Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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Frugalchicos
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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Fri May 05, 2017 1:10 pm

Jason wrote:
Fri May 05, 2017 12:42 pm
I think you should try it. I know its easier said than done but in a foodie-tourist town - like Portland Maine where people just walk around all day looking at and occasionally buying overpriced shit, something like that would be a hit. Especially if its guaranteed fart free so people won't be afraid to go in there if they are at that stupid stage in a relationship where they are actually trying to impress the other person. Because if that nacho episode had taken place at that stage, I would not be married, at least to my current wife.
It can be a plan B if the entire thing of moving back home doesn't work out....

Stay gas free bro and enjoy your weekend!

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Sun May 07, 2017 7:34 am

Happy Sunday Everyone!

Some plans for today:

- Sell some crap on eBay that has been sitting around for quite some time or we don't use anymore. This includes:
* 3 play station games
* Some books we already read.
* Some clothes I didn't use in years
* A messenger bag
Hopefully I make $60-80 from it. However, I get more joy seeing things go and freeing the house of items that have no use at all for us. We have a certain minimalist approach in life. We only buy/have stuff we really need or makes sense having.

- Cook some great food for the week. We like cooking few things on Sunday, so we have food prepared that can last until Thursday. Some of the plates I am thinking in cooking:
* Zucchini Cream (sauté onions, 1-2 medium size potatoes, zucchini, olive oil, salt & pepper. Once they are golden, add water or stock, let it boil until soft and blend)
* We are grilling skirt steak (will marinate with some garlic, soy sauce, pepper and oregano) and will eat with French Fries. We will make some tacos if there is some leftovers of the meat.
* And the star...Marmitako!!! Delicious Basque fisherman plate consisting in potatoes, tuna, onion, green pepper and some paprika.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Sun May 07, 2017 7:48 am

It is also time for the Frugal Chicos Hotel to open its doors!!

Last year we were Airbnb hosts for the first time and it was a great experience. We rented our second bedroom from June until October. Not only did we meet some cool people but it helped us to make quite a good profit. We managed to make about $5,200.

We already opened for reservations in June and so far we have 3 bookings. We are currently monitoring the prices and daily views of the posting since we want to make the maximum profit (why not!?). We set the night at a minimum price of $79 and a maximum of $250. We have it set up with smart price (it automatically changes the price for you depending on demand).

That being said, we can forecast a busy summer making beds and cleaning sheets...but it is a great experience that makes us feel we are doing the maximum we can to make this journey a success story!

Cheers!

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Jason » Sun May 07, 2017 12:02 pm

I'm starting to see why you are so determined to get back to Basque county. Beautiful country, fine cousine.

Good luck with the Airbnb. Do you cook for these people? If not, you should and charge extra. It would give you an experiment in seeing people eat your food.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Sun May 07, 2017 12:11 pm

Jason wrote:
Sun May 07, 2017 12:02 pm
I'm starting to see why you are so determined to get back to Basque county. Beautiful country, fine cousine.

Good luck with the Airbnb. Do you cook for these people? If not, you should and charge extra. It would give you an experiment in seeing people eat your food.
Happy Sunday Jason!

I only prepared breakfast for guests a couple of times. But it is true, I thought about some short of service where anybody could cook homemade meals and have guest over that would pay for the service (not sure how the food and healthy regulations would work). But it would be interesting to see the concept in a country like the US with such a variety of cultures....being able to taste real homemade food from India, Thailand, Mexico...just to name a few.

And yeah, my wife is kind of the official taster and so far is quite delighted with my cooking :D

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Mon May 08, 2017 8:17 pm

So....beginning of the week and even though I always try to find motivation to keep it cool everyday, sometimes it is hard to not feel a little anxious and complain about how terrible things are (weather, traffic, boring job, neighbors, etc).

I am totally aware the mentioned before "issues" are first world "problems" and I consider myself very fortunate to have what I have (what the hell, I'm writing a journal about saving crazy money in 3,5 years and perhaps not needing to work again if I don't want to). So I decided to take a challenge of not complaining about anything in 21 days (that's supposedly the time it takes to create a habit). I will also try to wake up every morning and be determined to have a great day when I will be grateful for what I have in my life and for what I have waiting for me in the future.

I believe positivity is a habit that needs to be trained and perhaps, it is as important as compound interest in a journal like mine.

I will let you know how it goes!

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Jason » Tue May 09, 2017 5:42 am

I had a shrink who helped me try to develop the following habit:

The "awful, terrible, horrible" test. When thinking of a situation think "Is it so awful, terrible, horrible" (say it in Middle-Eastern accent and it sounds more erudite). The point its to grade the feeling on a scale of 1-10. Assign it a number. A rational human being has to be able to establish degradations of experience i.e. "I am being herded into a cattle car to be exterminated in a gas chamber" vs. "I burnt my Pinxtos." I will let you decide which is worse.

