cmonkey's journal

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jennypenny
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by jennypenny » Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:18 am

If you keep pots of water in the greenhouse, they'll heat up during the day and release the heat at night. You can also line the floor with material that will do the same.

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vexed87
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by vexed87 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:39 am

Painting the floors and surfaces exposed to direct sunlight black would help a lot too, but perhaps might cause overheating in the summer, maybe put a black tarp down in colder months?

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Kriegsspiel » Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:58 am

Turn your "lot of wood" into a Jean Pain pile up against the wall of the greenhouse and run tubes of water through the greenhouse then coiled up in the pile?

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:01 am

Yea there are lots of neat ideas out there. The best one I saw was a guy that had PVC pipe laid out under the floor of his greenhouse that collected hot air from the peak of the greenhouse during the day. It heated up the gravel bed which released heat at night. I think that was his only source of heat and he was in Minnesota or somewhere similar.

So far my greenhouse is staying 10 degrees warmer at night than the surrounding air without heat. It is nestled in a SW corner so its a heat trap, getting up over 100 even when it's vented. The space heater added another 5 degrees on when I ran it one night - but it cost me like $1.50 for just the one night. :|

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vexed87
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by vexed87 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:07 am

Jean Pain technique is awesome, but thinking about it, it's probably less useful at heating water in winter months as composting naturally slows down in the winter. It might work if your pile is big enough and well insulated from the elements. I've never tried it myself, so I might be wrong!

ffj
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by ffj » Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:09 am

That's a great excuse to build a rocket mass heater.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:34 am

I'm already figuring out how to do it. :) I really wish I had looked at this idea before putting down the patio because the patio is a perfect heat sink for something like this, being brick and all.

It wasn't too hard to put down and I'd only need to dig part of it.

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Kriegsspiel » Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:42 pm

ffj wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:09 am
That's a great excuse to build a rocket
This is a good idea. Yes.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:10 pm

I don't have too much of an update on the financial side other than we are at 160K in FI funds and forward income is basically flat over the past 2 months. I've been deploying my IRA funds into lower yield stocks which is putting a drag on our FIA value and will be doing so going forward with an emphasis on safer stocks that are growing their dividends instead of turnaround stocks with higher yields. The end result might be a bit longer to retire, but overall a lot better.

I'll likely do an EOY update.

Life is plodding along pretty well right now, just been enjoying the new job. Staying in PJ's for days on end and all that. :lol: Expenses have been the same/slightly up in October/November and way down so far this month. We are socking away a LOT of money right now. I've maxed out the HSA for the year and an IRA for the both of us. Will be doing the same through January-March next year too, so our brokerage account is basically flat to slightly up.


An update on my greenhouse - I haven't built the rocket stove yet, but I did finally find a 30 gallon drum I can use. I also have a lot of old brick that I need to clean up . I'd like to build something that I can place in a sort of box and move around with handles on the side. But now my greenhouse is so full, I don't have much room for the stove. :lol: I'm also not sure that it'll be much use during the night because the fire will die down very quickly so I need to think about the design a bit. I think next summer, digging out the tile and putting down a heat sink will be very beneficial.

For now I am just using a small space heater. With the bubble wrap, its able to maintain +40F to outside on low setting. So far it's cost me about $30-$40 to keep it heated since the end of October. Expensive, but its super fun!

All the pelargoniums are blooming and our rosemary plant is blooming too. I also have WINTER SALADS!!!

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:44 pm

Looks great! What outside temperatures are you working against?

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:50 pm

Thanks Gilberto. :) I need to share updates more often.

Our lows have been in the 20's, with a few nights getting down near 10 F. Highs are in the 30's lately so pretty seasonable.

The southwest corner we have this in tends to stay about 5 degrees warmer than away from the house even at night so that is helping a lot. I also have supplies to get a geothermal duct into the greenhouse, but I just need to stop being lazy and do it. :)

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:50 pm

December 2017 Update

It's been a full quarter since my last update, but I don't have too much of an update since October other than FI funds have increased from 150K to 171K. I've been deploying funds into lower yield dividend stocks and mostly just plowing money into IRA's and the rest of my HSA for the year. Now I'll be using December's money to max out our IRA's for 2018. Liquid funds are basically flat for the past 6 months.


Overall I'm happy with how the year has gone. I had hoped expenses would have fallen by a bit more, but then a drop of $600 is about half a month of expenses in our house, so that's not too bad. At least we didn't rise!


