I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Where are you and where are you going?
Cheepnis
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:11 pm

It's not often I have to wear my rain gear so often on my commutes; this week was an 8/10. This morning it wasn't raining so I decided to go on a leisurely bike ride to the the other side of town, pay a visit to my favorite bagel shop (that I used to go to for day olds every weekend when I lived close to it), and hit the library on the way back.

The #'s

Still no significant spending outside the normal this month.

Reading List

So far...

1. ERE
2. The Paradox of Choice
3. Sophisticated Giant - The Life And Legacy Of Dexter Gordon
4. Babylon's Ashes
5. The Ingenuity Gap
6. The Big Short
7. Foundation - One of the last big deal classic sci-fi series I've been saving. The inaugural book was a little bit of a let down. It's told in parts, each part spaced out decades from the last and with new characters. I can never fully get into books like that because once you finally settle in and get acquainted with everyone that section ends and the next starts.
8. The Dispossessed - Another classic I haven't read yet, this one is much better. Le Guin never disappoints.

Work and Life Related Thoughts

All across the FI/ER internet-o-sphere I read lots of discussion about strategies for increasing salary, making yourself more desirable or marketable, and the skills needed to attain those things. Just recently there was a discussion in another journal on these forums about the need to practice your interviewing skills and what to put in a resume. These discussions are fascinating to me because they're 1, so far removed from anything I will ever need to do in my industry and 2, are currently outside the scope of things I'm capable of doing well anyway.

As mentioned, I'm a unionized construction worker. Since joining a construction union I've found there are quite a few misconceptions about construction unions*. First, the union provides no job safety. Workers are laid off/fired for a variety of reasons all the time and the union isn't worried except in extreme cases. Second, the union and contractors have a very symbiotic relationship. The union bargains on behalf of the workers and requires fair compensation from the contractors and in exchange the union organizes, supplies, and provides quality control of the manpower. Every contractor has a few favorite hands (read: workers) they always keep, and if they need additional manpower they call the union (which will then dispatch more hands to them) and can reasonably expect to receive hands with a baseline skill-set. Contractors cannot hire anybody off the street and then organize them, that person would have to organize with the union and then the contractor could name-call them (a name call comes with higher pay) off the "Out of Work" list.

*The misconceptions seem to stem mostly from the caricature of a union being a large bureaucracy that overly protects workers who don't pull their weight.

I go over all that to illustrate that a unionized hand such as myself has essentially outsourced the work of the aforementioned resume, marketability, and interviewing skills to the union. When I am eventually laid off I will simply call the union, go on the Out of Work list and eventually get dispatched somewhere. There will be no interview or other work I need to do. If work dries up in my area, and I choose to, the union will arrange for me to travel to a different part of the country where there is work. Folks who are worth a shit and willing to travel are never out of work.

On the surface this is all a pretty sweet deal. However, I think it is enabling me to continue on my path of social dysfunction. Several times I've mentioned my lack of social skills stemming from early life experiences and cemented with the mostly solitary pursuit of playing an instrument. While I have given up the instrument since realizing my harmful motivation for playing one, I have made sadly little progress on the social skills front. Hence joining a construction union, where sweat goes further than sociability, was a necessity if I wanted to make decent pay. I know I'm smart enough to learn/be trained/accomplish all sorts of good paying white collar work, but I don't have the small talk or "networking"* skills to succeed there.

*or other skills necessary to "play the game"

In other words, all my eggs are in one basket. I'm not very diversified and I'm tightly coupled to an industry of relatively limited options. A circumstance that is decidedly not very ERE-congruent. The key is making some real improvement on the social dysfunction front. I've given it several good college tries that have failed pretty spectacularly. Overcoming a lifetime of bad habits has, as yet, been too tall a mountain. Right now I'm comfortable treading water, but I know that isn't a great path forward both for my ERE goals and my general happiness.

Scott 2
Posts: 1304
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:56 pm

I've never been part of a union. Other than an uncle who didn't talk about it, I've never had more than cursory interaction with a union member.

Isn't there still some path to get ahead? Maybe a more lucrative specialization, or an opportunity to lead a team of people doing what you do? Surely some job sites must have easier tasks, or offer better opportunities for overtime? Isn't there a person who hands out the work to make friends with?

