Douchebags - erm - Marlenes Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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Post by Marlene »

Warning - this is looong!
Well, this journal is called Douchebags Journal because I somehow don´t see early retirement happening for me. Every time I read things from Jacob, MMM or related I want to comment that this is all nice and good BUT running the numbers (as far as I can run them) tells me that I´d need to work something like 60 years. And I´d like to sit in the sun NOW.
Sigh - I think experienced Forum Users will probably already see from these very few sentences that I´m actually complainypanting:
My living space is waay to spacious for one person, I indulge in two seminars per year that are in total the equivalent of 1,5 month living expenses and I drive a car to work that is only about 8km away (one way). Throw in some splurges on jewelry, knick-knacks, books and a tendency to buy organic(like) food whenever possible and this not always within the monthly budget and it´s easy to see that this journal could also be called "complainypants journal". Also I´m not too enthusiastic about immersing myself super-deep into economy - and did I mention that at the moment I don´t like my job much and therefore am not putting in the effort I should and that I´m thirty-ish?(1)
On the up side I don´t have debt except one to a friend that runs up to 75 Euros, I set aside a little more than 20% of my take-home pay every month since November last year and I have set aside around 10 month of living expenses. My jewelry, knick-knack and book splurges are mostly in a second-hand kind of way, sometimes I ride the bike to work. I like to do arts and crafts and preferably in a way that reuses or "pimps" material that I have or got for free and I like to learn more of this. I don´t watch TV - only occacional DVD´s with my SO and eating out is also only occacionally with said SO. I can cook from scratch - thanks Mam!! - and I can give a kind of bodywork that sometimes generates a very small amount of money and I might be able to increase that. And I sometimes pick up empty bottles on the roadside that are returnable(2)
Despite all this I still have the idea that I could pull early retirement off - but using a sort of sideways approach. Like not looking at the number I think I need to retire and somehow-abacadabra reach it while incrementally increasing the amount I set aside. Probably I have a lot of you laughing at this but because I know where my problems lie I will be able to fix some of them in the future. Well, if my future holds a paying job or some equivalent at least.

And if I really can pull this off - maybe someone around here can benefit from my journal.
upcoming month:

April is already going to be a challenge - there is one of my insurances due and I want to travel to visit friends of mine. Maybe I can creat some sort of circle so that I visit several friends whilst driving only one loop, depending on how much time I want to spend with everyone. Maybe also coordinate with a neighbour that is driving in that general direction and share costs - not sure how it will work out.

I also planned a visit to an accupunturist and there are some birthday presents that want funding - I hope I can still set aside my 20%.

- biking way more to work - I find that I get a sort of cold when I bike more than two times per week to work. I think that´s a fitness issue so the plan is to increase incrementally. Starting: probably next week - as soos as the current cold is gone.

- Set up professional Flyer for my Bodywork-gig

- thinking about diminishing the seminars by one and using half of that money for a different mode of teaching (that also is nearer to where I live)

- create a fun-allowance so that I can use that for jewelry books and knick-knack and am bound to say: sorry - no allowance left, when tempations come around

- repaying the debt hopefully this month: due end of month to see if I can keep that 20% in my pocket.

- either moving together with SO or finding a cheaper but still nice place to live - due: around June

- decrease working by 20% - due sometime around next year, when it´s clear that I really can live on 20% less than now

- learn more about edible plants around me (e.g. herb gerard/ground elder) and where I can savely pluck them and use them as food (for myself only)

- Increase network by giving stuff that I only semi still want to have to people that have a glitter in the eye when they see it

- This or something better if that´s best for me and best for all living things (and now I have all the analytical kind of people frothing I think, but this is important to me and I´m being completely selfish with this journal, acutally)
Epilogue to this post:

I think writing this was already clarifying for me - so I´m getting a yield out of this, never mind if any one of you does ;-) Also I think formulating my goals will help them along, so that´s another bonus. If any of you have questions, feel free to ask. It could be that future posts are similar long - you are warned.
(1)maybe this whole thing is just a sort of midlife-crisis?

