Frugal chicos journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

Sorry, it is a condo (there is not such a word in Spanish and we pretty much call everything houses or flats since nobody lives in houses).

The building itself is the best part of it all. It is at least 180 years old, so it is a landmark and the city enforces the conservation of it. It has recently been renovated with new massive insulation, roof and everything like termites, wood treatment, new front door of the building, etc...With this said, the previous owner is the one who took that expense and we will not take any cost like that in a long time.

HOA is about 35-40/month. There is no restrictions in regards to renting/airbnb, and all of the units are owner occupied except the one below (rented by a young couple with a child).

The neighbors couldn’t be better, two friends of us would be our neighbors just next door (they love living there and have no complaints).

Honestly, the biggest drawback is that we don’t really feel like taking on this project just at this moment and or deploying money into it. However, we know it is a great opportunity that will hardly be repeated if we let it go (and will probably have to pay close to double for something similar).

The way Chica sees it, and I agree with it. It is that the condo can be our house for the next 10-15 years or maybe our entire life (saying 10-15 years in case we have different gender children and we decide we need a third bedroom). And if not, we can always rent it or sell it for more than what we paid for it.

Seppia
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Seppia »

Frugalchicos wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:01 am
Honestly, the biggest drawback is that we don’t really feel like taking on this project just at this moment and or deploying money into it.
This seals it for me, it's a no. Buying a house/apartment is a big jump, if you're not 100% convinced I'd not do it. Moreover....

Frugalchicos wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:01 am
However, we know it is a great opportunity that will hardly be repeated if we let it go (and will probably have to pay close to double for something similar).
This is generally not the case. When you have money and the luxury of waiting for the right opportunity, sooner or later it will happen.
Most people MUST buy a place (or they at least feel like they do), so they can't wait for long.
You don't.

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

Another option is buying it and do the work in the next 2-3 years while we live rent free and enjoy an interest free loan. We will decide this week I guess

bigato
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by bigato »

It’s never the last best opportunity you’ll ever find, despite what your heart will tell you. I should know, I did it twice. Make sure you think it through.

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

True, you all gave us very valid points. Thanks!

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Ego
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Ego »

My default setting is anti-buy but I gotta say, that place sounds incredible. If there was ever a scenario where we would buy a place it would be something like that. Historic building where the major systems have been upgraded but the unit itself needs renovation.

I manage a 107 year old building and I get a great deal of pleasure out of preserving the history. Would you get the same pleasure?

Since priority #1 is mini-Chica be sure to check air quality. If there are any musty or moldy smells, do a little research on what that might be, how it affects growing children and how you can use HVAC to mitigate. If you buy, consider that the condo may have led paint before letting her run wild while she is teething as she might chew on a window sill.

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

@Ego

Thanks Ego. The condo needs to be totally gutted since nobody lived there in the last 30-40 years (they had newspapers from that time laying around). We will need to knock everything down and pretty much redo everything from scratch, plumbing, electricity, drywall, windows, ceilings, floors, bathrooms, kitchen, everything.

The condo has 2 big French doors that lead to a long balcony and 2 windows in the back (it is a rectangle). We can make a 2 bed/2 bath and still have a very nice living area with open kitchen. Most of the natural light comes through the French doors since the back windows face an interior patio with a wall 12' away.

Yes, I do love renovating, creating and giving new life to things/spaces.

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Ego
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Ego »

Wow, it sound incredible. Parking? Or can you go car free?

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

No parking, but there is parking spots available for rent for about 85E/month or on sale for 18,000E. Parking on the street is doable, but it can be quite a challenge since the town is quite populated for its size.

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

A few updates:

- I have been doing numbers and graphs this morning. Based on our current NW , a 3.5% SWR will give us about $1,240/month. Our expenses can get down to $1,100/month counting with insurances and all the necessary expenses to run a house, groceries, going out, etc. I designed a graph to keep track of our expenses vs 3.5% SWR. We want to get serious about this retirement plan.

