Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Star*Bucks
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:27 am
Location: California

Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:50 pm

Hello everyone, I'm a single 36 year old male in Sacramento CA. No kids, no significant other, and no pets. I am writing this to help myself keep track of my progress and hopefully get some advise/criticism on what I'm doing.

My monthly bills usually amount to:

$600 All housing costs including all Utilities, HOA, Property Tax, etc. This will drop down to only $100 since my friend is moving in soon and will be paying $500 a month in rent.

$400 a month car payment which has a 4.99% APR. I had to buy a new car January 2014 due to my old one having way to many issues. The car was 22k out the door and so far I have paid over 9k. I am putting all extra money that comes in towards this car so I can pay as little interest as possible.

$600 for everything else: Gas, Food, Entertainment, Phone, etc (I will do a better job in the future of breaking down the costs/categories.)

So since most of my net income will go towards paying down my car I won't be doing any saving beyond my pre-tax contributions, which is currently 25% of my income. This tends to average just over 2k per month going into my 401k (employer+employee contributions). I am also looking for a part time weekend gig to help expedite the pay off of the new car.

I use a credit card for all purchases but I pay the balance in full every month. I am looking for a rewards card that gives cash back (preferably no annual fee) so if anyone has any ideas in that category please share.

I have a business that I have all licenses and permits for and I just am starting to market it and hope the first account comes sooner than later. If this takes off I will be happy especially for the opportunity to place a higher amount of pre tax money into a Self Employed Tax Deferred retirement account.

Just in case the business doesn't take off I am in the hiring process to get a State job which pays a 6 figure salary, great benefits, etc. The hiring process takes time so hopefully I'll have my plan A going before I go to Plan B

Main Goal is to reach FI by passively earning $1500 a month. I think the numbers would work if I amassed 460K over 7 years into dividend earning stocks of safe long established businesses and allow them to compound.

Image

The graph above is a snapshot of my Mint summary. I will try to make some graphs like some of my favorite ERE journal posters because I think they paint a better picture. Thanks for taking the time to read this, I plan to post updates monthly...

Hankaroundtheworld
Posts: 462
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Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Sat Mar 15, 2014 12:49 am

Sounds like a good plan, and if you get the State Job, you might reach FI even sooner.
What licensed business are you going to start? just curious

Star*Bucks
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:27 am
Location: California

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Sat Mar 15, 2014 5:37 pm

Hankaroundtheworld wrote:Sounds like a good plan, and if you get the State Job, you might reach FI even sooner.
What licensed business are you going to start? just curious
Hello Hank, thanks for responding. I'm going to keep the business private for the time being. (It's low over head and I can run it from home) If it is successful then the accelaration to FI will be really quick. After I reach the 460k in dividend earning stocks I will sell the business, home, car, and everything else I own. Then I will travel the world; mainly the places where the US dollar is strong. I've read about other posters going to SE Asia or S. America. In this scenario the 460k will compound for many years while I live frugally on the money earned from selling everything I own & traveling the world eating delicious foods, learning cultures, and enjoying the ability to live my life free. Sigh... I really hope I win the Powerball so this future goal can be realized a lot quicker :D

chipmunk
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Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:57 am
Location: USA

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by chipmunk » Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:41 pm

Star*Bucks wrote:I am writing this to help myself keep track of my progress and hopefully get some advise/criticism on what I'm doing.
Since you've opened up the door to a little advice/criticism I'll offer some :).
Star*Bucks wrote: $400 a month car payment which has a 4.99% APR. I had to buy a new car January 2014 due to my old one having way to many issues. The car was 22k out the door and so far I have paid over 9k. I am putting all extra money that comes in towards this car so I can pay as little interest as possible.
Two things:
1) 4.99% seems a little high in this low interest rate environment. I'm not up to date on car loan rates but my gut is telling me you should be able to get a lower rate. Have you looked into refinancing? Small, local credit unions are often the way to get the lowest rate on car loans (based on my non-extensive experience on the subject).
2) Get this thing paid off as soon as possible. You're putting a significant amount into your 401k (maxing it out?). This is good, your future self will thank you. Put literally every spare nickel and dime toward this loan. Again, your future self will thank you.
Star*Bucks wrote: Sigh... I really hope I win the Powerball so this future goal can be realized a lot quicker :D
I really hope you're not playing the Powerball. ("The lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math.")