Still putting aside money as conondrum is probably a good one - if that should pass after some time I´m still financially ahead.
(2)Other plusses and minusses regarding early retirement will probably show up in later posts.

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Post by Felix »

You may like "Work less, play more" ... 0965418804
Basically, you should consider semi-retirement, then. The basics you can't argue against: If you lower your expenses you have more free time per time worked. If you really want to fully retire early, you may want to consider moving to a place like Thailand. They have an average income of around 7000 THB, which translates to around 300$ a month, the interest on 80.000 - 100.000$. Other low-income countries also apply here. That should be fully achievable in a few years of work.
Then you just lie in the sun. :-)
Basically, if you want to lower your expenses significantly, you will need to sell your car and move to a smaller appartment. But I guess that's one of the reasons you're complaining. ;-)
Welcome to the forum. :-)

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Post by secretwealth »

It seems like you already know what you need to cut down, so I won't say much about that.
But I do want to say that ERE just isn't impossible for you if make the cuts that you know you need to make but still haven't chosen to make. Take the plunge. Join us. Welcome to the dark side.

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Post by before45 »

Edible plants: If purslane grows in your area, it's very nutritious, actually pretty tasty, and grows like a weed in all sorts of soils, yards, etc. And supposedly it was Gandhi's favorite vegetable, which makes me happy for some reason. Common daylily flowers are good too and everywhere and you can pick them in the evening as they're fading so you get the bloom and the food.

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Post by Marlene »

Ah, probably I should add that I already read the Tightwad Gazette, YMOYL and the ERE-book - although I´m currently finding ways to polish my math to understand the formulas in the latter part of the book. And it´s quite shameful to know what I know and still only set aside 20% - well, a bit progress is probably better than none. (Although if I´m thinking of the S-curve that Jacob described in his blog I´m beginning to doubt).
@Felix. Thanks for the book recommendation! I think my current answer should be: ah, I have minus 7,5 month fun allowance left so that´s probably something for my birthday wishlist ;-)
Thailand is a very nice country, at the same time I like where I am - so really I should join the dark side. My car is probably not that expensive, because all maintenance/repair is done by my father and it´s a car that runs on LPG-gas which is half in price of what regular gasoline is, still if I multiply the annual cost by 35 it´s still more that I have set aside currently.
@secretwealth: Thanks for the honest words, the accomodation-plunge will start to happen in June, then it should be clear where SO is going to have his living-center and then we either move together or I´ll move to something smaller or move in with other people. (And Dang - I thought I was with the green pointy ears fraction around here! What a letdown :D)
@before45: Purslane [Portulaca oleracea] is a non-indigenous plant around here - I´ve never seen it, but probably people will be happy if I eat it for them ;-) I think from the things it can offer (Vitam C, Kalium etc. it´s quite similar to ground elder) Never knew that daylily was edible, thank you!

My working-theorie is, that everything that grows like the blazes (aka "weed") is acutally something that was harvested a lot and it adapted by growing as fast as possible - stinging nettles come to mind but I have to dig into this more.

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Post by Marlene »

Ah yes, and yesterday my bike decided to go on flat-tyre holiday. Hope to be able to repair it this weekend.

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Post by Marlene »