Below are the important stats from 2016 and 2017 compared.


2016 Year End
FI Funds - 98K
FAI - $3552
TTM Expenses - $14,782
Years Saved - 6.64
SWR - 15.06%
Savings Rate - 46%


2017 Year End
FI Funds - 171K
FAI - $6124
TTM Expenses - $14,140
Years Saved - 12.09
SWR - 8.27%
Savings Rate - 83%


Change
FI Funds - (+) 73K
FAI - (+) $2572
TTM Expenses - (-) $642
Years Saved - (+) 5.45
SWR - (-) 6.79%
Savings Rate - (+) 37%

And some charts.

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TTM Expenses are heading in the wrong direction, although not alarmingly yet. Some of our lower months of 2017 have come up to about the TTM average, so the effect is just a rising number.

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I had hopes that December would be the first month we had a crossover of income/expenses numbers, but alas not so. A part on our elliptical broke and ate up a large chunk of money. Now that I have deployed all of my IRA money, we actually get "income" instead of theoretical income, which is also why our FAI hasn't grown much recently.

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While I'm still excited and actively seeking financial independence, I will admit it's getting "less exciting" now that I just work from home full time. I see our FI funds growing by 5-10K monthly, which is just a crazy number but I think a bit of hedonic adaptation is kicking in and it's already becoming just another number.

Essentially I'm feeling less drive to "get out" of the job market because I'm very comfortable where I'm at now, especially considering I don't know what life will throw our way and having more money than I need might not be a bad idea.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:34 pm

You are kicking ass and taking names. Keep up the good work in 2018. :)

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:47 pm

@Gilberto, Thanks. I need to keep things in perspective probably. I didn't think it was very spectacular, but then again its just routine now.
jacob wrote:
Mon Nov 14, 2016 6:11 pm
You could have converted all those chilies into sambal oelek. I've been adding mine into that tomato sauce recipe I posted on the garden log thread.
I never was quite sure what this was, but didn't look it up either. Then we were in the asian store a couple months or so ago and I found this. I had remembered you mentioning it and gave it a go. New favorite condiment!! We've eaten through 3 of the 18 oz bottles since October I think.

So all my hot peppers won't be wasted next year. :oops:

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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by jacob » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:55 pm

Yup, that's exactly it. Near the bottom foundation of my food pyramid. Close or just above ketchup. In fact, it's my other ketchup :lol:

light_bulb_moment
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by light_bulb_moment » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:28 am

Hi @cmonkey. Just zipped through your journal. Major garden envy :)

Hope I'm not buzz killing to ask how the Lending Club trial has panned out of late? That's been one of several threads in your journal that's given me for for thought.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:42 pm

@light_bulb_moment, thanks! I wish I could be in my garden right now!

I've been pulling my money out of Lending Club as the returns have gone down significantly and I have decided I don't like having my money tied up for years at a time. Almost every month now for the past year I have had either flat returns or negative returns each month. Given I am on the back half of the age curve, it's pretty disappointing.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:28 am

It's been awhile, how are things going?

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:20 pm

@ Gilberto, Hey! Things are going great, just enjoying life for the most part. Each day blends into the next. I haven't given up on FI, just been slacking on the updates.

March will see FAI of 6900 and FI funds of 190K. TTM Expenses are sitting at 14.5K. Plugging along. I think I will put out some charts at the end of the month.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:02 pm

March 2018 Update


Some Life Updates

Time for an update I think, since its been a full quarter. We've made pretty good progress over the past 3 months, with a high savings rate of 86%. Our expenses have stayed pretty similar/flat as well. I'm finding it semi-difficult to trim much more from our budget without impacting quality of life I guess. Our TTM value has gone over 15K, but we had some higher months at the end of last year that are added into that. I think it's going to come back down in the second half of this year and rest around 13K-14K which I'm hopeful we can hover around going forward. I've only been tracking this value for a couple years so we'll see.

I've maxed out 2 IRAs for us this year and have my new employer's 401K with full match setup to max out for the year. I haven't contributed to my HSA yet, but will likely contribute for 6 months worth. I'll be switching insurance in June so I can have hernia surgery for cheap.

We ate out for the first time since like October last night! It was kinda fun, but kinda not. My stomach hurt afterwards and I had to drink a bunch of water afterwards. Mexican food is really salty, at least around here. Also, sitting around a bunch of other people eating and having a waitress hover over you just sucks.

