mooretrees journal

Where are you and where are you going?
mooretrees
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Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees » Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:38 pm

Goal check week two:
groceries: $174 halfway through the month and the fridge feels packed. On target here and eating well
Food out: 0
Runs: three! Now I'll have to add three more as I have the time.
Sell: same as last week
Fuel: $50

I had sort of a down day. Paid off my last federal loan, it was only $30 so it wasn't super thrilling. But we are hovering around $6000 in student loans, I might have to make an extra payment (on top of the extra I already made) to get it under 6k. Just cuz.

DH made some more progress on the basement renovation, getting closer to moving on to the electrical. It's getting hot here, but we haven't installed our small window ac unit, instead I think we'll sleep on the extra bed in the basement. Darker, cooler and cheaper.

This is week two of no cell phone. I really like it. I am so NOT an INJT, or whatever the predominant type is here. I hardly researched the wifi calling/texting and so, not surprisingly, it didn't work too well. The problem was the each app wanted to confirm set up with a text or a call, but I had already stopped paying the bill so I couldn't do it.

It was kind of a relief to not have a phone. I think going forward, I'll pay for one more month and get the apps working and then give it a real whirl. I might also pause and do more research on the voice over internet phones, primarily because I don't want to have the temptation to carry a phone around. That was the most relaxing part of the last two weeks, I didn't have to deal with other people's timeframes and the ever present confusion about how quickly I need to respond to someone. I found a way to contact people every time I needed to, either email, computer texting and in once case, I went to a friends house. DH doesn't want to share his phone, which is understandable, nor does he want to play middle person. I also spent more time alone in my head, which might not be a good thing, but I realized over and over again how often I turn to a phone to distract myself. Interesting to see patterns I wasn't aware of become apparent.

I think about ERE all the time. It is tiring, exciting, frustrating, and I want MORE progress!!!! NOW. We've made progress, but the mortgage is still there, extra money is still going to debt, and I don't have a clear exit strategy, and obviously, patience is not a strength of mine.

As a last note, my son has his first shiner. It's turning a nice purple and he looks super tough and sad at the same time. Two year old boxer mid-fight.

classical_Liberal
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Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:10 pm

mooretrees wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:38 pm
I think about ERE all the time. It is tiring, exciting, frustrating, and I want MORE progress!!!! NOW. We've made progress, but the mortgage is still there, extra money is still going to debt, and I don't have a clear exit strategy, and obviously, patience is not a strength of mine.
I get this. IMO the part I highlighted is actually a good thing. When I started this, I focused too much on the end game. FI seemed too far away and true ERE spending was outside my grasp. So I started with debt free, then I wanted to save enough for an eventual retirement (ie debt to future me), then that plus a 100K nonretirement safety net. I basically just kept moving the goal posts, which did me little good because i got frustrated. If I had focused on the path instead of the destination, I think I would have solved a bunch more problems by now, and probably be FI as a side-effect. Instead, I just reached one financial goal after another, and each time I felt it wasn't enough to adjust my lifestyle... so new goal. Now don't get me wrong, I'm glad i have the level of financial assets I have. I just think i could have reached this amount anyway, if I had simply focused on ERE lifestyle and be a much better person today as well.


Keep up the great work!!! :D

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:30 am

Interesting to hear your thoughts c_l. I sometimes feel like I'm not focusing on the money aspect enough, at least in my journal, but this world of ERE is so varied. Looking again at the 21 day makeover, it's so interesting that Jacob spends time dealing with the STUFF of our lives. I've certainly been able to get rid of clutter in the last few months, with more to go. This way of designing your lifestyle to avoid waste takes time, especially for me as I have a lot to learn. I guess what I mean is that money, for once, is just a part of my life, and clutter, my health, my social connections are all important. In a way, this is such a relief. I can't get out of this mortgage quickly, but I'm still working on some other aspect of ERE while I am living in my house.