- Part of this retirement plan is having a paid off house. We made an offer to the owner of the condo we saw last week. We offered 80-82K. My father and I can do big parts of the reno, the calculations of the entire reno are about 25K. The owner will get back to us some time next week.

- We can get a 65K interest free loan which can be paid in 5 years ($1,083/month). This will allow us to avoid selling current assets/investments and continue investing aggressively over the next years.

- No luck finding a job yet. I am not in a big rush, but the uncertainty feeling is kind of a burden sometimes. On the other hand, I have the opportunity of taking care of mini chica and do all the chores of the house plus surfing any random day. I have also been approved for the returned immigrant help which will finally be about 500E.

- I still have a couple of fronts opened for possible job opportunities. If I am not able to find a decent job, I have a couple of ideas that can be cool and give me decent money. More about this in the future.

- We are doing a no gift Christmas. No need to spend money and receive stuff I don't need.

- I will cancel my gym membership and start running and surfing on a weekly basis. This will save 46E/ month, 552E/year.

- I will sell my old surfboard and buy a new one more adequate to my current weight. I bought the old one like 17 years ago when I was much lighter. The other day, I was the only one on the beach who didn't float. It is also quite hard to get any wave with such a thin board, making it quite frustrating and boring on the long term.

- We started to do our going out and groceries budget putting 200E in two jars (200E in each). One is for going out/fun and the other one is for groceries. We also stopped using the American CC in order to keep track of our expenses easily. We don't have a CC here. This way, I believe it will be easier to see how much we are spending and control the budget a little tighter.

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

Chica and mini chica are leaving for 3 weeks to the US in late March April. I decided that if I don’t get a job by then. I will do the camino de Santiago or drive around south and central Europe sleeping in the car and visiting cities and parks. This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to embark in an adventure like that.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Yo, that's exactly when I'll be in Spain/France!

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

@2B1S
Awesome! We can meet if we are the in same area!

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Ego
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Ego »

Well that sounds like a nice adventure. The last section of the French Way from Sarria to Santiago gets bonkers even in the low season as it is the minimum distance to obtain the Compostela certificate so it may be very crowded around Easter. Maybe you could walk from home along the coastal route?

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

Oh yeah, I was thinking in starting walking straight from my door to the West all the way to Galicia along the coast.

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

Very excited to do the end of the year update. First, we start with December:

DECEMBER INCOME –$8,220
Chico’s Salary – $2,290
Chica’s Salary – $5,930

DECEMBER EXPENSES – $1,132
Rent: $0
Gas (Car): $0 - I filled up the tank last month and still have a little bit over 1/4 of the tank. Love how little our old Audi consumes
Groceries: $194
Cellphones: $10 - Chica's international plan with Lebara
Internet & Chico's phone: $45
Misc./Entertainment: $796. It includes the following:
- $296 Timming belt, water pump and tensors for the car
- $96 Gas, oil, air and cabin filters. With these two expenses, we have the car ready to go for another 100,000kms (will need periodic oil changes, but all the important stuff is done. We spent about $8,000 in the car and restoring it)
- $28 Post office taxes
- $21 Health insurance that is required to get the EU residency
- $382 Fun. Going out, coffees, some clothes for mini, an activity chair for mini...
Cash Withdrawals: $0

We saved 86.22% of our income. We don't use our CC anymore. We started using two jars, each with 200E, one is for fun (whatever we want to do with it) and the other is for groceries. So far, it has worked pretty well for us and it helped in controlling our expenses and limit withdrawals.

CURRENT ASSETS: $442,761 ($17,464 increase from last month)
Cash savings: $170,720 - 150K are in a Savings account with a 1.81% APY.
Investments: $202,209
Chica’s 401K: $69,831 - It will need to be rolled over as an IRA now that Chica will work as a freelance for her company.

