What I Spend

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Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:23 pm

Groceries, eating out and shopping are tracking to projections. A couple behavioral items to note:

1. I put off grocery shopping for too long, then ended up dropping $20 on a dinner of pizza and a giant $10 ice cream cone. Whoops.

2. My last trip to the grocery store, I found myself trading items out of my basket to afford others. I replaced mixed nuts with peanuts to afford raisins. I replaced grapes with a pineapple to afford 5lbs of potatoes and a bag of peas. I'm torn on whether this is learning new behavior or self inflicted punishment. I ended up bringing home more food than I finished in the week.

3. Because of 1 and 2 above, I'm contemplating upping the weekly budget to $40.

4. Due to a work event, I ate out every meal for a little over a day. Buffet style, high quality, unlimited. I indulged. I also woke up sick in the middle of the night and felt terrible the following day. A lesson in there.

5. Once or twice a week, I like to have a 2 ounce glass of whiskey. My typical bottle is bourbon in the $25-$35 range, or Scotch in the $40-$60 range. I've gone up to $100 for a bottle of Scotch - it does get better, but I don't like to pay for it.

This week I decide to try a $14 bottle of Evan Williams bourbon. I'm open to the idea that it's all just marketing, and I won't know the difference. That was not the case. It's drinkable, but with harsh undertones, definitely not the overall experience I am seeking. I might look a little harder for something inexpensive I enjoy, but this may be an area to splurge.

6. I'm attempting to scratch the yoga itch with a $7 per month live streaming service. I've listened to the teacher's weekly podcast for the past two years, so I'm also happy to kick a little money his way.

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:12 pm

November 2017 Total - $1369 of $1041 budget
Good - Much better than prior months. I am happy with all spending except exercise. I have some changes in play to address that.

Bad - Work defied my efforts to find balance. The biggest mistake was under-estimating the energy cost of attending a conference. I overextended, got sick, had to visit immediate care, and spent the last two weeks of the month in bed.

Next Month - $1400 target. I’ll reduce future work commitments. The biggest unknown had been a Spring conference, which is definitely off the table. There is business pressure to increase the number of concurrent projects. I will discourage it.

Medical insurance will be my single biggest budget line item in retirement. I didn’t know how to find a doctor, what a visit would cost, or even where my HSA card was. I need to fix that. I will schedule my first preventive care visit for January.


Recurring Expenses - $541 of $541 budget
Good – The bucket already accounted for annual car registration.

Bad – None.

Next Month – $541 target. No changes.


Exercise - $350 of $150 budget
Good – Subscribing to a $7/month streaming yoga class kept me out of the yoga studio. I enjoy the instructor’s podcast and am happy to support his work. $25 allowed for two visits to an especially cool gym - the highlight of my work conference.

Bad – I’m not pleased to see a $350 total here, especially given the frequency with which I was able to exercise. Work travel over extended me, and I got sick. It meant missed training, including forfeiting one of my strongman sessions. Missing Thanksgiving added to my frustration. As a result, I tried to buy my way better during Black Friday. I kept it to a conditioning sled I’ve wanted for several years but did double my expenses. At least I paid a low price and could resell for around 70%.

Next Month – $157 target. I am out of home gym ideas, so this is very do-able. I am also sedentary until healthy, likely mid-month. Longer term, December is the last month I have paid for strongman. I don’t think I will renew. His teaching has surpassed my ability to manage life outside the gym. My progress will be better served using that money for food and healthcare.


Groceries - $183 of $200 budget
Good – The $10 crockpot has let me re-introduce a habit of cooking dried beans. I tried a $15 bottle of bourbon, which despite my initial complaints, has grown on me. Capping my main shop at $35 per week led to some interesting substitutions. Work meals offset both holiday costs and a dwindling food stockpile.

Bad – Insufficient variety of food, along with some bad substitutions. Peanut butter in oatmeal is far inferior to mixed nuts, for instance. My weight is down five pounds, which is not the goal. I got sick. Sickness impaired my appetite. Better food might have overcome both.

Next Month – $225 target. I plan five weekly shops at $45 each. I need to eat more and increase variety.


Shopping - $255 of $150 budget
Good – I cashed in Amazon rewards and resisted most Black Friday temptations. My biggest non-medical expenses were $63 for a year of Grammarly, $45 for a vet visit, and $35 for some work on the car. I think Grammarly will pay bigger returns, and the other expenses are not optional.

