2Birds1Stone's 29 month hustle to freedom!

Where are you and where are you going?
2Birds1Stone
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

2Birds1Stone's 29 month hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:20 am

I have been lurking on these boards for about 18 months, and posting for far fewer. I want to help keep myself accountable and share my financial picture here since it's much harder to do in person.

A little bit of my background. I am 29 years old and have been working full time or almost full time since the tender age of 13. I come from a family of immigrants and when my parents came here from Europe they literally had nothing but the clothes on their back and a dream. I was taught hard work and delayed gratification at an early age. I appreciated things my peers did not as a result. It was great being the kid with a wallet full of greenbacks, and even more cool was the fact that I earned them one hour at a time.

Fast forward a few years and after a semi successful attempt at college (learned a lot but left sans degree) I landed a job in retail. Moving up quickly to a management position I decided to educate myself on personal finance and investing. Naturally being frugal with my money I knew I didn't want to give into lifestyle inflation and wanted my money working for me. I had worked at this company for nearly 5 years as of December 2014, in the process I've made good financial decisions and stupid ones as well. Overall I have maintained a 35-40% savings rate and have since bumped that when I discovered "the shockingly simple math behind early retirement".

When I discovered these boards I also faced another reality, that without greatly reducing my quality of life it would be nearly impossible to increase my savings rate past 50% without increasing my income. I already make a few hundred a month doing some consulting on the side I set out to change my career path. I was lucky enough to land an interview quickly and have since had 5 more at the same company. Nearly 17 months ago I received an offer and after a little negotiation accepted.

The past 16 months since transitioning careers has been a rollercoaster, I have more than doubled my income since leaving retail management. Last year I managed a 75% after tax savings rate (with pretax retirement contributions counted back in).

This year has been off to a decent start, I received a promotion and a modest raise. The only thing non conducive to FI was a new to me car purchase, something I have been looking forward to for many years and I know will bring me great joy.

I have hopes and dreams of reaching financial independence by age 35. With 6 years to go I have to continue saving 70-75% of my income and continue to avoid lifestyle creep. My SO is recently on board with striving for FI despite her much lower income. She is 4 years younger and I believe has the drive to increase her income while keeping costs relatively flat.

As a contingency plan of not reaching FI by 35 I have backup plans to either transition to part time work when the time comes, or take a gap year to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. Regardless, It's nice knowing that I have a mere 75 months working in a corporate setting.

Here are some starting stats as I log my journey to freedom.

High Level Budget, For reference last year Came in Under $20k in spending, this year with the car I will be closer to $40k

Necessery $1,538
Discretionairy $963
Image

Income
$57,000 Base Salary + 5% sales commission
20% of base to 401k +2.5% employer match
~$2400/yr in side hustle income
~$2000/yr in OT pay

Assets (Liquid)
$34,000 Roth IRA
$27,100 Taxable
$22,200 tIRA
$18,100 401k
$14,717 Ag Holdings
$10,486 Au Holdings
$10,000 SDB Holdings
$5,500 Checking
$200 Cash
$5,000 HSA
$1,200 Travel Rewards Cash Value
$500 Security Deposit
$149,003 Total Retirement/Cash Assets

Non Liquid
$15,000 Car "Rough" Trade in Value"
$4,000 Motorcycle "Rough" Trade in Value"
$1,000 Hard Assets
$20,000 Total Tangible Assets

Liabilities
$0 - I am 100% debt free

$169,003 Total Net Worth

FIRE Projections
Based on my CUSHY total budget my FI # is ~$750k
Based on my Whittled down budget my FI # is ~$460k

I am ~20% of the way to my CUSHY FI #
I am ~32% of the way to my Real FI#

The goal is to stop working full time at the lower # while taking on fun projects and some part time work to bridge the gap.

My Spreadsheets show that I should reach that number ~age 35, 6 years from now.

Ramblings

I will update this journal at least once a month with actual spending/savings/progress/life updates. My income was just over $100k total for 2015. It should be similar this year. My career is in sales and is VERY unpredictable and the firehose of money could dry up very quickly depending on the business climate.

I doubt anyone will be reading this, but I hope to look back on this post 6 years from now and smile :)
Last edited by 2Birds1Stone on Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

laheart
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by laheart » Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:25 am

I liked reading your story...congrats on your first ERE journal post!