Both DW and I have adopted an exercise routine of doing 30 minutes of cardio 5 times per week. I'm only down 3 lbs in the last 6 months, but I think it's because I've built some muscle. Same with DW, although not sure how much she has lost. I'm also not really overweight, either, so it's more difficult to lose fat I think.

We have also made some changes to our diets over the last 6 months. I have gone largely meat free, but have started bringing back some grass-fed beef. I'm definitely done with nasty processed meat and likely won't eat pork/sausage anymore either. Chicken isn't really that great either, I just don't like it. DW is bringing more healthy fats into her diet and both of us are cutting back on carbohydrates and baked goods. We aren't going as low as keto, but want to qualify as 'low-carb' as carbs make both of us sluggish and bloated.

I had to bring all our plants in from the greenhouse in early January. It got bitterly cold and there was no way to keep it warm enough. Plus it was costing a fortune. So all my arugula and lettuce bit the dust, except for 3 lettuce plants which survived. I've made a mental note for next year that that variety can overwinter unprotected so I'll plant a bunch. We have the greenhouse loaded up with a bunch of early spring seedlings right now, but spring isn't being very accommodating so things are growing slowly. We planted our potatoes today though and I've been doing a lot of other stuff in the garden.

Work has been going well. The past month has sorta sucked because I've been roped into "Mr Evening Deploy Guy" so I've been working a lot of evenings. But the work is super easy and the pay is stupid high so I can't complain too much. I just remind myself I could have a minimum wage job working in a factory.....or something worse? My hourly rate is probably actually like 2-3 times higher than it is in writing, because the work is just so damn...easy.


Stuck in Limbo

I feel like writing about this and seeing what the community thinks. DW and I are becoming increasingly disenchanted with living in the Quad Cities. It's really not a special place at all and the only reason we live here is because I took a great job here. Neither of us really enjoyed the area from the get go, but we just made do with it because...job! Neither of us have friends in the area either and no family, so it's just us, hanging out at home now, day after day after day after day. Good thing we get along pretty well. :D

Well that great job turned into an even better job with no geographic ties! So we have nothing keeping us here anymore other than the time and money we've sunk into our home and gardens. Our closest family is 500 miles away and we definitely miss them all the time.

The straw that broke the camel's back, though, was taxes. I've been researching the difference between Illinois taxes and Minnesota taxes and it would be STUPID to stay in Illinois much longer. Suffice to say, Minnesota taxes are based on Federal "taxable" income (after deductions and such, so you get the same deductions at the state level as the federal level) and Illinois is based on AGI, so no federal deductions. The maximum deduction we get is 4K for Illinois and so we'd end up paying a shit ton more if we live here long term. Particularly when I start pulling out IRA funds, I'd probably pay something like 6-8K bucks in state taxes. I'd also pay 1K + annually after retirement going forward. NTY!

One other HUGE benefit would be lower cost of living.

So we have decided we are selling our house and moving closer to family. This means small-ish town Minnesota. Think 10k-15K population.


The only problem we need to figure out is how to do it and when to do it. I know for sure I don't want to take out a mortgage, so this means paying cash. DW is pretty set on not buying another fixer upper and I am whole-heartedly in agreement. I enjoyed this project house but don't want another one. The only difference between what DW and I want is our definition of 'fixer-upper'. Between the two of us we have a range of anywhere from 80K to 200K, and will likely meet somewhere in the middle. I'd prefer to stay under 150K so I can unlock some of my current equity and put it to work for FI, but there's no guarantee of getting that much for our current house, so I'd really like to stay lower.

Given that range, at a minimum, we are about a year away from being able to pay in cash. We currently have 80K in our taxable account, and I am thinking I will just start accumulating cash going forward. Since valuations are so high anyway, why not?

I'm not sure how I feel about using FI funds to buy a house on the hopes that I can replace the FI funds by selling my current house. I mean, we could achieve FI first, then save for the house. We would achieve that in about 3-4 years at a minimum. But we aren't getting younger, and DW's folks are approaching 70 already. :?



Numbers!

Number for January through March -

Expenses/Savings


Total Spend - $3731.87
Total Savings - $22,219.26 ; 86%

Years Saved - 12.44
SWR - 8.04%

TTM Expenses - $15,086.32(+ $2,722.68)
Total FAI - $6,973.81(+ $1,070.71)

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