Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Jason
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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Jason » Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:48 am

Well, it has been documented that time passes more quickly when you are in the Basqueroom as opposed to when you are forced to wait outside the Basqueroom. Unfortunately, I don't think there is any magazine, small talk opportunity, female visual distraction to materially alter the agonizing waiting experience when you need to go that bad. Maybe you'll have a few occasions where you'll forget about it, but generally speaking, you need to tighten up and clench until it's your turn. My guess is that it will just make that delectable moment of emancipation all the more satisfying.

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

Post by Frugalchicos » Mon Jul 16, 2018 12:20 pm

Totally agree buddy. The wait is just draining and it is hard to live the present. I guess it is a problem that most of us have when we are not really content with our current situation.

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

Post by Jason » Mon Jul 16, 2018 12:41 pm

You have major telemundo change forthcoming. I would think that you would just want to maintain the status quo until that time. And if America is good at anything, its creating distractions.

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

Post by wood » Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:22 am

Great journal. Those monthly meetings that you keep track of in the black book, what do you talk about?

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

Post by Frugalchicos » Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:55 am

@wood

Thank you! The black book is basically a more straight forward hand written version of this journal. Perhaps, we have more personal stuff that Chica and I want to achieve (like getting pregnant, loosing weight, stay motivated, etc...). We separate the pages in two sections: left page is for expenses and income (we calculate % saved), and the right page for current assets,achievements from last month and goals for next month (here is where it gets more personal). We have open conversations and are honest with each other.

I definitely think the black book helped us to stay on the same page, share goals and be committed. On the other hand, I use this ERE journal to express more thoughts and ideas that I wouldn’t record in our black book. This ERE journal helped me to stay more motivated on a daily basis.

In addition to it, Chica has a blog: frugalchicos.com where we hope to one day be able to tell an interesting story from Spain :)

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

Post by Frugalchicos » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:27 pm

Good news and bad news.

I will start with the bad news:
- I had to change the front bearings of the car. Took them to my Mexican friends and got them replaced for $480.
- Our property taxes have gone up like $68/month. I am starting to have some thoughts about selling the condo. However, I am not sure if it would be really worth it since rents in Chicago are also super expensive. It would also be nice to have the second bedroom for when we have a baby and my mom stays with us for a long period of time (we would save a ton in nannies). And we are only thinking in staying here for 22 more months.


Good News:
- I have no cavities or any other dentist work that needs to be done.
- I got a small raise, like a 3.5% or like $175/month net more. It is funny that it is almost half the amount that we will have to pay extra of our mortgage. You can never win...
- Chica got a side hustle. She will teach dancing classes on Saturdays in the suburbs. It will bring about $200/month. I think it will be great for her to do something different that really enjoys doing.

On the other hand, I meet some friends on Friday and Saturday. It was nice and all that, enjoyed a nice bbq, good weather and some good talks. However, there is always somebody trying to talk me down about moving back to The Basque Country. This last time was like "I bet you will be back in two years" or "Chica might not like that lifestyle" and "people don't make any money there and their lives are super stressful and not healthy" or "you will be bored in a year" ... I love this naysayers. I have always loved them... I had a friend (please note the "I had") that told me once, and I remembered it very well: "The bigger you dream, the bigger you will fail" and said that slapping his hands....fucking loser.

Well, I have to say thank you naysayers. Thank you for encouraging me even more, thank you for making me work harder and better to make you shut your mouth.

One thing I learnt is that it is better to not speak about my dreams or plans to anybody. Because sometimes the reaction of people come out as jealous or incredulous. I feel good being in control of our lives (as much as we can), being healthier, wealthier and in general much better than 4 years ago when we behaved like average Joe and Mary.

Schwarzenegger: "You can't climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets, work your butt off" - I am really enjoying his motivational videos on youtube :lol: - I might feel related since I am also off the boat looking for success.

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

Post by Frugalchicos » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:49 am

Time for our monthly update:

Doing this update from my beautiful hometown, The Basque Country
JULY INCOME – $9,617.66
Chico’s Salary – $4,239.29
Chica’s Salary – $5,225.14
Spothero – $60
eBay Sales – $93.23

JULY EXPENSES – $5,172.12 ($4,012.95 if subtracting principal payment) - Very high due to trips, visits and car repair
Mortgage: $1,978.60 (note: $1,159.17 went to principal, counting that as a savings)
HOA: $247.83
Car Insurance: $62.17
Gas (Car): $138.29
Groceries: $433
Cellphones: $21.74 (note: Chica’s work pays her cellphone bill, this is just Chico’s phone plan with Lycamobile)
Internet: $56.94
Gas (House): $53.12
Electricity: $48.05
Chica’s Gym: $39.99
Chico’s Gym: $29.99
Misc./Entertainment: $2,163 (includes trips to NYC and Boston with my sister and her bf, family visits, $480 of car maintenance)

We saved 56.05% of our take home salary. This doesn’t include any 401K contributions or retirement plans. This has been the lowest saving % of the year so far. Our trips didn’t help (A lot of times we paid for my sister and her bf since they don’t make much money. The unexpected car repair was annoying AF...)

