What I Spend

Where are you and where are you going?
Scott 2
Posts: 1587
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

I am going to get through the end of year compensation cycle, then evaluate. I hit a lot of big career milestones this year. Aborting that momentum would be less than optimal financially. If the 12 weeks apart haven't provide for sufficient growth, an extended break may be on the table.

Scott 2
Posts: 1587
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

As part of configuring my personal organizer, I inventoried the partially complete or un-started media in my house. Including games, movies, books, audiobooks and podcasts - about 90 items. Most of this is stuff I've paid for. Yet, I often spend (spent?) my time trawling for new media. In hindsight, I was seeking a virtual escape from my work stress. But then I would lack the motivation to use it...

I am looking forward to enjoying what I have, or forever purging it from my queue. I rank ordered the list and will casually work through it.


Late last year, I was eager to move. I made a long list of problems with my house - around 80 issues. We came close to picking a new home, but decided the tradeoffs for my wife were too bad. The discussion was paused, and then Covid hit. Today, I revisited the list. I learned my work angst magnified most of the complaints. Less than 10% made the cut for action items in my personal organizer.


I am sleeping on clean sheets tonight and have a clean towel for tomorrow's shower. Small luxuries, but ones I'd been ignoring for months and weeks, respectively.

mooretrees
Posts: 361
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by mooretrees »

Happy to hear about how the break is going, sounds so useful to know the extent of (negative) impact from your job. Enjoy the rest of your break.

Scott 2
Posts: 1587
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Thanks, mooretrees.

More progress this week:

1. I rolled all my media wish lists into the centralized tracker. Now I have a focused set of queues, so I can consume what is most appealing to me. I also got my Libby app working on the fire stick, so I can consume the same audio book at all times. I realized letting "I own this" dictate how I spend my time, is a mistake. The real cost of media consumed is the time spent.

2. I am trying to batch my internet use once a week. Big time saver, if I can follow through. I no longer have reason to hide online, so I need to cut it out.

3. I have cleaned, a little each day. It is clear I struggle with this because I never learned the skill. I went from living with my parents, to letting a couple apartments rot away, to paying a housekeeper. I am working on learning now. I think it will get easier and more efficient with time. Yesterday, I needed almost an hour to clean a half bath. The toilet still isn't _that_ clean, lots of mineral build up where the water sits.

4. I am making a point to cook something every day, not just always eat prepared foods. This often includes food for my wife. Eventually, I think the pattern will lower food costs. So far though, I am getting excited and ordering special foods. I have 3 types of chocolate chips and 2 types of flour, for instance. I am also moving a lot more and eating extra as a result, maybe a 50% bump in calories.

5. I haven't been to the store since Covid hit. I never liked going anyways and my wife is in a high risk group. We've started looking at how to shop safely. Picked up a couple masks, have goggles on the way, etc. Since it seems like mid-2021 before life returns to normal, it's time to figure it out.

6. I've been very consistent with morning exercise. It's going well enough now that I'm augmenting my lifting with timed circuits, progressive resistance and consistent exercise choices. For the past couple weeks, I had moved to a logged plan, but it was very open ended - press 4x10, for instance. I'd do whatever press variation for whatever weight felt good. My joints are starting to feel good enough that I'm more comfortable sticking with something, like "seated dumbbell press - 4x10x40". I am not making max goals at this time, however. There's still too much ground from my prior peaks to do that safely.

Hristo Botev
Posts: 772
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by Hristo Botev »

Scott 2 wrote:
Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:25 am
3. I have cleaned, a little each day. It is clear I struggle with this because I never learned the skill. I went from living with my parents, to letting a couple apartments rot away, to paying a housekeeper. I am working on learning now. I think it will get easier and more efficient with time. Yesterday, I needed almost an hour to clean a half bath. The toilet still isn't _that_ clean, lots of mineral build up where the water sits.
Good on you. It took COVID for us to FINALLY get comfortable cleaning the house ourselves. I knock out the bedrooms and the bathrooms Saturday morning, and DW knocks out the kitchen and the family room. And about once a month I mop the hardwoods. We're getting faster, in part because now that we're actually cleaning up after ourselves, we're much better about not leaving any messes during the week. I'm worried, however, that now that the kids' weekend activities are picking back up, we'll have less time to get the cleaning done.