George the original one
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by George the original one » Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:26 pm

You underestimate the readership here, LOL.

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:15 am

laheart wrote:I liked reading your story...congrats on your first ERE journal post!
Welcome, thank you :) Hopefully the store gets better from here on out.

George the original one wrote:You underestimate the readership here, LOL.
Possibly! I haven't been in the journal section too much yet.

Ramblings

Been running different projections to calculate possible exit strategies from the work force. The way I look at it I could either A) Work at my full time job till I had enough to 100% support my desired lifestyle. or B) Work at my full time job till I could transition to a medial part time job to cover the gap in withdrawal rate.

It looks like for me to be fully FIRE'd I would need to work ~8-9 more years till I am 37/38, meanwhile if I were to work just long enough to be able to go P/T I could quit the full time job in 5-6 years at 34/35.

Regardless I feel pretty optimistic that in either scenario I will be able to shave 1-2 years off with some budget optimization and increased income.

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Tue May 10, 2016 7:36 am

April Financial Recap

Assets
$32,100 Taxable
$34,200 Roth Ira
$19,400 401k
$2,000 Checking
$22,300 tIRA
$17,450 Vehicle Equity
$16,600 Ag Holdings
$10,900 Au Holdings
$10,000 SDB Savings
$300 Cash
$5,300 HSA
$1,200 Travel Reward Cash Value
$500 Security Deposit
$172,250 Total Assets
-$250 CC Debt
$172,000 Total Net Worth (+$5,500)

Spending
$550 Rent/Utility
$130 Grocery
$145 Fuel
$237 Entertainment
$50 Vehicle Depreciation
$507 Travel
$20 Health/Hygiene
$146 Misc
$211 Gifts
$2,027 Total Spending

Income
$2,300 Salary
$1,000 401k
$240 HSA
$160 Overtime
$0 Commission
$300 Other (Early BDay gift)
$4000 Total Income

~50% Savings Rate

Musings

April was a pretty good month!

Mr. Market did well. Ag/Au did REALLY well. Spending was decent till I decided to extend our trip to Bora Bora/Tahiti for 1 extra day. We actually got our hotel room comped the only cost was $300 for flight changes. Totally worth it to us. Its 24 hours of travel door to door in each direction. Might as well extend from 5 to 6 days.

Ran my car through the 3 valuation sites and only saw a $50 depreciation this month which is sweet. I'm sure I'll get caught off guard in the future with a big drop.

This was a pretty low income month for me, which resulted in a sub optimal savings rate. May is going to be REALLY REALLY good, barring any crazy issues with payroll.

Life is good right now. Doing a lot of fun stuff between Passover, my SO's Bday this week, my Bday in 2 weeks, my godsons Bday this weekend, and a few get togethers and BBQ's planned.

Work is a big unknown right now. My pipeline is mostly unqualified opportunities and junk. Really need to get my footing in May.

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sun May 15, 2016 7:56 am

Sunday Morning Ramblings

This morning I woke up at 5 AM and couldn't fall back asleep. I've been tinkering with my master excel book that I use for tracking all things financial.

A lot of threads have been popping up asking about what are your chances of FIRE success if you pulled the trigger now, expenses vs savings, NW as a multiple of annual expenses, etc etc.

This got me curious about my own numbers. I figured I would document these milestones in my journal today and a few months from now compare to see how things are improving.

Current expenses for necessities = $1363/month or $16,350/year which would require a 'stache of ~$410k @ 4% WR.

Using my estimated May 31st portfolio values,

1) I am 49.7% of the way to BAREBONES FI @ 4% WR
2)Have ~12.5X BAREBONES living expenses

Current expenses including discretionary = $2053/month or $25,000/year which would require a 'stache of ~$625k @ 4% WR.

1) I am 32.6% of the way to FI with current living expenses @ 4% WR
2) I have ~8X current living expenses

Running those numbers was pretty awesome. I am confident that no matter what happens with work, FIRE will happen by age 40.

I would not quit working upon getting to a $625k, I'm cautiously optimistic about FIRE @ 4% SWR. I do however want to build a little more security into my plan and do a lot more travel and other things that cost $$ in FIRE. I will probably fully quit working once I can support my desired spending with a ~3.5-3.75% SWR and have enough padding in there for unknown health insurance/health costs.

