cmonkey's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
George the original one
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by George the original one » Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:44 pm

Creamed corn comes in a tube like cheap hamburger? Man, the things you learn on the internet.

halfmoon
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by halfmoon » Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:02 pm

George the original one wrote:Creamed corn comes in a tube like cheap hamburger? Man, the things you learn on the internet.
My thought almost exactly (except substitute cheap sausage for cheap hamburger). I had to google this directly, and I see that it is indeed a thing. Note that the third ingredient after corn and water is high fructose corn syrup. No "cream" or dairy products. Really, cmonkey? You do know that you have a moral responsibility as icon of gardening, chickens and general healthful goodness? Don't stray to the Dark Side now! :twisted:

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:10 pm

Haha, I didn't buy it, the MIL did. Also, it's a 'pay 20 bucks for whatever we provide this month' thing. Lots of 'iffy' food that is at/just over expiration dates. Most of it is ok, some not so much. You don't know what you get til you go through the line.

halfmoon
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by halfmoon » Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:54 pm

Okay; you retain hero status. :lol:

This sounds like a cross between a CSA and what my DH calls the used food store (also known as Grocery Outlet). We buy certain things there, most notably cheese. How is it that "aged" cheese is expensive, but cheese past its arbitrary pull date is cheap?

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Sat Dec 24, 2016 3:13 pm

We Have Arrived & My Next Project! Oh and Merry Christmas!


I am considering this my last update on our renovation project that we undertook. We aren't 'finished' and might never be, but I can call that maintenance. :lol:. I still want to finish the rest of the basement and we still need to finish up our own bedroom which will be worked on in January.


I am currently bored at the in-laws for the next week so I whipped up some before and after floor plans using Paint. Our goal with this whole project was to open up the center of house and provide a better flow. The biggest change was moving the staircase from the center of the house, to the south side along the wall. Much better flow! It was horrible before but now it is wonderful. We accomplished what we wanted! The best change, however, was building the hallway and putting a window at the end of it. It made the house feel twice as large and we can get nice air flow through the house now. Standing at the far end of the livingroom, I can now see across the entire house and out the back.

Also, the two closets are much better positioned, almost hidden from the layout when you are going about the house. Previously they were in an awkward spot.

Before

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After

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Here are some final photos I took as I put up the trim.

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I'd also like to announce my next project, which can be seen below. :D

More details to follow. I'll be taking my time during all of 2017 building a greenhouse that is fairly similar in look to this with some small changes. After doing all this renovation work, this should be a walk in the park. ;)

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halfmoon
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by halfmoon » Sat Dec 24, 2016 5:20 pm

You did a gorgeous job with the trim (and everything else). I can't wait to see the greenhouse.

Is it possible that you have a 2nd career in the making?

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Sat Dec 24, 2016 7:36 pm

halfmoon wrote:You did a gorgeous job with the trim (and everything else). I can't wait to see the greenhouse.

Is it possible that you have a 2nd career in the making?

Thanks halfmoon. It's a pretty simple style, but it turned out great.

I could certainly make it as a renovator now, but all the red tape surrounding home renovation turns me off that. I would opt for simpler building like building/selling bird houses out of Lowes/Menards pallets (they give them away if you ask).

Also, I think anything that turns into a 'career' automatically moves away being enjoyed, which is why I would never make gardening/farming into a money making endeavor either. At least any more than I already have.

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C40
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by C40 » Sat Dec 24, 2016 7:51 pm

Awesome!! You're the man.

1 - What the hell is a "sitting room"? Is it basically just a living/family room?

2 - That greenhouse you're building, is it for growing plants, or for, uhhhh, sitting in** :-D when you'd like to be partly outside (but too cold, bugs, etc)

** Didn't intend to go there, ha!

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Sat Dec 24, 2016 8:00 pm

@C40, thanks!
C40 wrote:1 - What the hell is a "sitting room"? Is it basically just a living/family room?
Yes, it was just the room we used as a living room, mostly because it was warmer than the other room before we insulated everything. It was a waste of space, mostly, like the middle room.
C40 wrote:2 - That greenhouse you're building, is it for growing plants, or for, uhhhh, sitting in** :-D when you'd like to be partly outside (but too cold, bugs, etc)
Haha! It will be for both actually. The prime function will be for plants, but I'm planning to have a small seat where I can read and work on my winter tan. :D

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jennypenny
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by jennypenny » Sat Dec 24, 2016 9:43 pm

We added a large room like that along the back of our house and we liked it so much we knocked out the walls between the house and the sunroom. I'll take some pics when I get the chance. We built a kneewall along the length of it so we could run electric through it and I'm glad we did. I'd also insulate the floor more if I did it again. We're talking about putting a woodstove in there now.