Typically, as soon as more than two people are involved, work place politics appear. The personal branding, resume and interview skills are a part of that game. It could still appear in your profession, but in a less obvious way.

Cheepnis
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis » Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:59 pm

@Scott 2, you're absolutely right: there is not a complete absence of workplace politics. In my experience there are some differences, though.

First, due to the union safety net mentioned above there seems to be less posturing than there otherwise might be. In fact, most of the union population goes so far as to consider themselves employed by the union and not their specific contractors. Employer loyalty is mostly non-existent. I don't really subscribe to that mentality however it is nice having the union safety net should I find myself out of work.

Second, where I am now, compared to my experiences in more white collar, academic, or socially liberal bubbles, hard work goes much further than your networking and socializing skills. I don't really feel that much connection to any of my coworkers, and we really don't have a ton to talk about, but everyone likes me because I show up on time and get my work done fast and accurately. Since I'm not really "one of the boys" I ride on my ability to be a stellar employee.

As far as getting ahead in the union there's really only two ways. You can either try to become a union officer (not something I'm interested in) or run work (i.e. a foreman/managerial position). I'll likely find myself in the latter at some point. I'm already being given (and I think exceeding expectations) more responsibility than I'm technically supposed to have as an apprentice and I feel quite good with my position at my employer overall.

I've just been thinking lots lately about how the circumstances of my employment are enabling me to stay in my comfort zone. To that end: all these word mountains.

Scott 2
Posts: 1304
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Scott 2 » Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:53 pm

Hard work as the metric for success sounds fantastic. The soft skills are essential in my industry, and by far my least favorite part of working. I'll pick sitting at my computer over breaking for celebration cake 10 out of 10 times.

I have observed in my industry, being "one of the boys" becomes much more important as you move into leadership. The skilled political players centralize there. The higher you go, the more it is necessary. My current firm goes so far as to have codified standards for the highest and 2nd highest levels of management. This standard both explicitly and implicitly communicates the need to game.

Do people ever make the shift from being a union member, to becoming the person at a contractor managing union relations? I would guess that gets you closer to the money, and therefore paid better.

Alternatively, is there skill leveling via certification? Thinking about it - I had an uber driver who was a welder. He told me about these various certifications he'd earned, but then how he'd instead taken a job as a general laborer doing construction in the city. The reason was it let him break into the union, which paid better than his non-union welding jobs. It couldn't have been that great, because he was still driving for Uber. I assume his goal was to become a union welder.

Another cursory example - a coworker is dating a guy drives an excavator all day. He gets winters off, but makes a good living. I got the impression you don't just join up and land that gig with a couple months of experience. I'd assume he networked his way into it.

Cheepnis
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis » Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:53 am

I like the term "soft skills".

As far as I know, even at the largest union contractors, there's not really any union relations type jobs. The best hands from the field might move into estimating or project management, but those are not licensed positions and therefore do not have to have actual union members performing them. Lots of those positions are filled with non-union personnel and I assume are paid at the General Foreman or higher pay scale.

There are a few certs you can get that could increase the number of places you can work (such as in OR's, or hi security areas like airports), but they don't effect your base pay. All work is considered worth the same money until you're running it or your employer decides to pay you above scale. In the end I'm okay with that because base pay is what I'd consider good. It's not silicon valley wages, but it's more than I ever thought I'd make, honestly.

Cheepnis
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis » Sat Feb 23, 2019 11:24 am

Per my last Friday budgeting standard February is technically over. I'll probably add today's groceries to this month, but that will be the last expense.

The #'s

Income: $4061.19
Spending: $752.18
Saving's Rate: 81.47%

Spending List

Medical Bill - $273.61
Rent - $250
Groceries - $105.26
3x Eating Out - $37.25
Internet - $35
Gas - $32.82
Phone - $17.54
Auto Store Part Exchange - $0.70

Feeling pretty good about it. Remove the medical bill and my spending drops below $500! Which would have been a new low for me. While there will be no medical bill in March I do not anticipate to do quite so well considering this is a 5 Friday month in my budgeting. Also going to spend some money to get started on the FunMobile project I mentioned on the previous page.