Right now, actually, I'm trying to create a list of local parents that have small children so we can turn to each other if we want to go on a date, get rid of some clothes or toys, have a playdate, etc. It's both a way to save money on babysitters, and also a way to be more connected to my community. I can't express enough how grateful I am that Jacob wrote his blog and book, it's changing our lives.

classical_Liberal
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:11 am

Sounds like a great plan! I DEEPLY neglected the social aspects of ERE initially.

I used to be a pretty big extrovert, but around the time I can across FIRE, I was very introverted. Hence didn't want to put in effort, nor did I understand the importance of this stuff in a good lifestyle design. For about three years, I just thought my personality changed. It wasn't until I opened up a bit about this problem with other nurses & found out; every-single-one I spoke too had similar experiences after a couple years of hospital nursing. What a relief! I thought there was something wrong with me. I've had some pretty deep discussions about this now, won't bore you with the details, as it's not applicable to most. The important part is, at least now, I'm beginning to address the social stuff. I mean, I knew how great social capital was from previous experience, I read how folks like Ego and 7WB5 create amazing interdependent networks, yet I wasn't able to make a move on it until I got my psychological house back in order(My GF has helped with this too). Anyway, my point is that your thought processes are ahead of me in many ways.

bigato
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by bigato » Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:33 am

c_L, I’m actually very interested in the details if you feel like sharing them at some point, maybe in your journal?

Frita
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by Frita » Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:29 am

Agreed, the social aspects of ERE are important. When we moved, we did not give it enough thought. You’re doing it on the front end.

Where we live, wages are low. The main employers pay 25-50% lower than places an hour away (In the case of my former employer, even more.). Many people cobble together several minimum-wage jobs. Housing, utilities, etc. cost more. Most people are in one of three camps: making decent money and overextended, scraping by and really busy, or really old and traditionally retired. We don’t fit in.

DH is introverted and could give a hoot. I am extroverted and struggle like hell. DS14 has friends whose parents are in the first category. Some give their kids what I would consider too much spending money. We give him $2/week, sometimes a little extra, and buy his clothing, school supplies, recreational sports, etc. The rest of his spending money comes from odd jobs and gifts. He has learned to make frappes at home instead of Starbucks, to go to matinees or half-price Tuesday’s to see movies, and to swim in the river rather than pay for the pool. He also saves (voluntarily) about half of his earned/gifted money. Our bank gives him a cowboy buck for each deposit which he can save up and trade for movie, ice cream, etc. gift cards. They also deposit $2 per A (The only grade he seems to get, though that is another story to explain our philosophy.) each semester when he takes in his report card. This has been a good learning for him.

Anyway, I look forward to learning more how you build social capital and find like-minded people in your ERE journey.

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees » Thu Jul 18, 2019 7:46 pm

@Frita, I'm sorta amazed at $2/week! It seems low and like it gives him serious incentive to figure out great habits. I don't have a lot of examples of people raising children frugally around me. I would love more details, our son is only two but any suggestions are welcome! Mainly it seems like a lot of parents of teenagers feel a lot of social pressure to make sure their child isn't excluded, have you experienced that pressure to consume or provide more for your kiddo?

DH is also a strong introvert and is fine with only hanging with me most days. He doesn't mind hanging with other people, especially smaller groups but he hasn't seem to need any friends since we moved here four years ago. I have struggled with building deeper friendships. I've been pretty aggressive about pursuing people, women primarily, when it seemed like there might be a potential friendship. I started volunteering at the farmers market which has led to us becoming vendors and starting our own business. Becoming vendors at the market exposed us to a lot of people, and I've got a few new friends from there. But, they are all fairly new friends and it deeper friendships take time. Now that we are parents, we connect with other families, but I'm still working on those connections. I've found that assumptions I had about it being hard to meet people in a small town wildly untrue. Here people are really ready to meet new folks, especially liberal people. My friend in a bigger town has more trouble meeting people than I do!

