What I Spend

Where are you and where are you going?
Scott 2
Posts: 1517
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

I dropped $1100 on a high end exercise sled. An extremely overpriced dolly:

https://www.torquefitness.com/products/tanktm-m2

This thing is pure luxury. So expensive my post almost seems like a joke. But it is high intensity cardio I'll do. And I am buying my quality of life back. I have no confidence in using a public gym this Summer.

secretgarden
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:58 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by secretgarden »

Scott 2 wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 12:12 pm
Much better than last month - on track to my estimate. Unusual expenses - insurance, 20lbs of protein, year of online yoga classes, fancy eating, extra work travel. December is a high income month. Between meeting the 401k cap, dividends and year end bonus, at least triple normal. A couple treats slipped in as a result.

I think January will be closer to $2000. Food inventory is high, very little work travel planned and education queues are full. I've also decided to stop ordering free restaurant delivery. It escalated to multiple times a week and is not a constructive pattern. The evening online yoga classes will help with this, because they don't work well if my stomach is too full.
Restaurant delivery is what has been difficult to cut for me, but it's awesome that you are able to!
Last edited by secretgarden on Thu May 14, 2020 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Scott 2
Posts: 1517
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

It's a lot easier to avoid restaurants, now that I am paranoid about people handling my cooked food. April has $0 spent on restaurants.


Previewing my April spend, it is the highest yet (excluding taxes). However, my net worth has recovered to mid-December levels, so I'm not too bothered. I do think the higher amount reflects a temporary transition cost - making long term social isolation mentally sustainable.

Once that settles down, I suspect recurring expenses will end up lower. The only item which should be up is groceries, due to instacart delivery with a 20% tip. So many other things have been cut - restaurants. work travel, house keeper, social outings, gym membership, etc. Maybe as early as May, I'll see expenses heading quickly in the opposite direction.


I feel fortunate my work provides personal growth and positive social interactions. Otherwise, having the last 4 months (12/16 to 4/25) net out at $0 change in net worth, would feel very frustrating. I still find myself selfishly jealous of those getting a few months off, even unpaid.

Scott 2
Posts: 1517
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

April 2020 Total (Couple) - $4297
Entertainment - $1,482.66
Groceries - $1,194.90
Insurance - $709.78
Home Maintenance - $260.00
Pets/Pet Care - $242.62
Utilities - $208.38
Telephone - $198.97

Expensive month.

Luxuries caused the spike, by $2k. $1100 on exercise equipment. $450 on whisky. $200 on Easter gifts. $250 on foster cat supplies. Fortunately, they are not recurring needs. We have more frugal solutions in normal times. I am happy to buy quality of life back right now.

In recurring annual expenses, property insurance and my wife's phone came up. Those remain well optimized.

We cancelled membership at the luxury gym. It's normally on hold ($15/month) until we can swim in the summer ($130/month), but I can't envision using a public pool this year.

We're going to move from using garbage stickers (bought in person) to renting a bin soon. That's an extra $5-10 a month. A couple things bug me about the bin rental model, so I've been on stickers for at least 10 years. My desire to avoid the store is stronger though.

Going full instacart with our grocery shopping, including a 20% tip, has made little financial impact. Especially with eating out so undesirable. I'm going to be very slow in giving it up. The larger tip, coupled with multi-week orders, has dramatically improved service quality. Produce is much more carefully selected. Shoppers are fully engaged on the app when replacements come up. Special requests for unlisted products are no problem. It's great.


Next month will be around $2k for recurring expenses. The spending bug is out of my system. I expect few luxuries. It might be time to figure out cleaning our own house, but I don't expect that to cost much. Property taxes will get paid - about $4500.


Today's net worth was first hit on 12/25/2019. My instinct is to focus on recovery to a new high score. I need to break that pattern, or I'm going to have a hard time moving into a draw down phase.

Scott 2
Posts: 1517
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Unrelated to spending, despite the increased social distancing, I manged run a fever in the 102-103 range early this week. I am much better, but it highlighted areas of weakness. Where did I go wrong to get sick? Is my wife going to get sick? Will the 20 year old digital thermometer keep working? Could I used the cooking thermometer? How much of the half bottle of Tylenol can I take? Should I stop feeding the cats? Can they still go to bed with me at night?

That's on top of the obvious - "Is this covid-19?" train of thought. The symptoms are so broad - maybe, maybe not? Between watching a video of the testing process, the apparent scarcity of tests, and reading stories about test related expenses not covered by insurance, it seems I'll remain ignorant. My inclination is to assume no on covid-19, since that is most likely, and continue or intensify social distancing.

I am going to watch for opportunities to better prepare. More Tylenol, for instance. What a stupid thing to need to ration.

Scott 2
Posts: 1517
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

I am bouncing back from being sick. Tuesday was my first day lifting in about a week.


