What I Spend

Where are you and where are you going?
Scott 2
Posts: 1632
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

I purged 90% of my work related books from the house and deleted all but a handful from my media queues. The process raised stress, similar to checking my work email last week. This time, it dissipated faster.

Having been off for a month, the negative memories are fuzzing. It causes me to be more optimistic about a return. This is probably misplaced, but a love of money confuses me. I also miss the easy excuse to avoid annoying parts of life (i.e. cleaning).

Today, we visited a scenic outlook in the forest preserve. We were last there 5+ years ago. We also finally found the "secret" waterfall, though it was dry. We had nostalgia for dinner - jack's cheese pizza with a side of kraft macaroni and cheese. It was a good day.

Scott 2
Posts: 1632
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

I had time to early vote today. When I went by yesterday and found a long line, I just left. It was trivial to try another location this morning. Zero wait. Another perk of not working.

The medicinal dispensary my wife uses recently converted to also offer recreational cannabis. I had to stop by yesterday. The change is dramatic - upscale boutique décor, bumping music, high end sales staff, etc. The place still stinks of pot, but there is a _lot_ of money being made.

I (finally) mopped the bathrooms. I think this was the first time in my life mopping. I got the wrong type of mop for tile and took way too long, but at least it got done. I'll pick up the correct one next time I shop. We have hardwood downstairs, so I can use the "wrong" one there.

Scott 2
Posts: 1632
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

It's interesting to see how taking ownership over more of my life, forces my patterns to change:


With no opportunity for a housekeeper in the near future, I finally put a more serious effort into cleaning the showers and toilets. Now that I am doing the work:

Non toxic cleaning agents are essential:
- 1:1 mix of vinegar and water as a spray cleaner
- baking soda and castile soap as a scouring agent (bottom of the shower)
- I see now these aren't about being frugal, but avoiding all weird crap in store bought cleaners
- I hate wearing gloves to clean

Prevention has become a priority:
- ordered a toilet brush for each bathroom, so a weekly wipe will be easy
- ordered a squeegee for each shower, hoping to dry things after and prevent mold
- started showering with the fan on, to keep things drier
- am going to keep a 1:1 vinegar water mix in the showers, for a quick spray down after

Recovering the disaster that is our bathrooms really sucks
- It turns out the grout in one shower is almond, not white. I was able to fix most of it.
- The other shower, 30 minutes of scrubbing got the floor to light gray, but there are streaks showing it should be white
- The toilets have heavy limescale build up where the water sits. I don't know if they are recoverable, but I am trying with vinegar soaks
- The shower drain stinks, I tried soaking it with 1c of vinegar overnight, maybe that helped
- One shower has some dark spots which I assume are from mold and appear permanent
- Caulk and grout need repair, which I know nothing about. Blech.


Work would let me expense internet, up to $70/month. Now that I am paying for it, the $14 per month modem fee pissed me off. I just ordered a replacement modem and router. I'll recover the costs in under a year. I look forward to returning the cable company's over-priced rental. Now that I am not stuck with an all in one device, I expect better performance too.


I heard from my boss, they have been able to hire an engineer that will report to my role. Hopefully he makes the return to work in December a little easier. At least there is a chance for new patterns.

daylen
Posts: 1712
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2015 4:17 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by daylen »

Scott 2 wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 11:01 am
The toilets have heavy limescale build up where the water sits.
Pumice stones work well for this.

Scott 2
Posts: 1632
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

I am trying to keep pumice stone as a last resort, having read it takes the finish off ceramic, making the problem more prone to happening again. I am considering a coke soak, followed by baking soda, for the worst toilet.

I had my hands in there today, scouring with a sponge. It's like a layer of rock, which given it is mineral build up, makes sense. The internet says I should just replace the toilets. If not for the pandemic, I'd be tempted.


Free time is making evident what a hole of old and broken the house has become. My wife is currently fighting with the dishwasher. Awhile ago, the soap dispenser stopped opening all the way. Now it's failing to stay shut. We're hesitant to take the dishwasher apart, because if we break it, well, pandemic. We really don't want a repair person in the house.