These are other tools"

(1) If you are a natural pessimist like me, look for negative aspirational role models. Watch People Court and realize most people are fighting over less than 1000 which means they desperately need 1000. Plus its fun to watch people fight over trivial shit like "Wanda is suing Charise for $400 for using her birth control test and the abortion she needed due to the fact that she couldn't test herself the morning after she fucked Charise's boyfriend. Charise is counter-suing and seeking to have Wanda kicked out of her apartment for being a fucking ho. Wanda is now seeking further damages for Charise calling her a fucking ho." If you are a luddite like Jacob Lund Fisker and don't have a television, just go to your local bar at 11:00Am. It will be on.

(2) Reward yourself for incremental improvements in attitude/behavior.

(3) Remember what John Bogel said. The goal is to get as far away from 0 (or less than zero) as possible. So if you don't have 0 anymore, think of the shit you don't have to put up with anymore like pimping out a crew of lazy, good for nothing, back-talking bitches.

(4) There is an addition by subtraction effect, but eliminating bad behavior/attidue is not enough. It has to be replaced. For instance, if your going to eliminate lap dances with the Brazilian stripper with the ass forged before the foundations of the earth, you can't just sit there and think about getting a lap dance from the Brazilian stripper with the ass forged before the foundations of the earth. Go out and read "On Revolution" by Hannah Arrendt or something of that nature.

(5) You are not dead. So your negative thoughts are really a luxury when you think about it.

(6) Most people, either don't care or want you to fail. Don't give them the satisfaction. They are assholes.

(7) Don't watch Tony Robbins videos. There is seriously something wrong with that pituitary freak. He fuckin creeps me out and everyone I know who has ever watched one of his videos is all kinds of crazy.

(8) Work in a soup kitchen to see people even worse off than you. Not that I would ever do it as I'm way too fucking selfish plus I don't want to place myself in a position where I might take advantage of poor chicks. Nothing good comes from that.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Tue May 09, 2017 8:46 am

Good Morning Jason!

Thanks for sharing those tips. I will totally apply the one about rewarding myself (trend to by quite self critical)

I consider myself optimistic and an overall happy person. However, I think these next 3.5 years are going to be more a patience exercise than a financial one. However, I can tell you we are DE-TER-MINED to achieve the goal and finish it strong (and please, don't burn my pintxos!!). :lol:

Things that I personally did over the years to eliminate negativity and proved to be helpful (they are also along the lines of the tools you mentioned):

- Eliminated TV completely (I'm almost positive I haven't watched TV since I am 15 years old). We don't even have cable and only watch selected stuff like movies or documentaries.

- Eliminated stupid apps like Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and other similar stuff. The only thing they did was sucking my time and making me think my life was garbage since you only see people's pretty stuff (like wtf are you all day at the beach and hiking mountains...or mannnn, that person is always drinking amazing Caribbean cocktails)> You can't help to compare yourself to others.

- Don't see or read the news. Only selected things I am interested in.

- Couldn't care less about other people's problems. Unless they are relatives (pretty much only first line relatives)

- Don't pay attention to problems of the world that I can't really help solving.

- Have things to look forward to, like a camping trip, good weather on the weekend (bbq for sure), stay at home on Friday and cook a Spanish omelette (a ton of potatoes, eggs and onion)...

- Join a challenge. This year we are not buying any clothes at all.

You might think I am a selfish bastard...but I think it is an adapted stoic mentality. I need to read more about stoicism by the way... And, I also recommend the Art of Happiness.

Cheers and I wish you an awesome day!!

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Wed May 17, 2017 8:37 am

Not a whole thing to report these days...

On the social aspect, I attended a social event and had some cool conversations with other people about lifestyle and spending habits. Interesting to see other people's perspective of life, work and future. I had to keep some of my thoughts for myself since some people seem to be always struggling with life, even though they always had it pretty easy in plenty of aspects (in my opinion, any middle class person from a First World Country). This is one thing we both need to work on (shut up and don't mention much about our plans and how we are doing it), people don't really get it or think you are crazy.

On the financial matter, the Airbnb business is booming. It seems June is going to be quite busy. So far, we have few bookings for a total of $785. All the profit will be invested in Betterment. Based on last year, we can forecast a profit of $5,000 from June to October. On another note, we are thinking in getting a roommate after the Airbnb season and charge $800 a month. Looking for somebody we can trust, perhaps a friend.

Chica is also planning in babysitting on her spare time and contribute the profits to "our little empire" (the way she likes calling it).

Finally, we officially lowered the allowances from $60 to $40 a week, and invest what we don't spend. We will save at least another $100 a month, $1,200 a year.

Catch up soon!