Bad – I got sick enough to need a visit to urgent care and medicine. I had to guess at the cost of the urgent care visit. The doctor bills insurance first. I don’t know when I’ll know. I did decline a chest x-ray and a follow-up visit to control costs.

Next Month – $370 target. The housekeeper visits. She gets an extra $100 for the holidays. I’ve committed to several events. I am likely to buy a video game.


Eating Out - $40 of $100 budget
Good – The monthly total reflects financial moderation. Work events provided around 14 meals. Not a sustainable pattern, but glad I took advantage. I also packed four days of breakfast, saving me hours of hassle and work $60. When eating out on my own, I opted for breakfast and used a free bagel promotion at Panera.

Bad – While traveling for work, I ate as much of the hyper-palatable restaurant food as I could. Returning to my home food was especially unpleasant as a result. I’m always a big eater, but it also re-enforces then notion my groceries are insufficient.

Next Month – $100 target. I’ll pack food for work travel and take advantage of provided meals. Buying more groceries will make eating out less appealing.

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:33 pm

December 2017 Total - $1451 of $1400 budget

Good – Spent to plan, except groceries. Optimizations are on track for next month. Scheduled a checkup and found my HSA card. Major work improvements ensure a stable income stream through 2018.

Bad – Groceries went way high. The cost of living is rising. Recovery from November’s sickness is much slower than hoped.

Next Month - $1038-$1238 target.

Year-end budgeting shows a $57 higher monthly recurring cost of $588. The increase is due to health insurance, property taxes, and association dues.

New tracking categories for 2018. January targets:

Recurring - $588
Food - $200
Support - $200-$400
Shopping - $50

My year-end analysis is in the next post.


Exercise - $157 of $157 budget

Good – Spent to plan. Confident in the choice to cancel with strongman. Also canceled streaming yoga. Sessions with strongman are running a little behind due to being sick, so I’ll have one visit in January.

Bad – My last month with strongman provided only entertainment. I only took the streaming yoga class twice. The guy teaches the same thing every time, and I already have the DVD.

Next Month – I drop this category as expenses are now $0. I am still exercising.


Eating Out - $19 of $100 budget

Good – Work events satisfied most of my need to eat out. For $19 I got pizza twice with family. Extra groceries reduced my desire to eat out and made packing food for work travel easier.

Bad – Restaurant food makes me crave packaged food at the grocery store.


Groceries - $352 of $225 budget

Good – My weight stabilized. More and varied food at home limited the need to eat out.

Bad – I am more than 50% over budget. I got bored over my week off and decided to buy whatever I want from Aldi. How much could I spend??? $139 - I even bought the baklava. That rebound is a side effect of shopping to budget. I did resist the temptation to pick Whole Foods via Instacart. I will start January with surplus food.

Next Month – $200 target. Rename category to Food. I plan four $45 shops and two $10 meals out.


Shopping - $382 of $370 budget

Good – I invested in relationships - $100 for the work holiday party, $220 for the housekeeper, $30 for a holiday event. Impulse purchases were very low.

Bad – I am too lazy to clean my own house. I have budgeted for it, but the expense is high.

Next Month – $50 target, might split a cheap PC with my wife.

I will break support from others into a separate category. I estimate $200-$400 for January. I know the housekeeper will cost $120. I missed estimate for my urgent care visit by $80, by using the cash visit price on their website. I will negotiate after the bill arrives. If I fail, the rest will be due in January. I am not sure what the doctor checkup and associated blood work will cost after insurance.

Next Month – I drop this category and will track expected costs of $20 as Food.


Recurring Expenses - $541 of $541 budget

Good – I canceled Netflix and pulled media out of my recurring budget

Bad – Planning for 2018 indicates a $57 increase in recurring expenses.

Next Month – $588 Target. It includes:

Property Tax
Property Insurance
Auto Insurance
Health Insurance
Dental Insurance
Life Insurance
Disability Insurance
Car Registration
Assessments
Internet
Electric
Gas
Water
Garbage
Cell Phone
Cat food and litter

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:36 pm

2018 Budgeting

2018 budgeting suggests previous retirement cost projections were far too optimistic. Healthcare and insurance costs are soaring. I am no longer confident in the ACA subsidies. My aging home, car, body, and pets need unplanned maintenance.

