Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Barlotti
Posts: 155
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:58 am

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Barlotti » Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:53 pm

It's nice to see your progress. Looking forward to more!

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 31, 2014 5:37 pm

@ElDuderino Thanks for the advice, getting back in the gym is a struggle but I'm finding it fun and motivating especially at how far I've come in the last few months (specifically strength gains) I only want to lose weight to feel comfortable in my clothes and maybe gain a little more confidence with the ladies. I seem to carry most of my weight in my gut which is a horrible look. One step at a time I guess.

@Barlotti Thanks for taking the time out to read my journal. I never knew just how much more focused I could be by writing these things out.

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 31, 2014 5:39 pm

December Results:

Image

December has been an expensive month $1500 spent on Property Tax Payment, $225 spent on
DMV registration (for my brothers car), $125 DMV registration for my car, $400 New iPhone 6,
$600 spent on fixing my sisters van, & the costs involved with going to visit family for Christmas.
Add to that some investments going down in value and my net worth dropped slightly from the previous month for the first time since starting this journal.

The following is a list of things done to my sisters van over the last 3 months at a total cost of $1300:

New Battery with 3 year Free Replacement Warranty
New California Catalytic Convertor
New EGR Valve with Lifetime Warranty
New Tires put on at America's Tire Company, Free Lifetime Rotation & Balance. Also purchased warranty so if anything happens to these tires they will replace for free! 
Cabin Air Filter Changed
Spark Plugs Changed (Tune Up)
PCV Valve Replaced
Power Steering Fluid Flushed 
Throttle Body & Intake Manifold Cleaned
Front Rotors & Front Brake Pads Replaced
Idle Air Control Valve Replaced
Engine Bay Degreased & Detailed
Defogged Headlights
Shampooed and Detailed Interior

I also chose to pay the registration for my brother since he just purchased the vehicle from me 2 months ago & I didn’t feel right having him pay for registration so soon.

I began taking a pre workout before going to the gym. Previously I was cutting caffeine out of
my life besides one cup of coffee before my workouts. Initially it worked well but after a while
that one cup worth of caffeine didn't do enough so I went back to taking a pre workout drink &
man o man... I've made huge strength improvements and my energy levels are a lot higher than
before. I hope I can keep this momentum/motivation going. In the past I would get in shape and
for whatever reason just stop working out and have to start all over again.

Vanguard Investments:
VWENX Wellington Fund-Currently 100% of my 401k is invested here
VTSAX Total Stock Market Fund-I plan on using to max out my HSA for 2015
VFIAX S&P 500-Plan on using excess after tax money to invest in 2015
VTIAX-International Total Stock Market-Plan on using excess after tax money to invest in 2015

I read about the new IRS Notice 2014-54 about being able to deposit after tax money to an employers retirement account but unfortunately my companies plan administrator does not allow this and doesn’t allow in service rollovers either.

2014 Year In Review:
I began my journal here on ERE in March 2014 and at that time my net worth was $102,611 so I
feel safe saying that at the beginning of the year Jan 2014 my net worth was under 100k and
now at the end of the year I'm at $124,786. During this year I paid off the loan my brother gave me (making me debt free), I was also able to help my sister out by fixing and cleaning her "Soccer Mom Van" which really made me feel good. She doesn't have the greatest paying job and she relies on that van for everything. I was able to financially help my mother take a few trips for family weddings, funerals, & just to visit relatives. My mother was laid off and wasn't old enough to collect social security & for some reason EDD refused to give her unemployment. Good thing is that late this year she turned 62 and is now making enough from her social security benefits to cover all her expenses. What all this means is that 2015 I can just focus on myself. I'll be able to save even more than I did in 2014 and I'll be able to enjoy taking one or two vacations. I love the idea of retiring early and just backpacking the world, but I'm years away from that dream so I'll take annual trips until that momentous occasion that I can actually say I'm Financially Ready To Leave The Rat Race. I haven't decided where exactly to visit first but it will be a country where the US Dollar is very strong. SE Asia, Central or S. America are my options at this point. I also signed up for a HSA qualified health care plan that costs $275 per month. This is the first time I've had health coverage in 6 years!

Goals for 2015:
~Increase my 401k Balance by 25k (employee+employer contributions)
~Have my 6 pack back (would be first time in over 15 years)
~Take a International Vacation
~Build more meaningful relationships
~Focus on my business and in acquiring accounts
~Max Out 2014 & 2015 Traditional IRA Contributions
~Max Out HSA Contribution

Goals for January 2015:
~Buy a new bed
~Acquire one or more accounts for my business
~Go on a date
~Collect all tax paperwork so I can do my taxes in early February

henrik
Posts: 719
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:58 pm
Location: EE

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by henrik » Thu Jan 01, 2015 9:47 am

Star*Bucks wrote:I haven't decided where exactly to visit first but it will be a country where the US Dollar is very strong.
Russia should qualify nicely:)

