What I Spend

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Cheepnis
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Cheepnis » Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:13 am

Congratulations on not getting fired yet! And best of luck going forward. Changing habits is hard, but absolutely worth it. For the haircut you can always just go with a buzz. No skill necessary that way. I general use the 1/4" attachment up the sides/back and the 1/2" attachment on top.

There is something comforting with routine. I find when I have extended weekends I tend to do less than I plan. Part of me wants to blame being burnt out front work and not having a non-work routine in place, but I know that if my diligence was heightened that wouldn't be a factor.

When I do FIRE or SEMI-FIRE I'm excited to see to see my own routine. I think I'll be looking at volunteering as a means of injecting routine to my life.

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:30 pm

Thanks. I learned today that a haircut + beard trim costs more than just a haircut. $40 to see the barber. My wife came with and watched. She picked up some details and we are more enthused about trying at home next time.

Will
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Will » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:01 am

Scott 2 wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:30 pm
Thanks. I learned today that a haircut + beard trim costs more than just a haircut. $40 to see the barber. My wife came with and watched. She picked up some details and we are more enthused about trying at home next time.
Good progress! In my experience the biggest step is to just do it. Yesterday I just picked up the scissors, a comb and a trimmer and started cutting my own hair, after you did the first cut you cannot go back anyway. I used https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.wikihow. ... n)%3famp=1 as my only source of information.

My girlfriend fixed the tiny details I missed and it looks quite ok. Not perfect, but acceptable. People usually do not pay too much attention to it anyway. Today I noticed a couple of hairs which I missed, so there's some restoration work to be done tonight!

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:18 am

That's a good guide.

I really have no excuse. Fear of messing up is holding me back.

My wife has been cutting her own hair for several years. She's even moved on to bleaching and coloring it for fun. I have been trimming the cat for twice that long. I also hate going for haircuts, as evidenced by the 3 months between trips. I don't like the small talk or having a stranger in my personal space. Typically, the results are mediocre. I had to clean up the neck line on my beard after this most recent cut.


In an unrelated, but still ERE minded failure, I have been trying to replace fresh broccoli and brussel sprouts with frozen. It has not gone well. I really like these vegetables roasted, but the frozen varieties have come out soft and gummy. I guess they are blanched before they are flash frozen. Before giving up, I am going to give defrosting in the microwave a try, so I can use a high heat in the oven. More than saving money, my goal is to reduce prep time and lengthen how long I can comfortably last between trips to the store.

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theanimal
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Re: What I Spend

Post by theanimal » Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:43 am

Scott 2 wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:18 am

In an unrelated, but still ERE minded failure, I have been trying to replace fresh broccoli and brussel sprouts with frozen. It has not gone well. I really like these vegetables roasted, but the frozen varieties have come out soft and gummy. I guess they are blanched before they are flash frozen. Before giving up, I am going to give defrosting in the microwave a try, so I can use a high heat in the oven. More than saving money, my goal is to reduce prep time and lengthen how long I can comfortably last between trips to the store.
That's what I do more or less. I don't use the microwave but you have to defrost them before you cook if you want a crisper texture. I like the frozen veggies for the same reason you do and additionally in my case they cost less and usually taste better than what is offered fresh. The only thing that bothers me a little bit is the increase in plastic.

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:21 pm

Of course, I can just leave them out to defrost and save myself a step. I was over thinking things.

The frozen are a lot cheaper here as well - 1/3 to 1/2 the price of fresh, depending on season and store.

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:02 pm

Work is going pretty well. I haven't been in the office in six weeks. My productivity feels supercharged. I was underestimating the toll of travel. Outside of general stress, the fluctuating sleep schedule messed me up. I've been consistent rising at 7:30am and am doing better for it.

I am working to build new patterns on this stable schedule. Starting my morning by opening the blinds, doing some exercises to help with plantar fasciitis, and brushing/flossing is consistent. Evening yoga has been 50/50, work is much more likely interfere with my evenings. Front loading the morning seems to be key. Lifting remains a victim of my life changes.

I think a more optimal strategy is pushing that wake time an hour earlier, so I can always lift, shower, eat before the work day starts. I haven't bit that off yet though. Repatterning life to go to bed earlier is really hard for me.

On the spending side of things, I've been a little loose about food delivery, both groceries and carryout. Avoiding the crappy weather, sick people, and wasted time is very compelling. It's a rational investment given my constraints, but spending $20 on some Chipotle does give me a twinge of pain. Luckily a hot burrito means I can eat my feelings.