Happy Sunday everyone :)

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:09 am

May Financial Recap

Assets
$35,900 Taxable
$34,400 Roth IRA
$20,600 401k
$33,000 Checking
$22,800 tIRA
$17,368 Vehicle Equity
$15,239 Ag Holdings
$10,356 Au Holdings
$10,000 SDB Savings
$0 Cash
$5,537 HSA
$1,200 CC Reward Cash Value
$500 Security Deposit
$206,900 Total Assets
- $0 Debt
206,900 Total Net Worth (+$34,900)

Spending
$550 Rent
$91 Grocery
$117 Gas
$273 Entertainment
$50 Phone
$100 Vehicle Depreciation
$351 Travel
$28 Health
$112 Misc
$38 Gifts
$1,710 Total Spending

Income
$3,100 Salary
$1,000 401k
$240 HSA
$32,700 Commission (Net - HOLY SHIT!)
$300 Other
$37,340 Total income

95% Savings RATE!! (84% YTD)

Musings

Bora Bora and Tahiti were unreal! We snorkeled, stand up paddle boarded, jet ski'd around the islands, took a booze cruise, swam, took a guided tour of Tahiti, a booze cruise around Bora Bora, had a welcome dinner/cocktail hour, an awards dinner/party, a catered lunch, etc etc.

The Travel (24 hours door to door there, 21 hours coming back) was brutal. Got back REALLY late on Saturday night. Enjoyed a bike ride and gym session in the morning on Sunday, after which we had an awesome BBQ at my godsons parents house. Monday I ran 2 miles, lifted, and we ended up hanging out with SO's father for a few hours, after which I had dinner with a good friend of mine......who found out today that he got an offer from my company. Different sales team and a more junior role but I am pumped! After 90 days I get a $3,000 referral bonus and one of my best friends gets to work with me. We used to lift together and stopped when I cancelled my gym membership to use our work gym......now we can pick up where we left off! Heck I might do another drug free bodybuilding competition since training with him is very motivating (dude is an animal!)

Other than that life is good! My SO had another good month at work. Looks like we will have our best year yet income wise. FIRE is looking better and better :)

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Fri Jul 01, 2016 2:39 pm

June Financial Update

Assets
$37,600 Taxable
$34,700 Roth Ira
$21,700 401k
$36,750 Checking
$22,800 tIRA
$17,300 Vehicle Equity
$17,400 Ag Holdings
$11,150 Au Holdings
$10,000 SDB Savings
$1,000 Cash
$5,774 HSA
$1,200 CC Reward Cash Value
$500 Sec Deposit
$217,874 Total Assets
-$0 Debt
$217,874 Total Net Worth (+$10,970)

Spending
$550 Rent
$154 Gas
$103 Grocery
$187 Entertainment
$50 Phone
$100 Vehicle Depreciation
$170 Travel
$0
$238 Health/Sport
$327 Misc (sign up for next years Escape the Cape Triathlon)
$425 Gifts (fathers day, bday's, baby shower, etc)
$2,304 Total Spend

Income
$2,500 Salary
$1,000 401k
$237 HSA
$4,200 Commission (Net)
$1,900 Other (Sold my second car)
$9,837 Total Income

76.5% Savings Rate

Musings

What a roller coaster of a month in the markets with Brexit. I did a few things this month.

Took $10k cash sitting in my brokerage sweep account and put 50% into VXUS and 50% into VTSAX
Rebalanced $4000 of my Total Bond in Roth into VXUS on Monday after the Brexit drama.

It was a decent income month, coupled with a NICE rally in gold and silver the NW actually shot up a lot more than I expected.

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:29 am

I like my job, I really do......but the last few weeks I've been in a funk.

The extended holiday weekend gave me a taste of what it's like to not work while others are slaving away......I really liked it.

Even with a ERE/FIRE date much sooner than my peers I still feel so far away from the goal. I struggle with the idea of working another 6-7 years before hanging up the gloves......other days I feel like work is a breeze and it won't be any problem grinding it out.

I think I need more FU $$. I'm still not at the point where I would consider taking a sabbatical or a gap year from work. Hopefully when I get there some of the pressure to perform at work will diminish.