April/May update:
Last month saw me 4 times on my bike to work. Yay! I find now that when I go to work by car because it saved me some time I start to berate myself for sloppy timehandling, I find this a good start of kicking the car-habit ;-)
I managed to save my ca. 20% of my salary - the insurance thing was not nearly as expensive as I had in mind. Visiting friends meant saying "later" to one of my friends and meeting the others in a sort of loop that meant I took one day off from work. A very enjoyable time and not too expensive.
For May I´ve gotten a bonus that´s around 30% of my monthly salary and I´ve gotten some payback because I was frugal with my energy consumption. That means that the money I´ve set aside for the upcoming Feldenkrais-course stays stashed away and I can pay it directly and STILL can set aside the usual 20% - double-yay.
I even had some money left at the end of the month, so I will increase my saving-rate by ca. 2% - I´m a bit conservative here because I sometimes have month where I´m travelling more to meet friends or where I´m eating out with other friends that I only see 4x a year or something the like, that leaves me scraping by for the rest of the month or getting a bit out of savings again. By that little increase I hope to be able to meet all my expenses without drawing from my savings.
My debt will be paid in full by this week and the fun-budget was a good thing too - I just bought one book and because I have an eye on a book that is more expensive than my monthly budget, I´ll just wait until the end of this month, and it feels great to do so.
Herbs: Had a soup with gill-over-the-ground (Glechoma hederacea - which is poisonous for animals, just so you know!), nettles, daisies, potatoes, cocosflakes, peas and ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria), bit of oil and it was delicious. Made some pancakes with almost the same mixture (added white archangel/Lamium album) and it was delicious again. Today I´ll eat dandelion leaves on my midday bread, just for my digestion. (Again, don´t try any of this at home when you don´t know what you are doing).
On the other side: my rent has gone up 30 Euros, I need to scale down my belongings, so moving will become easier - I´ve set myself 6 month to scale down on my things. By that time the situation of my SO will be clearer and I can move in a snap.
Feldenkrais: I´m getting more exercise as three people are interested - one is paying in dinners, the other two are an investment into social capital because I´m REALLY interested in giving Feldenkrais to someone that is deep into sports - to find out if Feldenkrais will add to the performance immideately or in the long run - or not at all. I think it will be something that improves performance, but I gave only one lesson so far, so too early to tell.
To do:

- Resetting my monthly saving rate

- Getting a better picture on my expenses / income/ savings by entering the expenses in an excel-sheet ( so that I can list percentages of costs or costs here for eye-candy/better picture all round)

- keep on cycling

- Find a date with the grafic-designer so she can set up my flyer

- Get good pictures while doing Feldenkrais with another person

- Take pictures for things listed on the internet for sale

- Listing surplus bagpack on Kalaydo

- Fixing trolley-like Sportsbag

- Listing said bag on Kalaydo
So that´s a lot of things to do - the first three are most important. Hopefully I´ll stick to my guns and jsut do it. Any questions/suggestions?

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Post by Marlene »

Just as biking is more of a priority the Universe seems to contrive to force me to understand my bike better: now I have a flat tyre because the french valve broke. I could just replace the valve, but seeing that probably my pump caused the valve to deform I think I´m better of replacing the inner tubes so that I´m going to get standard valves.
And my investment in social capital has already paid off. I´ve gotten my light hiking shoes polished by the sportsperson and I could lend a Bokken and Jo (Han-bo?) from them. I´m going on an Aikido workshop and since I´m not currently training in this I don´t plan to spend money on those two wooden sticks. Saved: 20€

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Post by Marlene »

Oh yes, and I reset my savings rate so now I´m setting aside approx. 22% automatically. One goal reached.

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Post by palmera »

It's great that you put dates/deadlines on your goals. I think you can ERE you're on the right track. Keep us posted, we're here to support each other!
Also, I love the concept of "inviting in social capital." I'm going to blog about it.
Keep us posted about your progress!

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Post by Marlene »

Hi Palmera!

Thanks for the support!

I think I got the soc. capital Idea from Jacob in one of his blogs - or the book, I don´t remember.
The person that paid in dinners had the feeling that she was not contributing enough and gave my mats to the cleaner - so I´m even ahaed time- and moneywise!

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Post by Marlene »

Mai/June update:
Biking: still gotta repair my bike - finally gotten the front-bike off so I can show the salesperson what kind of inner tube I need
May saving: stayed in the bank, because I´ve gotten through the month fine and today the monthly saving rate lies around 23% of my take-home-pay. If that stays in the account I´ve got another month of living costs set aside.
Downscaling stuff: gave away one comic and a card-deck - managed to aquire 10 scraps of dark green leather - downscaling goes great, you see.
Feldenkrais: I´ll be giving a try-out lesson of Feldenkrais in a nearby town this sunday. I´m really looking forward to this - there will be people attending that are going to promote future workshops - so I´m quite excited. Oh and the sportsperson really could learn something from Feldenkrais - I´m quite happy about that.
Food: continued eating nettles, white archangel etc. most delicious in pancakes with different flour and mustard.
Cheaper quarters: June was too ambitious - SO first has to finish his things and then we can discuss where we´re going to be. I´d like it to be clear soon, but I think it will probably not before end of this year.
Other goals:

