Mae & FrugalPatat's Journey

Where are you and where are you going?
Mae
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:44 am
Location: Belgium (Western Europe)

Re: Mae's Musings

Post by Mae »

I definitely have issues with my parents that need to be worked out, but they are emotionally very very closed/unavailable. I see them every 3-4 months or so. Maybe I should make it a new year's resolution to call and update them at least once a month. Jason, you are inspiring me!

Jason

Re: Mae's Musings

Post by Jason »

My therapist and I have had discussions over the 180 tendency. There is a technical term for it that escapes me at the moment. But in a nutshell, in addressing behavior, attitudes or character traits that you find faulty or would like to avoid, engaging in diametrically oppositional behavior or attitudes is not an appropriate response. It's reductionist in its extremity. For instance, if you find a person to be too intellectual for his/her own good, the appropriate response is not for you to want him/her to be anti-intellectual. If a parent was distant, the answer was not for them to be smothering. I think this tendency may have some value when addressing our current political climate.

You can use extremes to find where you are comfortable. We are doing that with TV now. We are swinging the pendulum all the way to the other side in order to find an appropriate methodology and rate of consumption.

Here is a classic take on the issue:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKUvKE3bQlY

suomalainen
Posts: 736
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:49 pm

Re: Mae's Musings

Post by suomalainen »

On the other hand, if someone is a human anchor as someone on here coined, even if it's a parent, having less exposure to them is the rational choice. There's nothing wrong with cutting out a poisonous person from your life.

I'm speaking generally, not suggesting that either or both of your parents are poisonous, a topic about which I have zero idea.

Jason

Re: Mae's Musings

Post by Jason »

I was addressing the issue from an internal/existential standpoint i.e. "If I don't like the quality (x), it does not mean its best for me to take on the opposite of the quality (anti-x)." On the issue of completely avoiding asshole family members, I'm completely down with that.

Sabaka
Posts: 115
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:41 am

Re: Mae's Musings

Post by Sabaka »

Well done on the savings rate guys, 89% is fantastic. Good idea with the peanuts as well. I too used to eat a lot of peanut butter everyday, and I found that when I switched to whole peanuts I consume much less before feeling full, whereas I could easily eat a tub of peanut butter and still be hungry :lol: .

Mae, if you're still looking for vegan footwear, I recently bought a pair from Will's Vegan Shoes. They are quite a pricey, but they have held up quite well, and I was using them in a warehouse environment. Here is the link if you want to have a look: https://wills-vegan-shoes.com/

Have a good new year!

Mae
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:44 am
Location: Belgium (Western Europe)

Re: Mae's Musings

Post by Mae »

Thank you, Sabaka! I think we can hit a consistent 70% savings rate (90% in December) if we are just that little bit smarter about our budget. But I believe our numbers are great, considering I work part-time.

It's funny you mention Will's Shoes, since I bought a pair of their sandals (https://twitter.com/WillsVeganStore/sta ... 9006989312, not my photo) last summer. Very decent.

Frugalpatat and I wish you a good 2019 :D

Mae
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:44 am
Location: Belgium (Western Europe)

Re: Mae's Musings

Post by Mae »

January Recap

I'm very happy with our 75,11% savings rate!

Despite being hospitalised for a week, buying hiking shoes and a laptop charger and having to pay for insurance.

I haven't seen any hospital bills yet. Insurance will cover most (if not all) of it. I did have to pay up front for my medication (this month) but will retrieve most of it. I'm VERY glad we are well-insured and so comfortable money-wise, after having had my life unexpectedly put on hold for a week.

Also, FrugalPatat had a raise. Woot.

Mae
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:44 am
Location: Belgium (Western Europe)

Re: Mae's Musings

Post by Mae »

bigato wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:54 pm
I have nothing insightful to say, but wanted to comment that I read your journal and for some reason I cannot quite pin down, I like you guys.
:D Lol, thank you! I think we're one of the rare couples on here.

FrugalPatat
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:22 am
Location: Belgium (Europe)

Re: Mae's Musings

Post by FrugalPatat »

Saving rates for
February: 72.5%
March: 74.6%

I looked at our investment account the other day. Even though we only started investing less than a year ago, I noticed the current 'profit' available would cover about a third of our yearly expenses. It doesn't mean much but it's inspiring to see it actually happening in a country with high taxes.