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 2:27 pm

My boss talked me into 90% remote and it's going to leadership this week. If that works out, I'll have my new normal established. I don't want to travel at all, but I both like and am invested in my work. He was also supportive of me blocking time to attend my wife's yoga class. Decent money for something I enjoy 90% of the time is appealing. A year of work bumps my FIRE spending by about 15% and this feels like it could be sustainable.

I do find myself considering a false dichotomy - either making this job work out or FIRE. But the reality is, I probably would find something else to do. I like to play with a computer, and it's nice feel smart and valued for it.

The weather has been crummy, so I've spent very little money on shopping or food delivery. I feel bad asking someone to go out in it, and I don't want to either. I am eating down the pantry and freezer. With a little work, my meals have been surprisingly good. I'd gotten lazy about cooking stuff like beans, buying low effort foods instead. So it's a good change of pace revisiting some old favorites, in addition to saving money.

Lifting is on track for two weeks in a row now. My knees aren't all that thrilled, but something always hurts these days, especially with the cold discouraging a lot of movement. Sleep has been stable. Rather than forcing myself to wake via an alarm, I am focused on getting to bed early enough that I wake up when I want. The downside is more total time spent on sleeping, and I am up earlier than I intend at times. But I can't choose how fast I fall asleep, so I have to allow for when it takes awhile.

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:07 pm

The past couple of days have been a coupling of extremes. On the ERE side of things:

I trimmed the hairline around my ears with scissors. It's a small step towards doing my whole head at home. I'm also getting better at cleaning up the facial hair. Long scissors seem to make this easier, which wasn't intuitive to me. I'm still slow with the mustache.

I roasted frozen broccoli again, letting it thaw like animal suggested, pressing the water out before tossing it in avacodo oil, and then cooking at 450. I enjoyed eating the final product, it was pretty good. I do prefer roasted fresh broccoli, but this was definitely acceptable.

I pushed out the grocery store a few more days and continue eating down my pantry. I finished the frozen fruit today.


On the high earning salary man side of things, I used super bowl Sunday to treat my wife to two museums and a fancy vegetarian dinner in the city. People stay home to watch football and we took advantage. Cost was never considered as a constraint.

We took Uber and Taxis into and around the city, for hassle free travel. At one museum I paid $5 for a locker, then another $5 for an iced tea. All tickets were bought day of at full price. We had multiple entrees at dinner, drinks, appetizers, dessert, etc. The full day was about $400.

We've done this in the past as a low cost experience. It involves packing lunch the night before, figure out a deal on the museum tickets (library checkout, borrowing an arts discount card, or the dreaded free day), driving to the train, riding that downtown, catching a bus to the museum, carrying our crap, eating in the brown baggers cafeteria with the families, and reversing the whole thing to get home. That usually includes an hour stuck waiting for the next train home

Money definitely makes the whole experience better. We had less stress, did more, took less time and energy out of the weekend, reduced the chance of getting sick, etc. I really appreciated the privilege of being able to burn $400 on a city date.

The money going to causes I value really made the high prices more palatable. It's not so bad to drop $100 at a museum. I like going and it supports the cultural resource. Contributing $90 towards arguably one of the finest vegetarian restaurants in the country means a great meal, but it also encourages the availability of great vegetarian food.

The Ubers are a pure indulgence, but it's a great price for my free time and stress reduction.

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:51 pm

I think the switch to working 90% remote has succeeded. I feel fortunate. There is also part of me that is disappointed. Starting a new adventure with new problems would have been exciting. My existing problems are only hard ones, so I'm sure the novelty seeking also reflects my desire to avoid challenge.

I finally ordered some groceries via Instacart. The city date left both my wife and I sick.

I'm sitting on at least 5 years expenses in cash. I had been letting it accumulate in anticipation of being fired and surviving the next economic downturn without drawing down investments. I'm going to have more money coming in and need to figure out what to do with it. Right now my default is money market and CDs.

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:07 pm

I've started attempting the hard work problems and can feel myself beginning to fixate on them. When that happens, it is very rewarding for me. I crave the stimulus and as a result am feeling enthusiastic about work.

Spending remains stable. I bought some stuff to aid in beard and skin care. I'm feeling old.

I haven't done anything about the cash asset allocation problem. My biggest CD matures in a month, but I think it will auto-buy a new one. Maybe I should try a little harder to buy some quality of life.