Scott 2
Posts: 1587
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

I envy that you are already there. I am unreasonably resistant to cleaning up my own messes, sorely lacking in such a basic life skill.

Scott 2
Posts: 1587
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

September 2020 Total (Couple) - $1708

Groceries - $920.06
Home Maintenance - $380.46
Healthcare/Medical - $197.82
Utilities - $106.74
Entertainment - $102.38

Spending was very close to last month's guess of $1700. Not for the reasons I expected, however. The cat did not need additional vet care and my wife did not get new bedding.

Groceries spending was up, driven by work frustration early in the month. I downed 6 pints of ben and jerry's in 5 days. Work stopped, and I haven't had any ice cream since. I've been cooking more during leave, but also eating more and buying special ingredients. I think this will return closer to $700 in October.

The rest of the optional spending was transition costs related to my leave. We're investing a little more in the house. I am (of course) spending more on entertainment - various games, media and software. Healthcare is where I'm putting the Covid-19 accessory budget. We've ordered a variety of masks and are waiting on prescription eye protection. We are starting to leave the house a little. I attended a yoga workshop my wife taught. I am seeing the dentist next week.


October spending will land around $1900. Groceries might be down, but my wife needs bedding and shoes. I am seeing the dentist for a cleaning and the doctor for a physical. We need to setup a cleaning system, which means buying various sorely lacking tools - spray bottles, a mop, cleaners, cloths, etc. This will all be cheaper than one visit from the housekeeper, but we have almost nothing. There are other neglected home items that could add up as well.

Looking at historical data is interesting here. Last year's October spend included a trip to vegas and was $3000. Last September was $2755. So much higher than I am spending now. Net worth is also up 25% since this time last year. Wow. The investment portfolio is relatively stable over the past month.

Scott 2
Posts: 1587
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Rolling 12 Month Spend - Q4 2020 through Q3 2021 - $36,466
Groceries - $9,608.44
Taxes - $7,411.46
Entertainment - $4,185.12
Home Maintenance - $3,798.08
Pets/Pet Care - $2,077.21
Utilities - $1,944.20
Insurance - $1,736.66
Healthcare/Medical - $1,365.52
Restaurants - $1,096.46
ATM/Cash - $703.00
Work Travel - $478.44
Clothing/Shoes - $469.70
Telephone - $423.83
Automotive - $419.02
Travel - $400.04
Education - $348.95

I finally have enough data to generate this view. My lifestyle has changed a lot since Q4 of last year. It will be interesting to see how this number changes. I'd like to check it quarterly.

Scott 2
Posts: 1587
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Every day of my leave feels tranquil. I am getting a lot done. Some notables:

1. Multiple long walks in the forest
2. 3-4 audio books on a wide variety of (non-work) topics
3. The house is slowly getting cleaner
4. I am still cooking, cookies again last night
5. I was able to play mario 35 for a couple hours on launch day

6. I broke out the heart rate monitor to evaluate my exercise. I have lifting optimized down to windows of about an hour per session, which are giving me some moderate cardio training. Some intervals, my heart rate gets as high as it does when I push the sled. I am using an interval timer for most of the sets and am doing very little thinking while moving. Getting out of my head really helps me do better. I was a little surprised to find my long walks offer virtually no training benefit.

7. I acted as a body in my wife's yoga workshop this week, and the again in two of her online yoga classes. It's great to have time for this.