CURRENT ASSETS: $306,294.95 ($11,864.29 increase over last month) — Finally passed the $300K mark. I think we will reach our goal of $350K by the end of the year if everything goes as planned.
Cash savings: $2,986.50
Investments: $139,167.40 - The market helped to increase our number :)
Chico’s Retirement: $10,174.46
Chica’s 401K: $48,233.91
Home Equity: $105,750.68 (not counting appreciation)

ACHIEVEMENTS
I got a small raise of $200/month net.
Chica got a side hustle starting in September, teaching dance to kids. It will bring about $200/month.
We rented our parking spot while at work and out. We made $60
We finally got to the $300K figure in our NW. $350K is our next big goal for 2018
Chica finally got the TEFL cert!

GOALS
$350K was the FI goal we set a couple of years ago. We already had all our planned big expenses for 2018 (trips and so on). I am confident we will achieve it or will be very close.
Get our miscellanious low. We must do it after our last trip at the end of the month (Las Vegas to see the Grand Canyon).
Find happinness in the next 22 months. I mean, be content and focused on our goal. Content with the fact that we pretty much have everything in automatic mode (there is always room for improvement though).

Side note: I really feel our quality of life will improve significantly once we move. There is a much better social interaction, everyone is warm and honest with each other. Everything is walking distance: beach, parks, schools, groceries, hospitals... good quality food is so much cheaper, the whole family can have a fresh fish and veggies feast for $7.

We are really enjoying our time here, we got to go to the beach, swimming pool, festivals, saw a concert, had amazing food and spent good quality time with friends and family.
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Last edited by Frugalchicos on Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:31 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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

Post by Frugalchicos » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:07 am

A pic of some good ibericos we enjoyed

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

Post by Frugalchicos » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:22 am

Pic ofmy hometown and delicious food :D
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Seppia
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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Seppia » Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:32 am

Que maravilla! I love Bilbao (that's Bilbao right? I seem to recognize the Guggenheim in this last pic)
I had some great friends of mine from the Villarreal area come visit last month, we had a blast touring lake Como during the weekend.
We've known each other since 2001, when I did my Erasmus project in Lyon.
I missed Spanish people and their warm and happy attitude.

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

Post by Frugalchicos » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:14 am

Yep, beautiful Bilbao :)

I always miss southern European warmth when I am in the US. Love the fact that everybody knows each other and says hello

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

Post by bryan » Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:55 pm

Yeah, my niece says it's like the "bonjour" scene in Beauty and the Beast when she walks to school, except in Spanish or Basque and with a fishmonger.

Love the pics.

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

Post by Frugalchicos » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:50 am

@Bryan

Pretty much! :) - love it here, can’t wait to stop being a tourist and live here permanently!

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

Post by Jason » Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:37 am

The food and architecture look great but I'm sorry, that botanical dog looks absolutely fucking miserable. It's just sitting there fenced in eternally perfecting its good dog face like my real dog used to do when sitting underneath my chair because he'd knew I'd give him scraps and on occasions when my mother didn't put any fucking effort into dinner which was highly frequent, pretty much the whole plate. I get the whole magical realism thing and yeah its a colorful fucking dog but does a dog really fucking care about that shit when its suffering in discomfort and loneliness? I think they should have made two dogs. I'm not saying it had to be two botanical dogs humping or even two botanical dogs sniffing each other's asses but something. Or at least give him a bone to fuck around with or a giant extended hand filled with ibericos to eat. Maybe some look at it and say "Look at the flower dog!!!" but it makes me want to cry more than seeing a real dog all alone like that. As a matter of fact I'd take the dog home despite having to pay a landscape architect to groom it. I guess the benefit would be that when it takes a shit I'd get a new Rhododendron bush. I don't know. Its just not something I'd want to walk by every day.

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

Post by Bankai » Sun Aug 12, 2018 5:15 am

Looks like you are smashing it financially and will have no problem achieving your financial goals!

Few questions about your move to Spain (sorry if they've been already answered):
How does Chica feel about leaving her family and friends and moving to the other side of Atlantic?
Is Chica fluent in Spanish/learning Spanish?
Are you planning a 'trial run' for, say, 6-12m before you decide if you both want to stay in Spain, or are you both 100% committed at this point?
Are planning regular trips to the USA to see Chica's family/your US friends? If yes, how much are you budgeting for it? Or will you be just inviting them over to Spain?

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

Post by Frugalchicos » Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:33 am

Hi Bankai! Thanks for your nice note! This is Chica, to answer your questions.

I’m very excited to move to Chico’s hometown - we just wrapped up our 7th visit since we’ve been together and I honestly fall more in love with it each time. The geography (ocean and lush green mountains), the climate (mild winters and summers), the people (including our gorgeous family), the food (dont get me started on pintxos!) and the overall lifestly appeal greatly to me. I’m looking forward to rewiring my way of life and learning to take more time and move a bit slower, placing more emphasis on personal connections than work. I am sad to leave family and friends but luckily my family is in a position where they could visit regularly. Plus they live on the east coast and us in the midwest now so its not like I get to see them that often as it is.