I'm so glad you're ok after your accident. Scary stuff.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Sat Dec 24, 2016 9:57 pm

jennypenny wrote:I'm so glad you're ok after your accident. Scary stuff.
Ya just can't win when you travel in winter. 3 years ago we went across Iowa the day after a massive blizzard. We vowed never to do that again, but somehow we always manage to find a slick road when we come up here.

I guess everyone needs to go in the ditch at least once in their lives. Ours was only about 10 mph, so no harm done, but we were 2 feet from a sign which wouldn't have been good for the truck.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Tue Dec 27, 2016 12:17 pm

Expenses - A Look Back to the Beginning & Some Predictions


I have been looking back at my expenses since I began tracking them in the beginning of 2008. A mixed feeling of shame and excitement has been coming over me as I look at all the money I've wasted. However, things are looking up! Expenses are over for this year and our normal expenses have hit the lowest they have been since I started tracking. :D We spent $14,781.85, beating out 2009 by just $22. Considering this is for 2 people now, and 1 person previously, we have improved tremendously.

2008 & 2009 I had internships and worked full time in a minimum wage job. I spent basically 100% of my income at this time.

January 2010 is when I started working full time at 60K annually. DW and I also married in 2010. I spent a lot of money on my family in 2010 and in 2011 we started spending a lot of money on the house. Paying it off and then subsequently fixing some things. We paid off the house in Feb 2014 but then we spent another 40K on a new well and a geothermal system. We also bought a truck for 10K.

Then I learned about ERE and my life paradigm shifted. :oops:

We had already committed to renovating our home when we bought it, so we just went ahead with it even though we knew we'd spend too much.

Going forward, though, our expenses are likely to drop further. I have churned through all of our numbers and I expect us to drop to the 11K-12K range this year. We might be even lower. Last spring we had quite high expenses due to an emergency vet bill and spending a lot on our fencing. These won't be repeated.

These figures don't include money put to the mortgage, the well, the geo system and the renovation. They are just everyday living expenses.


2008 15660.98
2009 14803.36
2010 40353.87
2011 40975.08
2012 29514.5
2013 21284.36
2014 24003.83
2015 17779.64
2016 14781.85

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Thu Dec 29, 2016 1:31 pm

Lending Club Loan Status Evolution

Here's an interesting chart for the data lovers.

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I have been tracking the status counts on my Lending Club account on a daily basis since August 1 of this year, so I now have 5 full months of daily counts.

You can clearly pick out a pattern of counts with the 'Grace Period' and to a small degree the '16-30 Days Late' categories as there is a small chunk of people who are consistently late on their loans and then pay them back in the Grace Period.

The '16-30 Days Late' group can be used as an indicator for feeding the '31-120 Days' category. If this count is going up, expect your 31-120 group to start going up.


The '31-120' group is most interesting to me. You can see it was continually rising until about mid-November when charge offs started coming in more heavily. This month I actually might lose more in defaults than I make in interest. This makes some sense because my portfolio age is now 12.7 months and so I'm right past the point where the heaviest declines happen. Now this count is plateauing and going forward it shouldn't be as bad as the last 2 months.

I will continue tracking these numbers and show them again in 6 months or so. But if I put more money in, it will screw up these patterns, so I'm not sure if I want to put more money in yet. I might just put money into the brokerage account for a while.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:29 am

Autumn 2016

I am due an update since I haven't done one since Sept 6. There hasn't been much to report as we weren't saving much money. The biggest change was that I moved all my tracking to Google Docs away from Excel.

Normal Expenses for the past 3 months. Property taxes in the two highest months.

Sept - 1312.53
Oct - 699.78
Nov - 1700.45

December 2016

Now that we are basically done with our renovation, our savings rate is going way up. Even without my bonus last month we saved 83%. We did purchase the last of the flooring we need for our basement.

