - 59.76
Garden Supplies - 40.48
Electricity - 36.19
Engine Projects - 31.31
Phone - 17.79
Internet - 17.5

Came it at $865.30, just a hair over my $833/m average goal. Nice weekend + realizing I should get some stuff in the ground resulted in a trip to the garden store. So that $40 expense pushed me over the edge. Not bad considering the infrequent car insurance + tags + necessary work rain gear added up to $343.89 by themselves.

Income is a little low this month because I didn't work a full 40 hour week the whole month. Not covid related and I can expect the same this month. In the beginning stages of a job, before things have really broke loose, work is spotty. After the shoring for the second floor starts getting pulled we'll have a bunch of underfloor plumbing and that's when things will really pick up.

I don't mind the extra long weekends/half days, but it has made me realize that the way I currently have my life set up I don't have enough stuff to fill endless free time. Reading, running, a couple raised beds, and other minor hobbies only take up so much time. The necessity for an exit plan if/when full ER comes is clear. A space for a much larger garden and an actual workshop so I can properly work/build things will definitely be part of that plan.

The sporadic work has also made me realize semi-ere might very well be for me. What I'm really coming to understand is that 40 hours/week and 8 hours/day is simply too much. Each in tandem is soul sucking. If the standard work schedule was five fives I don't there would be as big a movement attempting to game the system. For me, I think the structure of a few hours on the schedule every day that I have no say over would really keep me motivated in my free time. I'd like to think I'm a self-motivated enough person to self-start all day of my own accord, constantly accomplishing stuff, but I'm afraid I might be fooling myself. I've never actually gotten to test that hypothesis so I don't really know.

/totally rehashed thoughts every FIRE person is thinking

Reading

22. Survivor - Butler

She disowned this book after only a sigle printing of it so I had to find it online. I think she might have had second thoughts about how she portrayed a couple characters. However, the book was good and had her masterful presentation of complex human relationships set within a fantastical backdrop that I'm learning is her signature.

23. Atomic Habits - Clear

Nothing super groundbreaking here, but it had some good descriptors and ways of thinking of things. I think the strategy he outlines that I personally use the most is implementation intention: "a plan you make beforehand about when and where to act." I state a goal on here such as "I'm going to run 500 miles this year", in order to achieve that goal I know I need to continue making steady progress, to that end I map my weekly runs out in my head to give me an idea of what staying on track will look like. It's all mental, but works pretty well for me.

On to...

24. Tightwad Gazette II - Dacyczn

I think I'm mostly reading this for the recipes at this point. Lentil burgers, soft pretzels, and quick pizza crust recipes have been gleaned. However, adding a 1/2 cup warm water to the end of the ketchup bottle, shaking, and using as tomato "soup" for a grilled cheese ain't happening. Aside from that it's astonishingly outdated in many aspects. Quote: "Banks will rarely allow your mortgage payment to exceed 28% of your income." How quaint. I went to a mortgage broker back in the fall to try to learn a little about the process of getting a loan. Just a little light research for whenever I do intend to buy a house. He told me he could get me a mortgage with a payment up to 50% of my monthly income. I told him even 25% would make queasy and he looked at me like "who the F%#$ is this guy?"

Running

DR: 47
MR: 248.7

Added 6 5.5 miles runs and a half marathon I ran yesterday. I'll say it again: running in the morning and not after work is sooo much better. The half felt good and was enjoyable the whole time.

Work

I was threatened at work this week. Here's the cliff notes and necessary background information.

This is a concrete structure building. Concrete columns support PT (post tension) slab floors. A slab on grade (on graded earth) will be poured for the first floor, columns already poured and in place, then shoring will be installed with plywood on top which is what the second story slab will be poured on. Once the deck is up the MEP trades (mechanical/electrical/plumbing) get up there to install anything that gets poured in the slab. For plumbers we have sleeves we put in that will later have pipes going through them, embedded "bangers" used to hang pipe from under the slab, and sometimes fixtures like floor sinks or floor drains. After the MEP guys are done the rodbusters come in to place the rebar and pt cables.

The building designers and engineers do not run clash detection programs between the MEP stuff and the structural rebar so there are always clashes where one trade will have to work around the other. Sometimes the clashes are bad enough that things will need to be redesigned and approved by said engineers before the slab is poured.

Here's a picture of a standard section of deck. This was from a 5am pour, though not the exact location of the incident described below. The blue cables are the pt cables, those white deals between the two column cages are our sleeves.

Image

This particular crew of rebar guys are pretty rough and tumble. The head honcho, J, in particular is loud, ornery, and angry. He scares me to be perfectly honest. He flies off the handle regularly and is not in any way in control of his anger. This week he started kicking our sleeves out if they were in his way. We replaced them without saying anything the first time. The second time the general contractor got involved, the third time the general had a sit down with him.

It was on that day, when I was there fixing these sleeves for the third time, that he yelled, no screamed, at me for standing on his rebar/pt cables and "fucking his shit up". If you can't tell it is impossible not to step on the bar/cables, everybody including the rebar guys walk on them. The absurdity of the accusation, considering I was literally holding the crumpled remains of the sleeves he destroyed, really galled me. I gave him some lip: "Gee, wouldn't want that to happen" to which he replied: "I'll fucking stomp you".

That's not the type of shit I put up with so I told the appropriate people and the wheels started turning. Nobody likes this guy, every trade has problems with him. He smokes on site (not allowed), unloads his delivered material so as to block other trades access to their material (dick move) and is generally hard to work with. The GC had already been fielding lots of complaints about him before this incident, but even this wasn't enough to get him booted! The superintendent for the general didn't want to fire him, he wanted us to have a sit down and work it out, as if I had anything to do with J's ongoing terrible behavior. My boss told him there's a common denominator, that it's not me, and that if J wanted to apologize he was free to do so but that we all knew that wasn't going to happen. Later that same day J had another incident and got fired.