I guess we should have been running a vinegar rinse through our dishwasher and washing machine every so often, to prevent build up that causes problems like these. I'm not sure if I ever knew, but I certainly couldn't be bothered. It feels like a mistake now. At this point, the build up could be what is holding our appliances together.

horsewoman
Posts: 533
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:11 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by horsewoman »

For the toilets I had good results with making a paste out of citric acid. This is available as ground powder, very little water is needed.
I applied the paste with an old toothbrush directly on the limescale built-up, reapplying it whenever we had flushed the toilet. After on or two days of this the limescale crumbled of with some brushing.

Sprayed on Citric acid (highly dilluted) + a brush works wonders in our grotty old bathrooms. It might damage the finish of porcelain, but our sinks and tube are so old that there is precious little finish left over anyway...

ertyu
Posts: 1426
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:31 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by ertyu »

Thanks for the citric acid tip hw, I too have hard water which generates build-up

Scott 2
Posts: 1632
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Thanks, I will keep the citric acid in mind. Vinegar seems to be working, though it's going to take a few more nights of soaks. I have to wait until I get more. I am burning through the initial gallon, that I thought would provide months of cleaning.

Alphaville
Posts: 2029
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: What I Spend

Post by Alphaville »

i use 45% vinegar which is about $30 a gallon but it’s the equivalent of 9 gallons of the regular stuff, it cleans scale and unclogs drains *fast*. it stings/burns the skin though, so handle with care.

Scott 2
Posts: 1632
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

That looks dangerous, more power than I can handle :D

Scott 2
Posts: 1632
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

October 2020 Total (Couple) - $5324
Healthcare/Medical - $2232.91
Entertainment - $851.85
Groceries - $743.29
Home Maintenance - $556.32
Pets/Pet Care - $295.06
Utilities - $284.6
Telephone - $201.55
Clothing/Shoes - $138.07
Automotive - $20.62


Oof. Rough month, financially. Well over my estimate of $1900. Notables:

- Medical is the big one. $2k to keep my wife's primary care physician, due to his transition to a concierge medicine model. We also got some more masks, a couple thermometers and a few other small things.

- Entertainment - An assortment of small items ran about $250 - kindle, lifting slingshot, video games, media, etc. The big purchase was $600 of furniture from Liberator. Without work, there's a lot of extra time for activities. We are making the most of it. No regrets, except maybe the pandemic induced shipping delays.

- Food was near my projection, though our current inventory is light. I've been doing more and eating more. I suspect November will be closer to $900.

- Home Maintenance consists of association dues, cleaning supplies and replacing the rental modem/wifi from our internet provider. I was very happy to kill their $14/month fee.

- Cat supplies ran out ($300), my phone renewal was up ($200)

Overall, I am unconcerned. My time off accelerated planned consumption. I expect November to land around $1800.


From a quality of life perspective, the month has been great. I finally found a new dentist and got my annual physical. I completed a bunch of home tasks, learning new skills. Repeating those same tasks will be much easier next time.

The most unexpected change, has been a dramatic downshift in productivity. Towards mid-month, I spent an unreasonable amount of time on a video game, along with some really poor sleep patterns. I think the worst of that has passed, but I definitely explored my freedom from obligation.

I remain more likely to push today's tasks to tomorrow. My sense of urgency is greatly diminished. I imagine it will return as work draws near, but for now, I am enjoying the new pattern. Truthfully, at my prior stress levels - everything I am finishing in a day could fit around full time work. I prefer the new slow pace.


Net worth ended the month exactly where it started. Market fluctuations had us up 2.5% at one point. I wasn't bothered too much either way. I am curious to see if the election causes a bigger drop.

Scott 2
Posts: 1632
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Dropped $350 on a barbell rack. I have 9 barbells, currently stored on the floor. It's looking more and more likely I cannot go back to a gym until 2022. I am cleaning things up.

We had our biggest instacart order to date delivered - $570 with tip. The order was $450 at the store. So I guess we think it's worth $120 to avoid a couple hours of shopping and bagging groceries.

I am going to hit a smaller specialty store that doesn't deliver, to top off items like vitamins and toothpaste. It will be my first time shopping in person. We are stocking up and then hunkering down. Hopefully the election doesn't bring too much unrest.

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jennypenny
Posts: 6636
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:20 pm
Location: Stepford USA

Re: What I Spend

Post by jennypenny »

You beat me. My order being delivered tonight is only $520. I still had a decent supply of pantry goods though. This is to top off our regular food and fill out the baking cabinet so I'm ready for the holidays. I'm in Pennsylvania and since we're one of the big states in play, I didn't want to have to go out on the off chance things get crazy.