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

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:05 am

henrik wrote:
Russia should qualify nicely:)[/quote]

I can imagine exchanging $200 U.S. for a backpack full of their singles and Make It Rain!! lol I'd love to visit Russia and other countries in Eastern Europe but I'm going to wait until I have friends to go with me or until I feel confident that the places I go to will be safe. I've heard there are still some racist groups around (neo-nazi in particular) so I will go down the bucket list of countries to visit starting in SE Asia and Central/South America, but I want to see the world as a whole and will see All of Eastern Europe after FI.
Last edited by Star*Bucks on Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:08 am, 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 » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:07 am

Past, Present, and (Projected) Future:

2008 - Negative W/R I was laid off from work and in debt
2009 - Negative W/R I filed bankruptcy to get rid of CC debt but still owed my brother 22k
2010 & 2011 - Negative W/R I was treading water on unemployment and eventually got a full
time job making $10 per hour.
2012 - Negative W/R I was hired on with my current company making roughly 60K per year
2013 - Negative W/R Paid off my car loan and reduced debt owed to my brother by 8K & began
contributing to my companies 401k
2014 - 27.5% W/R I became debt free and have 55k saved in retirement accounts

My ideal situation would have been to retire at the age of 40 (in 2018) but looking at the math
below I may have to stay at work a few additional years. I can live a happy lifestyle on 15k per
year and would like a SWR of 3%-3.5% Below is rough math done & does not include any
projected dividend/compounding/capital gains payments or inflation. It just includes what I plan on investing.

Expected Contributions in 2015
$16,000 25% 401K Contributions
$ 8,000 Employer Match
$ 5,500 2014 Traditional IRA Contribution
$ 5,500 2015 Traditional IRA Contribution
$ 3,350 2015 HSA Contribution
$ 4,500 After Tax Investment
$42,850 Total Investment for 2015

Subsequent Annual Contributions (Estimate)
$16,000 25% 401K Contributions
$ 8,000 Employer Match
$ 5,500 Traditional IRA Contribution
$ 3,350 HSA Contribution
$10,000 After Tax Investment
$42,850 Total Annual Investments

2015 - $55,000 + $42,850 = $97,850 15.5% W/R
2016 - $97,850 + $42,850 = $140,700 10.7% W/R
2017 - $140,700 + $42,850 = $183,550 8.2% W/R
*2018 - $183,550 + $42,850 = $226,400 6.6% W/R The year I turn 40
2019 - $226,400 + $42,850 = $269,250 5.55% W/R
2020 - $269,250 + $42,850 = $312,100 4.8% W/R
2021 - $312,100 + $42,850 = $354,950 4.2% W/R

Ways I can reduce the time to FI
Situation 1:
Get a 2nd job. This will allow me to put more money away from after tax investments but it will
also allow me to get more money put into a 401K with another employers contributions.

Situation 2:
Get outside of my comfort zone and find accounts for my business. I am a big time introvert and
have yet to market my business directly to prospective clients. I am overweight and my plan was
to lose weight by Jan 1 and get a nice shirt and tie and go network but I am still overweight. I'm
going to still move forward and meet prospective clients in January and try to find business. If I
do get my business moving forward it will give me huge leverage to reach FI. The distinct
advantages are the amounts allowed to put away into a retirement account for self employed
individuals, tax write offs, higher earnings potential, etc. I am great at what I do and have always
been a top performer at all my past jobs, but I have to find the confidence to express my
background & skills face to face.

Situation 3:
Retire at age 40 regardless of W/R and move to a low cost of living country. There are many
places around the world to live on less than 1K per month. From there start a travel blog full of
pictures, videos, reviews, advice, and monetize it in a non obtrusive way. Meaning I will not be
selling e-books which is what most travel bloggers do, and no ads.

Situation 4:
Retire at 40 and simply do consulting for my current company or others in the same field. I can
do this as long as I have a laptop, internet connection, and telephone. My pay would greatly be
reduced but I'm sure my salary would cover most or all of my costs living in a low COL country

In my final year of work I plan on selling and giving away all of my possessions and selling my
home. I should get about 65K upon the sale of my home of which all except 15K will be
invested. The 15K will be what I live on as I backpack around the world for a year
(hopefully longer)

jacob
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Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by jacob » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:51 am

Situation 5: Up your skills/strategy and learn how to live a happy life on less than 15k.

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

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Sat Jan 03, 2015 12:08 pm

jacob wrote:Situation 5: Up your skills/strategy and learn how to live a happy life on less than 15k.
@Jacob Thanks for the reply, I think a Hy-Brid of Situation 2 & Situation 5 would be optimal. You see I actually only need 7-8k annually the rest of the 15k budget goes to expenses associated with home ownership ie Property Taxes, Home Owners Insurance, Utilities, and in my case H.O.A. Fees ($80 per month) If I could get some clientele for my business then I could sell my home and move back in with my parents. This would allow me to invest the proceeds from the sale earlier than expected and get more from compounding. Unfortunately I can’t proceed with this until I get an account for my business because my parents live 2 hours away from me and that’s too long of a commute for work. I have played with the idea of van dwelling but the summers in the Sacramento area are Way too hot. Another reason for the 15k budget is because after FI I will be traveling so the added cost of air fare and hostels food etc will push up the amount budget.

