Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

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Frugalchicos
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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:55 pm

Last monthly meeting of the year, and one more year down!

This month had both family gatherings, plenty of food and some chilling (had no choice with ass cold Chicago weather)

Highlights of the month:

We found a great new roommate — he moves in later this week and is paying us $825/month. His plan is to stay the full calendar year which means $9,900 in side hustle funds to be put toward our Betterment account. Bring it ON!

Chica is still waiting on a potential new job offer – hoping that gets wrapped up in the first few weeks of the new year so we can both move on with our lives. Waiting sucks.

DECEMBER INCOME – $8,195.15
Chico’s Salary – $3,997.44
Chica’s Salary – $3,662.71
Roommate Rent – $535 (moved out mid-month)

DECEMBER EXPENSES – $4,392.12 ($3,253.999 if subtracting principal payment, counting that as savings)
Mortgage: $1,978.60 (note: $1,138.13 went to principal, counting that as a savings)
HOA: $247.83
Car Insurance: $65.40
Gas (Car): $113.52
Groceries: $415.68
Cellphones: $21.74 (note: Chica’s work pays her cellphone bill, this is just Chico’s phone plan with Lycamobile)
Internet: $48.88
Gas (House): $87.58 (it’s been REAL cold in Chicago)
Electricity: $46.91
Chica’s Gym: $39.99
Chico’s Gym: $29.99
Misc./Entertainment: $1,295.91 (Counting Christmas gifts, an AirBNB for our SF trip in May, new tires for the car (only $220 – way to go!!)

This month, we saved 60.30% of our take home salary. Note: this doesn’t include any 401K contributions or retirement plans.

CURRENT ASSETS: $236,719.93 ($6,280.71 increase over last month!)
Cash savings: $9,510.74
Investments: $79,310.15
Chico’s Retirement: $8,050.04
Chica’s 401K: $42,160.27
Home Equity: $97,689.33 (not counting appreciation)
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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:05 pm

2017 Recap + Goals for 2018:

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! This year FLEW by for us and by all accounts. This was our first full year dedicated to pursuing financial independence and we took it very seriously – making adjustments throughout the year to better achieve our goals.

We went from $129,759.31 in NW to $236,719.93. That’s a $106,960.62 difference – an 82% increase. This includes slashing our mortgage by $25,082.85, contributing $58,279.39 to our Betterment account and saving an average of 62.68% of our monthly take home.

Some other things that helped us reach these numbers include $6,293 in Airbnb/rental income, a $14K bonus and $830 in babysitting money.

2017 ACHIEVEMENTS
We are pretty proud of our financial growth this year but it has also led to a lot of personal growth. As we look back on 2017, some of the major decisions that stand out include:

– In May, we decided to shift gears and focus our extra money on building our investment portfolio instead of making triple payments to the mortgage. Because of our late 2016 refinance, we were happy with the $1,100+ going toward principle each month and saw better opportunity for growth with the stock market.

– May was a big month because we also got rid of “allowances” – we used to budget $40-60/week to individual spending and it presented a lot of issues in our relationship. Getting rid of it and just being more conscious of discretionary spending has led to greater trust and transparency.

– We transitioned from Airbnb to full-time roommate. This has been great because it’s less effort and ultimately more money since we typically only did Airbnb from June – October.

– We crushed travel hacking — we got the Southwest Companion pass in July which allowed us to travel to Kansas City twice, Boston and D.C. this year with plans to go to San Francisco and Boston next year — all for FREE. We got the Chase Sapphire bonus so we have some stored up points for future travel and we’ve planned better for international travel, getting tickets to Spain for very cheap!

– We did many more at home dates which has also led to acquiring new coocking skills like making sushi, pizza dough and homemade pasta

– Fitness became a more central part of our daily life — I adopted a yoga practice and Chica focused on her overall nutrition.

– And last but not least – we started a blog! It has been a great outlet for Chica. Frugalchicos.com

2018 GOALS
As we look to 2018 – we have some pretty exciting goals. We are half way to our ultimate goal of quitting everything and moving to The Basque Country. Only 2 more years to go!