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:46 pm

I hit a big financial milestone. I spent to celebrate.

I rejoined the cheap gym near my house, at around 30/month. I am really looking forward to weekend morning workouts there. The training culture is much better than the fancy gym my wife and I belong to for swimming. My mom also uses the cheap gym, so I'll see her occasionally, which we both like. This means the $400 per person, per a year, we're paying to the fancy gym is entirely for summer swimming. Screw it, I'm fabulously rich. I've been struggling with training motivation. If this works, the change will be a high value return on investment. My posture and cardio need it.

I got a celebratory bottle of Scotch, the old stuff behind the glass case. I opted for an 18 year Highland Park. I have a 2oz pour of something about once a week, so it'll be around $14 for an evening. Expensive, but cheaper than going out. I expect the bottle to last 6 months, alternated with my $2 a pour bourbon.

This is one of the rare times I am actively aware of legislation impacting me. Last time I bought a bottle of this was about five years ago. The price is up 2/3, because my state passed a law prohibiting shipping of liquor to consumers. I can use the experience as a conversation topic at work, so there will be some return beyond the drink.

I walked my wife through buying a money market with sign on bonus, that's going to give her a high return on cash over the next few months. She's been using a savings account at her credit union until now, so this will be a long term bump in her cash returns as well.

I figured out the education credits documentation for renewing my PMP certification. I'm pretty sure work will pay for that, if not, I'll probably spend the $150. I don't value the certs anymore, but many people that don't understand them do. Might as well maintain it.

I decided to pay for hotels both before and after my work travel days, meaning I travel entirely off peak and eliminate getting up with an alarm. With the reduced frequency of travel, this is a net wash financially. It feels a lot better. It also has me closer to 100% during my infrequent face time with coworkers.

The change has me down to one night a month work is certain to disrupt my sleep. I am still figuring an angle to fix that. I hope to sort it by then end of the year.

My wife and I did an 80% haircut last night, everything but trimming the top and fading the sides into it. The facial hair looks way better than my last barber visit. Around the ears and back of the neck are at least as good, if not better. My wife is helping with those and has to relearn relative to doing her own head. The process was slow, around ninety minutes, mostly me fiddling with trimmer tools. Next time will be faster.

I did get some irritation from clippers on the back of my neck. We're going to try a low guard followed by a razor next time.

I am thrilled to escape the experience of a barber visit.


Following the all my stuff is old thread, I wrote down every life upgrade I could think of, no idea too crazy or lavish. It came to a whopping $60k.

What stuck out to me, was the drastic spread between items. They ranged from "new car, an infrared sauna" to "socks without holes, comfortable underwear for the full laundry cycle". There's really no excuse forgoing the later items, but they all feel the same level of indulgent to me. My behavior is approaching a mental disorder.

I am working to change it. At the very least, I'll sort the list and suffer through shopping the first $1000.

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Kriegsspiel » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:30 pm

Cheap gyms always have better training environments, IME. Even if for the sole reason that you can use chalk in them and nobody cares. I have never been to an expensive (read: prissy) gym that allowed chalk.

bigato
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Re: What I Spend

Post by bigato » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:34 pm

Nice approach, the first $1000 ordered from cheapest to more expensive, is likely to bring a great deal of satisfaction on the dollar!

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:56 pm

The cheap gym is exactly what I wanted. I was there this morning. Hard work came automatically and the environment put me in a meditative state. The drive was easy. I ran into my Mom, who was happy to see me.

It's not a purely hardcore gym, but everyone is there to work. Even the people putting in 40% effort just put their heads down and go. The equipment is all simple and old, but entirely functional.

Nobody is preening. There are no $100/hr trainers trying desperately to entertain clients. There's no cafe selling organic salads and $5 coconut waters.

It's just a big cold building to strain in. So much better.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: What I Spend

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:33 pm

They ranged from "new car, an infrared sauna" to "socks without holes, comfortable underwear for the full laundry cycle". There's really no excuse forgoing the later items, but they all feel the same level of indulgent to me. My behavior is approaching a mental disorder.
lol- BTDT, still working on the recovery manual.

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:09 pm

I still haven't prioritized the shopping list. My dining room light remains broken. We borrowed the torch lamp from a bedroom for it. That bedroom is now lit only by Christmas lights.