complete fail - I even *bought* a scarf and a necklace - secondhand but still over budget!
In the meantime I talked to persons from a bank and I´m going to talk to two not-to-a-bank-attached money-advisors to get more information about what I can do "best" with the money I´m setting aside.
June is going to be a more tough month: I´m in for one of the Feldenkrais-courses and still have to book my lodgings - traveling and living there.
June goals:

- look at extant pictures to see if some of them are nice positioned and just need re-shooting in better surrounding

- fix my bike and start biking again

- get a person to share the ride to the workshop I´m taking

- evaluate the workshop to determine if I´m going the second time this year or not.

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Post by bigato »

I work in a bank and I tell you, don't even ask people there about what to do with your money.

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Post by Marlene »

Thanks for the warning - it´s kind of strange sitting there with RE on my mind and hearing something about "locking low interest rates for building houses into place" and then not being able to distill several books and blogs into something that is understandable for them. They probably think I´m some kind of weird hippie, with no grasp on finances. Sorry to say that it´s currently kind of true ;-)

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Post by Marlene »

Whilst indexing the blog in the wiki I somehow got sidetracked to the texts that Jacob wrote for monevator and what stuck in my brain (this time around) was mostly this:
Most people sweat the small stuff (couponing / saving water) whilst not paiyng attention to the big stuff (second car/ second, third bedroom) and this:
"Always remember: Anything that you own but don’t use is costing you money in some way, whether that is storage or heating costs or lost returns if you had invested the money instead."
So the green leather I´ve gotte for free is not free at all - I should have known that.
Keeping this in mind will probably help with sorting through my stuff - will report if it is indeed so.

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Post by Marlene »

Bike fixed - yeah! First time I completely changed innter tube and outer shell on the back tire by myself. Today was my first biking day.

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Post by aussierogue »

Im enjoying this thread. No real advice except to say - keep it up!

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Post by Marlene »

Hi aussierogue!

Thanks for the encouragement - much appreciated! (Will keep it up.)

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Post by Marlene »

Boldly posted in another thread that I solve my bike-problems as they come -- my bike obviously likes me to learn faster: the gear-shifter went out of order, the saddle suddenly moved and I still have to change the front tubes. Still I managed to go two times to work by bike - 3 € in Gas saved.
Gotten rid of some papers, which congests my rooms - I guess I´m a messy after all but on the track to get more sorted and minimalist.
Currently I´m kind of anxious, because I *think* I have got enough money to travel to the upcoming course and live there but I´m in two minds about a sort of buffer: should I extract some money from the set-aside-account or should I just go and if the money runs out finde another solution? The second appears quite scary for me - so maybe that´s the way I should go.

So and because I´ve written that here I´ve done a more accurate estimation and figure it will have to bite into things set aside, if I find no travellers that share the costs.
Now find a way to bring my food costs down there without me having access to cooking set ups. Hm, I could bring a gas-cooker and cook in the open? Mainly pasta and some of the herbs I know now? I guess I´m verging on the "cheap" here.
On another note - talked to one non-bank-advisour - who would like me to buy more insurance. Some of them seem to make sense, e.g. the higher risk coverage for the bodywork or the inflation adjusted pension-insurance should I get disabled.

He also said that I should come visit him to talk about a portfolio (won´t do it over the phone). Since he is a friende of a friend I´ll do that and have a chance to ask all my complete beginners questions.

Almost funny anecdote: I had sent him Jacobs $7000/year post and although he would like to have "Privatiee" (a person that achieved ERE) on his calling card he thinks of it as impossible to achieve with partner & kid.

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Post by riparian »

Thermos cooking. Think of it like a crockpot when you add scalding hot water. I've mostly only made oats and soup, but people make all kinds of things.

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