8. Just in general, I've been able to spend far more time with my wife, and be more present while doing so.


What is equally interesting to me here, is the things falling off. I haven't watched anything on Netflix in two weeks. I've drank once in the past 5 days. While I was working, I'd try to avoid drinking two days in a row. I'd frequently combine lifting weights with pouring a whisky and turning on Netflix. It'd be a 2-3 hour event, 3-4 times a week. Watch a little of my show, take a sip of Scotch, hit a set. Repeat. My training is going much better now.

My interest in my company, career, and getting money seems to be waning. I got a text that my internal corporate certification was approved this week. It was hardly even a notable event in my week. I am also finding regret over having not taken this time sooner, having let my life be so pre-occupied with things that ultimately, are not my highest values. I like to win. I got pre-occupied with victory, without evaluating if it is the right game. I did ultimately make the list of things that were going wrong, since my mind wouldn't stop, and that quieted the intrusive thoughts.

I have been feeling so much better, I wonder if my aggressive achievement orientated approach wasn't constantly aggravating my neuro-atypical traits. I'd often do something I didn't like, just accepting that sometimes life is uncomfortable. Then I'd hide from my home life, because I'd left everything I had on the computer. Wrong move, it seems? I mean, at least I saved the money I got from my suffering. I have options now. It's not like I have a less disruptive idea for getting money.


My other finding, is that on the scale of diminishing returns, my professional life is at a vastly different point than my home life. The longest I've gone without working in the past 23 years is 2 weeks. Often, during those breaks, I was still thinking about work. This means spending time on my home skills offers very immediate and real improvements in quality of life. They can feel dramatic and effortless. This is so much more rewarding than fighting to eke out tiny improvements in a corporate environment.


Still not looking forward to returning to work in December. I am hopeful the rapid growth I am experiencing now makes coping a little easier.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 1987
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by classical_Liberal »

I always find it interesting to read about people's experiences of actually separating themselves from full time work for the first time. It's amazing how we habituate ourselves into some pretty miserable personal circumstances. Not that I'm against hard work, I think it can be fulfilling and sometimes lead to flow. It's just most people's lives are set-up for surviving the grind vs actually living.

Scott 2
Posts: 1587
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

I in no way anticipated the degree of difference. My wife has said to things to me like "who are you???" and "I thought this person was gone forever!". It is night and day.

Scott 2
Posts: 1587
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Monday I had to logon to my work computer, to complete some time tracking. Since it was up, I took a quick glance over the last month of email. Established patterns took over and a wave of anxiety immediately engulfed me. It took several hours to dissipate. I think that is a good indication I need to focus on an exit strategy, rather than negotiating part time work. I am sure holding the constant stress damages my health.


Yesterday, I unsubscribed to a couple podcasts I've been listening to for years - one of them over 600 episodes. It's not that I don't like them. Rather, the opportunity cost is too high. I already know what the hosts are going to say. I'd much rather learn something new. It feels weird to break the long established pattern.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 1987
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by classical_Liberal »

Quite the change in attitude from even just a few months ago. Time off really impacted my perceptions of what's important, obviously it's doing something to you too. Good luck with your decisions!

Scott 2
Posts: 1587
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

I've decided to cut podcasts entirely, sticking with the curated content of audiobooks and e-books. Now that I don't need the escape, the signal to noise ratio is too low.

This month is shaping up for a high spend. Lots of transition related expenses. Our gas fireplace is on for the first time in years. New furniture. Fancy food. An immersion blender. Cleaning supplies. A kindle. And we're only two weeks in...

The most frustrating is my wife's primary care physician of 10+ years, is switching to concierge medicine. He has been the cornerstone of a care strategy for her chronic condition. It's rare she likes a doctor, and he's her favorite. So, out of nowhere, we will be paying at least an extra $2k per year for medical care.

I have my last physical with him at the end of the month. I'll listen to the pitch. The $2k is supposed to give a higher tier of preventive care, offering an easily justified return on investment. I'm struggling to see the value, unless someone is actively seeking lifestyle change or is an already frequent patient. But, maybe a year or two of the advanced testing could offer a useful baseline. It would let me avoid finding a new doctor.