I hope we can work on more than just the social aspect soon. I got an email from a coworker that they are hiring a traveling PT and are passing my name and contact information on to the traveler. We don't have the basement room ready, but hopefully that can be bumped up and serious progress made.

I have an appliance questions I'd like advice from folks. We have old kitchen and laundry appliances. Like 80's old. The dishwasher doesn't work, and we just use it as a giant drying rack. I can rent a kill-a-watt from the local power company to see if the refrigerator is a giant energy suck. I don't mind living with the old appliances, but if we start renting to people, should we start looking for newer ones? Like, is it easier to pay good money to rent from people when there is nicer stuff around? I feel confident that we can find good appliances on Craigslist and DH would install them. But, we are still paying down debt and it seems like a slightly off course action to buy one or more appliances, even if they are used. Any opinions out there?

Frita
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by Frita » Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:38 pm

@moretrees
Basicly, DS14 has had the same allowance since he was five. In grade school, he sold garden produce and has developed his side hustles from there. Any school item he has saved from the previous year or rescued from the trash, I pay him the amount saved. Ditto for sales.

I don’t think that he’s excluded, no. He has decent clothes, nice gear, and we take amazing trips (very frugally though). I think some kids are jealous of the cool things he gets to do. I do provide snacks and meals for many of these kids kids though. (Yesterday he took a box of granola bars, purchased on sale and with a coupon, to the river swimming and shared. That cost me a buck but that would have been the price for each bar at the Mini Mart.). He does a lot of inviting to our house (Tonight we’re doing homemade pizza.). I enjoy knowing his friends too. His buddies seem to be learning some things from him too.

No one I know is raising kids this way. Many ERE folks remain childless.

bigato
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by bigato » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:30 pm

Sounds like your son is having an amazing and enriching childhood, Frita. Congratulations on that!

Frita
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by Frita » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:37 pm

Thanks, Mooretrees, we’ll see how it turns out.

horsewoman
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by horsewoman » Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:19 am

Thank you for leaving a comment on my journal. We seem to be rather similar in a lot of aspects. I laughed out loud when I read this entry:
mooretrees wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:41 am
DH is willing to be led and as long as I make sure he gets some of his dreams realized (Alaska motorcycle trip, build own house), he is flexible about the day to day life. I've long been fascinated with him, he is so different from me. He has very little agency, sorta just accepts where ever he is at, and in general, might be a happier, kinder person than me. He is exactly like his mother. I've heard them both say at separate occasions "we'll see what the day brings." I don't understand that on any level. I have plans, things to cross off, and I believe I can make it happen. So, knowing that he'll just accept where ever he is at, I realized I need to lead more with this journey. He is a much kinder person than me. More patient too.

I've been reading journals with married folks who struggle with their spouses spending or unwillingness to commit fully to ERE, and I don't have that problem. My problem has been that I was treating him like how I wanted to be treated, but it isn't how he wants to be treated. He doesn't want to talk about money or goals or investing. He wants to talk about motorcycles, building things, trees and our son. So, going forward, I need to act like the leader in the family. Also, I need to do the food shopping.
Apart from not being interested in motorcycles I could have written most of that - my husband even works part-time in a plant nursery!

In regards to grocery shopping - I do something very similar to this approach:
https://youtu.be/VCr-54OH7IY

I use cash only and divide the monthly food budget (300 a month in our case for two adults, one tween and two cats) into amounts of weeks the month has. The weekly amount goes into a different wallet, not my regular one. I take it along for food shopping. The rest of the money stays home!

The next step is crucial (and not included in the video above) - have a running tab on your shopping list and add the price of EACH item that goes into your shopping cart. I round to 50 Cents up to make calculating easier and to be on the safe side. You'd be amazed how easy it is to resist "impulse buys" when the column approaches your weekly amount. If you regularly shop twice a week, only take half of the weekly money with you and promise your self - no credit cards.