Here’s hoping 2015 brings one or more accounts my way and the FI timeframe gets shortened.

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

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:09 am

January 2015 Update:

Image

Current Debts:
None $0

Current Assets/Investments:
Home $70,000
Car $2,500
401k $49424
IRA $4882
HSA $0

Total Assets $126806

January was pretty low key. I made a trip to visit family in the Bay Area and while I was there I
actually went and introduced myself on behalf of my company to some of the Tech Companies.
The first company I walked into felt awkward especially since the receptionist was stone faced
and pretty rude but I felt better once I got it out of the way and I felt much more confident in the
proceeding 6 companies I visited. I will try to keep this up and let these companies know I exist
and they have an option to fulfilling projects through my company (fingers crossed).

I made decent strength gains in the gym, although I was sick for 1 week out of the month I still
tried to stay as active as possible. I lost 2 pounds this month and that's thanks to the 45+
minutes of cardio per day. I will continue the cardio to compliment the weight training but in
February I plan to watch my diet closely as well.

I have completed my taxes online but I am holding off on e-filing them until a week passes just to be sure I have all my tax forms. I haven’t received anything from my bank yet so I’m just being safe.

I went to visit a mattress store after telling myself to buy a new bed for about a year now. I found a comfortable “Beautyrest Recharge 800 Plush Mattress” on sale and the rep gave me an additional discount to get the mattress down to $850+tax. This is the cheapest bed that I felt comfortable in and it comes with a 10 year warranty. The rep also stated these are the mattresses the Hyatt puts in their rooms. I plan on buying this mattress next weekend since it’s Superbowl Sunday today and the company gives free delivery and free removal of old mattress.

Goals for January were:

~Buy a new bed ((Failed))
~Acquire one or more accounts for my business ((Failed))
~Go on a date ((Failed))
~Collect all tax paperwork so I can do my taxes in early February ((Complete!)) I received my
W-2 and I will submit my taxes in the first week of February

Goals for February are:
~Increase Net Worth by $3k
~Buy a New Bed
~Solicit business for my company
~Continue to workout but incorporate a stricter diet

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

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:05 pm

February 2015 Update:

Image

Current Debts:
None. $0

Current Assets:
Home. $70,000
Car. $2,500
401k $52,974
IRA $5,784
HSA $0

Total Assets. $131,258

February was a very stress filled month for me, but let's start with the good news. I did my
income taxes early in the month and received my Federal and State refunds in one week. The
main reason I got refunds was because I stated I would max $5,500 in a Traditional IRA before
April 2015 for tax year 2014. I was confident I'd be able to do this because I already had 3k
allocated for it and it was the same thing I did last year and had no problems. I also finally
purchased a new bed. All in I spent 1k and the bed doesn't feel anywhere as good as it did on
the showroom floor. The sales rep told me it may take 1-2 months to break it in. I hope he's right
because it's not feeling too good.

Ok, so now the bad news. I was forced to take some time off from work. I don't want to get too
specific as to why but it was not disciplinary or anything even in my control. It was due to my
company having a licensing issue. When I was told this I had no clue if I'd ever be back to work
at all. Keep in mind I just told the IRS I would place $5,500 into a Traditional IRA of which I only
had slightly more than 3k and I had just spent 1k on a new bed. Luckily I was only out of work
for 4 days but that's 4 days of earnings I have lost and I'm more energized to make some sort of
change; either find another company/organization to work for or to gain some clients for my
business. The level of stress I felt was too much, I don't want to feel like that again. I even
thought maybe I don't need as much as I've been thinking. I've read that there are many places
in this world to live a comfortable life for 1k per month. If I sold everything I had and invested it
all, as well as moving my 401k to a IRA start the annual conversion ladder to a Roth. I think it's
promising to say it may work. I know of people who have made that move on a much much
tighter budget and are now doing well. During those 4 days I did a lot of number crunching but I think most of my feelings and emotions were panic driven. Now I’ll gear back up to do as many hours as possible and try to find opportunities to increase income.

On a side note I tried the “Bullet Proof Coffee” thing yesterday. I always thought it was profoundly stupid to put butter in your coffee but then I saw so many people jumping on the bandwagon so I decided not to pre judge it and at least give it a shot. So I tried it yesterday and the taste was good and it kept me satisfied for several hours no food cravings, but coffee on it’s own usually does that for me anyways. The recipe I used was 15 grams of organic whole bean roasted coffee from Whole Foods freshly ground then brewed in a french press for 4 minutes. Then placed in a blender with a teaspoon of organic unsalted grass fed butter and a tea spoon of organic extra virgin coconut oil and stevia. I’ll give this a go daily for 2 weeks and report back.