Mae's office is now in a rural environment. It inspires to want to go live in a more rural environment and in a house. Selling our small city-appartment would allow us to buy a house in the country side. But the choice is difficult because we want to avoid having a car; and living in a city appartment has a lot of advantages as well.

Some pros for a rural house:
-more space; currently our 60m² appartment contains a home gym and 2 rabbits, it's a bit much.
-Also in a house I would be less worried about deadlifting heavy. Currently I limit myself to sets of 8 reps to keep the weight down (currently at 8x170kg). But I prefer sets of 5. And maybe a 1 rep max from time to time.
-more quiet; we currently have a noisy neighbour and in summer there is a lot of outside noise as well
-more flexible, could think about solar, permaculture gardening etc ....

Against:
-increased commuting time; although I am allowed to work at home 2 days a week
-probably need a car
-I suppose costlier in energy and maintenance costs; but on the other hand things like appartment elevators cost a lot too even when the cost is shared with others...

FrugalPatat
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:22 am
Location: Belgium (Europe)

Re: Mae's Musings

Post by FrugalPatat »

Savings rate for the past three months:
April: 77.45%
May: 82.16%
June: 74.24%

Somehow stopped ironing clothes completely. I'm happy that I'm finally okay with wearing dress shirts and pants to work that have not been ironed. It doesn't even make that much of a difference if you straighten them out a bit before they are dry.

Noticed there was a video posted online last year with some Joe Dominguez clips online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1C_JjEEXIrE This guy is really entertaining.

December 30 2018 posted:
With a return on investment of 0%, no increase in income, no inflation and an SWR of 4% we currently would be considered financially independent in about 8 years. In practice I would never stop working at that point (I'd consider it maybe with an SWR of 1-2%). However I'd consider trying to get into another field outside of corporate IT without worrying too much about the salary.
But we save a bit more than anticipated, and the stock market that is still going up has also contributed to our net worth. Really only like 6-7 years away which is nice but doesn't really matter since we don't count on a SWR of 4%. The main goal is to reduce dependence on a job; not necessarily to eliminate it.

Aiming for a raise in january. I'm also thinking about working 90% instead of fulltime once I have this raise, this should maintain our savings rate. Since I don't take multi-day vacations this would allow me to work 4 days a week all of the time (1 day every 2 weeks due to the 90%; and 1 day every other 2 weeks with paid leave ). I feel much better in 4 day work weeks than in 5.

Also been reading quite a bit on gold and bonds since we reached our desired allocations in stocks and liquid cash. But still undecided.

Mae
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:44 am
Location: Belgium (Western Europe)

Re: Mae & FrugalPatat's Journey

Post by Mae »

Changed the title of this journal to include FrugalPatat since we're in this together.

(And he has been posting wayyy more updates than I have.)

Mae
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:44 am
Location: Belgium (Western Europe)

Re: Mae & FrugalPatat's Journey

Post by Mae »

2019 wrap-up

I've been mostly non-active or in lurker mode lately, but I feel like having time off of work pushes me towards a more FIRE mindset :lol: So time to post again.

Our savings rate for 2019 is ... 73,08%!

I don't think we've kept track of our finances for a full year before 2019, so nothing to compare it against. But considering I work part-time and we've had some unforeseen medical bills, I think we did really well.

I'm trying to gather my thoughts on FIRE here. To me, it is more about a minimalist non-consumer lifestyle, developing a skillset beyond the mere basics, and saving a lot of money in the process. Emergency expenses don't freak me out, because frugality, imo, serves partly that: to be able to cough up the € when you have to, without having to worry about surviving until the next pay cheque. And having the time for personal development.

I must admit that I'm having a little crisis about my job (again) because the magic of its novelty has worn off and all I'm left with is a mission that I consider very important (but rather unachievable at this point in time) and a lot of frustration because of the lack of a professional work culture. I have to either push through this by trying to change things in the organisation itself, accept the way it is (change my mindset), or change jobs again.