Oh the joys of working with adult children.

Construction culture and way too much toxic masculinity is the absolute worst part of my job. To be fair, many people had my back here, just getting beyond the event horizon of the old ways is hard.

Cheepnis
Posts: 294
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis »

On Forward Movement And Such

What is it about goals, continually accomplishing things, maintaining "forward" movement? I've been lamenting and reflecting, with helpful discussions with of my brother, why many, myself included, start to get a sense of unease when at rest. The work I'm completing can range from almost completely purposeless (reviving an old engine) to proactive and long-term beneficial to myself (running, good financial habits). I find that where an activity lands on the purposeless <--------> purposeful scale doesn't determine its effectiveness at easing the unrest.

This leads me to believe that any activity I partake in is really just a distraction. From what I don't know. My looming demise? The transience of existence? Anxiety? Boredom? The one thing all the activities have in common is they allow me to direct my total attention in a direction, any direction, other than the unease. I don't mean to make it sound like I lay around in complete mental squalor until I can pick up a wrench or a book, I don't, but nonetheless I sometimes feel very nihilistic, like everything I do is pointless, a distraction.

These thoughts have particular pertinence to my FIRE aspirations since I have the means to give myself plenty of distractions should I so choose. Currently I am in a holding pattern: I'm forgoing scaling some of my hobbies to a more desirable level in exchange for dirt cheap rent. But I simply don't have the space available to fully accomplish the things I'd like to. And there is a growing sense of impatience. Some sort of actual workspace and a larger area for a garden are the the two primary areas of growing frustration.

Part of me feels that if I were to actually progress my ere skills I could make it work in this and other similar situations. After all, if anything I choose to do is really just a distraction, then wouldn't the most prudent thing, in light of my RE goals, be to distract myself with as minimal expense as possible? If I were to reinvent myself into a "van-person" I could be retired by 35 doing my van thing, which has a certain pull despite knowing that the person I am now would be miserable as a nomad.

Then the other part, if that last paragraph doesn't make clear, has decided that those things I desire are worth it and that I'll eventually attain them once the right opportunities present themselves. I'd like to think I'm on a path of some amount of personal growth, but I'm unsure I could completely reverse the quiet, mostly solitary, homebody that lacks any desire for adventure that I've been my whole life. I'm old enough I have some idea what I want and young enough to still feel I'm missing out since so many of my peers do things differently.

As it stands my current trajectory to retirement looks like slowly accumulating all the things necessary to do what I want while I work the next 15 or so years. Which of course would give me the absurdly young retirement age of mid-40's. Not particularly ERE, but not the most terrible thing in the world. It's funny that this espoused strategy is pretty much 100% in line with the work hard/play hard mentality that is so absurd, yet my Wheaton -11 ass can't escape it.

Reading

25. But What if We're Wrong? - Klosterman

26. All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries - Wells

Another novella cheat.

Running

DR: 50
MR: 265.2

SavingWithBabies
Posts: 678
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:50 pm
Location: Midwest, USA

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by SavingWithBabies »

Ugh, that kind of stress at work is too much. It's great it was clearly the other guy and he got what he had coming but still... I had some odd interactions with a junior employee on a past recent job and most of it was thankfully witnessed by my manager (well, technical leader) but I still felt guilty by association to some degree. That kind of hassle at work is just not something I enjoy either. I guess nobody does but the instigators must somehow not have control of themselves?

Cheepnis
Posts: 294
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis »

Upon further reflection I've realized that I'm not much of a renaissance man in that I only have a very narrow range of skills and haven't much been expanding them. My FI skillset so far has really only consisted of luck, a propensity for delayed gratification, and very light asceticism. Any skills I've picked up along the way are a byproduct of one of those, e.g. my ability to cook for myself* is a byproduct of first my unwillingness to eat freezer food in college and now my unwillingness to pay for takeout. The shortfalls of such a strategy are not hard to imagine and my prior post is my attempting to parse them as I am slowly running into the first signs of the long term impracticality of this system.

*which I've had long before I knew anything about FIRE.

Constant, easy, quick food isn't something I desire strongly so it's not as big of an issue here, but I can't count on just lucking into a shop and plot of land for my garden. So I'm either going to have to increase my creativity in order to have those specific things in an unorthodox way, get more creative to fill those underlying wants with something else, or simply pay for it.

Cheepnis
Posts: 294
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis »

@SWB, yeah I don't understand how someone gets like that. I don't feel any regret with how I/my company handled the situation, but I am definitely infamous on the jobsite now! Everybody knows me. I'm getting greetings from GC bigwigs who never looked my way before this. Also getting plenty of flack from a certain cadre of brats who've started bursting into fake tears and calling for mommy when I'm around any of them. It's continually amazing to me that full grown adults resort to 3rd grade antics like that. I'm interested to see how long they keep it up/how they up the ante when they realize they aren't getting under my skin.

Scott 2
Posts: 1632
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Scott 2 »

I'd guess the brats know they cannot bridge the class divide between management and labor, see you doing it, and are acting out accordingly.I am sure getting rid of that liability is a huge relief at the leadership level.

I cannot say I regret the times when I've spent more on my hobbies. There are some opportunities I missed out on, that in hindsight, I wish I'd spent extra for. The body grows weaker, experts die, organizations dissolve, etc.

Increased workspace and a garden seem very complementary to long term self reliance. It's not like you're talking $50k on a new boat.

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