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Thu May 25, 2017 4:26 pm

Hello Everyone,

Today has been one of those days when I asked myself "what the heck am I doing? am I wasting my time and life doing something that I don't give a crap about?". I bet it is a very common and universal feeling out there...

But, then I realized that every day that we cross a day in the calendar, it is another win for us ( We also try to live the moment and enjoy every day as much as we can). I also realized that we are freaking killing it. Getting to save over 60% every month, our Betterment account keeps growing at an incredible pace, we have Airbnb reservations for the entire month of June and half of July and Chica has been a bad ass doing nanny jobs.

Nobody said it was going to be an easy journey, but we will definitely try our best every day. I can't wait to have our monthly meeting next week!

I leave a couple of sentences of a long quote I read today:

“Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.

To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.

To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.”

Cheers!

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by knap82 » Fri May 26, 2017 5:43 am

Hola!

I really like your approach and specialfly your family ERE meetings caught my eye. Very inspiring and something I will suggest to my chi chica who is now ready to join the journey to FI.

So thank you and keep posting.

/knap

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Fri May 26, 2017 7:12 am

@knap82

Thanks for writing, we are convinced our monthly meetings are what keep us strong and motivated. Taking notes and keeping track of our progress is an amazing source of joy and something to look forward every month.

The meeting time is also a place where there is open conversations about money and future goals in every aspect. It definitely help us to be closer and be a team with the same goal. We are planing in having our future kids joining us in these meetings so they are not foreign to this approach of life :)

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Jason » Sun May 28, 2017 11:34 am

Enough of the idle chit chat, let's see some pictures of food.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Tue May 30, 2017 8:29 am

Jason wrote:
Sun May 28, 2017 11:34 am
Enough of the idle chit chat, let's see some pictures of food.
Morning Jason!

Soon man, I promise a summer of recipes! that's one of the things I definitely want to learn more about. Taking pictures of food and make them look appetizing is quite hard...Any suggestion would be much appreciated. Looking for some technique not too complicated neither requiring a million of instruments and gadgets.

Thanks!

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by bryan » Tue May 30, 2017 1:10 pm

Figured I would just pop in to say I recently visited my sister again and this time spent some more time in the country and smaller towns. It really does seem like a great place to "retire." Some excellent bicycling roads, hiking, coastline, food, etc. I'm not sure what my favourite thing from this past trip was, but eating in a cave on the border of France/Spain was pretty great, unique: https://imgur.com/a/xsV4t

txotx!

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Wed May 31, 2017 11:33 am

@ Bryan

Hi Bryan!

I am glad you like it! That place seems very interesting! I never heard of such a thing. Did you get to visit Biarritz or Saint-Jean-de-Luz? they are probably my favorite places across the border. Can't wait to go on vacation in August and spend a couple of weeks back home (especially eating fish, seafood and drinking cider and fresh txakoli)

And yes, I think it is a great place to retire. Awesome social lifestyle, great food and landscapes and amazing health system.

Perhaps one day we meet in the Basque Country and have some pintxos together!

Txotx!

P.S next time you need to get in a Txoko - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Txoko

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by bryan » Wed May 31, 2017 12:28 pm

That spot was the only place we went near France; though we were tempted to go back as one of the nearby towns was having an annual accordion festival a few days later. My sister says the French Basque country is much less in demand (real estate, tourism, etc) than on the Spanish side of the border.

Other excursions from Donostia were a Sagardotegia (txotx!) near Ataun, a great fish restaurant in Getaria, and a dirty old bar in Pasaia at the end of a lengthy hike.

I'll be sure to check if you are living over there next time I visit! Hurry up and ERE :)

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Wed May 31, 2017 1:20 pm

@ Bryan

It sounds like you had an amazing trip!

Man...those cod omelettes at the Sagardotegia...and walnuts, cheese and quince paste (membrillo) for dessert!

I better hurry up!! Spring 2020 seems to be the time though...

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:09 pm

Time for some updates!

Like every month, we do a meeting and see where we stand. These are our numbers from May:

MAY TAKE HOME INCOME - $7,840
Chico: $3,994
Chica: $3,496
Chica's Babysitting: $350

MAY EXPENSES – $3,670.26
Mortgage: $1,944.89 (note: $1,122.61 went to principal, counting that as a savings)
HOA: $244.83
Car Insurance: $68.94
Gas (Car): $112.13
Groceries: $241.80
Cellphones: $21.74 (note: Chica’s work pays her cellphone bill, this is just Chico’s phone plan with Lycamobile)
Internet: $48.88 (convinced RCN to lower our bill by $20 each month- BONUS!)
Gas (House): $67.52
Electricity: $30.46
Chica’s Gym: $39.99
Chico’s Gym: $10
Chica’s Spanish Classes: $240 (last month!)
Misc./Entertainment: $599.07 (note: this month includes $328 for 2 nights of a hotel for a wedding)

This month, we saved 67.51% of our take home salary. Note: this doesn’t include any 401K contributions.

