Semi-ERE Experiment - Month 6 - Downsizing From 400 sqft to 50L Backpack

Where are you and where are you going?
2Birds1Stone
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:20 pm

halfmoon wrote:It sounds like you're making it work. What about the average age of your credit accounts, though? I thought that was a factor in the credit score...or are you keeping all the cards open?
The one's I can downgrade to a fee free version, yes. I have only had to cancel one card out of the 6 I have opened, I believe it was the British Airways.

Many will waive the fee in year two if you call and threaten to close it, or they will suggest you downgrade to a fee free card.

Another thing to note, for most CC's they report the oldest card of that type towards your age. So if you have an Amex card for 10 years, and open a bunch of amex cards/close them, but keep the 10 year old one, that is what will show on your age of credit for amex.

AussieGirl
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by AussieGirl » Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:43 am

AussieGirl wrote:im reading along how do you keep groceries at $1300 /yr mine are more like $10k wondering if that is a country difference. mine is for two adults two young kids. But still, what are you eating??
Howdy from the other side of the pond :) The $1300 is for my half of the groceries. Split with my SO. We do not have kids. Food is cheap here if you avoid the processed crap. We eat a lot of chicken ($.99-1.99/lb), ground turkey ($1.99/lb), London Broil ($2.49-2.99lb), rice, beans, potatoes, frozen mixed veggies, seasonal fruit/veggies (always cheap buying stuff in season), oats, peanut butter, yogurt, eggs ($.69/dozen), milk ($1.99/gallon).

We shop at Aldi, ethnic markets, make a list before heading to store and make sure we take advantage of sales and buy in bulk when more efficient. This also does not include household misc. such as cleaning products, paper products, alcohol etc. We don't have kids or pets so it helps keep the cost down. Our entertainment line item includes going out to eat so we do spend quite a bit there, usually ending up with leftovers to take to lunch.
Ok makes more sense now. Sounds like we are relatively similar - however I am including cleaning products, paper, nappies etc (not alcohol). Also the costs you provided are pretty low in comparison. Chicken is maybe $9 per kg (roughly $4.5 / lb). Dozen eggs $4.30. Gallon milk maybe $3.50. That being said I think that there is still some more we could do! Keep posting.

halfmoon
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by halfmoon » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:50 pm

2Birds1Stone wrote:Another thing to note, for most CC's they report the oldest card of that type towards your age. So if you have an Amex card for 10 years, and open a bunch of amex cards/close them, but keep the 10 year old one, that is what will show on your age of credit for amex.
Yet another piece of new information. The older I get, the less I know. ;) At least now I won't fret about people here ruining their credit when they churn cards.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:44 pm

AussieGirl wrote:
AussieGirl wrote: Ok makes more sense now. Sounds like we are relatively similar - however I am including cleaning products, paper, nappies etc (not alcohol). Also the costs you provided are pretty low in comparison. Chicken is maybe $9 per kg (roughly $4.5 / lb). Dozen eggs $4.30. Gallon milk maybe $3.50. That being said I think that there is still some more we could do! Keep posting.
Wow! Groceries are expensive in Au!! Where do you shop?? We certainly have supermarket chains and grocery stores where eggs are $3-4/dozen, but there are options where you can pay <$1/dozen. Same goes for chicken, produce, etc etc. I make a point to search the circulars and know which stores carry loss leaders in order to stock up. Hope that helps!

Here is a recent haul from last Sunday.

Total Spent $40.60

5lbs of white potatoes
3lbs of onions
3lbs of apples
2 loaves of Arnold Double Protein Bread
8 oz of fat free american cheese
2 packages of oatmeal
3lbs of boneless pork chops
3lbs of frozen veggies
2 packages of frozen pierogi
1/2 gallon of slow churn ice cream
4 boxes of Kashi Go Lean cereal (super high fiber/protein)
2 cans of black olives
18 eggs

This is a LOT of food =) Split with SO and we spent $20 each on what will end up being most of our meals for an entire week, at least.
halfmoon wrote: Yet another piece of new information. The older I get, the less I know. ;) At least now I won't fret about people here ruining their credit when they churn cards.
Haha, that's the beauty of learning, it's a never ending journey!