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Mon Aug 01, 2016 9:39 am

July Financial Update

Assets
$39,200 Taxable
$35,800 Roth IRA
$23,600 401k
$39,000 Checking
$23,800 tIRA
$17,250 Vehicle Equity
$18,700 Ag Holdings
$11,400 Au Holdings
$10,000 SDB Savings
$100 Cash
$6,011 HSA
$1,200 Travel Reward Cash Value
$500 Sec Deposit
$226,560 Total Assets
-$0 Debt
$226,560 Total Net Worth (+$8,685)

Spending
$550 Rent/Utility
$96 Grocery
$84 Gas
$255 Entertainment
$20 Vehicle Fund
$50 Vehicle Depreciation
$315 Travel/Vacation
$50 Cell
$216 Health/Hygiene
$144 Gifts
$100 Misc
$1,880 Total Spend

Income
$2,500 Salary
$1,000 401k
$237 HSA
$900 Commission (Net)
$100 Other (Coaching)
$4,737 Total Income

60% Savings Rate

Musings

A decent month despite the lower income.

Spending was close to historical averages. Some interesting notes for this month

Car value only dropped $50
The market returns accounted for more than 50% of my net worth increase
Gold and Silver continue to outperform the broad equity/bond market
I finally cracked 9X current expenses saved
A 4% SWR will now cover my Rent/Utility/Grocery/Cell Phone bills.

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:04 am

I've been REALLY focusing on the gym the past 8 weeks.

Started training heavy 4-5 days a week. Signed up for a powerlifting meet in December.

Tested maxes this past weekend, ended up with a 290lb bench, 385lb squat, and 510lb deadlift.

Looking to improve these by 5% while dropping 5% bodyweight for the meet.

I also have a Sprint distance triathlon coming up in 3.5 weeks. I've been running but have to get in the water and on the bike over the next few weeks.

After that I have a 15K race in October.

Trying to keep active as I get older.

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:40 pm

August Financial Update

Assets

$39,350 Taxable
$36,000 Roth IRA
$24,750 401k
$28,600 BoA Checking
$23,850 Traditional IRA
$16,850 Vehicle Equity
$17,350 Ag Holdings
$15,000 Citi Checking
$11,100 Au Holdings
$10,000 SDB Savings
$6,248 HSA
$1,200 CC Rewards Cash Value
$500 Sec Deposit
$230,798 Total Assets
- $0 Debt
$230,798 Total Net Worth (+$4,237)

Spending

$550 Rent/Utility
$140 Grocery
$99 Gas
$216 Entertainment
$400 Vehicle FUnd (replacing slashed tires)
$400 Vehicle Depreciation
$50 Phone
$236 Health/Hygiene
$120 Misc
$56 Gifts
$2,267 Total Spending

Income
$2,500 Salary
$1,000 401k
$237 HSA
$2,050 Commission
$2,050 Misc (employee referral bonus)
$7,837 Total Income

71% Savings Rate

Musings

Ok month financially. Markets took a sideways month, PM's dropped a bit, spending was higher than expected thanks to car vandalism.

Income was pretty good between a modest commission check and employee referral bonus being paid out.

This upcoming month will be a high spending month (~$2,800-$3,000, between paying for 6 months of car insurance, and the CC off for the Fat Bike).

Income should be decent, ~$6k net. It's funny that a 50% savings rate is "ok" by my standards these days. A few years ago I would be ecstatic =D

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:42 am

No one reads this, but I figured I would do an end of 2016 update for my own records.

December Financial Report

Assets
$60,400 401k
$45,500 Brokerage
$35,800 Roth IRA
$3,200 BoA Checking
$15,700 Vehicle Equity
$15,238 Ag Holdings
$15,000 TIAA Direct
$1,500 Citi Checking
$15,000 Chase Savings
$9,855 Au Holdings
$17,500 Capital One MM
$10,000 SDB Holdings
$1,500 HSBC
$350 M&T
$400 TD Bank
$1,500 Chase Checking
$1,000 Schwab
$7,200 HSA
$256,644 Total Assets (+$5,432)

Spending
$550 Rent/Utility
$112 Gas
$117 Grocery
$228 Entertainment
$50 Cell
$50 Vehicle Depreciation
$30 Health
$7 Misc
$346 Gifts
$1,490 Total Spend

Income
$50 Salary
$4,368 401k
$237 HSA
$330 Commission
$800 Other
$5,785 Total Income

76% Savings Rate

End of 2016 Wrap Up

$6,600 Rent/Utility
$1,352 Grocery
$1,321 Gas
$3,028 Entertainment
$868 Vehicle Fund
$1,200 Vehicle Depret.
$3,346 Travel
$1,406 Insurance
$1,319 Health/Hygiene
$2,466 Misc
$600 Cell
$1,771 Gifting
$25,277 Total 2016 Spending

$25,800 Salary
$19,416 401k
$3,350 HSA
$905 Overtime
$67,190 Commission
$11,080 Other
$127,741 Total After Tax Income

80.2% 2016 Savings Rate!!!