Star*Bucks
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:27 am
Location: California

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:18 pm

chipmunk wrote:Two things:
1) 4.99% seems a little high in this low interest rate environment. I'm not up to date on car loan rates but my gut is telling me you should be able to get a lower rate. Have you looked into refinancing? Small, local credit unions are often the way to get the lowest rate on car loans (based on my non-extensive experience on the subject).
2) Get this thing paid off as soon as possible. You're putting a significant amount into your 401k (maxing it out?). This is good, your future self will thank you. Put literally every spare nickel and dime toward this loan. Again, your future self will thank you.
Hey Chipmunk! thanks for your input. I was thinking about refinancing the car as well. I have a great credit union that I am a member of but I was just wondering if the hit to my credit from the inquiry would be worth it. I am planning to pay 3k per month so it should be paid off in less than 5 months.
chipmunk wrote:I really hope you're not playing the Powerball. ("The lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math.")
Well Chipmunk you are 100% correct here. I found the ERE forum about 18 months ago and that's about the same time I started placing 25% of my income towards my 401k as well as many other changes in my life to be as efficient as possible. Today after my morning jog I told myself to go ahead and spend $4 to get 4 tickets/opportunities to win 400 million. If it is only just a hope and/or good feeling I get from the possibility of winning; I think I'm ok with that. I'm still a work in progress and doubt I will make these kind of purchases in the future. Oh about maxing out my 401k, I'm not sure. I know 25% is the max I can put in via my employer and when I did my taxes for 2013 I contributed $5500 to a Traditional IRA which I believe got me pretty close to maxing out the annual retirement contribution limit but not quite.

Thanks again my friend....

chipmunk
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:57 am
Location: USA

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by chipmunk » Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:22 pm

If you're planning on paying off the car that fast then refinancing may not be worth the hassle.

Why the worry about the credit inquiry? Are you planning on taking out another loan right after the car is paid off?

Star*Bucks
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:27 am
Location: California

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:29 pm

chipmunk wrote:Why the worry about the credit inquiry? Are you planning on taking out another loan right after the car is paid off?
Well the only thing I was planning on was applying for a cash back/rewards credit card. I'm just trying to find the best one with the least annual fee (or no annual fee if possible) other than that I have no plans of running my credit for anything. When the dealership ran my credit in Jan I was in the low 700's which is ok but I would like to see it above 720, which it probably is now due to the payment history on my new vehicle.

Star*Bucks
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:27 am
Location: California

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:28 pm

UPDATE: April 05 2014

So now that March is over it's time for an update! April will be a difficult month because property taxes are due ($1500 already paid) as well as my 6 month payment for auto insurance ($900 not paid yet).

Image

As you can tell from my Mint summary I have dropped my property value by 10k. I decided to be very pessimistic with my numbers also taking into consideration closing costs and agent commissions if/when the property is sold. So I just wanted a very realistic number there. Even with the drop of 10k from property value my net worth is only $7680.59 less than the prior months (even though I paid $1500 in property taxes) due to the high amount put away in 401k contributions. I have no real big expenses after April for the next 5 months so hopefully the car will be paid off by that time. Today is my day off and I'm on my way to Home Depot because they have a sale on tomato plants. They grow very well in my area and give off many pounds of delicious tomatoes during the season. I hope you all have a great weekend.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by EdithKeeler » Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:51 pm

In this scenario the 460k will compound for many years while I live frugally on the money earned from selling everything I own & traveling the world eating delicious foods, learning cultures, and enjoying the ability to live my life free.
I just really enjoyed this sentence!

Star*Bucks
Posts: 123
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Location: California

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Wed May 07, 2014 11:54 am

Update: May 7 2014

I am so happy that I started this journal! Looking back I can see that my net worth increased by 3k each month over the last 2 months. I believe the next 4 months it will increase by 4k per month because there are no large expenses coming up like there were in March ($900 for six month car insurance payment) and in April ($1500 property tax).