I’m not fluent yet but I improve with each visit - at this point I am able to communicate on my own and I understand almost everything. I make plenty of mistakes but I think within a few months of living there, I’ll be fluent.

No trial run planned, we are selling everything and leaving for good. With dual citizenship there’s always the opportunity to return if things don’t work out for whatever reason but our plan is to live out the rest of our life in Bilbao.

We will defintely be making trips back to the US, less frequently but for longer times - like maybe we spend the month of August with my parents since thats the typical vacation month in Spain. And my family will definitely visit - maybe we will all meet in a different EU country each time. As far as budgeting, we’ve gotten really good at finding cheap international flights and using airline points, its just something we will work into our annual budget.

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

Post by Frugalchicos » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:26 am

Ok, back from our trip, back in business.

It is funny/sad that as soon as I come back to the US, my mind switches to business mode and everything is about making money, saving money and optimizing our lives. Talking about optimizing, I have been having some negative thoughts about how high the market seems to be (psychological weakness of new investor?) and we are considering in holding our monthly investments and accumulate more cash. I don't think paying off mortgage makes a lot of sense since we are thinking in selling the house in a couple of years and I don't want to have more money locked in case of an economic melt down...

Any suggestion about what to do with investments are welcome since I feel quite puzzled and don't know what to do with the money (good problem to have). So far we do automatic investments in our Betterment account 90%stocks - 10% bonds.

Thank you all!

FIREby50
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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by FIREby50 » Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:35 pm

Hello, nice to see someone that is going to move to Spain on this forum.
Since you are Spanish, do you know of any Spanish fugal living blogs in English? Been searching on the web but could not find any.
Planing to move to Spain, after FIRE, and would be great to find some pages what has budgets - and tips and tricks about fugal living in Spain. Thinking about how to choose water company, electricity company, Internet, phone, etc.
Found this page, but would be nice to find some information that is more fore us fugal people. :)
https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/in/Valencia
360.000,- USD for two people and a kid is probably doable living on in Spain if you do not include housing. :) But probably quite "ERE" I understand that you would want to do some work to suplement your income when you settle down back home. he he. :)
Great blog by the way. Good luck !

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

Post by Frugalchicos » Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:27 pm

@FIREby50

Hi there, I'm afraid I can't help you with any frugal blog or website from Spain. However, Spanish people are already quite frugal by nature.

Living costs change substantially depending on where you live. Barcelona and Madrid are definitely the most expensive cities. On the other hand, central and south Spain is quite cheap. Galicia is also very cheap. Housing is going to be the most expensive cost to cover (I was already paying 400 euros for a room in Barcelona back in 2008...), the rest is fairly cheap.

Don't worry about which service companies to choose, you will see it when you get there. Gas and electricity are as exoensive as here, groceries are nothibg compared to American prices (and quality is quite superior), cell phone can be like 5 euros with like 500mb of data (that’s what my mom has). Public school is free, you only have to buy books.

To be honest, $360,000USD won't get you far to retire. Especially if you don't have EU passport (you won't be able to find legal work and such). And keep in mind the euro conversion (taking 15% of your NW). We are planning in moving back with about 500-550K and still work for few years while our investments grow. We also have access to a paid off condo and a car (if we need it). And a big network of friends and family (my parents live just down the street from the condo where we will live).

All the best and good luck

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

Post by Frugalchicos » Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:23 am

September 4th, time for a monthly update:


AUGUST INCOME – $9,738.3
Chico’s Salary – $4,315.14
Chica’s Salary – $5,225.16
Spothero – $28
eBay Sales – $170 (Sold 2 laptops I fixed)

AUGUST EXPENSES – $4,128.85 ($2,968.85 if subtracting principal payment)
Mortgage: $1,978.60 (note: $1,160 went to principal, counting that as a savings)
HOA: $247.83
Car Insurance: $62.17
Gas (Car): $103.96
Groceries: $342.82
Cellphones: $21.74 (note: Chica’s work pays her cellphone bill, this is just Chico’s phone plan with Lycamobile)
Internet: $56.94
Gas (House): $49.41
Electricity: $38.67
Chica’s Gym: $39.99
Chico’s Gym: $29.99
Misc./Entertainment: $1,157.56 (includes $441 for yearly payment of home insurance, $172 for a wedding and a gift that Chica attended and $330 that we spent during our trip in The Basque Country)

We saved 69.51% of our take home salary. This doesn’t include any 401K contributions or retirement plans. This has been the second highest saving % of the year so far (69.71% in May). We could have definitely passed the 70% if it wouldn't have been for the home insurance and such, but I guess there is always something to pay...

CURRENT ASSETS: $317,856.28 ($11,561.33 increase over last month) — We have $32,143.72 to save in the next 4 months in order to achieve our $350,000 goal. I believe it is doable, our monthly saving average is $9,519
Cash savings: $2,983.78
Investments: $145,408.51
Chico’s Retirement: $10,476.58
Chica’s 401K: $52,077.41
Home Equity: $106910 (not counting appreciation)
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Last edited by Frugalchicos on Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

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