While cash flow demands are low, my current lifestyle costs $28k per year. The number includes maintenance expenses, imputed rent from home ownership and work benefits. $12k allocates to the townhouse, $8k to medical. Not easy items to change.

Hardly extreme, but an honest value for long-term planning and comparison with others. The total is a tough reality check. Especially considering everything calculates after splitting with my wife, who has similar expenses. I am not even close to $7k/year.

Monitoring personal cash flow oversimplifies my position. It makes me wonder what others on the board consume. How out of place is my lifestyle?


2017 Q4 Review

The past three months were a dry run for retirement. I took a week off every month and whittled down expenses. The plan was to give an untenable work situation time to change, then either force it to change or opt out. Fortunately, time and patience appear to be resolving my problems.

I also confirmed:

1. I need to solve complicated problems with smart people. By the end of the vacations, my unoccupied mind was spinning. I calmed it with over-consumption, but that’s not a stable long-term solution. Work meets the need, and while it uses more time than I’d like, I’m not sure a superior avenue exists. There is a time cost for access to interesting people and problems.

2. My defensive financial position as an employee is well optimized. Benefits and perks halve my cash outflow. Beyond insurance, I get paid entertainment, food, socialization, parties, even working vacations. Removing the planning from my mental space is another significant benefit.

3. I lack a strong understanding of my true financial position. While I do have a high savings rate and loose annual budget, I’ve always dealt with money in rough generalities. Money comes in, I guess at what’s a good value and throw it in the general direction.

Tracking down to the dollar highlights more inefficiency in spending than I expected. Budgeting against cash flows demonstrates work compensation is better than I appreciated. The gap in understanding represents a missed savings opportunity.

4. Hopeful ignorance still applies to my investment portfolio. I dollar cost average into a 70/30 split of stocks and bonds index funds. I have a bunch of cash because I didn’t increase the dollar cost averaging after paying off my mortgage last year. Reason being “the market’s overvalued,” because I read it on the internet. Stocks are up 15-20% since then.


So What Next?

1. Keep up this journal and log cash flow for the next three months. Continue to optimize.

2. Use health insurance for preventive medical care, quantifying my physical health via bloodwork

3. Load my investment portfolio into a tool like Personal Capital or Morningstar. Calculate various metrics on the structure and health. See if they produce any actionable information. I may need to reallocate or hold less cash.

4. Represent said portfolio in my budget. Establish some expectation for value and cash flow over time.

5. Look into what a move could be. Local rents are well above home prices, so to get ahead, I’d have to buy. That means selling or renting the current place. Add the hassle of moving, and I’m uncertain enough upside exists in the area.

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Fish
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Fish » Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:33 am

I've been silently enjoying this journal (and MedSaver's too) because it helps me cope with my spending sins knowing that I'm not alone. Your expenses are much leaner than mine though.
Scott 2 wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:36 pm
It makes me wonder what others on the board consume. How out of place is my lifestyle?
At risk of "dumbing down the class" when it comes to frugality and spending efficiency... my household of 4 consumes somewhere between 4 and 5 jacobs per capita when I add back in imputed rent, imputed medical insurance, and depreciation on our vehicles. That's about a 50-60% increase over the cash flow requirement. From that perspective I will never FI/RE. :o :x I'm looking forward to the kids getting off my books in about 15 years though. ;)

I'm trying to understand why you include imputed rent in the total. It does measure opportunity cost, I guess. Are you putting everything on the table?

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:06 am

Good to know there are others. The frugal superstars could be a minority.

Watching dollars going out, $1000 a month seemed a very attainable goal. Disclosure of imputed costs changes the picture. As much as I want it to be true, the claim my lifestyle costs $12-15k per year is misleading.

My budgeting goal is to capture everything on the expense side. Even work paid disability and life insurance. It allows for more informed decision making. The full suite of benefits is a large percentage of my compensation. Retirement takes them all.

Ignoring imputed rent suggests my housing costs are $500 per month, instead of $1000. That makes the rent vs. buy choice much different. I'm not attached to being a homeowner, or my specific home. It is a temporary store of value that needs to perform.

On the income side, I show my benefits and imputed rent. Were I to retire and get an ACA subsidy, I would show that as income as well.

classical_Liberal
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Re: What I Spend

Post by classical_Liberal » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:52 pm

@Scott 2

Interesting journal!