Image

Current Debts:
Car Loan ~ $11,300 @ 4.99% apr
Personal Loan from Brother ~ $14,000 @ 0% apr
Total Debt ~ $25,300

Current Assets:
Home ~ $86,000
Car ~ $16,000
Investments/Retirement ~ $36,200
Total Assets ~ $138,200

Goals by End of 2014:
~Have car paid off
~Increase Investment/Retirement by 10K
~Have an Emergency Fund started
~Start paying down what I owe my Brother



Work/Life:

So, I am now working closer to home. I still have a 15-20 minute commute but I'm still in the same city. I will be able to eat at home more and go to the gym on a more regular basis than before when I had those long commutes working all over the state. I am still going through the hiring process for the state job but I am also trying to acquire the first account for the company I started. I am going full steam ahead with whichever catches traction first. I'm challenging myself to not eat any fast food at all in May and so far so good. This category has been the highest part of my monthly spending in past years, I have dropped it considerably in the last few months but I will try to have a zero expenses on Restaurants/Fast Food category for May & it will be a first for me if I succeed.

A problem I had before was food going bad and throwing it away. I thought I would be creative and make homemade pizza. I found a great no-kneed pizza dough recipe and I had all of the ingredients! Once the dough was done I grabbed everything from the fridge which I knew I wasn't going to get to soon and threw it on the pizza. I didn't even have shredded cheese so I basically cut up slices of cheese and sprinkled on parmesan, I had bell peppers mushrooms, onion, half a jar of pizza sauce from Trader Joe's. I called it "Garbage Pizza" because all the stuff I put on it would have been in the garbage if I didn't make the pizza. Let me tell y'all, it was Delicious Pizza! I think I will make this every Sunday as my cheat meal and as a way to clean out the fridge. You can get very creative with pizza as well. Maybe left over chicken cut up with BBQ sauce n onions and you have a BBQ Chicken pizza. Anyways I tried to post a pic of the pizza but I guess it had too many pixels and I don't know how to fix that problem.

Future expenses which I will have to deal with include my Apple Airport Express internet wi-fi router. I bought mine 7 years ago and has worked excellent but now it's just old and not giving me proper service (Paid $100 for it brand new). At times the internet goes completely out. I plan on upgrading to Apples new Wifi router called Airport Extreme and it's $200 but my brother gets a 10% discount. I also have a iPhone 4s which is a older model iPhone but I didn't mind since it worked for what I needed, but now it's getting slow and the power button is jamming on it so when the new iPhone 6 comes out I will be upgrading to it as well. I should be able to offset what I pay for the on contract iPhone 6 price with what I get for my old iPhone 4s.

I am still single and getting pretty tired of it so I think it's time I start dating again, but the thought of spending all this money on dates is killing me. It's not the most accepted social behavior to tell a girl "Let's watch a Blu-Ray at my house" when your getting to know each other. Any advice here would be real cool too.
Last edited by Star*Bucks on Fri Jul 01, 2016 2:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Hankaroundtheworld
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Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Wed May 07, 2014 12:38 pm

Star*Bucks wrote:Update: May 7 2014
I am still single and getting pretty tired of it so I think it's time I start dating again, but the thought of spending all this money on dates is killing me. It's not the most accepted social behavior to tell a girl "Let's watch a Blu-Ray at my house" when your getting to know each other. Any advice here would be real cool too.
Hi, I could respond in several ways:
* Do not take life too seriously. Yes, ER is a good route to FI (and freedom), but this route is much more nicer with a partner than alone. Having fun along the way is important, you live now, nobody knows how it will be when you reach FI
* A sensible partner will not expect that you spent a lot of money. Women like small surprises, but unexpected, and you can do a lot together that would make the bonding stronger. Why not make a nice walk in nature, then you will talk a lot, or cook something together at home, for sure will create some laughs, etc... It does not need to cost a lot to get closer to someone

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slimicy
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Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by slimicy » Wed May 07, 2014 1:32 pm