Expenses/Savings

December

Normal Spend - $571.56
Remodel Spend - $388.02
Total Spend - $959.58
Total Savings - $12,206.83 ; 93%

2016

Normal Spend - $14,781.85
Remodel Spend - $27,221.46
Total Spend - $42,003.31
Total Savings - $35,010.35 ; 46%


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We took a major hit on our Lending Club account in December. We had over $400 (19 in total!) in charge offs in December, which make our investment income turn negative! I really hope this is the worst of it. I have not put anything into the account since May and now I don't really want to for a while because I'd like to see how the account evolves over time with no additions. Simulating when I am done working.

Given that the P2P space has not been doing as well this year, I am happy with a 6.48% return for the year.

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Our FAI for dividends is now well over $1000.

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We have topped $1500 in FAI for my 401K. This is using our brokerage account yield, assuming we just roll the money into those investments.

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Total FAI - $3610.63 (+569.26)

Time to Bills Only - 9 Months (-4)
Time to Bills & Food - 24 Months (-5)
Time to TTM Expenses - 48 Months (-3)

TTM Expenses - $14781.85(-323.71)



All of the 'time to' values have declined nicely in the last few months. They should continue declining from here on out. In the coming months, we have a number of 'high expense' months (February, March & May) that will be rolling off of our TTM Expense value. These months will see significant gains if we don't have any unexpected expenses.


Further Expense Reductions

I have talked previously about things I can do to reduced expenses more. I've started doing a number of them already.

- Cheaper Chicken Feed
This one was a big decline. We are not buying really crappy feed, but we are not going for 'Organic' anymore simply because we don't think it's worth the cost. We found a feed that doesn't include animal by products. It's 40 lbs for 13.86. Each bag should last just over 1 month.

- Groceries
We have started making a deliberate attempt at spending less on groceries. Far less snacks are being bought and more in season produce than before. Also no more organic at all.

- Eating Out
We haven't been eating out much at all, except over Christmas. We ate out once in December, once in October, and once in July. I think we ordered a pizza once as well. I am just really not finding eating out to be fun anymore. It's a hassle to pick something from the menu and I also don't really like being served. Lunch buffets are much better.

- Energy
This is a tough one. All my monitoring efforts have been fruitless. The computer is using $2-$3 per month. The fridge and freezer are each using less than $5 per month. Water heating is our biggest cost, our water heater is 5500 watt. To reduce this we are not using hot water for washing clothes anymore and when I do dishes I rinse with cold water, not warm. So far it seems to be reducing our usage quite a bit. We have also starting setting our dryer to 'Extremely Low' and it is doing a great job of drying. It runs for about 20 more minutes, but using far less energy.


I have a goal of keeping all of our non-property taxes/insurance expenses under $1000 each month. The months we have bills due (Mar, June, Aug, Sept, Nov) can go over $1000, but not over $1500.


Year End Returns

We achieved 6.48% in Lending Club, 11% in our brokerage, 12% in my 401K and a whopping 18% in our HSA. :mrgreen:

Happy New Year!!

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:11 am

Looking good!
We have also starting setting our dryer to 'Extremely Low' and it is doing a great job of drying. It runs for about 20 more minutes, but using far less energy.
Consider not using a dryer.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:18 am

I forgot to add, during the summer we are going to use a line.

Does anyone air dry in the winter (midwest climate) ?

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:44 am

I've done it in both apartments and basements. It works quickly in the winter because there is less humidity. Line drying has downsides (have to wait a day or two to use the clothes, need to have lines, work to hang the clothes, clothes are more likely to still have wrinkles) but I like it, especially since the dryers available to me are coin operated.

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C40
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by C40 » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:16 pm

Wow, your "Entertainment" Spending was super low for a full year. Is that normal for you two, or do you expect it to increase when you're not so busy remodeling the house?

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:27 pm

@Gilberto, I'll have to give it a shot. I have always assumed indoor drying didn't work very well, particularly in winter.

@C40, That is normal spending for entertainment. We spent $142 in 2015. I thought about putting 'eating out' in that, but I don't find that entertaining anymore. I'm not sure what else I could put in this category.