Reading List

Finished "The Dispossessed", which was amazing. Not sure if there is much of a science fiction audience around these parts (I have noticed Jacob uses the term "grok" sometimes), but it's always been my favorite medium of fiction and Ursula K Le Guin Is a treasure. "The Dispossessed" was the last of her Hugo of Nebula winners I hadn't read and it is a perfect parallel to ERE/General Society. The Anarresti society adheres to many ERE principles and the Urrasti society, which is mired in consumerism, is, in the eyes of the main character Shevek, insane and backwards.

My brother recommended me "Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow" and after only 50 pages I've gotta say it is about as optimistic a book on the future I think there could be. We'll see how it turns out.

Cooking

I've been practicing my puff pastry so I can attempt to make a Beef Wellington Pie. I rarely buy beef, but I got a hair up my ass to be able to make a beef wellington. First step: be confident with puff pastry. After three batches I'm pretty confident. It's not that hard, just a little time consuming. Next step: find, tweak, and perfect a duxelles recipe.

Scott 2
Posts: 1304
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:24 pm

The union experience is very different from my world. I'm glad it is working for you

Cheepnis
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis » Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:39 am

NW

NW is up 8.07% including contributions as of Feb. 28th. My spreadsheet tells me with monthly savings equal to February's and a basically flat market I'll get to add a digit around December.

Weather

Had an uncharacteristically heavy winter storm roll through the beginning of last week. We were without power for almost 3 days which was supremely annoying. Not being able to cook (when I was planning on having a stove) and having an inside temperature of 44 degrees were the major issues. Having increased my reading time the use of my free time didn't change much. Just read, except I had gloves on and a flashlight.

Reading

Finished "Homo Deus" and started "The Intelligent Investor". "Homo Deus" ended up far less optimistic than the first 50 pages suggested. While the book briefly touches on upcoming ecological issues, it mostly concerns itself with how the advancement of technology will continue to shape our society. The author proposes that liberalism (in the classical sense) and humanism will die as algorithms "know us better than we know ourselves" and take over every facet of our lives. He also makes compelling arguments that consciousness will cease to matter as computers become extremely intelligent, albeit unconscious, and there will be a massive useless class that is not only unemployed, but unemployable. He's careful to make clear he's only proposing possible outcomes and not trying to predict the future. Some outcomes seem pretty bleak, though.

Thoughts on Life Building

I've yet to articulate it here, but I've had a 50 book/y goal tingling at the back of my mind. So far I'm on track and I'm learning things about myself in the process. Even though I didn't really commit to the goal (I just happen to find myself 2 months into the year and 9 books down) I'm learning that as I immerse myself in a "project" such as this I lose the time to pursue other potentially more expensive things/activities. This is entirely a function of not having the time, but that is A-OK because I don't have anything I would rather be doing at the moment. I'm realizing that setting the intention, and subsequently following through, on activities that I deem worthwhile deprives me of the energy for other things. There's no FOMO associated with it because I'm still doing what I want.

This seems to be a potentially potent strategy I could use going forward to keep my spending around 1-1.5 JAFI's. I simply need to pick activities that I can dump my time into that are free or very cheap. I spend more money if I'm sitting at home not doing anything, just the same as I eat more if I keep snacks around and don't plan my meals out.

Graphs

I need to up my graph game. There's a distinct lack of graphs in here. That's all my thoughts of graphs.

Jason
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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Jason » Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:30 pm

I try to do 50 books a year. It's a reasonable number. I've been pretty good for the past 8 years or so. Bill Gates does 50. Buffet and Munger more. So at least I'm close to them on certain numbers. Although I doubt it will get me into their bridge club.

Cheepnis
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis » Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:38 am

@Jason - Yes I'm finding a book a week is pretty doable if I decide that's how I'm going to spend my free time. On that note:

Reading

Finished "The Intelligent Investor" and onto "Provenance" by Anne Leckie. I read the Ancillary trilogy as it came out a few years ago and ate them up. Definitely some of the best sci-fi I've read. Provenance is in the same universe and has been good so far. Should finish this week. Up next will be "The Guns of August" because I have realized I know nothing about WWI. After that will be the "Three Body Problem" per my brother's rec.