Net Worth Increase = +$116,644 which is an 83% increase for the year

Currently sitting at ~10X current annual expenses and ~15X absolute barebone FI expenses.

halfmoon
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by halfmoon » Sat Jan 14, 2017 11:06 am

2Birds1Stone wrote:No one reads this, but I figured I would do an end of 2016 update for my own records.
I'm reading it, and I doubt that I'm the only one. :) Congratulations on your continued success!

I do have one question: why do you have so many bank accounts? Are any of them incurring fees? (Oops...two questions.) I used to have a money market account, but the interest rate was so low that I transferred the funds into an existing brokerage account where I could buy short-term laddered CDs for no fee. I've also found that consolidation into just a few financial institutions saves me a lot of time and trouble.

AussieGirl
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by AussieGirl » Sat Jan 14, 2017 11:18 am

im reading along how do you keep groceries at $1300 /yr mine are more like $10k wondering if that is a country difference. mine is for two adults two young kids. But still, what are you eating??

MDFIRE2024
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Location: Germany

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by MDFIRE2024 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:06 pm

Hi, 2Birds1Stone.
Congratulations to your very good Financial Year 2016. Keep going an I guess you will reach FI rather sooner than later.

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sat Jan 14, 2017 8:23 pm

halfmoon wrote:
2Birds1Stone wrote:No one reads this, but I figured I would do an end of 2016 update for my own records.
I'm reading it, and I doubt that I'm the only one. :) Congratulations on your continued success!

I do have one question: why do you have so many bank accounts? Are any of them incurring fees? (Oops...two questions.) I used to have a money market account, but the interest rate was so low that I transferred the funds into an existing brokerage account where I could buy short-term laddered CDs for no fee. I've also found that consolidation into just a few financial institutions saves me a lot of time and trouble.
Hello halfmoon, that is a great question(s).

This is something I have not posted about here in my FIRE journal yet, back in August I found out about bank account bonus churning. I have been travel hacking for almost two years now (opening CC rewards cards for the miles/points and cancelling before annual fees), and in reading and researching cards I stumbled upon www.doctorofcredit.com they have an updated list of all the new accounts and bonuses. Some are checking, some are savings but they usually offer you $100-400 per account to either hold money for X amount of time, or direct deposit X amount. None of them have fees, and after I meet the minimum time required to keep the account open and not lose the bonus I close them.

So far I've been able to open 9 accounts and earn $2550 in bonuses over the past 6 months.
AussieGirl wrote:im reading along how do you keep groceries at $1300 /yr mine are more like $10k wondering if that is a country difference. mine is for two adults two young kids. But still, what are you eating??
Howdy from the other side of the pond :) The $1300 is for my half of the groceries. Split with my SO. We do not have kids. Food is cheap here if you avoid the processed crap. We eat a lot of chicken ($.99-1.99/lb), ground turkey ($1.99/lb), London Broil ($2.49-2.99lb), rice, beans, potatoes, frozen mixed veggies, seasonal fruit/veggies (always cheap buying stuff in season), oats, peanut butter, yogurt, eggs ($.69/dozen), milk ($1.99/gallon).

We shop at Aldi, ethnic markets, make a list before heading to store and make sure we take advantage of sales and buy in bulk when more efficient. This also does not include household misc. such as cleaning products, paper products, alcohol etc. We don't have kids or pets so it helps keep the cost down. Our entertainment line item includes going out to eat so we do spend quite a bit there, usually ending up with leftovers to take to lunch.
MDFIRE2024 wrote:Hi, 2Birds1Stone.
Congratulations to your very good Financial Year 2016. Keep going an I guess you will reach FI rather sooner than later.
Thank you MDFIRE!


I would like to note that 2016 was an outlier in terms of income, I was fortunate enough to close some business last February/March for which I got paid tremendous commission. My income will likely be only 50-60% of last years in 2017. Which I am ok with, as spending should be a bit lower as well. I purchased a car in 2016 for $16,500 + TTR and while I didn't count the entire purchase toward spend I counted the tax, registration, insurance, and I track depreciation as a monthly expense, I will have lower depreciation in 2017, as well as no tax associated with that purchase.