Hankaroundtheworld wrote:
Star*Bucks wrote:Update: May 7 2014
I am still single and getting pretty tired of it so I think it's time I start dating again, but the thought of spending all this money on dates is killing me. It's not the most accepted social behavior to tell a girl "Let's watch a Blu-Ray at my house" when your getting to know each other. Any advice here would be real cool too.
Hi, I could respond in several ways:
* Do not take life too seriously. Yes, ER is a good route to FI (and freedom), but this route is much more nicer with a partner than alone. Having fun along the way is important, you live now, nobody knows how it will be when you reach FI
* A sensible partner will not expect that you spent a lot of money. Women like small surprises, but unexpected, and you can do a lot together that would make the bonding stronger. Why not make a nice walk in nature, then you will talk a lot, or cook something together at home, for sure will create some laughs, etc... It does not need to cost a lot to get closer to someone
I agree with Hank, but you should also stop thinking of dating as an expense and instead an investment in your future happiness. Is it really not worth 40$ for a night of buying her drinks (I've noticed I'm much more likely to get a 2nd date if the 1st date is more casual than a fancy dinner) to potentially meet someone you'll have a lot of fun with?

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jennypenny
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Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by jennypenny » Wed May 07, 2014 3:43 pm

I agree with slimicy ... you need to look at the $ spent dating differently. Maybe you could look at it like money spent on your health?

You could also try being honest with the women you date. Tell them that you want to take them on a nice date, but spending tons of money on a date can make you feel uncomfortable. Reassure them that you're not trying to be cheap, but that you prefer more low-key, intimate dates. Then ask to compromise by either dialing down the dates or agreeing to go out once/week and making any other dates home-cooked meals and a DVD. If they complain that the first date should be a more spendy affair, just explain that you're trying to be honest with them and that you wouldn't want to give them the wrong impression because it wouldn't be fair to them. (in other words, act like you're being a really nice guy by being open with them and wanting to have a quiet date where it's easier to get to know each other--harder for them to argue with that)

George the original one
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Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by George the original one » Wed May 07, 2014 4:37 pm

Walking date... free.
"Coffee" date... $5-10.
Movie date... $20-25.
Dinner date... $30-40.
Bar date... too expensive, best to lure to home with bottle of booze.
Nothing says you have to pay for everything or anything.

Monthly cost if one of each date: $55-75. Compare to $2k/mo going into retirement monies, it's not much.

Star*Bucks
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Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Sun Jun 01, 2014 10:47 am

UPDATE: June 01 2014

Image

As you can see May was a very productive month for me. There was an increase in net worth of 6K! Even though I bought a plane ticket for my mother so she could attend a wedding in Oregon & I failed miserably at my goal of not eating out for the entire month, but I did succeed at cutting it down dramatically. I cashed in 2 weeks of vacation because as you know I don't plan to stay at this company long and the vacation pay could help me pay down the car loan a little faster.

Current Debts:
Car Loan ~ $8978 @ 4.99%
Personal Loan from Brother ~ $14,000 @ 0%
Total Debt ~ $22978

Current Assets:
Home ~ $86,000
Car ~ $16,000
Investments/Retirement ~ $39,100
Total Assets ~ $141,100

Work/Life:

I want to start off by saying thank you to everyone who gave me their advice on my last post especially @Georgetheoriginalone seeing the number put things in clear perspective and I went out twice with a girl I met on a dating site. We really didn't hit it off but the dates were fun and now I can say I'm back in the swing of things.

There is a position opening up at my current job where they will need someone to work a 12 hour shift on Saturday & on Sunday then a 8 hour shift on Monday. I emailed my boss telling him how I would like to be considered for it. This would get me 32 hours in 3 days and free up the rest of the work week to find business for my company. As this has been the hardest part of finding business since I'm usually at my day job during the workweek.

I am starting to workout now and I'm taking it slow since it has been some time. I'm 5'7" and 215 pounds, I'm 33.7 on the BMI calculator, that means I'm obese. My goal weight is 175 which would put me at a BMI of 27.4 which is still considered overweight but I don't think those calculators are geared towards a healthy "muscular" person. I feel they are geared more towards the ideal slim person who doesn't really emphasize weight training and gaining muscle.