Goals for February were:
~Buy a new bed ((Accomplished))
~Acquire one or more accounts for my business ((Failed))
~Go on a date ((Failed))
~Do my taxes ((Accomplished ))
~Continue to workout but incorporate a stricter diet ((Accomplished))

Goals for March are:
~Find cheaper auto insurance
~Solicit business for my company

Linnie
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:58 am

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Linnie » Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:06 pm

Star*Bucks where did you go?
Perhaps you are too busy dating to keep up with your journal? :P
Have you tried LCHF for weight loss? Interesting stuff.

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

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:19 pm

Linnie wrote:Star*Bucks where did you go?
Perhaps you are too busy dating to keep up with your journal? :P
Have you tried LCHF for weight loss? Interesting stuff.
"Too Busy Dating", lmfao! I just looked up LCHF and it definitely does look interesting. The high fat part of the equation is very scary. We are all taught that fats are not the healthiest thing growing up. I'll read up more about it, but I usually can get good weight loss with going low carb and lots of cardio, but I've been eating lots of carbs and mainly sticking to weights vs cardio. My issue is I haven't been very good with my diet especially since I'm busy and on the run, carbs are the easiest thing to grab. I tend to eat the healthiest options though such as granola/granola bars, brown rice, baked sweet potatoes, etc. Have you seen results from the LCHF diet?

Linnie
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:58 am

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Linnie » Fri Mar 06, 2015 10:28 pm

Have been LCHF since June and can't imagine going back. Lost weight, huge increase in energy and - most surprising of all - NO cravings. It did take me a long time to get my head around (good) fats being good for you but after a short while, you will feel so much better.
When I complained to the company that sold me my last $1200 bed that I was rolling into the middle and wanted it exchanged, they wouldn't do it. I said, " Why wouldn’t I just buy a $300 bed every few years instead?" They said, " Maybe you should"!

User avatar
Kriegsspiel
Posts: 349
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:05 pm

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Kriegsspiel » Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:23 am

Star*Bucks wrote:
jacob wrote:Situation 5: Up your skills/strategy and learn how to live a happy life on less than 15k.
I think a Hy-Brid of Situation 2 & Situation 5 would be optimal. You see I actually only need 7-8k annually the rest of the 15k budget goes to expenses associated with home ownership ie Property Taxes, Home Owners Insurance, Utilities, and in my case H.O.A. Fees ($80 per month)
You don't even need to move out of America, just get out of California.

RealPerson
Posts: 650
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:33 pm

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by RealPerson » Sat Mar 07, 2015 8:01 am

Linnie wrote:Have you tried LCHF for weight loss?
Isn't this just another name for the Atkins diet? Weight loss at a price!

Linnie
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:58 am

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Linnie » Sat Mar 07, 2015 9:43 am

The Food Revolution - AHS 2011: http://youtu.be/FSeSTq-N4U4
Watch this for more info. It is not a "diet" but a revolution.

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

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:09 pm

March 2015 Update: BTW, Happy Easter!!

Image

Current Debts:
None. $0

Current Assets:
Home. $70,000
Car. $2,500
401k $54,300
IRA $10,900
HSA $0

Total Assets. $136,800

March was a pretty chill month. My bed broke in and is now comfy to sleep in or maybe I just got use to the additional stiffness? Either way it works. I contributed $5,500 to my 2014 Traditional IRA & will start to contribute to my HSA. I decided maxing out the HSA first before the 2015 Traditional IRA would be a good idea since I only have until the end of 2015 to max out the HSA and I’ll have until April 2016 to max out the IRA. On a side note it’s been really difficult to find a Vanguard fund to put my money into. They all seem to be at their all time highs and I don’t want to buy at the top of the market.

Diet/Exercise

Ok so the Bulletproof Coffee thing is complete crap “in my opinion”. I gave it a good try but didn’t feel good. I started my old routine on the 24th of March and all I did was really increase my veggie intake, drank lots of water, and walked at the park 5+ miles each day. This equates to 4 laps around my local park and I just listen to my Pandora music. I’ve lost 3 pounds doing this so far and I still hit the gym for the weight training but only twice a week now.


Goals for March were:
~Acquire one or more accounts for my business ((Failed))
~Go on a date ((Failed))
~Find cheaper auto insurance ((Accomplished))

Goals for April are:
~Solicit business for my company
~Pay Property Taxes
~Increase Net Worth by 4k
~Find a way to reduce stress

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

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Sat May 02, 2015 2:44 pm

April 2015 Update:

Image

Current Debts:

None. $0

Current Assets:

Cash $1,340
Home. $70,000
Car. $2,500
401k $58,638
IRA $11,678
HSA $1,300 (Mint is not allowing me to link to this account?)