Financial
– Reach our FI goal: $350K Net Worth
– Hit $130K in Betterment
-Reel in Misc. spending with a goal to keep it under $850/month — this includes travel expenses, dates out together and with friends, personal care (haircuts, etc.). It doesn’t include healthcare/dental, car expenses or tickets to visit family
– Find new CCs to build travel points

Personal
– We both want to become certified English teachers – our goal is to get it by Summer
– Start our family 🙂 we plan to start trying for a baby this June
– Speak Spanish at home more often – this is important and a little difficult but we have to make it a priority
– Gain more cooking skills – next up is bread making
– Avoid buying clothes/shoes for the first 6 months of the year – we made it to August last year
– Build our blog! Our goal is 2 posts/month

We are very excited to see what we can achieve in 2018!

Quick comparison from 2016 NW vs 2017
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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by EdithKeeler » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:54 pm

Love your journal. Looks like it was an awesome year!

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:29 pm

@EdithKeeler

Thank you so much!

It was a great year, but we are ready to tackle new challenges and goals. Definitely, my biggest challenge is keeping it cool and be patient...

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Jason » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:38 am

Happy New Year's Frugal and Frugal Chica.

There's a "mathematics of dating" thread on board that I was reading through. This thread should be linked in it as an example of the "sum of is greater than the parts" discussion that was taking place within it. For any single person thinking of yoking themselves up with a non-ERE person, this is what you will miss out on, and for any single person intent on demanding an ERE person, this is a testimony to the benefit.

Ok, enough of the Hallmark bullshit. The baking. The bread - Is it a machine or are you starting from scratch? The baby I'm assuming is from scratch.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:40 pm

@Jason

Happy NY Jason!

Thanks, but it has not been always as smooth as it is today. We had plenty of arguments and tiffs, plenty of walks and talks and a few years of adjusting to each other. I guess being an efficient team is a life time project

It is true that once you set a goal and work towards it together...things start happening.

In regards to your questions, bread is totally from scratch as our pizza dough and pasta. I will also start making tomato sauce from scratch and preserve it in mason jars. Another project is pickling

And yes, the baby will be totally from scratch :) - Excited for the process of making it

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Jason » Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:02 pm

That's real baking. And fresh pizza dough and fresh tomato is going to make an awesome pizza.

I have a feeling that many people, including myself, were the aftermath of what you refer to as a "tiff."

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:24 am

Good news,

Chica got the offer for the fancy job and I have no cavities!!

Details of the offer to come. And yes, had dentist check up and everything is good, no cavities, no gingivitis or weird shit to take care of.
Last edited by Frugalchicos on Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Jason » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:33 am

Your dental results are a life long savings. Trust me. Pay as much attention to your teeth as do your your stocks, if not more.

Congrats for Chica. Does this impact the flight back home?

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:38 pm

@ Jason

Thanks buddy. Chica's new job doesn't necessarily change the date to go back. However, we are flexible to stay one more year and save more money, no more extra time than that. Anyways, we will see how it goes and where we stand by then.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:22 am

Back from our trip to the Basque Country and ready to post the January info:


JANUARY INCOME – $8,674.52
Chico’s Salary – $4,080.45
Chica’s Salary – $3,769,07
Roommate Rent – $825

JANUARY EXPENSES – $4,047.47 ($2,906.47 if subtracting principal payment of $1,140)
Mortgage: $1,978.60 (note: $1,140 went to principal, counting that as a savings)
HOA: $247.83
Car Insurance: $65.49
Gas (Car): $61.10
Groceries: $276.71
Cellphones: $21.74 (note: Chica’s work pays her cellphone bill, this is just Chico’s phone plan with Lycamobile)
Internet: $48.88
Gas (House): $136.73 (it’s been cold in Chicago and the roommate likes it warm. I turned ir off at night and when we are not at home. He can wear a sweater)
Electricity: $46.91
Chica’s Gym: $39.99
Chico’s Gym: $29.99
Misc./Entertainment: $1,093.9 (Counting $330 we spent in the Basque Country)

This month, we saved 66.50% of our take home salary. Note: this doesn’t include any 401K contributions or retirement plans.