My hand was forced on the car. Leaving the yoga studio Thursday evening, dead battery. Being "stranded" feels bad. You can't even abandon the car via an Uber, because the parking lot will tow it and bill you. Got my dad to come jump us. We figured out the tail lights had started sticking on. I hadn't noticed when I parked and the battery drained. This was on top of the worn leaky tires, old battery, doors rusting from the inside out, escalating oil leak, broken sun visors, rough suspension, etc. Our mechanic just retired too, so we decided to retire the car. It was a 2004 sebring with 98k miles on it. We got it used from my grandma in 2008 for $6500, so cost per year was decent. Never liked the car though.

I emailed dealers for quotes Thursday night. I got decent offers worked out and was full prepared to buy a new RAV4 or CRV. I expected to spend 26-30k out the door. Expensive, but figured over a 15 year lifetime, cheap enough. Financing through the dealer was required to get the best price via rebates. So even if someone wants to buy a car in cash, good credit is still important. Annoying.

My wife and I went into the Toyota dealer first, but were very unsure about the RAV4 after driving it. They offered to let us try a used CRV before we bothered going to the Honda dealer. It was way better. Much more comfortable than the RAV4 and still a huge step up from our Sebring. I hate shopping, have no interest in cars, and just wanted to be done. So we agreed to look at price.

I didn't realize negotiating would take 2 hours. My wife and I tried to leave at least 4 times. The sales person had the keys for our trade in, to "get started on checking the price". Lesson learned.

We were genuinely done and intended to just go buy the new CRV. Then the "manager" came down, and we had to try to leave him too. It was exactly the interaction I was trying to avoid, buying new off the internet. I know nothing about cars and arbitrarily anchored on a value, using blue book as my third party authority. The manager ultimately agreed to my price. I will forever wonder if we made it to the final boss, or if there was another tier of manager laughing about the money we left behind.

Provided the car is what they promised, I think the end price was ok. We paid 17k against an 18,900 sticker, for a 2015 CRV EX AWD with 45k miles. Certainly someone buying private party could do better. Trade in for old car was 700, fair enough. I have no stomach for a private party sale, especially on a car with all those problems. The end result was a little under $18k out the door, opposed to the $29k we would have hit new. The purchase feels much more in line with my personal "brand" than a new 2019 model. Insurance is also $150 a year cheaper for the used car vs. new

The experience burned most of my Saturday. I did not enjoy it and dread buying another car in the future.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: What I Spend

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:20 am

Ugh, car dealerships suck.

FWIW you should get a solid 10 years out of the CRV. How was the warranty on a 2015 vs. buying new from Honda?

Scott 2
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Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:41 pm

When I compared used vs. new, I used 10 vs 15 years. We nursed a 2004 Chrysler Sebring to its 15th birthday, so I am honestly hoping the Honda lasts longer.

I was surprised the used car saves only 530 dollars a year (1380 vs. 1930 new). Online articles had me expecting a dramatic difference. Rather, I observed a commodity market accurately valuing age and wear. Only 130 of the difference comes from car price. Most of it is investing dollars saved and lower collision insurance. Financing would amplify the difference, but I don't live in that world. Even private party sale prices seem fairly efficient, accounting for the extra work and risk.

I have no idea about warranties. I think of them as overpriced insurance that will be too much effort to bother with. Granted I've also never had a car warranty. Maybe I do now? I'll only look if something goes catastrophically wrong.

I did very little due diligence - glanced over the car fax, checked the blue book value, skimmed the dealer's google reviews. There was an intuitive judgement of the situation. The dealer's approach to the online quote, proactive offering of the car fax, and accurate valuation of my trade in condition were all consistent with their positive internet reputation. I don't believe I have the skill to differentiate more effectively, without a lot of time investment.

Mentally unpacking the experience, I think the car dealership was anchoring on volume of sales over high margin per vehicle. The crummy sales experience probably reflected that our specific sales person isn't getting much. He was 23 and did dumb things. He dismissed my wife's degenerative arthritis, bragged about his excellent parking compared to mine and tried to solve the RAV4 comfort problem by turning the headrest backwards. I imagine once he matures, he'll move off internet sales or leave for a higher margin environment.

bigato
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Re: What I Spend

Post by bigato » Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:09 pm

Since I know less about cars than probably everybody else here, I have no idea if this information would have been of any use to you or someone reading, but MMM seems to regularly evaluates the car market and make some recommendations on good deals. I saw about it on a youtube video in his channel.

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