Apartment Upgrade

Back in December I bought a used ceramic cooktop off CL for $20. I finally called in a favor from an electrician buddy who came and hooked it up this week. Initially I thought a simple unhook/rehook was in order, but the old cooktop's controls were in the hood and some major rewiring was needed to get 220 down to the cooktop and keep some 110 at the hood for the light and the fan. It's replacing an original 1963 GE electric coil pos. As mentioned the controls were on the hood and consisted of 6 buttons per burner, ranked in ascending order as Off, Low, Warm, 3, 2, High. 2 and High were both simply red hot. I'm gearing up to cook some eggs on it this morning and it's exciting!

Entertainment

This will be a "bad" weekend for the entertainment category. We saw a concert last night, which was super fun, and we're going to Captain Marvel today a well.

I might even be extra bad and go to a record show tomorrow. I haven't decided if I'll go to the show and browse some crates or treat myself to a couple records from the internet. Record shows are a bit of a double-edged sword: you can find lots of really cool things and often haggle for decent prices, but you can almost never find exactly what you're most after. The internet is more expensive but I can get 2 records I really love or am extremely interested in instead of 5 that I like and just happened to find in the crate.

Despite not having anything I actually chase after the broadness of my listening horizons mean there's hundreds of albums I like that I don't own. My goal isn't to own everything I like (that would be an endless and expensive endeavor), but to own things I like and will listen to. I noted at the beginning of the journal that the Entertainment category is what needed the most work and my goal was to cut it at least in half. I'm well on track to meet that goal and I have deemed a concert or two and a couple records per quarter reasonable to me.

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

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:21 am

That's a fast read of the intelligent investor! I got more out of the commentary than Graham's original text. Morningstar's "The Five Rules for Successful Stock Investing" was more useful for me in understanding what good business models look like.

I find with hobby stuff, I get more enjoyment out of investing in exactly the thing I want. I would have a hard time deciding if what I like is the record show experience or the records themselves.

Cheepnis
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:48 am

The library only had a reprint of the original 1949 edition of The Intelligent Investor so I didn't have any commentary, it was interesting nonetheless. Some of it was a little over my head, but it did give me a few insights into a slightly more hands on approach than just dumping everything in VTSAX. Though I suppose dumping everything into VTSAX addresses many of Graham's primary concerns. The most interesting part to me were all of the examples he uses from as far back as the late 1890's. We don't really get that perspective today considering so much time has passed since then.

wrt records: that is a pretty gray line you point out. Of course the other thing to consider about the online option is I can literally buy any record I want. How do I decide? It's a classic example of the paradox of choice. There's so many things I'm equally interested in that I'll either spend too much or spend nothing at all.

Cheepnis
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis » Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:08 am

Spending

The only out of the ordinary spending so far this month has been the record show. Walked in with $60, walked out with $8 and 5 records. Here's what I got

David Live - David Bowie

The more David Bowie in my life the better. I know some people don't like this album because of David's reworked arrangements. I disagree; I like when an artist mixes things up. My biggest critique would be that his voice sounds pretty strained like he's sick or has been really going for it night after night.

After The Gold Rush - Neil Young

Despite having many of the characteristics I like in an artist - prolific, eclectic, collaborative - he's never been a favorite. I decided to give this one a go. I don't dislike it, but I don't think his music will ever be "my music". I'll pull it out every now and then, I could have left it sit though.

My Aim Is True - Elvis Costello

This rounds out my collection of the "Original Hipster's"* first four albums, which are the only ones I care about enough to own. Been waking up with Alison stuck in my head. That's not a bad thing.

* in the current definition of the term, anyway

The Smooth One - Johnny Hodges

Johnny Hodges was Duke Ellington's lead alto player for decades. This is a compilation of two small group sessions recorded in 1959. There's not much out there of Johnny in a small group setting so I was excited to happen across this. His tone is so damn beautiful. However, despite being the name on the cover he doesn't take much blowing time. Ben Webster solos far more than Johnny does. That's not all bad because The Brute is a master in his own right.

Straight Life - Freddie Hubbard

The CTI 6000 series of records are a goldmine. CTI was a label founded in the late sixties and the 6000 series of records all had the aim of mixing R&B and jazz. Freddie Hubbard's first 4 early 70's releases on the Label - Red Clay, Straight Life, First Light, and Sky Dive - are some of my absolute favorite albums. They all have a dose of R&B and Straight Life specifically has some of the freeform elements found in Miles Davis' Bitches Brew** from the year prior. My favorite purchase by far.

