lilac's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
1taskaday
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by 1taskaday » Fri May 02, 2014 1:42 am

I went from half time back to eventual full-time.
Only 1 word to describe it-HELL.

One good reason never to do part-time unless it's near the end.
The only thing that keeps me going is that in "my head" I think I'm on my plan
and near the end('ish).

It's the only way,- keep feeding your mind "delusional" end dates...

lilacorchid
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by lilacorchid » Sat May 03, 2014 1:44 pm

@jenny - I just ran out my box'o'wine the other day! Have to get more I suppose!

@1task - I am not looking forward to the transition. I keep picking dates in my head, even if they can be farfetched.

---

Now that I have had a few days to stew, I need to try to figure out how to take some of the awesome from the part time project and stick it back into my regular day job. Some of it is impossible (hand picked employees to work together to get a specific task done) and some may be doable (taking all the tickets and being busy as much as possible.

Also, anyone have any thoughts about IT training I should take? Is MS certification any good? Cisco? Unix, lol?

George the original one
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by George the original one » Sun May 04, 2014 6:07 pm

IMHO, the corporate IT certificates certify that you understand the lingo and where features inside a product exist. They do not certify that someone can actually do anything productive or creative with the product.

lilacorchid
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by lilacorchid » Sun May 04, 2014 8:11 pm

@GeorgeTOO - I have no IT certs at all. My diploma is in something different, though I did study some electronics. In my mind, it would be hard to find another job, unless I started something up myself? Then I talk myself out of that because I have no confidence in what I do/know, and sometimes it's nice to just show up and get paid. Well, less stressful until I get some more money saved up.

George the original one
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by George the original one » Wed May 07, 2014 9:59 am

I don't have any IT certs and I hold a BS in General Studies, but I'm in a senior IT position.

One of the things I see on everybody's job application is "studying for XX certification", yet few actually achieve the certification. Most applicants also don't have a college degree. The successful applicants at entry level have technical work experience that didn't require certification plus can demonstrate skill/desire; I prefer college graduates (any major), but that's my personal bias. We'll take certifications in lieu of college degrees, but I don't recall anyone completing meaningful certifications that didn't have a college degree.

Intermediate & senior positions require demonstrated skills/knowledge. We had to turn someone down for a senior position because they lacked the depth of skill we were looking for, however we've subsequently hired them in an intermediate position and fully expect them to quickly progress. The person we hired for the senior position looked weak on paper because she didn't have faith in herself, yet she aced the interview and demonstrated a depth of knowledge that wasn't evident on paper.

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GandK
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by GandK » Wed May 07, 2014 12:50 pm

@George:

Weirdly (or not) the three most talented programmers I ever worked with during my 20 year career all had music degrees. After that, engineering majors and the self-taught seemed the most capable.

I found almost all of the computer science majors I worked with to have been so hopelessly indoctrinated in the methodology of choice of their institution that they were incapable of assimilating into the company without causing trouble for others. "This is the right way to code, and anyone who doesn't work that way is an idiot," etc. They always seemed to be less about the solution and more about the method.

lilacorchid
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by lilacorchid » Wed May 21, 2014 6:43 am

1000 day(ish) countdown starting soon! Need to plan out targets and dates to put it in stone. It's part of my strategy to keep myself from weeping at my desk when I go back to my old job.

I was also looking at my records last night and I have been calculating my net worth for five years now, wtf! I thought it would be better to be honest. Our assets have only gone up 2.5k per year if you don't factor in the house. On the other hand, we got rid of 100k worth of debt while paying for some pricy medical stuff and having a kid. So it's been better than most people, but not as good as I wanted. Still, it's a win.
Last edited by lilacorchid on Wed May 21, 2014 6:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

henrik
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by henrik » Wed May 21, 2014 6:49 am

If you got rid of 100k of debt in 5 years, that in itself is a 20k increase in net worth per year:)

lilacorchid
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by lilacorchid » Wed May 21, 2014 6:59 am

henrik wrote:If you got rid of 100k of debt in 5 years, that in itself is a 20k increase in net worth per year:)
Tis true! I changed it to "assets" which is what I meant, but did not say! Thanks!