100% of books and movies come from the library. Other entertainment would be found youtube for the most part. In fact, this category was so low I just deleted it from my 2017 sheet. ;)

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vexed87
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by vexed87 » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:48 pm

@cmonkey, not sure if your mid-west climate is temperate like ours, but if you have radiators, use a free standing clothes horse not too far away (but not so close that your radiators become ineffectual at heating the house!). That's what we do. If you time your washing to go out just as your radiators come on for the day, you'll get the most drying before it goes off in the evening.

Ours washing is usually timed to come on in the afternoon, ready for putting out as we arrive home from work. We live without a dryer. If we catch the full evenings heat, drying can be complete within 24 hours, though if left too long the downside is your clothes can start to stink, so be careful.

Happy new year to you and yours!

George the original one
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by George the original one » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:27 pm

> Water heating is our biggest cost, our water heater is 5500 watt.

I need to try a month with showers instead of baths to see how much of a difference it makes in our electric bill.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Tue Jan 03, 2017 3:17 pm

vexed87 wrote:if left too long the downside is your clothes can start to stink, so be careful
Yea that's what I want to avoid. We have a geo system, so airflow is slow and steady most of the time. Not tremendous heat coming out, usually its ~90F. I might try something in our living room with the ceiling fan on.
George the original one wrote:> Water heating is our biggest cost, our water heater is 5500 watt.

I need to try a month with showers instead of baths to see how much of a difference it makes in our electric bill.
Depending on tub size it would make a huge difference. Our large basement tub hold 30-40 gallons if we fill it up to 'relaxing' level.

When I shower, I use less than 10 gallons.

halfmoon
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by halfmoon » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:48 pm

cmonkey wrote:
George the original one wrote:> Water heating is our biggest cost, our water heater is 5500 watt.

I need to try a month with showers instead of baths to see how much of a difference it makes in our electric bill.
Depending on tub size it would make a huge difference. Our large basement tub hold 30-40 gallons if we fill it up to 'relaxing' level.

When I shower, I use less than 10 gallons.
This is obviously a matter of personal preference, but I can't see the thrill of steeping in my own dead skin cells. :twisted:

For an interesting exercise, take a shower that you feel is of adequate length. Time it; 5 minutes is surprisingly long. Then run the shower head into a 5-gallon bucket (obviously cold water, because why not) for the same time period. Empty the bucket into the tub (drain closed) as it fills and keep count. Unless you take 30-minute showers, you'll be shocked at the little puddle of water in the bottom of your tub.

Regarding drying indoors, I'm pretty sure it varies by climate. When we lived in a dry climate and heated exclusively with wood, we just strung a clothesline upstairs (wood stove pipe ran through the room) and left the clothes there until they dried...or until we wanted to wear them :oops:. Now that we're back in waterworld, we only dry delicates on a rack in front of the wood stove. You're ahead in any case by drying at low heat, because your clothes will last longer.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:29 pm

Craigslist Fun & 6 Figures

Craigslist is great. We bought an upright piano on Craigslist about 4 years ago, and never did get it tuned so we never did much with it. We bought it for $50 bucks. After getting done with this reno, we didn't have a place for it so we put it back up on Craigslist for $100. We sold it tonight for $50 for a net out of ZERO.

I have a ceiling fan up as well and our old dryer. I also have some large rolls of carpet left over from our installation. At over 4.50/sq foot retail, I will try to get some good money for them.



Also, we hit a major milestone on our FIRE journey today. Our three FI accounts topped $100,000. :mrgreen:


halfmoon wrote:For an interesting exercise, take a shower that you feel is of adequate length. Time it; 5 minutes is surprisingly long. Then run the shower head into a 5-gallon bucket (obviously cold water, because why not) for the same time period. Empty the bucket into the tub (drain closed) as it fills and keep count. Unless you take 30-minute showers, you'll be shocked at the little puddle of water in the bottom of your tub.

This is a fun exercise, I think I'll do it. I'll also know how many GPM our shower is. Of course, then I will starting timing every shower I take, try to stay under 10c/shower, etc.... :roll:

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theanimal
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by theanimal » Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:21 pm

Not sure if you take cold showers or not. But if you're looking to drop your water usage even further, doing that is my simple suggestion ;).

Congrats on hitting 100k!!

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