**Bitches Brew is considered a watershed moment in jazz and is credited with catalyzing the creation of jazz-fusion.

Reading

Finished Provenance, it wasn't nearly as good as the Ancillary trilogy. Oh well. I've now started The Guns Of August. It is the largest book undertaken so far this year and I'm hoping to get a good 6+ hours of reading in this weekend so it doesn't feel like my book consumption is stalling.

Life Thoughts

I had a particularly introspective week. So much so I decided to start writing down my thoughts in far greater detail in a word document. Eventually I think I'll be posting the finished product as a little "online therapy". It will be a while until it is finished because thinking about those things doesn't exactly make my day that great, hence I mostly don't. However, writing my thoughts down turned out to be a great way to make sure I'm articulating my issues well to myself and not just letting half-formed negative inklings or memories hover in my conscious.

My working title for the "essay" is "I'm Happy as I've Ever Been and I'm Unhappy". It's a needlessly dour title, but that's the type of mood I was in the past few days. I mostly don't think about these things because it puts me in that funk, but I also know that not thinking about them doesn't actually help get past my own largely self imposed blocks. Some despondent time spent in the short term will hopefully lead to a brighter future if I'm strong enough to make the necessary changes.

Cheepnis
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis » Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:30 am

Reading

My rate of reading dropped precipitously this week. Monday I had a little side hustle for most of the evening. Tuesdays and Thursdays I have my apprenticeship classes from 6-9. The side hustle Monday night prevented me from doing some much needed cooking so I cooked for the whole 2 hours I have between work and class on Tuesday. Wednesday I finally got a little reading in, but also had errands to run.

The Guns of August has turned into a very thorough military history of the first month of WWI, it's interesting, but a lot to take in at once. So many names and places and alliances to keep track of. A little under half way currently.

Notes about Apprenticeship School

Easily the largest draw back to my job is the 6 hours a week I have to go to class. It effectively makes my working week 46 hours long (not counting extra commuting time) and I'm only paid for 40 of it. Losing my Tuesday/Thursday nights means I have to be extra diligent with my meal prep or else I'll find myself eating out. It's just generally a time suck. And to top it all off school is a complete joke. A list of problems:
  1. There's simply not enough material for five years, 10m/y, for 6hrs/w. If this "school" were actually run like a real place of education the material could be covered in half that time easily.
  2. The "teachers" have no training in teaching and are mostly completely uninterested in actually doing anything of that sort. They're highly paid babysitters
  3. Due to recent administrative disasters and nepotism within the union the curriculum is pretty much non-existent. The disaster has passed but the aftershocks are still being sorted
  4. Assuming the teachers wanted to do any teaching they would have a hard time doing it effectively because they are not told what the union will be testing us on and they're not allowed to make their own tests. My suspicious is the union doesn't much know itself until it scrambles to get a scan-tron in front of us come end of the term.
School is really 6 hours a week I have to waste in order to legally do my job. Good news is I'm over halfway there. And to his credit my current instructor is far and away the best I've had yet. He actually has some topics he's prepared and some small in class assignments to accompany them.

Other good news is it might be possible to become one of these "teachers" myself once I'm turned out. That would earn me $1200 bucks for 24 hours of work per month. If an opportunity like that comes my way once I'm bare-bones FI I'll be all over that like stink on shit. I'd also like to teach so I can provide to future apprentices more worthwhile class time than I had.

Frugal Triumphs

My total cost for shaving products in my life is $0. When I started growing facial hair my parents got me a little shitty electric razor and when my grandfather passed I inherited his almost new Norelco. I've taken good care of it ever since and it's still going strong.

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

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:59 am

It sounds like a purpose of the school is to constrain the number of fully qualified Union members, keeping pay high. It could also be a source of politics in your industry.

Outside of providing a barrier of entry, it is an opportunity to build personal relationships within your profession. In most careers, they become increasingly valuable as people mature into leadership roles.