This trains you to grab essential things only. At this point I seldom need the running tab because I can estimate the amount in my cart very accurately. With this system I'm able to feed 3 people + 2 cats on a mostly organic, vegetarian diet for under 300 a month.
If you have left over money put it in an extra envelope to stock up when things go on sale. This way you can build up a stocked pantry.
I also try to keep DH out of shops, otherwise my budget is shot every time ;)

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:23 pm

@horsewoman thanks so much for sharing your method, I watched her video and she is a bit of a goof, but in a good way. I need to try the envelope thing this week, and see how I go. And, I'll try doing a running total like you suggested.

Super funny that our menfolk are similar! I've always thought he was interested in anything with two wheels, and then he build a tricycle for our coffee cart. But, still, it mostly holds true. He doesn't seem too interested in cars, actually.

Well, we bought a 1980 Moto Guzzi LS 1000 motorcycle for $900. DH got a part time gig driving a combine for a local grass seed farm. The owner told him about the Guzzi and it was listed for $2k. But the guy was trying to sell it to the farmer for $900. It needs some work, but DH can do all of it.

I thought a lot about how to write about it here, which is interesting. I don't know you folks, but I do care if you think I'm a poser here or not. Strange. Anyway, it might push back our debt repayment back a smidge, but it means that our Alaska trip feels SO much closer! Our plan is that DH is going to build a sidecar for this motorcycle and I'll either quit or negotiate a leave of absence from work. We hope to take at least two months to travel up to Alaska. I want to extend the trip and go down to San Diego from Alaska. That would be bad ass.

We have to wait until our son is five to get him on a motorcycle and it will take some time for DH to get this one up to snuff and build the sidecar. So, while it sorta pushes the short time goal of being debt free back, it means we can start working on the next goal.

I thought a lot about if it was okay to buy it now. It was a screaming deal and fit the bill for the trip. And, I wanted to make sure DH knew it was important to me that we make progress on this dream of his. I am asking him to change a lot these days, so this motorcycle is sorta a carrot for him. It feels like that sounds like a bribe or a reward, and maybe it is. But it also feels a little different from those, I can't quite put my finger on it. Anyway, we bought a cool old Italian motorcycle and we're excited.

jacob
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by jacob » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:26 am

In grad school the supermarket chain I shopped at introduced a system where you'd get points which could then be exchanged for gifts. However, they made a crucial mistake by introducing breakpoints, so that you'd get 10 points by spending between 10 and 20CHF, 20 points by spending between 20 and 30CHF, and so on. I became really really good at spending just over 10CHF to trigger the first 10 points and not spend any money that I wouldn't get my precious points for. (The finance department must have observed some peaks about the breakpoints, so eventually, you'd get 1 point for each CHF all the way up.)

After 4 years of that, I had accumulated enough points for a fountain pen set :-P

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:05 pm

@Jacob, I hope you enjoyed the fountain pens as much as you seemed to enjoy the game of getting the right number of points!

I'm tired from a long weekend of solo parenting and a kids birthday party, lots of sun and early mornings. I'm rereading ERE, and I'm trying to go slowly. I'm focusing on the early part, especially Chapter 2, as it is the most uncomfortable to read. I'm playing with one of the variables I have for inducing change: "increasing dissatisfaction with present situation." Which is not fun!

I got an email today from an old roommate who was a student of my program, her boyfriend is looking for a place to live. We always thought he was gay, but they've been together for several years. I do remember her complaining that he wasn't as interested in sex as she was.....But, here they are two years later still together. Anyway, he's a goofy, really sweet, sorta annoying guy, but he might be a perfect roommate to help get us outta debt and into the accumulation phase. He's annoying in a harmless way. We'll see what DH says. We liked her a lot, so we'd see her too which is nice. If DH is cool with it.