CURRENT ASSETS: $246,504.22 ($9,784.29 increase over last month!)
Cash savings: $9,500.62
Investments: $85,932.02
Chico’s Retirement: $8,377.17
Chica’s 401K: $43,862.11
Home Equity: $98,835.3 (not counting appreciation)

You can find some pics in Chica’s blog: https://frugalchicos.com/january-2018-meeting/

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Last edited by Frugalchicos on Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:29 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:27 am

Achievements/Goals of January:

- Chica got the fancy job, quit (tried to), got a match from her job and stayed with a 36% raise and a new salary of 95K. Great move

- We qre doing the frugal month of February, lowering our miscellanious, getting our finances on track and our mood set back to face the next six months with a positive attitude.

- Start English teacher certificate. Will mean a $440 expense. Planning in paying it with the tax return (it is usually about $4,500)

- We will have a potential expense of $950 for a chiropractic treatment that will last 3-4 months. My back and neck need to be fixed, I have sharp pain in lower back and hip that don't allow me to work out as I should.
Last edited by Frugalchicos on Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by bryan » Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:01 pm

Frugalchicos wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:27 am
- Chica got the fancy job, quit (tried to), got a match from her job and stayed with a 30% raise and a new salary of 95K. Great move
Great! For anyone reading and future reference, it might be smart to negotiate a severance package in a match/raise situation. It's very situational (often folks can strategically navigate the situation with mostly communication), but it might help re-balance the scale (e.g. you hear about folks getting let go a few months after the match/raise). Never a bad time to have a contractual severance.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:31 am

Thanks Bryan, in fact, the negotiation was also time to speak about a potential opportunity of working remotely from the Basque Country (which would make the transition much smoother).

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:47 pm

Couldn't resist the market being on sale and invested $4,500...

Edit: I learnt from this lesson. We must stick to the plan and our scheduled imvestments and not try to time the market.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:30 pm

This weekend has been a challenging one... Some of our neighbors think and behave like they are in a frat house. Their drinking parties, screams and techno music didn't allow us to rest properly and made us irritable and feel even more tired than before the weekend.

Anyways, their lack of common sense and stupid selfishness made me think about our goal and how bad I want it...

After a long walk, a coffee and a huge piece of carrot cake, Chica helped me to get back to a more positive tune and reminded me how important our "mission" is and how big the reward will be.

We have been discussing about travelling around Europe once we settled in the Basque Country. So far, the plan is as following:

- Sell everything, quit our jobs and moving to Spain in May 2020

- Settle, spend the summer with the family and then start our 3-4 month trip around Europe. We would like to start from the SW part of France and move up to Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark and Poland. Then go down to Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. We can go back through Italy, Switzerland, the East Coast of France and the Pyrenees.

- We could teach English online during the trip to make some extra cash.

- We could do the trip with a car and camp/use cheap hotels.

- We could do it by car or (the idea I like the most), buy a VW T3 Westfalia. I would like to buy an old one with a decent engine that I could fix with my father over the summer. It could be an amazing project.

When we come back, we could teach English online and do one on one tutoring while we set up our academy.

So far,all the above is just dreams and we are like about 2.5 years away from getting any close to it. However, we will try our best to make them real!

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Family father » Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:34 pm

wouldn't it be wiser to do the trip during the summer, when the weather is nicer in northern europe?

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:38 pm

@family father - hi there! It would probably be better. But, we would leave by the end of August and will definitely try to visit the northern countries during late August-September and leave the south of Europe like Italy, SE France amd Croatia for October-early November. We definitely don’t want to miss summer with the family in Spain sitting by the beach and partyingwith friends in all the festivals!

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by FRx » Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:55 pm

That is wonderful. I'm finalizing my move to Spain now and going through the visa process. I've decided to settle down in Valencia. Don't have any family in Spain so I'm sort of figuring it all out as I'm going along but it's been an interesting journey for sure.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:15 pm

FRx - That’s amazing! I bet you are going to love Valencia and Spain. Valencia has one the warmest winters in Europe, it is afordable and easy to walk around. Don’t miss the arroz al horno!

Are you ere-ing there or just moving an planning in working there?

All the best

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Jason » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:21 am

Frugalchicos wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:30 pm
After a long walk, a coffee and a huge piece of carrot cake, Chica helped me to get back to a more positive tune and reminded me how important our "mission" is and how big the reward will be.
Man, I love carrot cake. But I hate carrots. I honestly don' know how that works. I am certain if there was a broccoli cake I'd hate it as much as I hate broccoli. Maybe it's the cream? It's kind of fucked up. I don't know what the analogy is. Like you love the book but hate the movie? Or you like The Rolling Stones but hate Mick Jagger?