A couple events suggest I need to recalibrate my self image.


I decided to add up monthly earnings, after taxes are taken out of my check. I thought it'd be interesting to evaluate what I spend vs what I save in a month. I dunno about posting income here, but I saved more despite last month's crazy than I expected. I was hoping for financial inventive to add frugal structure to my days. It's not there. I like to think even $5 is worthy of consideration, but practically speaking, $1000 barely matters anymore.

That shift was reinforced listening to the latest edition of Your Money or You Life. As she walked through her tactics, I kept thinking - "that's a petty waste of time, how a poor person thinks about money". The author is trying to bridge early Wheaton levels effectively. I was surprised to be so far removed from the book's audience. I loved that book. It's one of the few I've gifted to others.


Several weeks ago a new position was posted at work, one I am well qualified for. Historically I would have considered it a stretch, but a "good" job. I briefly fantasized about applying, but ruled it out due to in office requirements. Several days later, I was asked to help interview candidates. It turns out I'm seen as a peer to the hiring manager, as well as an internal expert on the profession.



This is all a little off putting. Status is something I've historically avoided and find viscerally unappealing. Outside of work, I seek places where everyone is better than me. My ego tends to get caught up entirely in progress and what I'll do next. I automatically dismiss things I've done as easy. It's not cool to try, after all. I've had one foot out the door my entire career.

Now those half committed achievements are things others aspire to. It is callous to treat them as no big deal, even if I'm not impressed. There is also an aspect of carelessly using power to consider. My lightly considered action may be damaging to others, despite zero negative intent on my part.


Not sure what to make of all this. I suppose the growing chasm between my authentic self and my 21 year old idealized self needs to be bridged. A big part of me wants to run and abdicate responsibility, seeking a place where I can be the underdog. The desire sustain access to existing work toys causes reconsideration. Ignoring it has been going ok for me personally. I also like knowing I am getting money, to level that net worth high score.

Exercising status and demonstrating some greater leadership could be an interesting experiment. It might be a hard genie to rebottle though.


I remain far more impressed by the guy who can build a house then the one who can pay someone to build it. I guess it's human nature to admire strengths you don't have.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 1763
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by classical_Liberal »

Scott 2 wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 3:55 pm
A big part of me wants to run and abdicate responsibility, seeking a place where I can be the underdog.
I have this same feeling. I think it impacts my actions more than I'd like to think. After every contract i get an exit review, and each time I'm sure they will complain about how I can't keep my mouth shut and try to get management to make changes for the unit/hospital base on what I'm seeing on the floor. I just had another one today, it never happens. Despite thinking that I'm putting myself out there for "the little guy", evidently I don't do it enough to ever shake things up. Our mental picture of reality so rarely conforms with other's mental picture, it often astounds me.
Scott 2 wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 3:55 pm
I remain far more impressed by the guy who can build a house then the one who can pay someone to build it. I guess it's human nature to admire strengths you don't have.
Me too. It wouldn't surprise me if this highly selective of the types who are active in this forum though. Again though, this is kind-of related to the not wanting responsibility. If I screw up something i'm building for myself, it really only matters to me.
Scott 2 wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 3:55 pm
I like to think even $5 is worthy of consideration, but practically speaking, $1000 barely matters anymore.
I used to feel the same way about reducing expenses. The COVID situation has been a nice surprise, in that, it kind-of reversed my thinking on this. Not that it has an impact on my income, but rather the general idea of how a black swan can change things up so quickly in real life is more apparent. It makes me want to become more independent from the economy, of course lower spending is a side effect of any action towards that end. So, if you want to lower spend, but can't find the motivation, maybe look for a different goal that does motivate you that is tangentially related?

Scott 2
Posts: 1517
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Economic independence is a much more appealing goal than low spend. Recognizing my relative fragility makes it desirable. The low absolute spending was really a proxy for freedom

What traps me is being comfortable in a locally optimized maximum. Every month there is more money and increased earning opportunity at work. The effort is disproportionally low, compared to any other rewards I might seek. Being an employee also insulates me from the risk of America's healthcare system. At this point I am a hardcore specialist and benefit accordingly.

I am also really bad at physical skills. Just not well coordinated or handy. After putting my best hours into work, I fail at finding motivation to suck. I am also generally content to do without. Knowing I can easily throw money at problems, only encourages the lazy behavior.

Elimination of my job would probably fast track a transition, possibly leading to a more satisfying life. Like you though, my bold risk taking at work is apparently anything but. Walking away seems dumb, when they tolerate me doing almost anything I want.

That's where I come full circle to reconsidering self image. If I'm gonna be the man, maybe I should be all in, go full tech bro.

Scott 2
Posts: 1517
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Net worth is back to 1/02/2020. I am still watching for recovery to a new high score. I can't help it. My peak was on 2/19/2020. At the same time, I'm wondering if there will be a summer time crash, in response to the problems caused by re-opening efforts.