FYI ... Sis's doctor switched to concierge last year so she paid the fee to stay with him. So far she's ok with it. She said she likes that she always gets a call back right away, and her doctor is now more willing to prescribe stuff that she had to get from a specialist before. OTOH, she said he hired some CRNPs and PAs who do most of the appointments. He only sees patients when needed. So far that hasn't been a problem and he was very involved in the one kinda serious thing this year. I don't think she's decided whether she likes it better or not but she got sick of switching doctors whenever a practice broke up or one retired.

Scott 2
Posts: 1632
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

The tension in PA earned mention in an online yoga class I take, followed by an immediate apology from the teacher for raising politics. I've never experienced anything like this. I think the worst we'll see in my state is some protests, but I wonder about supply chain issues. The incidents in TX and NY have me a little nervous. Even today, the shopper was not able to get paper towels and a few other items. Low inventory hasn't been an issue in several months.


Good to hear a positive data point for concierge medicine. I saw my wife's doctor last Monday for a physical - his final week in the old office. It took him 7 days to follow up on my blood test results. It was clearly a copy/paste message, following minimal review of the results. There wasn't a value add to him personally, which is exactly the model I've been paying for.

It is clear she was already getting special treatment. Her point - better to be so well the doctor doesn't know you. I can't argue with that. The relationship is unquestionably worth $2k/yr.

Scott 2
Posts: 1632
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Random check in:


We almost made an offer on a house. It reached the point of talking through how life would change, having our realtor do comps, etc. The home checked all boxes from when we were looking last year. However, with the pandemic, it turns out our criteria have changed.

I now have a better understanding of what taking care of space myself looks like. The basement needed ongoing attention to flood risk, there was some deferred maintenance, and the extra space plus added outdoor chores looked like a big increase in work. Hiring it out during the pandemic doesn't seem practical, and even after, our annual expenses also would have raised by around $5-$10k a year. Proximity to the gym was a big selling point, but we don't anticipate a return there until late 2021.

So, our current place is better suited to riding out the pandemic, and we are sitting tight.


My appreciation for not working has diminished. There are virtually zero commitments on my time now, and the loss of structure has led me to flounder. I got in a bad sleep pattern watching the election play out. The disruption has persisted, further diminishing my enthusiasm for doing constructive things. This also correlated with more frequent and intense drinking.

I am very tired of cleaning the house, but hate to let the progress fade. My bathroom doesn't smell anymore, I no longer avoid touching the shower walls. I don't walk around with cat litter stuck to my feet. At least every two weeks, I have clean sheets. Etc. I am hoping a steady state eventually settles in, where I get more efficient and keep a reasonable standard out of habit. For now though, the built up problems are still being resolved. Vacuuming the basement took an entire afternoon and half-filled a garbage can with fur. It sucked.

On the one hand, I can't wait to re-hire a housekeeper. On the other, I was clearly using her to justify ignoring very real problems. 3-4h once every 6 weeks just isn't close to enough time to maintain a reasonable standard. I was so buried in my work, I couldn't be bothered to consider it.


I think this is all an important part of the experience - losing structure before it can be rebuilt, so I'm not fighting too hard. We did just instate a 10pm screen curfew, in an effort to address the sleep patterns. For me, poor sleep triggers just about every other negative behavior pattern I have. I also picked up a couple "wee Glencairn" glasses, which are exceptionally pretentious, but seem to have moderated my drinking.

As a dry run for retirement, one very detrimental factor, has been the upward market trend. While I haven't been getting paid, my net worth is at a peak. That is a much different feeling than having no work during a downswing, I am sure.


I return to work in two weeks. It's good to have passed the honeymoon phase of not working. I am curious to see how work life has changed and compare. I know in my ~40 person department, there have been at least 3 promotions, 4 new positions opened and a couple hires. Hopefully the job is much better than I left it.

Scott 2
Posts: 1632
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Work anxiety came back last night, with just over a week until I return. I confirmed conclusion of my leave this morning.

Since my last post, I pretty much stopped cleaning the house. And exercising. And eating clean. I definitely have a short time vacation mentality running right now. All the patterns reset next week anyways. My elbow has been complaining for about 6 months, so I also hope this gives it time to heal.

Taking advantage of black friday sales, I've spent about $150 on video games. Provided I play them, it will be frugal. I have a track record of not, but I also love getting a deal.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 2043
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by classical_Liberal »

Happy Thanksgiving!