Current Assets: $180,198.61 - Increase NW $7,526.35
Cash savings: $3,646.09
Investments: $47,155.59
Chico’s Retirement: $6,021.46
Chica’s 401K: $33,614.16
Home Equity: $89,761.31

My favorite part, the graph:
Image
Last edited by Frugalchicos on Tue Aug 29, 2017 2:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:12 pm

Some of the achievements from last month include:
- We lowered the internet bill $20 a month for a year. That's a win in my books.
- We are half way of getting a companion pass in Southwest (a companion will travel for free for a year)
- Airbnb reservations for June will make a profit of about $1,450
- We didn't buy a single piece of cloth in the past 6 months.


Challenges and ongoing projects for the month of June:
- Continue eating more veggies
- Work on a sustainable source of happiness, calmness.
- Continue working out hard and go for runs during the weekends.
- Chica's Spanish classes are over, freeing $240/month. We also lowered our weekly allowances from $60/each to $40/each and save/invest what we don't spend. All these extra savings will allow us to double our investments every 7th and 21st of the month (we used to invest $400/month, now will be $800/month).

Summarizing, we are pretty excited we got to the 180K. It means we are halfway our FI goal. We can also observe the increase in savings due to adjustment in budget, continuing cooking at home and Chica's babysitting jobs.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:32 pm

As I mentioned before, we want to eat cleaner and healthier. Not that we eat bad by any means, but we just want to try to make an effort to have vegetables as the main ingredient instead of animal proteins.

We do all our groceries in Aldi, and buy seasonal produce. We pretty much have staple items and work our meals around them. These are some of them:

- Zucchini: We make zucchini cream all the time (sautee a couple of potatoes, 2 zucchinis and an onion, poor water or a stock and blend). We also sautee zucchini and mixed it with squash and rice with some soy sauce, great side or base for a main course if you put some fried egg or chicken over it.

- Mushrooms: We use them for stir fries and to put them over pizzas (the pizza dough from Aldi is phenomenal and crazy cheap $0,99). I also cook rice with mushrooms or pasta.

- Peppers: same usage as the mushrooms. We also use them to make veggie tacos.

- Celery, carrots and onions: the base for any good rice, soup or stew.

- Rice: we make either white rice, or a good paella.

- Spinach: we use them for smoothies, salads, pastas, soups, or just saute them with garlic as a side.

- We always have beans, lentils and garbanzos. We use them usually for soups or stews, especially in winter.

- Tomato sauce: this is something we use quite often. Mainly for pastas and pizza, or just to make things a little yummier.

- Eggs: I can't think of anything you can't make without them.

- For animal proteins, we usually buy chicken thighs (the ones that come with skin and bones, they are at $0.69/lb) or ground turkey (we can use it for bolognese, meatballs, hamburgers, tacos...). We also like to buy half a salmon, portion it and freeze it for when we need it.

We always have cheese, wheat bread, milk, oats and a ton of seasonal fruit like bananas and mandarins.

We managed to work around all this and limit the budget to $240/month for 2 people.

This weekend we will try to make a meal plan for the week with more veggie based plates. We will update with recipes and hopefully some pictures!

Cheers and catch up soon!
Last edited by Frugalchicos on Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Jason » Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:53 pm

My wife made me a salad with lentils and garbanzos and an hour later I power booted that shit a country mile.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by George the original one » Fri Jun 09, 2017 7:46 pm

Frugalchicos wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:32 pm
- For animal proteins, we usually buy chicken thighs (the ones that come with skin and bones, they are at $0.69/lb)
Dang it, our local prices just don't get that low! Too far away on the supply line.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos » Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:22 pm

George the original one wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 7:46 pm
Frugalchicos wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:32 pm
- For animal proteins, we usually buy chicken thighs (the ones that come with skin and bones, they are at $0.69/lb)
Dang it, our local prices just don't get that low! Too far away on the supply line.
Not even at Aldi? Aldi rocks here! I must say, it is contributing we are speeding up the achiviement of our goal. Prices are like 1/3 of Jewel and below Walmart. Meanwhile, quality is still pretty good.
Last edited by Frugalchicos on Sat Jun 10, 2017 5:46 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Let's go Back Home - Frugal chicos journal

Post by MDFIRE2024 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:56 pm

Not even at Aldi? Aldi rocks here! I must say, it is contributing we are speeding up in achiviement our goal because of them. Prices are like 1/3 of Jewel and below Walmart. Meanwhile, quality is still pretty good.
It is great that with Aldi, we as Germans, have a good company abroad who make ERE-customers happy. :-)

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