lilacorchid
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by lilacorchid » Sun May 25, 2014 8:19 pm

Three things I thought of this weekend:

1. I have three years left and I'm depressed about it. Middle is no fun, and I realized how much older I will be when I pass the finish line. Three years at this point of the game is not like when I was 16... putting up with three years seemed no big deal! There were so many years left! No worries to "waste" years! I'm not 80 so the odds are I will live many more years, in fact, it's very probable I will double my age. Still, it remains that I have three years to get through, and I don't relish the idea of pushing through and wasting them trying to ignore them as I go. @jennypenny's post about having fun building your ERE house really struck a nerve. My life is not that unpleasant! I should try to enjoy it more as I toodle toward the finish line.

2. It's been nearly two years since I got back to work. I managed to go half time for four of those months. I have 40 days vacation saved up, and there will be another 50 or so coming before the three years are up.

3. It has been nearly two years since I started this journal. It's looking like I might actually make it out in five, which helps with the melancholy of the first thought.

saving-10-years
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by saving-10-years » Mon May 26, 2014 3:15 am

@liliaorchid Perhaps you could see this three years as time that you are serving in a the anteroom to retirement that can be used in refining your plans and building yet more skills? A bit like the ultimate plan for the ultimate holiday of your life? If I could wind back my own clock I would have been much more serious about my planning (setting goals for things to do with setting up a side business, setting up investments and trying ideas out) before I got to retirement. Part of me is frustrated that I did not prepare better - I only saw the ERE light and came up with the current plan about 6 months ago. While I am happy to follow @JennyPenny's advice to relish the process of planning and organising now (I am) is spot on.

Are you planning any sort of side business when you retire? Trying this out while in work may be a good idea? Is your employer one which is keen on training? Perhaps find some to do which will come in helpful in the future as well as being something to make the next three years more interesting?

I feel that I could have started from a much better base had I really got my head down and planned out earlier. Three years, knowing that retirement was coming, could be an enjoyable time for ticking off small targets and experimenting with big and small changes.

@Spoonman is an interesting read in this respect, you can feel the excitement building there.

Congratulations on being having that goal so accessible now. It may not feel like 'new' news but its great news nonetheless.

lilacorchid
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by lilacorchid » Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:45 am

1003 days left: I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to structure the next 1000 day of time. My gut says go with blocks of 10 days to make 100 blocks of focus (or not to focus) on something. I found that even though I was part time for six months, I did hardly anything on my to do list. Life (the boring parts) just kept getting in the way. I am thinking if I have a focus, I stand a better chance of getting things done.

The biggest hole on our ship is the one that leaks out money for food. Specifically eating out. It's mostly being lazy too. If we had easy things in the fridge/freezer to eat, it would not seem easier to call for take out.

My first ten days are going to be food themed, specifically about bulk cooking. I'd like to give it a go and see if it works for our family to cook for a month and then just mix and/or reheat for meals. Supper is the focus as we can use leftovers for the next day's lunch.

I anticipate that if we can pull something off like this, we can cut our total food bill (groceries and dining) by $500 a month. (That's $150k I don't need to stockpile and $6k more savings per year.)

----------
@saving-10-years: I will check out that journal, thanks! I have a few hobbies that I may be able to turn into money later, such as sewing and I can always fix computers on the side or start a business with my husband in his trade. It is a good idea to start thinking now though. Three years seems like forever, but can also pass in a blink, eh?

eudaimonia
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by eudaimonia » Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:42 am

I know what it's like to feel out of control with the eating out issue. My suggestion is this - treat yourself like an alcoholic and realize that you have a eating out problem. This was made somewhat easier for me when my Dr. made me aware of the fact that I was 1) going to need to go on blood thinners at 35, 2) going to be diabetic in a few years. At that point I realized that I had to change - it wasn't even about the money it was about the health. Perhaps you can reframe it in a similar manner - do you want to be around for your child's first child? Ask yourself that question the next time you are tempted to eat out.