Goals for June:
~Lose 5 pounds
~Increase net worth by 3K
~Go on another date
~Go hiking at Mt Tamalpais

Star*Bucks
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:27 am
Location: California

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:10 pm

Update: Junes Results

Goals for June Where:

~Lose 5 pounds FAILED
~Increase Net Worth by 3K Accomplished! :mrgreen:
~Go on another date FAILED
~Go hiking at Mt Tamalpais FAILED

Image

Current Debts:
Car Loan ~ $9,014 @ 4.99%
Personal Loan from Brother ~ $14,000 @ 0%
Total Debt ~ 23,014

Current Assets:
Home ~ $86,000
Car ~ $16,000
Investments/Retirement ~ $43,379
Total Assets ~ $145,379

Work/Life:


Ok so It's July 8th and I'm just now getting to posting results for June, It's been a pretty hectic time for me. Work has been really hard lately, there was a ridiculous heat wave, and helping my parents with things they should be able to do themselves or ask my other siblings who actually live in the same city as them (I'm a couple hours away) I guess that's what I get for being the responsible "Go-To" person. This update will be short because I don't have time to go into detail, but my net worth increased by 3k again this month mainly due to my 401k contributions. As you can see there was zero spent this month on my car payment and that's because I anticipated acquiring another car! I gave my old 2000 Honda Civic to my parents many years ago but since my father failed his vision exam at the DMV the car has been just sitting in their driveway. I picked it up July 3rd and all the details of the work done to it will be in the July post, but I will say that my plan is to keep both vehicles. My main commuter will be the Honda Civic because I plain don't care how many miles it gets on it; whereas my 2014 car looses value very fast with every mile.

In June I had a couple of splurges. One was a tool box from Harbor Freight. I got it on sale for $150 and it's great. Now all my tools are in one central location all organized. Went out to eat with some co-workers who are actually really good people. Not everyone where I work is cool, but the 8 people I went to eat & have drinks with were great. We are the group of hard workers at the company and everyone including myself are tired of the slackers and the irresponsible management at work. We are all looking for other employment and helping each other along, keep your fingers crossed.

My weight loss goal for June has been Piss Poor! I started the month at 215 and ended at 218. All of the stresses I mentions in the first paragraph could be blamed but ultimately I'm responsible for my health and need to focus and do better in July.

Goals for July:
~Lose 5 pounds
~Increase net worth by 3K
~Do all necessary work on the Honda Civic to make it a comfortable/reliable daily driver
~Go on a date

Star*Bucks
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:27 am
Location: California

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Fri Aug 01, 2014 4:53 am

UPDATE: July Results

Goals for July where:

~Lose 5 pounds FAILED
~Increase net worth by 3k Accomplished (But funds are in limbo)
~Do all necessary work on the Honda Civic to make it a comfortable/reliable daily driver A work in progress that should be complete by end of August
~Go on a date FAILED

Image

Current Debts:
Car Loan ~ $7,547 @ 4.99%
Personal Loan from Brother ~ $14,000 @ 0%
Total Debt ~ $21,547

Current Assests:
Home ~ $86,000
Car #1 ~ $16,000
Car #2 ~ $2,500
Investment/Retirement ~ $41,868 (Actually $2500 more but waiting for my company to re deposit what they removed)
Total Assets ~ $146,368

Work/Life:

Ok, July has been a very frustrating month for me. I'll start off with the worst news, which is my company completely closed out one of my 401k accounts without getting any authorization from me and without even notifying me. You may have read a thread I put in the money questions section giving full details of all the mistakes my company has made over the years and this was the last straw. I've contacted the Department of Labor and currently have a active claim. Funny how corporate wants to start jumping through hoops when a regulatory entity contacts them, but they did nothing with all the times I contacted them. Long story short there is approximately $2500 that was taken out of my 401k which will be placed back in. I was hoping it would be corrected by the end of July so my numbers could be as accurate as possible for this month. Also I should be receiving loss earnings calculations for the other problems the company made in my 401k account. I decided since there have been so many mistakes with 401k maybe I should review my paychecks closer. Yes, after reviewing only 10 pay stubs I found $500 in mistakes. I plan on reviewing every single pay stub with this company and put in a pay discrepancy for all money owed.