Almost the end of the month and I'll post tomorrow how we did with our goals.

mooretrees
Posts: 55
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees » Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:36 am

July goals:

<$400 on food at home: $337.37
<50 eating out: $64.50
three runs: four runs
Sell: sold our cloth diapers for $150
<100 in fuel: $147.56

So, some wins and some areas to still work on....The fuel is actually worse than the number. When I was visiting my sister, the gas station guy actually put gasoline in the tank, which is diesel. Thankfully he caught it. Also, thankfully, he siphoned out all of the gas/diesel out and then filled the tank. So, our actual usage of fuel was a lot higher and that's what a fuel-inefficient vehicle that you drive four hours one-way gets you. Still, no regrets getting rid of our fuel efficient car as it had a car loan. Going forward, I think we'll sell this car soonish but replace it with a truck. Likely no real gains for fuel, but it will be more useful for wood cutting and hauling stuff.

This was helpful, especially to track semi-weekly. I'll do this again.

This month should suck for any extra money going to debt. We bought a lot of green coffee, and we're getting ready to launch a new blend to try and make our wholesale business take off. We need to spend some money getting supplies to finish the basement room as we have a renter coming in mid-Sept.

On the plus side, DH has been doing some side work driving a combine and I've got the garden for fall seeds started. I have a newish friend that is a much better gardener than I and she is growing a bunch of starts I bought a few weeks ago and I helped her plant her fall seeds. We've dug out one large bed in our garden, lined it with a bunch of logs and will get some compost and mix it with the native soil. The summer garden has been pretty lackluster, largely due to not much organic material for the plants to use. My fault! Going forward, we need to get more logs from the woods and re-do the other three beds. Hopefully, we'll get the large one back in use and planted with beets and rutabagas next week.

mooretrees
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Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees » Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:37 am

I just finished one of the best weekends in recent memory. We had a fun farmers market and made some good money, got two yards of compost picked up and one large garden bed built up taller and full of compost/soil. Yesterday we cut some more wood for the wood stove, and it was the hardest physical effort I've put out since I was a tree climber. Holy cow! We were loading logs onto our shoulders and hauling them up a steep hill. It was exhausting and super fun. We think we have enough wood for the winter so any more wood we collect will be for the following years.

We have two loans left, and DH's last loan is under $600! I think we'll pay it off next month and I've had to restrain myself from pulling money out of savings to just wipe it out. Probably safer to hold off one more month.

Besides getting really close to paying off the last of his loans, I've had two 'ERE' successes recently. I have some older tennis shoes that aren't going to last too much longer, but they have some more life in them. However, they have the thinnest soles and I can feel every hard rock; it drives me crazy. I put off buying new shoes or insoles for them for a few weeks, and one day doing some yoga I figured out how to solve the problem. I cut off a section of my yoga mat and made myself some insoles. They work pretty well, and I don't feel the road as much.

The second problem was how to not run our A/C when the weather got hot. This summer has been a slow one to heat up but I wanted to avoid running it if we could. I remembered when DH was working nights, we moved our bed down into our basement (at a different house) so he could have darkness during the day. So I mentioned to him that we could move to our spare bed in the basement to avoid the heat. I made the bed and got it ready in case we did go down there. He was open to it, so one night we moved down their and slept pretty well. The bed is not as comfortable, but the temperature is much better. We gone up and down where we sleep as the days have been hot or cooler. And the ac unit has not been installed yet!

Both problems aren't completely solved, I'll need another pair of shoes soon, but I am really satisfied with how I figured out these different non-monetary solutions. It's a step. The satisfaction of solving the problems is almost better than thinking about how much money we saved.

Tonight after work I'll plant my fall greens in two beds. And spread compost to the other beds so that come spring they will be ready to go gangbusters.

bigato
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by bigato » Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:13 pm

Very nice solutions, specially the sleeping in the basement to adapt to climate! Congratulations on that and specially on a change of paradigm. Regarding the soles, I remember somewhere seeing people using used tires to manufacture shoes, no idea what kind of tires and how they did it though. The yoga mat is not likely to last, but maybe tires would since they are designed to hit the ground and resist more than normal shoes. You can get as fancy as you like, even using vibram insoles if you reckon worth it.