Jason
Posts: 2217
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Jason » Sat Mar 23, 2019 11:45 am

Cheepnis wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:08 am
Duke Ellington's lead alto player for decades.
In another lifetime, I had to go to Duke Ellington's sister's apartment in Manhattan in order to retrieve some files. I was kind of forewarned that it would be kind of weird. I ring the bell and the door opens and my nut sack drops to the floor because standing in front of me is The Duke in drag. I had to remind myself that The Duke was long dead and this was actually another person. It's like 9:00Am and she's standing there in a ripped night gown holding a high ball with one old tit exposed. I walk in and out of the corner of my eye I see a man's leg or what I convinced myself was a man's leg hanging off her bed. I tell her I need to get the files and she brings me into this room with three grand pianos with pictures of The Duke with every famous person of the 20th century. Elvis, Nixon, whoever on top of them. I ask where the files are and she points under the pianos. So now I got to crawl under these fucking pianos pulling out boxes when all of sudden I feel something long and hard between my legs and I'm like great I came to get files but ended up getting butt fucked by Wilt Chamberlain. I turn around and to my relief it's just a German Shephard sniffing my asshole. I got the boxes and got out of there and told my boss I will sooner go to Jeffrey Dahmer's apartment looking for files than Duke's sister's. I remember reading about what a great woman she was and how she preserved The Duke's legacy when based on my personal experience she was a drunk that lived off his royalties spending her days watching TV with Super Fly. That being said, The Duke was a genius.

Cheepnis
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis » Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:57 am

Scott - You make good points. Some amount of school hours (i.e. "classroom training") are required by each state in order to get your license at the end of the apprenticeship program. The union program goes beyond the state requirement with the stated reason of training a better qualified workforce. Not sure how true that is currently due to the above mentioned problems, but that's the stated purpose anyway. I have no doubt it does filter out those not willing to make the commitment, though.

I should probably start looking at those 3 hours a night as a built in opportunity to cultivate professional relationships. That change of mindset will help with the frustration from mostly not doing anything else. I already get along just fine with everybody, still not really "one of the boys" from my reference point, but to my knowledge nobody strongly dislikes me. Maybe I can use some "class" time to turn a lack of a negative into the presence of a positive.

Jason - I'm confused.

Cheepnis
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis » Sat Mar 30, 2019 12:42 pm

End of March update time.

The #'s

Income: $5,485.14*
Spending: $698.66
Savings Rate: 85.55%

* nice bump from a bank bonus coming in, the side hustle from a couple weeks ago, and it being a 5 paycheck month.

Spending List

Rent - 250
Groceries - 105.72
Concert - 73.5*
Records - 60**
Internet - 35
Gas - 33.96
Sibling Expense - 27***
Transunion faux pas - 24.95****
RuPaul's Drag Race Amazon Season Purchase - 19.99*****
Burrito Date - 19
Concert Alcohol - 15
Spare Tubes For the Bike - 12
Fun Mobile Expense - 5

* Two tickets

** Several Weeks ago I noted I spent $52 at the record show. I haven't deposited the remaining $8 yet so for budget purposes that purchase is still my $60 cash withdrawal prior to the show

*** My brother went on a 6 week solo trip to Europe (his first trip out of the country). He fell into a tourist trap and paid $27 for a crappy sandwich. To top it all off the sandwich gave him diarrhea on a travel day so he was taking diarrhea shits on a bus all day. I sent him $27 and told him to get some good food with it, hahaha.

**** Stupidly signed up for a Transunion account thinking it would be free like my Experian account. I got a little suspicious when they asked for credit card info, but couldn't find anywhere on the page where they said I'd be charged and thought it was just part of the identity verification like all the questions I'd been answering previously. Anyway, now I have one month of useless Transunion member access.

***** GF loves the show and my card is on the account. This is one best left alone, hahaha. I do have to admit the show is kind of fun if I'm in the mood for some mindless TV.

Fun Mobile Project

The $5 Fun Mobile expense listed above was for a tire dismount I couldn't accomplish with handtools. The project is full steam ahead and large expenses for the project are looming so I've got a new CC on the way so I can get some travel points.

I procured access to a sandblaster for free through work and blasted the 4 wheels, which sorely needed it. I dropped them off to get powder coated yesterday and have a set of new tires being held at the local used tire super-center. I was very pleasantly surprised I was able to locally source good condition used tires for these odd ATV/garden tractor wheel hybrids my grandad found somewhere 35 years ago. Only gonna be $25 a pop for those.

Last two weekends of April I'll be heading to my parents' to work on the Fun Mobiles themselves.