This is an area where being a high earner vs. FIRE has clear trade off. If continuing to work, I could drop the $4k per year without a second thought. Now though - is it worth 10% of my budget???

classical_Liberal
Posts: 1987
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by classical_Liberal »

Ohh, that's hard with the doc. Personally, I have a lot of respect for providers who try to bypass the current assembly line healthcare mentality brought on by insurance environment. It's no wonder your DW likes him. Whether or not it's worth to you, in your situation, is a whole other issue.

ertyu
Posts: 1282
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:31 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by ertyu »

I mean, just because he wants 2k doesn't mean you should give it to him. What if you were to approach him how one approaches jobs: "listen, we'd like to stay on as patients but we aren't interested in transitioning to the new model, and if you do increase our fees we'll have to do that" ?

Mister Imperceptible
Posts: 1377
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:18 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

Pretty soon $2k will be one monthly UBI payment.

If you haven’t gotten your health, you haven’t got anything.

Quadalupe
Posts: 149
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:56 am
Location: the Netherlands

Re: What I Spend

Post by Quadalupe »

But, maybe a year or two of the advanced testing could offer a useful baseline. It would let me avoid finding a new doctor.
I think this is a good point. A one off spending of 2k (or 4k) is a lot, but money well spent to determine if you saw the value in the presumed extra services offered.

Scott 2
Posts: 1587
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

@classical_Liberal - the healthcare assembly line is exactly why he is switching. He blames work stress for a variety of his personal health ailments as well as lost family time. He's been fighting it for years, giving my wife way more time than the hospital system allocates. If a specialist doesn't give the care he thinks she deserves, he'll call them personally and advocate for her. He responds to emails at midnight, fights with insurance for approvals, etc.

Rationally, paying the fee for her care is an absolute. It feels crappy, because we were getting the service for free, but he's justified there. I also believe he was debating between this and quitting medicine.


@ertyu - He's starting a new practice under the same healthcare system. If you don't pay, you transition to one of his associates at the current practice. Part of the concierge deal, is the doctor cuts their book of business by a lot - like 2/3 or more. He's on track to wait list. There isn't room to negotiate. I might not even be invited. Once in though, you can get next day appointments, call him on cell, etc.

The practice has a lot of criticism in the medical field. It is described as eating the frosting off the cake. He'll take the "easy" patients - ones who respect his time, have money, good insurance, a proactive approach to their health, etc. A bad patient gets wait listed. Patients with low reimbursement rates (ie Medicaid) cannot afford the premium. Great for him, less so for his peers and the practice he is leaving. Knowing it has been skimmed, even if I don't take his service, I'll probably switch practices.


@Quadalupe / @Mister Imperceptible - The value of health is what makes me even consider the service. I have not found a clear description of what the "advanced" physical consists of. I know there are difficult to obtain tests than run through Cleveland clinic. I know the service has something like a 90% retention rate. I am hoping to gain clarity during my physical. Certainly if the diagnostics were free, I'd take them. Outside of the general ethical debate, my primary complaint is the cost.

I do wonder - while interesting, would additional physical data lead me to different behaviors? If not, was value provided? I feel well educated on lifestyle factors that impact health. When I am behaving "sub-optimally" it is because I deem the tradeoff worthwhile. I'm not going to give up my scotch, baked goods or ice cream. I cannot physically tolerate any more exercise. Etc. I also have some concern whether over testing would lead to unnecessary treatments.

Mister Imperceptible
Posts: 1377
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:18 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

I feel like I have the discipline to say no when offered opioids or antidepressants but my discipline doesn’t do me any good if I need an EKG or something.

Also I pay a gigantic fat dude $90 to rub the stress and consequences of poor stretching out of my back once a month. Worth every penny and I’m not even into gigantic fat dudes.

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