Don't be too discouraged. I realize you're going back to work for awhile, but I just don't want you to think not working sucks. What you're describing seems to be a natural process most people go through when given total freedom of time. It's hard, after spending most of life with work as the center of life and that which all else is planned around, to be able to switch tracks.

I think I've had a bit of an advantage because I'd done this before, but without money, as an adult. Still, after almost 7 months of no work, It still feels like a temporary break. I find myself treating it as such when I really shouldn't be. The more the realization sinks in that this isn't just a long vacation, the more productive I become. I'm not sure how much COVID has impacted what you'd like to do either. I know if I had been locked up in my first 3 month experimental off period, I'd have gone literally insane. So, if it has impacted your hobbies/interests/desires, make sure you take that into consideration as well.

A good lesson here is to realize how the honeymoon period works, and how important it is to establish good routines for yourself off the bat, while you still have the advantage of the honeymoon feelings. For me, that's manufacturing a minimum amount of enjoyable outside time, exercise time, and a minimum amount of social time as well.

good luck going back!

Scott 2
Posts: 1632
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: What I Spend

Post by Scott 2 »

Happy Thanksgiving! I appreciate the encouragement and well wishes.

COVID has been a big confounder. My wife is immunosuppressed, so we've been social distancing since March. Many of our favorite activites are gone. The isolation directly contributed to my leave. My wife needs a lot more socializing than I do. But, I would burn out on hours of daily zoom calls. Then, I'd hide from that stress, plus the stress of the pandemic, by burying my head in technical work problems.

The end result was she felt very, very alone. My leave has helped dramatically. I tend not to elaborate on her experience, but she is 100% in favor of my time off. While I'll be the one returning to work, the experience will be much harder on her.


Loss of purpose is the most confusing part of not working. Not "what do I do today?" but "why do anything at all?". When you need money or have intense social pressure to keep up with peers, the motivation is easy. COVID has amplified this, in that my non-work outlets are largely removed as well.

I am always the strongest and hardest working guy in my home gym. I could go two weeks without combing my hair or putting on pants. Nobody cares. There is no penalty for not trying. Anything that needs doing today, could be done just as easily tomorrow. Yet, I still have unlimited food, video games, internet, etc.

My rewards are unrelated to my efforts. It feels weird. The general sense that I must min/max my resources has waned and left a bit of a vacuum.

ertyu
Posts: 1426
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:31 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by ertyu »

You’ve already gotten touch with the “why do anything at all” question. At least in my experience, there is an answer on the other side of it. It consists of, in part, realizing that no, there is no actual reason for doing many “ratracy” things — and stopping doing them. The second part of the answer is taking fundamentally useful actions one once performed with a misguided motivation, and finding a new reason and new way to experience oneself while doing those things. So, you could be performing the same physical actions — e.g. going to bed and waking up on a schedule — but now the act of doing so is a completely different experience because it’s done from a different inner place. I seem to remember you talking about yoga practice taking you and forcing you through to the other side of it — this is much the same, once you give yourself time.

On another note, you’re a much stronger and braver man than me. I also had to deal with an intense limescale build up bathroom situation, and there’s no way I could’ve done it with just vinegar. I broke out the 5% HCl solution and went through about 3.5l of it :lol:
Last edited by ertyu on Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 2043
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: What I Spend

Post by classical_Liberal »

I could have written most of the second part of your post myself. It mostly has to do with internal vs external motivation. I'm really not sure if this mental operation is a fixed or mutable human trait. This in particular sticks out though...
Scott 2 wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:12 pm
The general sense that I must min/max my resources has waned and left a bit of a vacuum.
This lack of "motivation", particularly for someone mostly externally motivated, can be a huge problem that FI really only exacerbates. This is why, early in my ERE writings, I was thinking about hormesis. IOW, how to create just enough external motivation to push me into staying productive. My solution was to avoid being completely FI, at least in wants. This way I still have some level of motivation. Even if it's just because someday I might wanna spend 20k on an RV that would be outside my FI-level spending. It's also why I always encourage people who are not happy with life, when the job is a primary contributor to the unhappiness, to let go earlier than 100% FI certitude. It's very likely many will find they need some hormesis in the future anyway.

IOW, it's actually fun, healthier, and more productive to have to play min/max occasionally.

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