I have ben doing a lot of traveling for work in July (I got a speeding ticket as well :evil: ) so I haven't been home much. This means I spent a lot on fuel and meals. These expenses will be reimbursed but it is another reason why this net worth total didn't increase. The honda civic which I love and have been driving almost exclusively has been running great. All of the items I ordered came in but due to all the traveling I haven't had a chance to install everything. In fact the reason my net worth increased at all this month is because I added my honda civic to my mint account. I also purchased home owners insurance and paid the entire annual premium in July. I can't believe I went 6 years without any Home Owners Insurance!

The one good thing that came out of July is that I now have a permanent full time gig here in my hometown with my company. I can't state exactly how much that means to me. Being close to home will allow me to cook and prepare meals for work and at home to avoid fast food. It will be much easier to get back on a normal gym routine, and once I am back in shape which should be no more than 2 months I will be able to incorporate active marketing for my business. I'm going to try to get an account ASAP so I can leave this B.S. company I'm working for.

Goals for August:
~Lose 10 pounds
~Increase net worth by 6k
~Do all necessary work on the Honda Civic to make it a comfortable/reliable daily driver
~Review pay & put in a pay discrepancy

Star*Bucks
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:27 am
Location: California

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Mon Sep 01, 2014 12:30 pm

UPDATE: August Results

Goals for August were:

~Lose 10 pounds FAILED (I lost 7)
~Increase net worth by 6k FAILED
~Do all necessary work on the Honda Civic to make it a comfortable/reliable daily driver ACCOMPLISHED!
~Review pay & put in a pay discrepancy ACCOMPLISHED!

Image

Current Debts:
Personal Loan from Brother ~ $4,000 @ 0%
Total Debt: $4,000

Current Assets:
Home ~ $70,000
Investments/Retirement ~ $44,906
Total Assests: $114,906

What a great month August turned out to be! I sold my 2014 Vehicle to my brother. It’s blue book value was 17.5k and I only owed 6k on the loan. Here’s how the numbers work,

14k prior loan I owed to my brother
6k new loan my brother gave me in order to pay off remaining car loan and transfer names on title
20k is the new total I owe my brother minus
16k for the car I sold him and that leaves
4k that I owe him, and that is the only debt I have left! :mrgreen:

Hopefully I’ll have the 4k paid off by November. I’ll continue to save 2-3k passively via 401k contributions. Now that I will have no bills besides living expenses, I should be able to invest an additional 1-2k monthly. My current plan is to open in a Vanguard account and start investing in their Total Stock Market Fund (non retirement account) I currently have 6k in an IRA that I recently invested in Sprint stock when it hit $5.57. I dislike the way the company was run but now there has been a change in leadership and a drop in stock price due to failed merger with T-Mobile, I bought! I’m comfortable with the buy and I feel the stock will rise in the short or long term. Eventually I’ll sell it and move all money to Vanguard.

I’m working the grave shift locally in my own city now. Previously I’d travel all over the state and on some occasions neighboring states. This has been a very good change for myself. Working during the day use to force me to eat out with co-workers and there was a lot of wasted time doing the “water cooler thing”. I am so productive since there are no distractions that I can complete all my work within 4 hours. Then I usually take my lunch which I bring from home and the remainder of the day I listen to podcasts or watch TV in the break room. Yes, I could use the extra time to be more productive at work, but then my co-workers will be upset with my productivity since it will force them to work harder. Hopefully I can work from home somewhere down the line. Starting September I will be going to the gym right when I get off work and hopefully keep that routine for a while.

I started the month of August at 217 LBS (OBESE) and now I’m at 210 LBS (Still OBESE). I only went to the gym twice during the entire month so the weight loss was almost completely attributable to my diet and the daily 30 minute walks I’ve been taking.