10 days into the month, we've spent $700, just 3 transactions. I feel more confident peak expenses over March and April were transition costs.

The big tech companies are extending work from home, as late as end of year for Google. It is likely my company will follow suit.

I've been doing a more technical process improvement project, which I took from one of our dev managers. There's no reason I should be expected to own it, but I am putting in the extra time and learning a lot. A few times a year, I pick up something like this. It will permanently increase my value and job security. I find learning spikes like this to be more effective than taking on constant additional responsibility.

Scott 2
Posts: 1517
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Paid my property taxes. They jumped from $4400 in 2018 to $5500 in 2019. I did not see that coming.

My home value was assessed about 8% higher. Most of the jump is funding for our public schools and fire department. I don't like paying for it, but those seem like worthwhile causes. Our taxes remain some of the lowest in the area. I am annoyed at the large percentage change.

Scott 2
Posts: 1517
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

May 2020 Total (Couple) - $7063
Taxes - $5,520.46
Groceries - $725.11
Home Maintenance - $260.00
Pets/Pet Care - $163.93
Telephone - $104.94
Utilities - $98.65
Home Improvement - $93.68
Healthcare/Medical - $68.28
Entertainment - $27.99

Already posted, but property taxes were the big expense. Still annoyed they are up over 20%.

Otherwise, spending is lower than historical norms - $1543 ignoring taxes. No eating out. No driving. No events. Nothing to add up. We are even carrying some unusual expenses - 3 year renewal of 2 internet domains, a few more foster cat supplies and the tail end of shopping for quality of life via Amazon. Groceries remain delivery only, with a 20% tip for the shopper.

My wife gave me a new haircut - Mohawk. It has been a hit on conference calls. I enjoy the shorter hair and look forward to fully shaving my head. I tend to run hot and this is much more comfortable.

There was a moment earlier this week, where I wanted to walk away from work. It became clear two of our biggest annual projects are troubled. No fallout yet, but I know the early symptoms. They are going to get much worse. While I'm not in charge of either, the phase where I work on them is about to start. I've been through this a few times before. It will be rough.

I have introduced some strict daily rituals in hopes of separating myself from the feeling. If I can keep my ego out of my work life, everything is fine. Nobody is unhappy with me, my income is secure, and couldn't ask for better work/life balance options. The entire company is working from home 100% of the time. Officially it's through June, but I bet the option remains through year end. I am learning new things and working with smart people. My boss proactively broached the topic of career progression with me, just last week.

Yet, with events of the past few months, I am more conscious of the opportunity cost of working. It makes embracing the impending failures much harder.


June spending should be similar to May's post-tax number, probably around $1600. The only expected unusual expense is $250 for auto insurance. The car feels like a burden at the moment, but it's not like we want to rely on Uber.

Cheepnis
Posts: 246
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by Cheepnis »

Killer spending in light of that ridiculous tax burden!

My hair was getting down to shoulder length in the back so I gave myself a mullet for a day before going high and tight all around. Whoever thought the mullet was a good idea? Hahaha, what a crazy hairstyle.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 1763
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by classical_Liberal »

Scott 2 wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 12:23 pm
The car feels like a burden at the moment, but it's not like we want to rely on Uber.
I'm to this point as well. I could easily use a mix of Uber/public transit/biking and get by without one. The problem is my cost of ownership is so low that I really wouldn't save much in terms of dollars by getting rid of it and only relying on the other options. It would save me time in the sense of maintenance and mental space, but i'd likely lose that time back in convenience and time length of transport. The other thing for me is the perceived freedom car ownership brings from a travel perspective. I may actually travel less without it, which is also both a good and a bad thing.

Scott 2
Posts: 1517
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

@cheepins - A mullet might be the perfect video conference haircut.

@classical_liberal - I waited until my mid-20's to own a car. I even moved into my current suburban townhouse without one. It was doable, but made life small. Going out to eat meant biking to pizza hut, then hoping I didn't get sick from the lunch buffet on my way home. The social distancing life is even smaller though, so that's part of the annoyance. About half our drives over the past 3 months have been to ensure the car doesn't sit too long. Add the car insurance bill on top, and I'm looking at $50+ per useful drive.

On the other hand, there were a few doctor appointments that would have been a huge hassle without the luxury. When I think about spending money to increase resilience, the reliable vehicle is very high on my list. I agree it's not all that expensive for the benefits.

Scott 2
Posts: 1517
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Spent about $300 on protein and associated powders, 20% off. Works out to $8.40/lb for brand name whey isolate.

Net worth is back up to 2/13 levels, less than $2k off of the 2/19 peak. I expect a new high score this month.

Scott 2
Posts: 1517
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Hit a new high score. Twice.