Secondly, since you are working you need to make everyone around you aware of that committment to not eating out. Tell your husband you won't go with him to eat out - he'll have to eat by himself. Tell your coworkers and your boss that you only will be eating your sack lunch - that your Dr. has told you that you must for your health. People will be suprised but then they will support you - and you won't feel socially pressured. Want to really up the ante? Make it more expensive. Tell everyone around you that you will donate $500 to the American Diabetes Association every time you break your rule and eat out. Make it painful and make it something that others can hold you accountable to. (My accountability was that I would let the ladies at work take me to wax my chest if I ate out).

Lastly, make sure that you plan, plan, plan every meal. Don't leave it to chance. My wife and I setup a weekly menu plan every Friday to know exactly what we are going to eat for the next week. This ensures that we have all the ingredients we need to make delicous, healthy foods at home and that there were no excuses. If I ate out I was wasting food that we had already purchased at the grocery store. If you are bad at cooking (like I am) then start with following easy recipies on line and don't deviate from a very simple menu plan.

From someone who used to eat at Carl's Jr., McDonalds, Wendy's, and Inn and Out (and also a former WoW addict) I urge you think about this. If I can do it, so can you. I've been eating out free for the last 3 years - I've lost 60 pounds of fat, gained muscle, and my blood work has gone from horrifying to that of a 20 year old.

These steps are pretty easy to follow once you get started. The hardest thing is to look yourself in the mirror and realize - I have a problem and I've been living in denial.

lilacorchid
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by lilacorchid » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:35 pm

@eudaimonia - this post is partly due to your response to my journal. Thanks for joining and contributing, fellow WoW addict.

-----
Day 1002 - I tried this: http://whoneedsacape.com/2014/02/7-meal ... zer-meals/ There is a 40 meals in four hours link but it was too overwhelming. I have problems when I go to the store and buy that much food and I find prep like that to be overwhelming at times.

Cost of the 7 meals: approx $85 due to some start up, but mostly due to meat and no thought to sales. Also 3 hours of time which included the trip to the store, prep, and clean up.

I suspect I will have to double some of these to get a couple of lunches out of them the next day. That being said, I'm trying it out, will iron out wrinkles once I see if this will work for me and I get the hang of it.

I am very hopeful though!

eudaimonia
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by eudaimonia » Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:24 am

Those look like great recipes - I'm excited to hear how they work for you.

Don't worry too much about efficiency (time or money) just yet. You are just getting started and if you get into the habit of preparing your own food you will find ways to make it much more efficient over time. Remember the benefits are also for your health and once your body gets used to the reduced sugar/junk intake (after a month or two) you will be amazed at how much better home cooked food tastes.

My personal evolution this year after being a diehard carnivore only type of guy is realizing I actually like the taste of vegetables. I'm even experimenting with doing all vegetarian lunches. Pretty crazy to me at least. :lol:

lilacorchid
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by lilacorchid » Thu Jun 05, 2014 6:54 pm

Day 1000 (!!!): Two crock meals done, both good enough to eat. Both are enough for lunches for the two of us the next day as well. I will definitely do this again, but will add in my own favourite crock meals when I get the hang of shopping lists. Part of the downside of having a grocery store on the walk home from work is I am not used to buying large quantities of anything really. I just go back and get more. Add in a small house with no storage... It's a change, but a good one. It's nice not to deal with figuring out supper when I get home.

Next ten days: Find and make seven more crock meals.

(Also, my husband was saying that they needed a veg, so MOAR veg in the next ones!!!)

saving-10-years
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by saving-10-years » Fri Jun 06, 2014 3:54 am

By tomorrow you will already be down to 3 figures! congratulations. Progress is being made :-)

lilacorchid
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by lilacorchid » Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:40 am

Day 990 - Food focus was a success. That $90 broke down to about $13 a meal that produced another meal (or two) of leftovers. The downside being that they were so heavy. I'm going to focus on food again for the next ten day stretch, but I need to find something that is a bit lighter in fair. More veg for sure.