All in all, I'm looking forward to 2020. Hoping it will be a year of growth (in multiple ways) :)
Last edited by Mae on Sat Jan 04, 2020 9:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

FrugalPatat
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:22 am
Location: Belgium (Europe)

Re: Mae & FrugalPatat's Journey

Post by FrugalPatat »

1. I've got a significant raise for 2020. I’ve been having this raise as an objective for about a year; and as a condition to allow myself to consider working less. So now I can consider working 80-90% instead of 100%. But the additional free time has to have an purpose other than sleeping more. Will have to think about this in the following months.

2. Changed our asset allocation. Started buying stocks in 2018 until 80% of net worth. Asset allocation was not that important since our net worth was not large relative to expenses and salary (which means a drop of even 90% would not be dramatic; since it would not be that much money lost; and it would also be easy to ‘correct’ the allocation just by using the salary, no rebalancing required).

But when arriving at 80% the net worth started to get more substantial. I thought more about what was the point of this money and decided to at least go for a more conservative allocation. Am probably also highly influenced by reading John Hussman and Howard Marks, as well as some forum posts here. Currently considering more like a permanent portfolio + variable portfolio style approach.

I already sold about 1/3 of the stocks and bought some gold. Currently about 20% gold (in an etf), 45% stocks, 35% cash. Cannot convince myself to buy bonds at this point. Probably won’t be buying stocks for a while; I’d like to accumulate more cash, and also buy physical gold at one point.

One reason for wanting more cash is because I have some mortage debt left, which, in case I would be left without a salary, want to be able to pay back entirely while still having a 1+ year cash buffer in expenses. On top of that I want to also have a sufficient cash buffer to be able to buy stocks (or gold) in case of drop that is too large to cover with my salary.

Mae
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:44 am
Location: Belgium (Western Europe)

Re: Mae & FrugalPatat's Journey

Post by Mae »

Utilities/energy

Sooo, it was time to switch utility companies again to get the cheapest possible deal for gas and electricity. Check. Of course we will try to keep our energy consumption low. (Currently used to sitting inside in 18.5-19°C during winter, which I still consider quite ... warm. A downside to this is that everybody else's place, including the workspace, is too hot!)

Health

I took up running again for improved cardiovascular health and for the pleasure of being outside, which really clears my mind sometimes. I'm doing it whenever I can, considering work beats my ass 3 days a week (long commute) and I already lift weights 3-4 days a week.

Peak Prosperity

FrugalPatat turned my attention to peak oil and this site https://www.peakprosperity.com/what-should-i-do/

Reading this makes me realise how we're not very resilient at this point. We already fail at 0: The Fundamentals > Water > Storage > 3 days (oops)

So now I'm worried about (1) the future, (2) becoming some weird prepper person.
Last edited by Mae on Sat Jan 04, 2020 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

Mae
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:44 am
Location: Belgium (Western Europe)

Re: Mae & FrugalPatat's Journey

Post by Mae »

Health

Alrighty, went running again today and slowly slipping back into good (vegan) IF habits.

Peak Prosperity

I'm more relaxed now that I've read Step 1: Financial Capital over at peakprosperity.com :lol: At least we have improved and are still improving on that front.

Ordered water to store as part of emergency preparedness. Also trying to build a deep pantry, but it's difficult because we don't own a car and I cannot carry that many extra products, but working on it.

Curious to see what Step 2: Living Capital brings.

_bb_
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2018 7:58 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Mae & FrugalPatat's Journey

Post by _bb_ »

Added the Crash Course to my 2020 reading list. Sounds very interesting.

Congrats to both of you on the successes both personally and financially!

FrugalPatat
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:22 am
Location: Belgium (Europe)

Re: Mae & FrugalPatat's Journey

Post by FrugalPatat »

Still saving around 75% of our salaries. But no longer working fulltime. I like it. Our portfolio was 80% cash and 20% gold (an etf) but I sold the gold on friday for a 15% profit. So now 100% cash. Currently trying to decide what to do portfolio wise. In the past few days I've been reading on options as well as gold mining stocks and silver. I've had a course on option valuation at university years back so I knew something about them but had not yet read about them in a practitioner's sense.

Mae
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:44 am
Location: Belgium (Western Europe)

Re: Mae & FrugalPatat's Journey

Post by Mae »

In other news: FrugalPatat bought frickin' gold mine ETFs.

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