I've spent a lot of time this past week reading about thru hiking the appalachian trail........it is one of the first things SO and I plan on doing once we are free from the jobs.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:28 pm

January Financial Update

Assets
$62,000 401k
$41,000 Brokerage
$42,000 Roth IRA
$16,400 Ag Holdings
$10,000 SDB Savings
$100 Discover Bank
$15,500 Vehicle Equity
$32,200 Capital One 360
$15,000 TIAA
$1,500 BoA Checking
$8,670 HSA
$10,300 Au Holdings
$500 Cash
$300 Chase Savings
$1,500 Chase Checking
$1,500 HSBC
$1,100 Schwab
$100 M&T Checking
$5,500 TD Checking
$265,170 Total Assets (+$8,526)

Spending
$550 Rent
$59 Grocery
$70 Gas
$217 Entertainment
$200 Vehicle Depreciation
$55 Vehicle Fund
$82 Travel
$50 Cell
$78 Misc
$55 Gift/Charity
$1,416 Total Spending

Income
$2,100 Salary
$1,068 401k
$1,470 HSA
$140 OT
$415 Commission
$700 Other (Coaching/Bank Sign Ups)
$5,893 Total Income

76% Savings Rate

Musings

Financially not a bad start to 2017.

Markets are up, commodities are up. I was fortunate to get my employers $1000 seeding contribution into my HSA this month, a bunch of bank account bonuses posted as well.

Spending was historically low. Since my parents funded most of my trip to Florida for Xmas, I was out of state for 5 days. Between that and some Groupons/GC's we purchased/received for xmas, our spending was quite low on grocery, gas, and entertainment. I didn't have any major bills due either. Next two months will be much higher spending wise, but I hope to get my tax return in March which should smoothe savings rate out.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:33 am

February Financial Update

Barring any crazy market shifts throughout today.

Assets
$64,400 401k
$42,200 Brokerage
$43,000 Roth IRA
$17,000 Ag Holdings
$10,000 SDB Savings
$100 Discover Bank
$14,500 Vehicle Equity
$43,000 Capital One 360
$15,250 TIAA
$1,500 BoA Checking
$9,140 HSA
$10,600 Au Holdings
$500 Cash
$300 Chase Savings
$1,500 Chase Checking
$1,500 HSBC
$1,100 Schwab
$100 M&T Checking
$250 Wells Fargo
$2,500 TD Checking
$278,500 Total Assets (+$13,300)

Spending
$550 Rent
$80 Grocery
$128 Gas
$420 Entertainment (Xbox One S, 3 Games, Controller, 1 Year Live)
$1000 Vehicle Depreciation (wowza!)
$759 Insurance (1 year Motorcycle+ 6 Month Car)
$1082 Travel (Ticket to Poland)
$50 Cell
$42 Misc.
$82 Gift/Charity
$4,203 Total Spending (Highest Spending Month in 2.5 years!)

Income
$2,100 Salary
$1,068 401k
$480 HSA
$2,775 Commission
$6,687Other (Coaching/Bank Sign Ups/Tax Refund)
$13,110 Total Income

68% Savings Rate

Musings

Good Month income wise, thanks to some commission and a nice tax refund. Spending insanely high, for me at least. Crazy to think that $50k/yr annualized would still be deemed very frugal by most people at my income level. Unless the markets crash by end of business today, I am sitting at 11.6X current annual expenses and 17.4X barebones expenses. Slowly but surely!

62 months till FIRE! Feels surreal. I have a metric fuckton going on at work. Between ambiguity around planning for next fiscal year (April 1), team structure, comp plans, territory shifts, account segmentation, etc there is a lot of stress.
I have a few transactions out there, both small, and one large that can really swing how this year gets off to a start.

Outside of work, things have been a mixed bag. I have only consumed alcohol on two occasions over the past 2 weeks. This is a HUGE win and probably a record over the past 6 years (no exaggerations). I got really sick last week, started off as food poisoning and turned into some terrible migraines/tension headaches. I still have a headache that feels like it’s coming from the base of my head/neck and my sinus through today. It’s been 7 days now. Excedrin helps, ice helps, but it keeps coming back after I wake up in the morning. Ugh.

Happy Fat Tuesday Folks!

halfmoon
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by halfmoon » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:54 pm

2Birds1Stone wrote: I still have a headache that feels like it’s coming from the base of my head/neck and my sinus through today. It’s been 7 days now. Excedrin helps, ice helps, but it keeps coming back after I wake up in the morning. Ugh.
You have my utmost sympathy. Causes and treatments for chronic headaches obviously vary by individual, but Naproxen (Aleve) usually works for me to break the cycle for awhile. Any other NSAIDs give me rebound headaches. Good luck!