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jennypenny
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by jennypenny » Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:25 pm

This book has some good and healthy slow cooker recipes. It's geared for the LC/GF crowd, but you can always add carbs if you want. http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Healthy-E ... 119&sr=1-3

Her blog has some good recipes to try out first ... http://mariamindbodyhealth.com/

lilacorchid
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by lilacorchid » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:46 pm

Day 977 - Just started another ten day food focus. Did this: http://whoneedsacape.com/2014/06/30-sum ... zer-meals/ but missed four of them due to lack of ingredients. I went this morning with the list to buy everything and found that it was very overwhelming to have that much food in my cart. I have been buying only what I can carry home for years. I ended up short on some chicken because I panicked (who buys all that chicken?!) and put some back. I have to keep reminding myself that I now have meals for most work days until the end of summer in my freezer.

I am finding that I am enjoying batch cooking and will continue on. The challenge is using it. I tend to keep things for later or a special occasion or for "just in case". If my only issue about spending on fast food was due to money, I can be sure I would have figured that out a long time ago.

eudaimonia
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by eudaimonia » Tue Jul 01, 2014 5:01 pm

I would say just keep at it. Most of the eating out habit I had faded away when I developed a new habit of eating in. But don't expect this change to happen immediately. When I first started making more of my own food I often would struggle to eat it for many of the same reasons you mention. But the more I did it (imperfect as it was) the more it became the norm and eating out became less so. Remember that you are building a new normal so try to enjoy the process.

lilacorchid
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by lilacorchid » Fri Jul 25, 2014 9:39 am

Day 950 - At it 50 days already! Took some time off due to vacation and life happening. This block's focus is physical activity. The food part is going well so far. The meals are proving to stretch over a few days, which is keeping the cost per meal fairly low considering all the meat involved. And since there they are already to go, I don't have to think about what to make, or get discouraged if I'm missing one thing, and then give up and go out to eat.

In other news, we are thinking of buying a slightly bigger house as this one is feeling cheap instead of frugal as our son gets older.

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spoonman
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by spoonman » Sat Jul 26, 2014 2:50 pm

Thanks for the link, lilacorchid. I'm starting to take serious notes on food strategies in order to stay within our future $400/mo food budget.

lilacorchid
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by lilacorchid » Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:24 am

@spoonman - You're welcome!

Also, for those who are paying attention, the orange beer chicken is edible (at best) when fresh and terrible as leftovers. It also smelled terrible (to me) when cooking. Simmering beer just smells awful to me.

lilacorchid
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Re: lilac's journal

Post by lilacorchid » Fri Aug 29, 2014 1:16 pm

Time to do another yearly update! For the last 12 months here is the change:

Networth change: +14%
Portion of that due to house gaining value: 0% (I adjust the house value based on my tax assessment and this is not an assessment year.)

Portion of net salary saved: 27%

Largest expenses (percentage of net salary):

Food: 16.9% (Further broken down: Eating out: 9.9% and Groceries 7.1%)
Childcare: 11.5%
Car: 6.3%
Vacation: 6.1%

---

Food is still our downfall. In terms of real numbers, food spending increased a few thousand over the year before. Groceries went down, but eating out went up. I suspect groceries will continue to fall somewhat over the next year as I'm cooking more. The husband has decided to try and curb the lunches out. It's a running theme so I'm not holding my breath that things will be a lot different next year. Trying to cut down on eating out has been our major issue since before we got married.

Childcare is halved this year, and will be half that next year. Most of this last year was at the pricey place, so not much in terms of adjustment to be seen yet. I suspect we will spend some of the money we were spending on child care on him anyway.

We spent more on fuel and insurance for the car last year because my husband no longer has a company vehicle. Also, it needed some repairs. Still no second car though!

I don't think I'm going to front load the savings in bulk again as we are still sitting on 75% of that debt that I originally borrowed to invest. I am "paying myself first" as it seems that is the only reliable way to make sure that money goes into the savings.

I never did get a second income stream. And I'm just too tired from life to think about getting on going right now. Maybe next year once the kid is older and things are less chaotic.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased at what I found, food costs excluded. We passed another networth goal and investment goal (six figures invested, woo!) and now that my husband's income has increased due to training and job change, we are really starting to see some gains. This all happened while I was working part time for five months this year as well. Next year should be awesome!

P.S. It's Day 915! Nearly 10% of the way. I'm behind in what I wanted to have saved by now, but shoot for the moon and all that business... ;)

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