This week's market drop was offset by an inheritance on my wife's side, from a grandparent that passed about 18 months ago. As one might imagine, wind down of the estate involved a lot of drama. It's good to see that chapter closed.

Spending for the month is low, $664 so far. I expect another $300-500 for food, but there just aren't many opportunities to buy these days.

I joined the wait list for a concept 2 rower. The estimated duration is eight weeks, so who knows if I'll still be interested by then. It seems unlikely I am going back to the gym this year. I might spend another $1000 for novelty, as a reward for continuing to work.

Work is up and down. Last week, I wanted to walk away. This week, I stopped trying so hard and am doing better. The business continues to grow, but it leads to bureaucracy, which I hate. It is not what I signed up for and very frustrating. But, if I stop trying to force my own agenda, I face very little pressure. I helped build the business, am expert in what we do and liked well enough. I'd guess a decade of coasting into success is available to me. My cognitive dissonance is ongoing and unresolved.

The obvious answer here is to direct my resources and energy into greater resilience. Clean the house. Learn to use tools. Grow food. Etc. My expenses could be much closer to Jacob's. But, I am so lazy. It doesn't happen. I did stick a handful of green onion into a beer mug of water. It is growing. Maybe that is a glimmer of progress.

Scott 2
Posts: 1517
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Given the net worth high score, I calculated my asset allocations:

Asset - actual (target)
Cash - 23% (5%)
Int. Bond - 5% (8%)
US Bond - 17% (24%)
Int. Stock - 14% (16%)
US Stock - 41% (47%)

Despite the market recovery and increases to automated investing in March, progress towards my target allocation has not been significant. Some unexpected income that offset the plan. The recurring investment should have been double what I set. I cannot make sense of current stock/bond valuations, so I am going to hold course anyways.

If there is another dramatic crash later this year, I may revisit strategy or even manually re-allocate. I don't understand how current valuations withstand events like a covid-19 rebound, ending of pandemic unemployment assistance, and election uncertainty. If that all plays out into a real estate crash, maybe the cash on hand will be great anyways.

Spending is up to 1382 for the month, tracking closely to the expected $1600.

Scott 2
Posts: 1517
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

June 2020 Total (Couple) - $2260
Groceries - $716.19
Pets/Pet Care - $664.01
Insurance - $376.49
Home Maintenance - $260.00
Utilities - $216.37
Entertainment - $27.94

The biggest unplanned expense was a $400 visit to the emergency vet. Out of nowhere, our cat started showing symptoms that could have been a deadly blood clot or broken bone. We debated on waiting until morning, but ultimately erred on the side of caution. The cat was fine. Stupid cat. I'd do it again and am fortunate to have the means. Very happy to have a car for problems like this. We didn't get home until 2am and were not allowed in the building.

Other unplanned items - annual online backup service ($125), pet supplies for the next 3-6 months ($284) and a year of protein powder ($300). These are predictable, but I wasn't paying attention.

I expect July will be close to $1600, maybe even under.


Work remains up and down. My career is doing great. But I've also reached the point where most of my day is other people's problems. Ugh. Meanwhile, I am calculating how my assets can generate income at 139% of the poverty line. Healthcare remains the big FIRE wildcard. I am far from all in on either path, taking things month by month.

I finally replaced the broken toilet seat. Maybe I'll get the king size mattress out of my living room in July.

Scott 2
Posts: 1517
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

The king size mattress is gone, largely due to my wife's efforts. She even got someone to take it. I was going to trash it.

Net worth hit a new high score, well above the February's high. It makes no sense. I am steadfastly executing the investment plan.

In a good example of work being hit or miss, I got excited about an idea. I spent good parts of Friday, Saturday and Sunday on it. Great progress, with multiple proofs of concept to show people this week. Yet, today, I struggled to complete the work that is actually expected of me. This is despite a big milestone looming end of week. !@#%.

We discovered grocery delivery through the Meijer website has prices on par with Aldi via Instacart. That opens a lot of additional food options for us. It is a nice morale boost, especially since we are not jumping into the overly eager re-opening that is sweeping the nation. I am jealous of everyone else's fun, and a bit resentful it is going to inevitably delay mine.

Scott 2
Posts: 1517
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Hit the big work milestone, but it concluded with high stress work from midnight to 4am on Sunday, wrecking my sleep and weekend. That lead to a $300 instacart order, 2/3 of which was junk. Multiple $50 bottles of whisky, 5 pints of ben and jerrys, etc. Of course I will enjoy it, but better to have avoided the cascading effect of working all night.

I did gain traction on my ideas from the prior weekend. I am pushing a more modern approach on things. Eventually, it should reduce incidence and severity of the late nights. I am interested and like the money, but still do not know if the opportunity cost is worth it. I made a lot of progress last week, but put in significant overtime and lost much sleep.

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