I spent $600 getting my 2000 Honda Civic where I want it, here is everything I did & all work was done by me in an effort to save $$

R&R Fuel Filter
Change all Fluids
Headlight Housing and bulb replacement
R&R Spark Plugs
The stereo was broken so I went online and found a excellent sale where I was able to get a Kenwood deck as well as door and rear speakers all for $200. I installed it and am very happy with it. Now I can drive handsfree thanks to the bluetooth.

I removed all vehicles from Mint because as some of the podcasts I listen to stated "they are not assets" so that's why there is a drop in net worth this month.

Goals for September:
~Lose 10 LBS
~Try to find a weekend job
~Go on a date
~Start an Emergency Fund

Star*Bucks
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:27 am
Location: California

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:43 am

I just got home from the gym and I began to reflect on my life especially the last 6-7 years. In 2008 I was laid off, later in that year I cashed out the 12k in my 401k to stay afloat since I couldn’t find another job. In 2009 I filed Bankruptcy, so I went from having excellent credit with no late payments ever to filing bankruptcy. In 2011 my unemployment ran out and I had only 1k in my bank account. Luckily I found a job that paid $10 per hour and received 40 hours per week. It was enough to barely live on. In 2012 I got a job that paid 3 times that amount and since then I have been putting money in my 401k and paying down debts. I am now down to 4k left which will be paid off next month to my brother and beyond that I have nothing to pay for in terms of debt. I also have nearly 50k in my 401k now and plan to heavily invest in Vanguard index funds for the next few years.

It seems as though the bad luck I went through may have been good for me. I would have probably kept living my life spending money without any plans or discretion. Now I hope to be retired within 8 years and life just seems to feel good again. I am getting back in shape mentally, physically and financially. Back in 2011 when I only had 1k in the bank I made it last a long time because I was in panic mode. So far in September I haven’t spent any money. I haven’t gone thru a drive thru, grocery store, gas station, literally no money spent. I am eating at home and using up everything I have. I’m sure I can easily make it through the entire month without eating out but I may have to hit the grocery store to replenish some basics like eggs. I'm going to try to spend less than $100 on food this month (grocery store) and that for me is a very low figure. My fuel in the two cars I have here should last me at least another week before I have to see the pump again.

I was planning to get a weekend job for extra money but it seems my company will be needing a lot of overtime out of us for the next 6 months or so. So I’ll just do the O.T. I can’t wait to see what the future holds but I hope momentum keeps going in this direction.

Peace....

Star*Bucks
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:27 am
Location: California

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Wed Oct 01, 2014 11:41 am

September Progress:

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Ok so the most important change that happened in September was a switch in my 401k investment. I went from a target dated fund to the Vanguard Admiral Wellington Fund. This change took many phone calls and finally I found a rep that was able to find out that I could get into something besides the Target dated fund. I went from a .89 expense ration to a .18!!

I have a separate IRA invested in Sprint stock and when the investment grows to over 10k I will move it into the Vanguard VTSAX Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares with an expense ratio of only .05

I still owe my brother 4k. I have 3k saved already so when I get the final 1k I will write out a check and take a picture of me giving the check to my brother. It will be a profound moment for me since it will signify me being debt free.

I lost 4 pounds in September so I went from 210 to 206. I’ve been taking Creatine (a workout supplement) which has helped me with strength gains but it makes you hold onto water weight.

Remaining goals for remainder of 2014:
~Bring 401k balance up to 50k current balance is 40k
~Become debt free (Should be done by end of October)
~Sign up for new airline miles reward card
~Be at or under 190 pounds
~Acquire one or more accounts for my business
~Open a non retirement account at Vanguard for excess money

Goals for October:
~Lose 5 pounds
~Pay off 4k loan to my brother
~Go on a date
~Find a good deal on a new mattress. My current one should have been replaced years ago
~Increase net worth by 4k
~Get the new iPhone 6. I’ve had my 4s for 3 years and it’s not functioning well any longer.