Regarding how you estimate/calculate expenses. While you are probably trying to stay very conservative by using things like ACA subsidy as income vs decreasing insurance expenses, you may instead be inadvertently ignoring non-financial capital yeilds.

I understand your concern that ACA benefits may decrease or be eliminated and it's prudent to plan for such an eventuality. However, believing that your only option in such a circumstance is to pay a full premium price is false. If not tied to you current location, you could easily use geo-arbitrage and relocate to another state or even country to keep costs low. Your ability to do so is non financial capital, and it needs to be accounted.

Should I "impute" cost of professional vehicle oil changes, even though I have the skill and propensity to change it myself? Should I account for restaurant meal expenses daily, then treat my time spent cooking at home as income that offsets those expenses? or am I confident that my toolbox of skills and other non-financial capital will continue to provide returns ?

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:27 pm

I think the right budget yields actionable information. I agree non-financial capital is worthy of consideration, but only if it will change behavior.

In my specific case, I would work more before I would leave my geographic area. My housing and health care have strong constraints, so I find it valuable to consider them in detail. More so since they are my largest areas of consumption.

I hire out home and auto care. Were I to DIY, I might value that relative to paying someone else. It becomes an area of financial risk. Time or injury could constrain my ability to do the work. In deciding to pay a professional, I already make the rough comparison in my head.


I hope my treatment of the ACA subsidy is conservative. Repeal of the individual mandate is intended to break the model. Allowing healthy people to leave the risk pool will drive premiums higher. What happens if they get too high? Is single payer introduced? Does individual medical underwriting return instead? What does the transition look like?

For anyone making active use of the medical system, the uncertainty is a large risk.

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:45 am

Progress:

1. I loaded my accounts into personal capital. The exercise showed for all my focus on "the US stock market is over valued", I am really much more diversified than that. Outside my 401k, in investment accounts, I am only 40% allocated to US stocks. Adding the 401k takes that to 49%. But if accounting for all assets and cash, my net worth exposure is only 30%.

2. The post tax investments I've been avoiding, simply accumulating more cash, would have only been 40% allocated to US stocks. It's not like by holding them in US cash I am insulated from risk associated with the country. Because retirement was on the table at the end of this year, and most of my wealth is in IRA/401k accounts, this was not a total mistake. But it no longer makes sense at all.

3. I think the idea that I am going to do substantially better than the diversified auto-portfolio I have is probably unrealistic, especially given time I have available. Part of my personal capital exercise was manually loading the allocations of the "great" mutual fund I get access to through my 401k. They were not massively different than my target retirement funds. Work also still massively out strips investing gains.

4. I did some casual browsing of real estate and identified a few locations that would reduce my housing expense by around 1/3rd. This would obviously be a huge lever to pull, a much bigger return on time than buying stocks smarter. However, it involves buying into a new lifestyle for at least 5 years. It also raises the question of selling vs. renting the current place.

5. Did the doctor checkup yesterday. Blood pressure was too high (136/80), but I'm hoping it was due a long travel day for work, as well as general stress over being at the doctor for the first time as an adult.

Next steps:

1. Centralize cash. Consolidate split savings accounts, top off the HSA investment account
2. Discuss findings of casual real estate browsing with my wife, see if there is appeal, talk time tables if so
3. Deploy cash and monthly cash inflow surplus based upon appeal / time tables. It could be as simple as buying more target retirement fund and setting up auto investing. If moving is a near term item, hanging onto cash will be worthwhile until the transition completes.
4. Get doctor requested blood work today. I've learned it's possible to order these tests myself, for relatively low cost personal monitoring as well.
5. Monitor blood pressure over the next few weeks.
6. Make some changes to to habitually monitor, reduce and release stress. Meditation before bed, HRV in the morning, shorter travel days.

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:34 am

Progress:

1. Started cash centralization. Waiting for January interest to pay out so I can close a "zero balance" savings account. Setup the HSA auto sweep function, which has yet to trigger. I also started the process of getting my employer to pay the HSA account fee, meaning soon I can dip below 5k in the cash account without penalty. That will also require an update of the auto sweep trigger value.

2. Figured out what the investment options are through my HSA. Not sure what or when I'll buy yet, but now I understand the choices. For whatever reason they make it much more confusing than necessary. It's part of the reason I'd been holding in cash. I didn't want to deal with it.