ACHIEVEMENTS/HAPPENINGS THIS MONTH:
- The system of the jars for groceries and fun worked great. We will continue doing it.
- We had our first giftless Christmas and everyone is happy as a clam.
- This month was the first month that we spent like we live here
- Chica submitted her papers for the EU residency. We will need to spend some moneys in translating stuff though ($300???). We also had to get a health insurance for the whole year (like $40/month)
- We put an offer to buy a condo for 82K. However, we are thinking in backing up and stay homeless for a little while and live at my parents spare house since it is a great opportunity to speed up our savings. We also think it might be a little of a rush to just get a house 2 months after we got here.

GOALS:
- More about this in the 2019 year Recap.

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

2019 RECAP

- Started the year with a $329,598 NW and ended it with $442,760. Increase of $111,373
- We sold our condo in Chicago for 321K, 6K over asking price. We sold it 3 days after being in the market
- We started with $139,710 in Betterment and ended with $202,209. Increase: $62,449
- Our savings average was 45%. It was quite low because of the two months when we were moving had very low or 0% of saving rate
- We sold our car in Chicago for $5,200
- We made $3,223 on Ebay and selling furniture
- Chica made $633 on dancing lessons
- Chica got a raise in April - 105K/year

ACHIEVEMENTS 2019:
- We almost hit 425K by the time we moved. We had 420K
- We move to Bilbao was good. We furnished the entire condo for about 4K and bought a car for $7,200
- Chica gets to work remotely. This is a game changer and a key to our early retirement
- Mini was born on 7/31. She was a healthy and beautiful baby. She was 7lbs and 9 oz, and 21"
- We did pretty good at selling all our stuff back in Chicago and not buying unnecessary stuff during this year.
- I run the half marathon in 2 hours and 2 minutes
- I quit my nonsense job!!

GOALS 2020:
***Financial:
- Hit 525K NW by the end of the year
- Live below the 3,5% SWR ($1,250)
- Get a source of income. The tour guide gig is my priority right now.
- Do the 0 clothes buying challenge until the end of the year.

***Personal:
- Chica to get her drivers license by July
- Chica to be fluent in Spanish by the end of the year
- Chico to be good at surfing by the end of the year
- Do some cool road trips.

- SAVINGS % 2019:
Month - Increase NW - Saving %
January - $20,324 - 69.15%
Feb - $10,618 - 70.6
March - $12,452 - 57.8
April - $11,990 - 63.35
May - $2,196 - 67.5
June - $22,267 - 60.57
July - $6,816 - 56.02
Aug - $16,553 - 70.35
Sept - $4,372 - 25.54
Oct - $1,783 - 0
Nov - $4,365 - 50.5
Dec - $17,463 - 86.22

5 YEAR GOALS:
- Have 800K in our NW
- Live with less than $1,500/month
- Quit our jobs completely
- Slow travel when mini is off from school.

** On another note, as I mentioned above, we are thinking in not buying the condo we put the offer before (there is no penalty or anything if we back up). We are currently living in a rent free nice apartment and could live here for a few years. We definitely don't want to rush into something even though we think it could be a good opportunity. We consider waiting, enjoying our time and saving like crazy is a wiser decision. We don't feel like paying taxes and insurance for anything right now. I guess we decided to get wealthy without owning a condo :roll:

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

Here, a few of our graphs showing the progress over the years. You see them bigger if you click on them. I used to use tinypic for pictures but they closed down. I would appreciate any recommendation to upload pics into the forum.
Image

Image

Image

Image

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

In the last graph with the 3.5% SWR, I believe starting from December is when we will be able to see the real expense vs SWR since we always calculated the SWR based on projected expenses in the The Basque Country.

ItsALongStory
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by ItsALongStory »

Super impressive to see how dedicated you have both (all 3??) been to this journey and are making your dreams a reality. We are in a bit of a similar situation whereby we could use a house (not totally rent free though) that my parents own. It was very recently renovated and could be a great spot for us if my wife would agree with the location.

Will keep following here to see how the job goes and what the outcome is on the condo.

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