My savings rate for 2017 is more likely to be in the 60% range, which is still good by most people's standards. We are a unique bunch here :)

Happy New Year and much success to everyone reading! I appreciate any feedback, questions, or camaraderie.

halfmoon
Posts: 630
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by halfmoon » Sat Jan 14, 2017 8:36 pm

2Birds1Stone wrote:This is something I have not posted about here in my FIRE journal yet, back in August I found out about bank account bonus churning. I have been travel hacking for almost two years now (opening CC rewards cards for the miles/points and cancelling before annual fees), and in reading and researching cards I stumbled upon http://www.doctorofcredit.com they have an updated list of all the new accounts and bonuses.
I looked at the doctorofcredit website, and it has good tips. The bank account churning seems pretty profitable as long as they don't have any account closing (or opening) fees and you don't mind the hassle. I always wonder, though, about the credit card hacking. How can you do this without negatively impacting your credit score?

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:53 am

halfmoon wrote:I looked at the doctorofcredit website, and it has good tips. The bank account churning seems pretty profitable as long as they don't have any account closing (or opening) fees and you don't mind the hassle. I always wonder, though, about the credit card hacking. How can you do this without negatively impacting your credit score?
CC hacking does make your credit score fluctuate a tiny bit. A hard pull will usually drop your credit score ~5 points temporarily (~3 months) from my experience....but eventually having more lines of credit, higher available credit, lower utilization, etc helps in the long run.

When I started churning CC's back in March of 2015 my score was around 730, it dropped to 690 very briefly (I jumped in head first and opened 4 cards at the same time), now my score sits at 795.

There is a wonderful free course on travel hacking which I took 2 years ago. It's still available today http://www.travelmiles101.com/travel-re ... gistration

Travel Miles 101 was started by an MD and CPA who are regulars on the Mr. Money Mustache forum. The MD's wife is Japanese and he travels back to Japan from the USA each year with his 3 kids in tow. He fine tuned his travel hacking approach years ago to get that trip for free with miles each year. It's 15 days and will teach you all that you need to know in order to get started.

Next card I am opening is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. That one does have a $450 annual fee, BUT you get a $300 travel statement credit each year, and the sign up bonus is worth $1000 in cash or $1,500 in travel. I will open it in the beginning of March this year so I can use the $300 credit for 2017 and 2018. The total value of that card is $1,150 if you just cash out the miles, not counting other perks the card gives you (lounge access, travel insurance, extends manufacturer's warranty, etc etc)

halfmoon
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by halfmoon » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:49 pm

It sounds like you're making it work. What about the average age of your credit accounts, though? I thought that was a factor in the credit score...or are you keeping all the cards open?

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:20 pm

halfmoon wrote:It sounds like you're making it work. What about the average age of your credit accounts, though? I thought that was a factor in the credit score...or are you keeping all the cards open?
The one's I can downgrade to a fee free version, yes. I have only had to cancel one card out of the 6 I have opened, I believe it was the British Airways.

Many will waive the fee in year two if you call and threaten to close it, or they will suggest you downgrade to a fee free card.

Another thing to note, for most CC's they report the oldest card of that type towards your age. So if you have an Amex card for 10 years, and open a bunch of amex cards/close them, but keep the 10 year old one, that is what will show on your age of credit for amex.

AussieGirl
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:32 pm

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by AussieGirl » Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:43 am

AussieGirl wrote:im reading along how do you keep groceries at $1300 /yr mine are more like $10k wondering if that is a country difference. mine is for two adults two young kids. But still, what are you eating??
Howdy from the other side of the pond :) The $1300 is for my half of the groceries. Split with my SO. We do not have kids. Food is cheap here if you avoid the processed crap. We eat a lot of chicken ($.99-1.99/lb), ground turkey ($1.99/lb), London Broil ($2.49-2.99lb), rice, beans, potatoes, frozen mixed veggies, seasonal fruit/veggies (always cheap buying stuff in season), oats, peanut butter, yogurt, eggs ($.69/dozen), milk ($1.99/gallon).