Frita
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by Frita » Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:20 pm

Kudos, Moore tees, in paying off loans and finding creative work arounds!

@bigato
The Tarahumara of Copper Canyonin the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, make sandals out of old tires. I haven’t been in that area for 35 years, so I am unsure if it is still the norm. As a people, they are amazing runners and accustomed to the heat. Here is a link:

https://www.earthrunners.com/pages/tara ... t-footwear

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:37 pm

Web of goals 'n stuff update.

I've been slowly (really, so so slowly) learning a few more birds. Usually I think every small brownish bird is a sparrow, and then I look at them some more and conclude, yep it really is a sparrow. They are everywhere. But, while I'm not making HUGE progress on identifying more birds, I hear and notice them more than I have ever before. I had previously dismissed birding because they are so damn hard to see, unlike plants which conveniently hold still while you study their cones, or leaves. But, now I'm tuning into birds more and it is so pleasant to get a little jolt of excitement when I see one (usually a sparrow), and try and really listen to their call and notice how soft they are and how herky-jerky their movements are. We were sitting under our big ponderosa in the front yard yesterday with our coffee and two chickadees came to check out the empty bird feeder. I filled up right away! But no sign of them since.

The fall/winter garden is 90 % planted, I have one bed left of mesclun to plant. Beets, kale and tatsoi are all sprouting. I spread two yards of bark chips around the flowering plants and some of the rest of the yard. We could use another 2-4 yards of chips to make this yard look half way decent. Adding the bark chips has really helped with water retention for the ornamental plants.

So, those are the two areas that I've been busy with respect to my web o' goals. Fairly tame stuff, but it is adding some quality to my life, and all of the shoveling has got to be good for my upper body.

DH spent three days working on our old truck. He replaced the motor mounts and the rear main seal. I think I have that right. It's back to driving and hopefully the bad oil leak problem is solved. It was no big deal to be without the truck for three days, so that's good.

I bought a phone. I have been without one for at least 6 weeks and it was starting to get the tiniest bit annoying. I read Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport and that helped me solidify that I would get a dumb phone. I missed my morning walk to work and chat with my sister and some of the ease of arranging meetings by text. I didn't miss most of the smart phone reality of mindlessly browsing and checking instagram. I think having the dumb phone will be relaxing, though I still think that most text messages are confusing in the when is the conversation over kinda way. Still not sure how to deal with that, maybe really saying good bye via texting? Seems weird but maybe that would address some of my anxiety with texting. I'm saving a little bit over the last phone plan, I got too overwhelmed with all of the options for super cheap phone plans and finally just went with consumer cellular. I might have been able to save more, but when I get overwhelmed with too many options I usually just stop thinking about the problem. Which is not always helpful......

We might be at a 50% "savings rate" now, in quotes as it is mostly going to debt so not really our money. With true savings and debt repayment we're close to a paycheck of mine and then adding in 401k/HSA savings I think we're at or over one paycheck. That's good, but I'll enjoy it more when the money is actually ours and not a bank or tucked away out of reach in the 401k/HSA. Likely October will be the first month with a true savings rate that is money staying in our hands. Maybe Sept but we have the basement remodel to finish before the tenant moves in so extra money is going to go to insulation and sheetrock. Anyway, thanks for reading.

7Wannabe5
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:33 am

I think it is difficult to learn to identify birds (or plants, minerals, insects...) when you are over the age of 6 for the same reason it is more difficult to learn a language after that age, but that is what makes it a highly beneficial brain exercise. What often happens to me is I will look at a plant, a name will pop into my brain, as if from nowhere, but I will only have maybe 10% certainty that it is a match. Fortunately, some common names are so apt that they are unforgettable. For instance, unfortunately, it is highly likely that I will remember the name "scrotum flower" the next time I spy a Cypripedium Acaule.

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