Total Assets. $142,895

April was freaking Nuts!! Let's take it slow & talk about the blown out tire I had on my way home
Thursday morning. I was only a few blocks from home so I limped it there and into my driveway.
I got my heavy duty jack from my garage and opened the trunk to grab my spare tire when I find
out there's no spare tire!? A little over a year ago the car was stolen and taken for a joy ride. The
insurance fixed all damages above my $500 deductible but I guess those jack asses stole the
spare. So I wasn't out of options because I had a small compressor that I could use but it's
powered by the cigarette lighter. Bad news is when I installed the new radio it required me to
unplug the cigarette lighter socket and I forgot to plug it back in until everything was already
back together. So long story short I paid $60 for a tow and $340 for all new tires with lifetime
replacement warranty, free balancing & rotation.

Ok, now for the BS that's been going on at work. There has been one guy that's been getting
20-32 hours of overtime every week since February. The most of us get 12 hours per week if
we're lucky. This has definitely hurt moral at work. I've spoken with the scheduler several times
about the difference in overtime & he brushed me off every time. So I finally had it and I
contacted the corporate office and had a back and fourth with them for over a week. They stated
that in the future any overtime will be given out in a more fair manner. So far so good (or so I thought) because I actually got 20 hours of overtime the second to last week of April, but now there is no overtime given to anyone except for the 2 guys with the most seniority. Yup, one of those 2 guys is the one that’s been getting all those hours for months and now I am more motivated than ever to find accounts for my own company and GTFO of this company. I know the scheduler and the guy getting all the OT are friends and go golfing together; so I'm going to call what’s happening favoritism.

Finally, let's talk about the results for April. I paid $1,500 in property taxes and deposited $1,300
into my HSA. Net worth increased by $6,561 and I plan to max out my 2015 HSA by the end of May. For some reason Mint isn’t allowing me to link my HSA account so the number Mint is showing for my net worth is shy by the $1,300 I deposited in April. Also there was a excellent deal on Groupon for a Sams Club Plus Membership for $45 (regular price over $100) but you also get a $20 gift card, a rotisserie chicken, big tub of fresh salsa, and 8 gourmet muffins. To me it was too good of a deal to pass up since a Sams Club is not too far from me and these club stores usually have the best prices on fuel. I filled up for the first time a few days ago for $2.94 per gallon and while pumping I pulled up the gas buddy app and gas stations in the area (Chevron, 76, Shell, & Safeway) were all between $3.24-$3.40

Goals for April were:
~Solicit business for my company ((Failed))
~Be at or under 200 pounds ((Failed))

Goals for May are:
~Find a way to reduce stress
~Finish funding the rest of my HSA $2,050
~Actively find accounts for my business
~Clean out my front office and get it ready for prime time

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

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Mon Jun 01, 2015 12:32 pm

May 2015 Update:

Image

Current Debts:

None - $0

Current Assets:

Cash - $1,026
Home - $70,000
Car - $2,500
401K - $60,570
IRA - $10,671
Roth IRA - $0
HSA - $2,532

Total Assets - $147,299

Work Drama, my scheduler at work is still giving endless overtime hours to his buddy and since I had the nerve to ask for hours to be spread out in a more fair manner, he is doing his best to minimize my O.T. I am always looking at the bright side of things so here are the things I’ve done with my spare time. I’ve been able to hit the gym a lot more and go on walks everyday. Usually a good 45minutes-2 hour walk (depending on mood and things I have to do) 5 days a week where I am almost in a jog but not quite. Since I am still overweight I don’t want to jog since it may be too much pressure on my knees, but I started the month at 220 pounds and I am now at 212 pounds. As the month went on and the weight came off I’ve been able to sleep a lot better. I carry a lot of my weight in my stomach which is unfortunate because having a good nights sleep is difficult (similar to a pregnant woman with a large belly). Also I am able to keep my house cleaner and it brings me more joy when I come home to a clean house.

The Sams club membership I got from Groupon last month has been great! I’m buying a big bag of apples, bulk sliced cheese, deli sliced chicken breast, bag lettuce, and whole wheat bread. I have a fridge at work so I just bring a weeks worth of food and I make sandwiches and have 1-2 apples per day. I enjoy these meals at work and am finding myself having bowel movements daily whereas before I would be going every other day or every third day. Yes, I could buy these items at other stores but the prices are way better at a club store and the products are very good. I am also spending more time on my home business getting things organized and am being more aggressive trying to find clients, this is fueled by the new hate I have for my job/scheduler due to the blatant favoritism in the scheduling. I wish I had that “F-You Money” that I heard about on a podcast, but I am building that up now.