3. Did the blood test, waiting on results. Tried to get Walgreens to do a free blood pressure reading, was told the machine is broken. I suspect I was being lied to. If after another try or two I get too much hassle, I'll just buy my own machine.

4. Decide to give Iyengar's pranayama course another shot. The structure will gamify meditation and keep me motivated.

5. Talked to my wife about the real estate options I'd casually identified. She's not into them. It was a good conversation about what we value in a home, as well as longer term vision for where we live. The conclusion was local options that make a significant financial impact (~$8k/year) will feel like a big loss to her. Given everything else we have going on, I'm going to table the idea for the year.

6. I started mulling over investment options. Because my strategy is not strictly tied to the value of underlying investments, but depends largely on re-balancing against fluctuations in price, I think it would be reasonable to just buy into my target funds and increase my auto investments.

I'll definitely get chopped when the market drops. If that takes a year or two though, it's likely re-balancing will make me better off than sitting in cash. It would also give me peace of mind over waiting for a pop to buy. My guess is I'll opt for a conservative cash cushion and auto investment percent, then just go for it. I am taking a few days to let my mind settle.

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:03 pm

Progress:

1. Setup auto-investment of surplus cashflow into target funds. Have not pulled the trigger on large a lump sum cash investment. Still waiting on the HSA auto-sweep to kick in before I invest there. I have to pay per transaction in the hsa.

2. Blood work came back. It was surprisingly good. Much better than deserved considering my dietary choices.

Regression

3. In the period waiting for results, after the high blood pressure reading, I identified a lot of weak areas in my food and exercise. I started implementing changes and am going to continue with them anyway. My food costs will go up.

4. My wife wants me to join a new gym so we can swim together. It is expensive, not strongman expensive, but almost quadruple the cost of my old gym.

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Family father
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Family father » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:01 am

I don't see #4 necessarily as a regression:

1/4 of the cost is Gym, the rest is money spent to share activities with your wife...

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:01 am

Did my wife send you? That is the argument in favor. Once a week works out to $25 a swim. Expensive exercise, cheap date. It is one of the nicer gyms in it area. Not my people, so to speak.

There's a training pool by us that is $35/month, but other than a very nice lap pool, I think it's super bare bones. They converted a warehouse. I've encouraged her to give it a look.

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Re: What I Spend

Post by theanimal » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:40 am

If you are only planning on going once a week, it might be worthwhile to inquire about day passes. There are a couple gyms/pools by me that sell single use passes for $5-10.

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Re: What I Spend

Post by Family father » Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:44 pm

Scott 2 wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:01 am
Did my wife send you? That is the argument in favor.
Actually yes, but you are not suposed to know.. :D (10% of the gym cost is my commission: interested in splitting? ;) )

Just a few random thoughts:

If I understand well, the nice gym is aprox $100/month, while the cheap one is 35, so the real cost of your dates is $65/month = $16,25/date.

OTOH swimming is not a very social sport, unless the gym has some "sauna/jacuzzi/spa" área where you can spend time together, or you have and do a nice walk to/from the gym or something like that...

Since she is asking, maybe you can set some rules to ensure you have the right "dating" enviroment... (too much to ask for, sometimes :))
Scott 2 wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:01 am
Not my people, so to speak.
But if your wife enjoyed dancing, and you took her somewhere to dance: you probably wouldn't think much about not feeling with your kind of people there, would you?

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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:35 pm

We mostly wander between the hot tub and the two pools. It's pretty leisurely and social. I did find an annual couples membership gets the cost down to $80 a person per month. That's better, but it's also a recurring cost of $1000 a year. We'll see.

I do decline activities if I don't want to be around the people, or if I just don't like doing them. Dancing happens to be one of those things. My wife tolerates it pretty well after all these years.

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:51 am

I can't bring myself to lump sum invest the cash I accumulated last year. Given it is likely to lose value, there are probably better ways it can generate real benefit in day to day life. For me, allocating money this way is much, much harder than spending the minimum I can tolerate.

Justifying a financial outlay is my barrier. I am particular. Every purchase requires research, consideration, reconsideration, etc. Here are the changes I am trying:

1. I've agreed to the fancy swimming gym at $80 a month. Supposedly it is a month to month contract. I suspect this is a long-term recurring cost, in other words, especially expensive. We'll go at least 8 hours a month, and I might lift there occasionally.