Side Hustling

Getting the Fun Mobile project underway has really reinforced to me how much I love fixing and building and project-ing. Living as simply as I currently am precludes many such activities due to space requirements both for tools and the project itself. Case in point I would bring the Fun Mobiles to me if I had somewhere to put them so I don't have to commute over the mountain to work on them. It's no surprise to me that this is where I find myself. I grew up in my dad's and grandad's shops working on stuff. I've always been naturally good at it and it's simply engrossing at every level to me. It was weird growing up not having any friends who shared my zeal.

I had an epiphany this week that I could easily monetize these skills. Never thought I'd be much for entrepreneurship, but I'm going to give it a try on easy mode. My job in construction makes this idea even better because I'll get the vast majority of my materials for free. I drove to work one day this week and salvaged all the wood I'll need to make 6 sturdy record crates.* Batch producing these I expect to average around 45 minutes per crate and I'm going to put them on Facebook marketplace for $30 each and see what happens.

*The amount of waste in construction is absolutely astounding. Salvaging material will not only help make my little pet project more profitable, but is in line with my values.

I have no clue whether or not anybody will be interested but I'm going to find out. Maybe I could even turn this into a small side business and I could use the salvage/recycle ideal as a selling point. I think the culture in my area would be very receptive to that marketing tactic. The last question is if anyone will be interested in any basic functional items that I build. Potential items I've thought of are small end tables, desktop mail organizers, the record crates, self standing record storage units, or small bookcases. These are all small enough projects I can complete them with my current spacial limitations. Scope could be expanded if my initial ventures are successful and I ever decide to move.

Reading List

1. ERE
2. The Paradox of Choice
3. Sophisticated Giant - The Life And Legacy Of Dexter Gordon
4. Babylon's Ashes
5. The Ingenuity Gap
6. The Big Short
7. Foundation
8. The Dispossessed
9. Homo Deus - A Brief History Of Tomorrow
10. The Intelligent Investor
11. Provenance
12. The Three Body Problem

I'm partially finished with The Guns of August and I took a break this week to read the Chinese sci-fi novel The Three Body Problem, whose due date was looming. Still just barely on track for 50 books this year. I have to push through Gun of August this week if I don't want to stall out.

Upcoming Stuff

Probably no update next week (I know you'll all be so worried!) because I'll be out of town all weekend for the union apprenticeship contest. I competed last year when I was just over a quarter way through the program and took 2nd place. Won a bunch of stuff. Feeling a little more trepidation this time since I have a bar to meet. I get extra curricular education hours, which turn into a $575 check from the union in November, just for competing so it's all good no matter how it turns out.

MidsizeLebowski
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:58 pm

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by MidsizeLebowski » Sun Mar 31, 2019 12:10 pm

Congrats on the great savings rate and excited to see how your construction venture goes Cheepnis! Rerouting waste and combining it with skills you already have seems like a very natural bridge to side-income. With your spending it'll be particularly interesting as it's not difficult to imagine it covering expenses in short order!

Cheepnis
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: I Saved Some Money, Accumulated So Good

Post by Cheepnis » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:50 pm

That last sentence is a great point, @MidsizeLebowski. Lately the power of JAFI spending levels has really been making itself apparent to me, comments like yours drive the concept home. Relying on insourcing (skills + time & effort) as opposed to outsourcing (purchasing) can really allow you to do just about anything and cover your expenses. I recently realized I could be working full time at minimum wage and still have a ~25% savings rate. That's pretty empowering from a financial security perspective.

I used to live next to a guy who has made his living for 15 years hand-making and selling a board game at Saturday markets. Running a little sole proprietorship in "retirement" that makes one JAFI sounds kind of fun compared to working full time for someone else.

Along a similar train of thought: I've been messing around with some of the tools found on @Tyler9000's website and engaging-data.com. At my current spending levels and saving's rate I reach FI in my early-mid thirties even with pessimistic returns. An interesting detail I noticed is with a compressed accumulation phase my time to FI changes surprising little with a significantly higher bond/cash allocation than I currently have.

The higher bond/cash allocation affects my success rate more heavily than it would extend my accumulation phase. That would not be a huge deal if I find myself continuing to earn through other means such as the little crate experiment I'm conducting. For those reasons I'm thinking of moving toward a more defensive allocation for now.

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