I’ve been paying close attention to my credit score using Credit Karma & I’m at a 732. I was forced to file Bankruptcy back in 09’ due to not being able to find work after a lay off. My credit score was excellent and I went from paying every bill on time to filing BK. So even after I filed bankruptcy my credit score took a hit but my score was still better than some of my friends since I was hovering around 800 when I filed. One of the ways to keep a credit score high is to use less than 30% of available credit. My credit limit at the beginning of the month was only 4k and I’d use between 1-2k monthly which was ok because I would simply pay the full balance before the statement even printed (closing date) so it would look like a had a very low utilization rate for my credit. But I thought it’s time to raise my credit limit so I applied for an increase and my credit union came through for me. I now have a 10k limit! The advantage of this is I can hold on to my money longer and just pay the full balance on the due date instead of the cycle ending date. Another great thing is that the bankruptcy will fall off next year and hopefully I can get back up to the high 700’s low 800’s again. Not that I plan on getting any loans but if I chose to; I like that my interest rate will be very low.

Things I have done to save money not just specifically this month but overall:

-I haven’t purchased clothes in years, except for a new pair of slacks I was forced to purchase a few months back due to my old slacks not fitting (being too fat) and a new pair of shoes to go with those slacks. The only reason I bought the slacks & shoes was because I wanted to go out in person to prospective clients. 2006 is when I started to hate spending money and I still have a closet full of clothes from my “consumer” days. I haven’t even purchased new workout/running shoes in years since all I do is wash them in my washer machine and they come out great. If it’s sunny and hot outside I’ll put them out to dry or if I’m doing laundry at night or on a cold day I’ll put the tray that came with my dryer in and place the shoes on it and let the dryer do it’s job. I have about 7 workout shoes and I don’t anticipate buying a new pair for a very very long time.

-No More Starbucks! I haven’t set foot in a Starbucks in over a month We are going on to month 6 of 2015 and if you added up all the times I’ve gone to Starbucks this year it would be less than a single month for me in past years. I drink instant Nescafe at work and on days off I’ll use my french press and have great coffee at home.

-I haven’t gone to a barber shop since the late 90’s. I got tired of the whole thing, coming in waiting in line hope your favorite barber isn’t too busy. So I began cutting my own hair, I use to buy the cheap clippers from Walgreens and they would last me for a couple of years. A few years back I spent less than $200 on 2 great clippers on sale from Amazon. The Andis Masters and the Andis T-Outliners. These are what the pro’s use and it’s what I use at my home. I can say I have probably saved in the thousands since I use to get my hair cut every other week.

-I purchased a lifetime membership at 24 hour fitness back in 2000. It was expensive upfront approximately $800. That $800 was good for 3 years so the break down was a little over $20 per month for 36 months but the deal was that each consecutive year is only $49 annually to renew. This was a great buy and if I ever decide to do the van dwelling thing my 24 hour fitness all club lifetime membership will come in handy for the restroom & showers.

-I have a Brother MFC-7340 All in One Laser black & white printer. The toner cartridge is very expensive and I tried to find cheaper knock off toner online but found on Amazon a seller that sold refills for the OEM toner cartridges. I paid $6 for 2 refills!! That is excellent since the cheapest I can find the actual toner cartridge for is $48 each on Amazon. The refills work excellent at a great cost savings. Remember I paid $6 for 2 refills where I would have paid $48 x 2= $96 for two toner cartridges. This was like finding a glitch in the Matrix for me. I’ve had expensive ink jet printers before and now I will make this printer last as long as possible.

-I very rarely eat out now. If I do it’s a quick drive through or treating myself once in a while to a Chipotle burrito, but almost never to a sit down restaurant. I also haven’t been to a movie theatre in a very long time. I would love to watch Avengers right now but I know it will shortly be at Redbox for $2 Blu-Ray which is a much better price than $9 matinee or $15.50 later showing. Lots of times Redbox sends me emails with free rental codes as well or some sort of special.

-

Expenses:

Okay, so I had $900 in fees to renew my business license for city and state. I also did an oil change on the car and cleaned out the fuel system. I did the car work myself, parts from Autozone cost me approximately $38.



Goals for May were:
-Find a way to reduce stress (Done!) The walks are GREAT!
-Finish Funding the HSA (Failed) Still have $800 more til maxing out
-Actively Find Accounts for my business (Ongoing)
-Clean out the front office in my home (Failed)

Goals for June:
-Continue the walks and going to the gym
-Continue to eat healthy
-Begin funding 2015 Traditional IRA
-Finish Funding the HSA
-Be at or under 200 pounds
Last edited by Star*Bucks on Fri Jul 01, 2016 1:56 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 Jul 01, 2015 12:39 pm

June 2015 Update:

Image

Current Debts:

None - $0

Current Assets:

Cash - $1,626
Home - $70,000
Car - $2,500
401K - $61,645
IRA - $10,329
Roth IRA - $0
HSA - $3,323

Total Assets - $149,423


Man I was so happy last week, my new worth was comfortably over 150k for the first time in my life, but since the whole Greece debacle my investments dropped down considerably ;( Oh well it was still a pretty good month. I finished maxing out my HSA and I was going to begin investing in my 2015 IRA but I decided to wait and I’m glad I did since it looks like I’ll get a better price on shares if I buy later. (BTW Mint Summary is not showing my HSA balance which is why there is a descrepancy)

My Mint summary shows me having a CC balance of $973.87 but I just transferred that amount from my checking. My bank actually takes 2-3 days to show the payment but they assured me the payments “effective date” is the day the money is transferred.