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:13 am

March Financial Update

Assets
$65,700 401k
$48,100 Brokerage
$43,300 Roth IRA
$17,000 Ag Holdings
$10,000 SDB Savings
$1,100 Discover Savings
$14,200 Vehicle Equity
$53,500 Capital One MM
$1,500 BoA Checking
$9,620 HSA
$10,500 Au Holdings
$300 Chase Checking
$1,500 Chase Savings
$375 Santandar
$1,500 HSBC
$1,100 Schwab
$250 Wells Fargo
$100 M&T
$2,500 TD
$282,145 Total Assets
-$145 Debt
$282,000 Net Worth (+3,500)

Spending
$550 Rent
$126 Grocery
$116 Gas
$310 Entertainment
$300 Vehicle Depreciation
$139 Vehicle Fund
$132 Travel
$50 Cell
$144 Health
$92 Misc
$6 Gifting
$1,965 Total Spending

Income
$2,100 Salary
$1,068 401k
$480 HSA
$150 Overtime
$715 Commission
$200 Other
$4,713 Total Income

58.3% Savings Rate

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:38 am

My job just got a whole lot worst.

We acquired a large competitor and as of this month there is a huge consolidation project where most of my existing business unit will likely become obsolete. Too much redundancy across the existing and new teams. We are essentially getting "managed out" and it will effect income potential drastically moving forward.

This along with other recent events have really pushed me to consider a more scaled back FIRE lifestyle, which would allow me to get out of the workforce as soon as possible.

I have been discussing with my SO the possibility of taking a gap year at the beginning of 2020, around March. We will still be a solid 3-5 years away from our original FIRE goal portfolio, but have enough stached to take a year off while we are young. When we go back to work, it will unfortunately be at a reduced pay, but at that point we should have the flexibility to find something we enjoy doing till we get to that goal $#.

The biggest thing we are exploring is becoming full time RVers. It looks like we could travel around in an RV for $24-30k/yr all in. I have been following blogs, vlogs, forums on the subject and it seems to align very much with our goals and desires. The biggest unknown right now will be the cost of healthcare when we are ready to take the plunge. Barring any crazy increase in premiums I think that we will be in a good spot to take a year off.

Some other ideas include thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, which can be done for $10-12k for two people. Taking 6-8 months to do so nice and slowly.

My family also has an apartment in Poland where we can stay rent free and it is very LCOL. $2k/month can provide us a very comfortable living for 3-6 months out of the year.

Regardless of how we end up spending out year off, the main point is going to be taking that year and test driving some RE lifestyles.

Look forward to discussing plans and ambitions with you all, I have a feeling the feedback here will be valuable in shaping those decisions as the time draws nearer.

George the original one
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by George the original one » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:07 am

Quickly looking over your spending, it looks like 35-40% gets spent on vehicles & entertainment. I would think figuring out how to reduce these expenses without affecting the enjoyment you perceive should be a high priority in your quest for FIRE? Imagine the RV living cost dropping to the $19k-24k range... how might that change your plans?

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:52 pm

George the original one wrote:
Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:07 am
Quickly looking over your spending, it looks like 35-40% gets spent on vehicles & entertainment. I would think figuring out how to reduce these expenses without affecting the enjoyment you perceive should be a high priority in your quest for FIRE? Imagine the RV living cost dropping to the $19k-24k range... how might that change your plans?
That's a fair assessment.

Last year I spent right around $25.2k, this year I should come in between $25-26k, so I'm already close to that range.

I guess one thing I haven't really gotten into here is my hobbies/interests etc. I am a big believer in spending on things/experiences/etc that align with someone's values. I try to keep my fixed costs as low as possible and indulge in areas where I feel the value is there.

That being said, I could definitely get that number pared down.

Part of it will happen naturally due to depreciation curve on the car I purchased. I spend $16.9k on a sports car last year gently used with 21,450 miles, the original owner paid $45k for it. It should depreciate less and less as time goes on.

Entertainment tends to vary quite a bit, last year I averaged $248 in "entertainment" per month, and $280 in "travel". Both of these are completely discretionary but worth it to me. Combined, these two categories only represented almost exactly 5% of my take home pay. So while I am definitely looking to maximize my utility of $$, I am not sure how much lower I can cut this without adjusting my lifestyle significantly.

Edit : Just to clarify, the $24-30k in my previous post was for the two of us. My $25k/yr in spending is for just myself.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:55 am

It's been awhile since I've updated here.

Financially things are looking good.

Net worth will hit $308k by Friday if all goes well with the markets.

Spending has been 1500 for April, 1200 for May, and $1650 for June. May was an abnormally high income month thanks to a large commission check. I was able to invest $15k for May, $5k in April, and $4k in June.