I(E)reland
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:07 pm

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by I(E)reland » Wed Oct 01, 2014 11:55 am

Maybe you should switch the order of those goals and get a new mattress first in case the date goes very well?!

Star*Bucks
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:27 am
Location: California

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Wed Oct 01, 2014 12:13 pm

I(E)reland wrote:Maybe you should switch the order of those goals and get a new mattress first in case the date goes very well?!
LMFAO!!! :lol: You guys on this forum are always thinking ahead :mrgreen:

Star*Bucks
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:27 am
Location: California

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Sun Nov 02, 2014 12:43 pm

October Progress:

Image

I AM DEBT FREE!!!!!! Ok, now that I got that off of my chest I still have an issue this month. I chose to help my sister out by switching vehicles with her. I took her 2001 Honda Odyssey to my house so I could take care of all the deferred maintenance. She has kids and a full time job and a husband that doesn’t know a thing about cars. I spent $500 so far. It sounds like a lot of money but if she would have had the work done at the shop it would have been thousands. The catalytic convertor replacement alone would be near 1k alone and I was able to buy the part for $270 and replace it myself. Unfortunately I think the vehicle will need more than just preventative maintenance so I’m going to have to take it in to the shop and I hope I don’t get ripped off. I have trust issues with auto mechanics due to bad past experiences which is why I try to do as much work as I can do myself.

I am currently sick and I hope it isn’t the flu. I haven’t been in the gym as much as I would have liked, so this months entry will be short.

Remaining goals for 2014:
~Bring 401k balance up to 50k current balance is 43k
~Sign up for new airline miles reward card
~Be at or under 190 pounds
~Acquire one or more accounts for my business
~Open a non retirement account at Vanguard for excess money

Goals for November:
~Lose 5 pounds
~Go on a date
~Find a good deal on a new mattress. My current one should have been replaced years ago
~Increase net worth by 4k
~Get the new iPhone 6. I’ve had my 4s for 3 years and it’s not functioning well any longer.
Last edited by Star*Bucks on Fri Jul 01, 2016 2:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Star*Bucks
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:27 am
Location: California

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:53 pm

November Progress:

Image

So in October I spent $500 in parts to repair my sisters Honda Odyssey and in November I've spent an
additional $150 so currently the total spending is $650 and in December I'm sure a couple
hundred more dollars will be spent to complete all fixes. Luckily I haven't had to take it to the
mechanic and have been just spending on parts and putting in sweat equity. My Christmas gift
to my sister will be her fully operational and clean van for her and her kids.

I've been hitting the gym on a very regular basis and getting very strong but I haven't been
doing much cardio or being strict on my diet so I've gained 5 pounds :(

I was planning on signing up for a rewards credit card but I lucked out, my credit union sent me
a letter stating all their cards are now converted to cash back cards. 3% cash back for fuel,
restaurants, groceries & 1% cash back on everything else. The best part is they give you those
rebates immediately the following month. Most cards I looked into gave those rewards annually
so this is a big plus.

Remaining Goals For 2014:
~Bring 401k balance up to 50k, current balance is $46,417. This is a long shot since there are
only 2 pay checks left this year and I average 1k deposited per check. Vanguard also pays it's
quarterly dividends in December.
~Be at or under 200 pounds
~Buy a iPhone 6
~Buy a new bed
~Acquire one or more accounts for my business
~Sign up for a HSA qualified healthcare plan
~Sign up for a low cost HSA plan that has Vanguard products
~Go on a date

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El Duderino
Posts: 161
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:24 pm

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by El Duderino » Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:26 am

Nice progress, man. That's a pretty sweet gift for your sister this year!

I'd suggest that perhaps a different metric than just weight would be a better indicator for overall health. While weight is easy to measure, it's not the best proxy for overall fitness, especially if you're focused on strength training. Perhaps the distance you can run in 10 minutes or the time it takes to run a mile. Better yet, just focus on getting quality workouts, whatever the form of exercise you prefer, and count the number of times you hit the gym each month. If you're dead set on sticking with weights, then perhaps your max bench / squat or the max weight you can reliably lift 5-10 times in a given movement like snatch/clean/jerk.

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