I’ve tried to stay in shape but it’s a uphill battle. I’ll go into detail on the next post since I’m in a rush to get this up.

The biggest news of the month is that my credit score jumped up from 732 to 741!! Next year my bankruptcy will be falling off my credit report and I can only imaging how big of a jump it will take then.



Non Monthly Expenses:

Annual Home Owners Insurance Premium of $470

Wants:

I have been wanting to travel for many years now and it looks like 2016 will be the year to go. The thing is I have a pretty long list of items I want to buy in order to have the trip I would like. The list is as follows.

-Macbook or Macbook Pro (I’ve had my iMac since Summer of 07’ and it’s been the best computer I’ve ever had, but now it’s age is starting to show. So this computer will be a necessity either way)
-GoPro Hero Action Camera
-Final Cut Pro Video Editing Software
-Universal/Global Charger
-Gorilla Pod or Gorilla Grip Mini Tri-Pod
-Travel Backpack
-Miscellaneous: Rain Coat, Quick Dry Towel, Etc

I’m considering working a part time job for several months so I can save up for these items. I want to keep my saving/investing strategy the same so I won’t be using the money from my current job to make these purchases. Also I will not buy any of these items until right before my trip so that I can have the latest and greatest. With electronics the new generation items are better and usually the exact same price as the outgoing product.




Goals for June were:
-Continue the walks and going to the gym (Fail)
-Continue to eat healthy (Fail)
-Begin funding 2015 Traditional IRA (Fail)
-Be at or under 200 pounds (Super Fail)

Goals for July:
-Go to the gym and make it a routine
-Find a good stress reliever. Walks are no longer an option since summer is fully here and 100+ degree days are the norm.
-Look for another job or get an account
Last edited by Star*Bucks on Fri Jul 01, 2016 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ydobon
Posts: 412
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:15 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Ydobon » Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:50 am

Not to worry Star*Bucks, I suspect that a few of us have seen our portfolios dive since the latest round of Eurozone craziness kicked off. It's probably had a greater impact for me, as I'm in the UK and have a portfolio that is a little heavy in 'this side of the world' stocks.

Can I ask a question about US retirement accounts? Are you able to draw money from them early, or are you nearly at retirement age? I asked as you seem to be a bit overbalanced in terms of retirement investments vs. more liquid ones. I have the same problem, but in my case it's just because I've always had pensions, whereas I've only recently started serious investing :)

Just wanted to drop in and say that I'm enjoying your journal, keep it up!

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 14, 2015 12:43 pm

Ydobon wrote:Not to worry Star*Bucks, I suspect that a few of us have seen our portfolios dive since the latest round of Eurozone craziness kicked off. It's probably had a greater impact for me, as I'm in the UK and have a portfolio that is a little heavy in 'this side of the world' stocks.

Can I ask a question about US retirement accounts? Are you able to draw money from them early, or are you nearly at retirement age? I asked as you seem to be a bit overbalanced in terms of retirement investments vs. more liquid ones. I have the same problem, but in my case it's just because I've always had pensions, whereas I've only recently started serious investing :)

Just wanted to drop in and say that I'm enjoying your journal, keep it up!

Hey Ydobon, sorry for the late reply, I use to get notices whenever someone posted on the threads I’m following but I didn’t receive any. Yes, by the looks of it I’m massively on the side of retirement accounts and that is because at the beginning of 2012 when I was in a good amount of debt I decided to just live absolutely cheaply. I’d just pay my monthly/living expenses and all remaining money would go towards paying down my debt. I wanted to be debt free really bad but on the same note I knew I needed to save for retirement; so I began saving 25% of my gross income to my companies 401k retirement plan and also invest in Retirement IRA’s (and most recently an HSA). I did this to take advantage of the tax benefits/savings and I still had plenty of money left over to make considerable monthly payments towards debt. Now that I am debt free I do plan on investing after tax dollars into investments as well, but I don’t plan on doing that until after I get back from my vacation which should be sometime in the 2nd quarter of 2016. It was a Very Very Long road to reach being debt free and I want nothing to do with debt again.

To answer your question in regards to taking money out of retirement account; Yes it is possible but there is a 10% penalty/fee and then you have to pay taxes on the amount withdrawn. My hopes/plans were to retire by 40 and then travel the world while doing a annual roll over from my Traditional IRA’s to Roth IRA’s. In that scenario the Roth money (principle not earnings) can be taken out if I needed it penalty/fee free. Also if I do this gradually over several years I could conceivably have money that I was never taxed on in a Roth account that will grow tax free and I will be able to withdraw tax free. There is a really good blogger named Madfientist and he had a post called The Roth Conversion Ladder and that’s what I hope to accomplish as I backpack through the world.