I raced an Olympic distance Triathlon first week of June. It was a rude awakening that I have a lot of work to do for my IRONMAN Lake Placid 70.3 mile race on Sept 10th. Dove head first into a training program and have built up to about 20 miles of running and 80 miles of cycling a week.

Leaving for Poland on Friday, will be gone till July 16th. Really looking forward to seeing my family, doing some hiking and exploring.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:03 am

*Late* June Financial Update

Assets
$73,200 401k
$51,000 Taxable
$45,000 Roth IRA
$15,700 Ag Holding
$10,000 SDB Savings
$14,200 Vehicle Equity
$71,200 Capital One 360
$2,200 BOA Checking
$11,000 HSA
$10,500 Au Holding
$4,000 BMO Harris
$308,000 Total Assets (+$3,800)

Spending
$550 Rent
$102 Grocery
$140 Gas
$330 Entertainment
$10 Vehicle
$220 Travel
$50 Cell
$50 Health
$5 Misc
$133 Gift/Charity
$1,590 Total Spend

Income
$2,100 Salary
$1,068 401k
$480 HSA
$145 OT
$200 Commission
$225 Bank bonus
$4,218 Total Income

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:06 am

Did a lot of consolidating on the different bank accounts I had.

Still very cash heavy in the overall portfolio.

classical_Liberal
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by classical_Liberal » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:30 pm

Good Progress!

I've been having issues reallocating cash in this low inflation/high asset valuation economic environment as well. I'd like to keep my cash at 10% in the long run, but am currently sitting at about 30%. It's slowly been building over the past six to nine months, at the moment I guess I prefer the total liquidity...

Allagash
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Location: WA State

Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by Allagash » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:52 pm

Very impressive, you are in a tremendous place for your age and making great progress. Nice detail in your journal.

I think two big keys for you are low rents and low groceries. How do you keep rents at $550/mo? And where do you live in the U.S. to have $550/mo in rents (including utilities)? My guess is you split with your SO?

Do you have home internet? I didn't see this in your expenses.

So glad you add vehicle depreciation in your expenses. SOOOO many people leave this out! I bought my car for cash 2 years old in Jan 2012 for $14k (including tax and registration) and I could get $6k for it today, so my depreciation has been $121/mo.

Is restaurants under entertainment?

I'm impressed with how you spent $3.70 per day in 2016 on food. I spent $6.16 per day in 2016 as a single guy and I eat simpler than anyone I know. I guess you get economies of scale splitting with your SO.

I spent $38,700 in 2016, so I get an F. I dream to spend what you did $25k, Where you really kill me is rent (I pay $1,250 no including utilities you pay $550 including utilities). I also have to cover my own health ins being FI self-employed, and I have costs related to my S Corp (accounting, payroll, etc...)

You have a good life too and do a lot of travel on that $25k. Having a $550/mo rent including utilities helps a lot.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:03 am

classical_Liberal wrote:
Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:30 pm
Good Progress!

I've been having issues reallocating cash in this low inflation/high asset valuation economic environment as well. I'd like to keep my cash at 10% in the long run, but am currently sitting at about 30%. It's slowly been building over the past six to nine months, at the moment I guess I prefer the total liquidity...
Yea, I have way too much cash, 3+ years of living expenses.....but I am very risk averse LOL.
Allagash wrote:
Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:52 pm
Very impressive, you are in a tremendous place for your age and making great progress. Nice detail in your journal.

I think two big keys for you are low rents and low groceries. How do you keep rents at $550/mo? And where do you live in the U.S. to have $550/mo in rents (including utilities)? My guess is you split with your SO?

Do you have home internet? I didn't see this in your expenses.

So glad you add vehicle depreciation in your expenses. SOOOO many people leave this out! I bought my car for cash 2 years old in Jan 2012 for $14k (including tax and registration) and I could get $6k for it today, so my depreciation has been $121/mo.

Is restaurants under entertainment?

I'm impressed with how you spent $3.70 per day in 2016 on food. I spent $6.16 per day in 2016 as a single guy and I eat simpler than anyone I know. I guess you get economies of scale splitting with your SO.

I spent $38,700 in 2016, so I get an F. I dream to spend what you did $25k, Where you really kill me is rent (I pay $1,250 no including utilities you pay $550 including utilities). I also have to cover my own health ins being FI self-employed, and I have costs related to my S Corp (accounting, payroll, etc...)