2. As alluded earlier, I am eating more expensive foods - almonds instead of chips, berries instead of apples, etc. While I pulled back from high grocery bills late last year, the difference is a focus on quality. Previously, my extra costs came from higher-end grocery stores and packaged foods. I am still shopping at Aldi and heavily favoring unprocessed foods.

3. I am saying yes to eating out with people. Lunch with my parents this week, dinner with friends next week, lunch with my wife's family next week, etc. We go to $8-12 a meal places, but 4-5x a month can add up.

4. I started running out of ideas, so I am gifting $1000 to my wife's sister in celebration of her first child. As a rule, my wife and I do zero gifts of any type. No Christmas, birthdays, valentines day, anything. So this makes me a little nervous. She can use the money and has never asked us for anything. I won't notice it is missing. Hopefully, there is no fallout.


Those changes leave most of last year's cash untouched. Other ideas in pre-contemplation:

1. We have an 18 cubic foot fridge, but space for a 25 cubic foot fridge. Every week, when I get home from the store, I sit on the floor carefully fitting produce into the constrained space. Early in the week, I constantly move foods to get to other foods. But we eat well, and the fridge is working. I estimate $1500.

2. There are a few plumbing problems we've been living with / ignoring. I took a token stab at one of them a month ago. It has come back. I have very little interest or tolerance for this sort of work. But clean water comes in, dirty water goes out. I estimate $500.

3. The washer and dryer are closing in on 20 years old. The spin cycle on the washer needs an extra go now and then. The dryer needs a couple of cycles to handle bigger loads. All tolerable, maybe even fixable. Our clothes are clean, I do laundry 0-1x a week, and I wonder if new machines would be better. Maybe $400 for repairs would add another 10 years of life. No experience buying these. I estimate $1500.

4. Similarly, the dishwasher is from 1999. It doesn't always get stuff clean and crud accumulates. My wife does the dishes, so this causes me zero trouble :). I estimate $500.

5. A Nintendo Switch interests me. However, I am perfectly happy with my 3DS, sit on a two-game backlog, and know there are at least ten others I'd enjoy. Price will drop over the next few years, and Nintendo has a pattern of upgrading the hardware a couple of years into the product cycle. Including more expensive games and a controller, I estimate $500.


All of these require research on my part and dealing with shopping. I hate shopping.

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Re: What I Spend

Post by jacob » Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:11 pm

There's a Parkinson's Law equivalent for storage space filling up any free space with stuff. One unintentional side-effect of a larger fridge is therefore potential food waste. We deliberately bought a small fridge for exactly that reason. This way the number of condiments and eventual compost stays low. The size is such that it would be semi-rare for us to be able to store so much we wouldn't be able to eat it before expiry. It's also hard for stuff to hide in the back, so this prevents having two open containers of the same thing in various parts of the fridge.

A larger fridge would be justified to reduce the number of grocery runs...but for that a freezer is often better.

PS: If you have problems with too much surplus cash, you can always send it to me :lol:

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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:29 pm

I know it's a joke, but gifting (upon death) is the default "easy" solution to cash hoarding. I can't shake the feeling that accumulating a high score until then is wasted potential. Maximizing quality of life, by optimally deploying assets today, is an interesting problem.

Excellent point on food waste. There's a good chance we'll fill any size fridge. My wife and I have discussed that. I already open multiples of the same condiment. And there's the environmental impact of trashing an appliance. On the other hand, it would be nice to have more than one cold can of seltzer at a time. I am not avoiding groceries due to space, but it does influence when and what I cook.

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Re: What I Spend

Post by jacob » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:52 pm

Another suggestion would be to buy from local supermarket or hire local tradesmen even if it's not the cheapest under the theory that it establishes better/more interdependent relationships in the community; keeps money circulating (keep RE prices up/increasing by avoiding defaults in overleveraged small businesses); and keeping the optionality for the service level. (We currently have a couple of guys who will show up the same day if there's a problem because we're local (relative to their "office" so on the way between their jobs) and repeat business. That is very nice!)

I avoid [appliance] upgrade fever for environmental reasons. However, one option is to trade it in if it breaks instead of fixing it and use that as an excuse to get a new [used] one. Then they can fix it and resell it. Buying used avoids the environmental impact. We have a local appliance shop that will do this. They also accept haggling for prices :)

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