By the time I “retire” (at roughly 40 years of age) I will sell my home and everything I own except for a backpack and small essentials. The majority of the home sale proceeds will go into investments and about 20% will be the seed money for me to go backpacking through the cheaper but culturally rich parts of the world. I’ve been wanting to travel/explore the world since the mid 90’s and I’m sure it’ll be much more enjoyable/manageable doing so at 40 instead of 65. Shit I wish I could go now! lol Thanks for the kind words and taking the time to read my thread. I happily take any advice or criticism in how I’m going about things; I’m still wet behind the ears and wanting to learn...

Ydobon
Posts: 412
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:15 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Ydobon » Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:07 am

Re. pensions, we are kindred spirits. I too prioritised my pension while paying off debts, but in my case it was because it was money that my creditors couldn't touch. I didn't manage nearly 25%, but it was a generous government pension, so they were paying in something like 18% for me. Through the long years of paying down £10,000 of student debt, one of the few things that kept me going was the fact that I knew that my 'future' was sorted. Like you, my concern is now the fact that the 'future' can't come quickly enough! Oddly enough, we now save more in a year than my entire debt pile from those bad old days :)

I'm familiar with Madfientist and while the examples re. IRAs etc. only excite passing curiosity for me, I think your plan sounds entirely sensible.

Ps. I think I'm more of a homesteader than a global nomad, the thing I envy you most about your planned travels is the minimal packing! :D

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

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Star*Bucks » Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:18 am

Ydobon wrote:Re. pensions, we are kindred spirits. I too prioritised my pension while paying off debts, but in my case it was because it was money that my creditors couldn't touch. I didn't manage nearly 25%, but it was a generous government pension, so they were paying in something like 18% for me. Through the long years of paying down £10,000 of student debt, one of the few things that kept me going was the fact that I knew that my 'future' was sorted. Like you, my concern is now the fact that the 'future' can't come quickly enough! Oddly enough, we now save more in a year than my entire debt pile from those bad old days :)

I'm familiar with Madfientist and while the examples re. IRAs etc. only excite passing curiosity for me, I think your plan sounds entirely sensible.

Ps. I think I'm more of a homesteader than a global nomad, the thing I envy you most about your planned travels is the minimal packing! :D
Dude that's awesome! I wish I had an employer that contributed 18%! I had debt that was at 13% mostly car loan and credit card so I decided to put all efforts in paying those off over investing after tax dollars in the short term. It IS amazing how much I'm saving now. In fact looking back on old tax returns, I'm saving more per year now than the total annual income I had all through my 20's. Wish I would have started to live a more minimalistic lifestyle back then instead of buying nice clothes/shoes, having the newest gadgets, and going to nightclubs trying to "get at girls" every weekend.

I like the homesteading idea as well. In fact I would keep my home if I had at least a half acre but my home is very small. Even so 5 years ago I put up two 5'x10' raised beds in the backyard and planted a fig, lemon, and pineapple guava tree. I found that I only used the lemons so I removed the fig & guava trees even though they were productive and I plan to plant more citrus. The 2nd raised bed I leave for tomatoes in the spring/summer and for different veggies during the winter. Another reason homesteading would be difficult for me is because California is ridiculously expensive (not to mention this insane drought currently). I doubt I will be able to move out of California since my entire family lives here. Have you taken any steps towards homesteading? Is it a more viable thing to get into money/resources wise in your part of the world?

Don't be too proud of the one backpack thing either. I have small storage at my parents house (closet in my old bedroom) that I will put a couple of boxes in like old photo albums, yearbooks, etc. Besides that it'll be a TSA approved carry on bag with 3 changes of clothes cameras and a laptop. But who knows I may decide traveling isn't for me after I take my maiden voyage next year. I'll be going for 3 weeks and the destination isn't set yet but more than likely SE Asia, since the dollar conversion is very strong there and I'll be able to visit 2-3 countries since they are so close.

Ydobon
Posts: 412
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:15 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Star*Bucks ERE Journal

Post by Ydobon » Tue Jul 21, 2015 7:10 am

Have you taken any steps towards homesteading? Is it a more viable thing to get into money/resources wise in your part of the world?
Land in general is very expensive in the UK, more so for agricultural land. You will find none of the $50,000 houses on 5 acres that crop up in US personal finance discussions here!

I think I would be more likely to just buy a home with a very large garden and go hi tech with my approach to farming (polytunnels, vertical farming, hydroponics etc.)

As it stands, I'm about as far from homesteading as you can be, living in an apartment in the city centre. Still, I'm not daunted by gardening, I used to do quite a lot when I was younger and several friends and relatives grow lots of their own veg etc.

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