We shop at Aldi, ethnic markets, make a list before heading to store and make sure we take advantage of sales and buy in bulk when more efficient. This also does not include household misc. such as cleaning products, paper products, alcohol etc. We don't have kids or pets so it helps keep the cost down. Our entertainment line item includes going out to eat so we do spend quite a bit there, usually ending up with leftovers to take to lunch.
Ok makes more sense now. Sounds like we are relatively similar - however I am including cleaning products, paper, nappies etc (not alcohol). Also the costs you provided are pretty low in comparison. Chicken is maybe $9 per kg (roughly $4.5 / lb). Dozen eggs $4.30. Gallon milk maybe $3.50. That being said I think that there is still some more we could do! Keep posting.

halfmoon
Posts: 630
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by halfmoon » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:50 pm

2Birds1Stone wrote:Another thing to note, for most CC's they report the oldest card of that type towards your age. So if you have an Amex card for 10 years, and open a bunch of amex cards/close them, but keep the 10 year old one, that is what will show on your age of credit for amex.
Yet another piece of new information. The older I get, the less I know. ;) At least now I won't fret about people here ruining their credit when they churn cards.

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:44 pm

AussieGirl wrote:
AussieGirl wrote: Ok makes more sense now. Sounds like we are relatively similar - however I am including cleaning products, paper, nappies etc (not alcohol). Also the costs you provided are pretty low in comparison. Chicken is maybe $9 per kg (roughly $4.5 / lb). Dozen eggs $4.30. Gallon milk maybe $3.50. That being said I think that there is still some more we could do! Keep posting.
Wow! Groceries are expensive in Au!! Where do you shop?? We certainly have supermarket chains and grocery stores where eggs are $3-4/dozen, but there are options where you can pay <$1/dozen. Same goes for chicken, produce, etc etc. I make a point to search the circulars and know which stores carry loss leaders in order to stock up. Hope that helps!

Here is a recent haul from last Sunday.

Total Spent $40.60

5lbs of white potatoes
3lbs of onions
3lbs of apples
2 loaves of Arnold Double Protein Bread
8 oz of fat free american cheese
2 packages of oatmeal
3lbs of boneless pork chops
3lbs of frozen veggies
2 packages of frozen pierogi
1/2 gallon of slow churn ice cream
4 boxes of Kashi Go Lean cereal (super high fiber/protein)
2 cans of black olives
18 eggs

This is a LOT of food =) Split with SO and we spent $20 each on what will end up being most of our meals for an entire week, at least.
halfmoon wrote: Yet another piece of new information. The older I get, the less I know. ;) At least now I won't fret about people here ruining their credit when they churn cards.
Haha, that's the beauty of learning, it's a never ending journey!

I've spent a lot of time this past week reading about thru hiking the appalachian trail........it is one of the first things SO and I plan on doing once we are free from the jobs.

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:28 pm

January Financial Update

Assets
$62,000 401k
$41,000 Brokerage
$42,000 Roth IRA
$16,400 Ag Holdings
$10,000 SDB Savings
$100 Discover Bank
$15,500 Vehicle Equity
$32,200 Capital One 360
$15,000 TIAA
$1,500 BoA Checking
$8,670 HSA
$10,300 Au Holdings
$500 Cash
$300 Chase Savings
$1,500 Chase Checking
$1,500 HSBC
$1,100 Schwab
$100 M&T Checking
$5,500 TD Checking
$265,170 Total Assets (+$8,526)

Spending
$550 Rent
$59 Grocery
$70 Gas
$217 Entertainment
$200 Vehicle Depreciation
$55 Vehicle Fund
$82 Travel
$50 Cell
$78 Misc
$55 Gift/Charity
$1,416 Total Spending

Income
$2,100 Salary
$1,068 401k
$1,470 HSA
$140 OT
$415 Commission
$700 Other (Coaching/Bank Sign Ups)
$5,893 Total Income

76% Savings Rate

Musings

Financially not a bad start to 2017.

Markets are up, commodities are up. I was fortunate to get my employers $1000 seeding contribution into my HSA this month, a bunch of bank account bonuses posted as well.

Spending was historically low. Since my parents funded most of my trip to Florida for Xmas, I was out of state for 5 days. Between that and some Groupons/GC's we purchased/received for xmas, our spending was quite low on grocery, gas, and entertainment. I didn't have any major bills due either. Next two months will be much higher spending wise, but I hope to get my tax return in March which should smoothe savings rate out.

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