Anyways, glad Chica got you back on track.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:18 pm

Good to hear from you Jason! My nightmare would be a broccoli and char cake, disgusting both of them

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:22 am

Time for an update!

FEBRUARY INCOME – $13,473.68
Chico’s Salary – $4,163.46
Chica’s Salary – $5,237.19
Roommate Rent – $825
Federal Tax Return – $3,248.03

FEBRUARY EXPENSES – $5,399.87 ($4,256.51 if subtracting principal payment)
Mortgage: $1,978.60 (note: $1,143.36 went to principal, counting that as a savings)
HOA: $247.83
Car Insurance: $65.49
Gas (Car): $57.98
Groceries: $347.35
Cellphones: $21.74 (note: Chica’s work pays her cellphone bill, this is just Chico’s phone plan with Lycamobile)
Internet: $56.30
Gas (House): $118.39
Electricity: $63.27
Chica’s Gym: $39.99
Chico’s Gym: $29.99
Misc./Entertainment: $229.17
Travel: $2,135.72 (August flight to Spain, hotel in NYC for summer)

This month, we saved 68.41% of our take home salary. Note: this doesn’t include any 401K contributions or retirement plans.

CURRENT ASSETS: $253,319.94 ($6,815.72 increase over last month – much lower than expected, thanks, Donald.)
Cash savings: $5,561.74
Investments: $95,629.16
Chico’s Retirement: $8,674.86
Chica’s 401K: $43,472.90
Home Equity: $99,981.28 (not counting appreciation)
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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:10 am

Achievements from February:
- Frugal February was a success. We only ate out once. Limited our dates to coffee dates and were careful with extra expenses.
- Got to enjoy Chica's first big paycheck. Invested everything in Betterment.
- Saved the chiropractor $1,000 expense. Healed my back doing yoga, stretching and working on my chore. Feel strong and want to start quantifying my fitness achievements (counting weight lifted/repetitions, fat lost and body mass gained).
- Bought super cheap tickets for our trip to Spain in August and got a good deal for our NYC hotel room for summer. We can say all our vacations for 2018 are booked and paid.
- Feel that winter went by pretty quickly (which is a great thing. Summer months are very easy in Chicago).

Goals for March:
- We will start our TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate on 3/12. Very excited for it. It is a great challenge and I feel it will be very useful in the future. I already have 3 potential students ;)
- Our roommate is a little annoying (mainly being a douchey kid), so one goal is being cool with him for the time being until Chica gets pregnant and we kick him out. About 5 to 6 more months to go.
- We have a little less than 100K to achieve our FI goal of 350K. Will give it all to get there by the end of the year.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:35 pm

The title of this post could perfectly be: Get rich, ripped and healthier with Aldi.

I freakin love it. Straight forward grocery shop with no BS decoration (yes, I am talking about Mariano's...wtf is that thing of drinking a glass of wine while you do your groceries?)

Before you read the total price, try to guess how much I spent in buying half of the shop:

1 Never any Whole Chicken (Never any antibiotics, hormones, etc)
1 bag of lemons (aprox 9 units)
1 cantaloupe
1 Tray of pork chops (6-7 units)
3 banana stems (aprox 21 units)
2 boxes of strawberries
1 bag of mandarins (aprox 20 units)
1 cabbage
1 Loaf of wheat bread
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 bag of baby carrots
1 bag of deli roasted turkey
2 almond milk
2 cucumbers
2 avocados
1 box of mushrooms
1 celery stub
1 bag of spinach
1 bag of carrots
1 butternut squash
1 dozen of eggs
1 box of egg whites

.... yes, all that for $51.60...I felt I robbed the shop.

I am planning in cooking the following:
- Lentils with butternut squash and spinach.
- Roast the chicken so I have meat for the week and make a soup with some of the meat, celery and carrots.
- Grill the pork chops with some garlic and serve them with roasted piquillo peppers (Brought them from Spain).
- Will make juice with the carrots, celery and cucumbers.
- Some good breakfasts with the deli turkey over wheat bread toasts and olive oil with the blended diced tomatoes.

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