You have a good life too and do a lot of travel on that $25k. Having a $550/mo rent including utilities helps a lot.
Hey there Allagash, thanks for stopping by! I'll try to answer your questions here instead of line by line.

My SO and I live in a small 1 bedroom basement apartment in a rental house. We have a long hallway and a storage room so space is perfect for our needs. We also have access to a large fenced backyard with a BBQ and outdoor patio furniture that the family upstairs never uses.

While we do live in a pretty HCOL area (Suffolk County, Long Island NY), our rent is $1,100/month and since we are not on separate meters it includes water, electric, and WiFi. We do not watch television, and use an unlocked Amazon Fire TV Stick instead. So you are correct, $550 is my half.

Groceries is also for my half. We do a lot of cooking, and shop primarily at Aldi.

I am lucky that at work we have a fully stocked pantry with milk for coffee. For breakfast I either have some oatmeal or a scoop of protein with milk. My breakfast rarely costs more than $.50/day.

For lunch I usually have 8oz of lean protein (chicken, pork, beef) which rarely costs more than $1-2, with some rice, pasta, or veggies.

My office caters a lot of lunches for meetings, when these meetings end the leftovers are often put in the pantry for the rest of the office to enjoy. I will often take a few extra pieces of sandwich, pizza, or other food and put it in tupperware and enjoy it for the next day or two.

Early morning meetings are sometimes catered with bagels, where I do the same thing with leftovers.

During the holidays my SO and I take advantage of leftovers that we freeze. We fish and have friends who hunt so we get some meals by way of barter as well.

I don't think that $200-250/month grocery budget is crazy low for a couple that eats mainly unprocessed food.

Restaurants and bars fall under Entertainment category. We use Groupon, Living Social and other deal sites to score meals at 50-70% off retail at nicer restaurants. We also know the good happy hour spots where you can enjoy a nice out with a meal and drinks for <$20.

As a couple our spending is ~45-48k/yr if we count vehicle depreciation and health insurance which is deducted pre-tax. That's about the median household income in the US. We get a lot of utility out of our money.

I'm a HUGE lover of travel hacking and we have 100's of 1000's of airlines miles and hotel points. I also leverage account signup bonuses for checking/savings accounts. in the past 12 months I have made $3050 from these bonuses.

I am always working toward a sign up bonus on a travel/hotel CC.

Allagash
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by Allagash » Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:30 pm

2Birds1Stone you are another one of these super impressive young folk on this site that has their head screwed on right. The future is so bright you gotta wear shades. Keep it up man!

I notice a theme on this sight that having a SO or roomates is a big ERE secret for many, especially in high cost areas. Keep that little gal you got that gets half the bills....I'm in my 40's and the datin' ain't easy no more...it was a hell of a lot easier in my 20's and the gals were purdy-er back then, should have locked up one back then. Toughest nut to crack as a single 35+ in HCL areas is rent/housing....b/c roommates are a NO GO ZONE past early 30's (at least for me they were...they even sucked a lot pretty much past 25).

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:36 pm

July Financial Update

Assets
$75,500 401k
$52,000 Brokerage
$45,800 Roth IRA
$15,800 Ag Holding
$8,000 SDB Savings
$13,800 Vehicle Equity
$78,000 Capital One 360
$2,000 Bank of America
$11,400 HSA
$10,700 Au holdings
$313,000 Total Assets (+$5,000)

Spending
$540 Rent Utility
$49 Grocery
$92 Gas
$227 Entertainment
$400 Depreciation
$30 Vehicle Fund
$325 Travel
$50 - Cell
$90 - Health/Hygiene
$2,040 - Misc
$3,883 Total Spending

Income
$2,100 Salary
$1,068 401k
$480 HSA
$1,760 Commission
$5,408 Total Income

~28% Savings Rate

Musings.....
Decent income month, super high spending month

Thanks to the airline refund, I should manage to eek out my 2017 total spending ~$24k

Thanks to market returns NW still went up $5k this month. Crazy to think that is enough of a gain to sustain 3 years of basic living expenses.....makes me wonder how I react when I lose multiples of that during the next stock correction or bear market.
Last edited by 2Birds1Stone on Sun May 13, 2018 7:03 pm, edited 3 times in total.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: 2Birds1Stone's hustle to freedom!

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:59 am

Mini Update

I got engaged 2 weeks ago, pretty excited and SO was completely surprised. We have been together over 6 years cohabiting almost the entire time.

I also have been interviewing for a new position within my company. It would be a step up but much more responsibility and travel. As long as the compensation offer is where I want it to be, I will accept.

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