Frugal chicos journal

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

Post by Frugalchicos »

@ItsALongStory

Thanks, this journal and the book where we keep all the info of our monthly meetings are one of my favourite things to do. Yes, we are three: Me, my wife and our 5 month baby :)

It would be great if you can use your parents condo for some time while you get settle into your next chapter in life.

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

Today has been the first day that I have been alone in like...6 months!!

It is kind of funny, I didn't really do anything but tracking our NW, play Fifa, play the guitar, cook and clean the house...and I kind of feel a little guilty that I didn't do anything "productive". I can't imagine how people who retire early feel at the beginning of their retirements. My situation is more of a sabbatical time while I apply for jobs though. I know we have enough money to live well and kind of FIRE, but I still feel the pressure that I have to find a job.

I have been applying to every kind of jobs ( I am even doing the test for the Basque police force) and I find it quite hard since it seems I am overqualified for the job offer here. I have skimmed and simplified my resume. I feel life is kind of pushing me to be patient and chill a little. I still have the offer on the table to work with my friends as a tourist guide. I accepted the offer and I actually think it could be something pretty cool to do. I have also been investigating about the option of doing it by myself if my friends' offer doesn't really go through (like creating a website, buying a van, etc..)

These are just a bunch of thoughts and ideas, but I guess it can be a common situation for those who kind of retire early or take a sabbatical and still feel that pressure or feeling that they might need to find a "real job" in order to survive. Perhaps I just need to listen to Chica and stop looking for a traditional job and figure what I need to start my Tourism business.

Oh, on another note...we made an offer for the condo I talked about previously and it got accepted. 82K and needs like a 40K renovation. We consider a great opportunity to hack the housing situation. Very excited about it!!

classical_Liberal
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Congrats on the condo!

Not that this is applicable to you, but I have always thought being a tour/tourist guide would be a fun gig, at least for awhile. The more variations of types of tours the longer I'd probably like it. Right now I interact with people when it's one of the worst times of their lives (being sick and in a hospital). I think It'd be a great experience to see the opposite side of human nature, when people are happy and excited to be on holiday.

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

@Classical Liberal

Thanks!

We are actually designing tours for Chica's parents who are visiting us from the US and I think it could be pretty fun and profitable. It is true that people are much nicer when they are vacationing. I could see the difference when working in the hotel business in Chicago vs Las Vegas.

theanimal
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by theanimal »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:42 pm
Not that this is applicable to you, but I have always thought being a tour/tourist guide would be a fun gig, at least for awhile. The more variations of types of tours the longer I'd probably like it. Right now I interact with people when it's one of the worst times of their lives (being sick and in a hospital). I think It'd be a great experience to see the opposite side of human nature, when people are happy and excited to be on holiday.
If you pursue this, I'd recommend avoiding being a guide for tours that are part of some package. About half the people I led when I used to guide were part of a tour package from some travel agency or cruise line and you would have thought they were in a hospital based on how sick and tired they were/how much they complained. Those packages fill their schedules with one activity after another so after a few days they're just looking to get through their vacation that they just spent $15k+ on.

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

@the Animal

I am more into private tours. Wealthy Americans, Brits, Australians, Canadians, HKs and Singaporeans would be the target for the most part. I saw a couple of potential competitors who are charging 400+ euros per tour. I will wait until March to see if I can work with my friends. If not, I will be their competitor (will refer them if I am too busy to take more clients :D )

By the way, it is an honor to have you commenting on my journal. Great admirer of your achievements up there in Alaska :D

classical_Liberal
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

theanimal wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:33 pm
Those packages fill their schedules with one activity after another so after a few days they're just looking to get through their vacation that they just spent $15k+ on.
At least some people know how to ruin the best of times, just like some people know how to make the best in the worst. :lol:

theanimal
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by theanimal »

That sounds like a good setup. The smaller groups were always pleasant. I once had a very nice group of women from SIngapore on a multi day trip. We talked about Lee Kuan Yew and they said they wanted to send me a book later on. I didn't hear anything for a while but a couple months later I received not 1 but 4! books on Singapore and Lee Kuan Yew. It's probably only about 10-20% of guests that are like that but those kinds of interactions made it worth it.

And thank you. You're too kind. I look forward to reading more of Chica and your adventures en España.

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

We finally got some time to do our January meeting! All the info is based on what we had as of February 4th

JANUARY INCOME –$8,992
Chico’s Salary – $1,669
Chica’s Salary – $10,461.98 (We subtracted a 30% and kept it aside in a savings account for future taxes. She gets paid as a freelance in gross since 2020)

JANUARY EXPENSES – $1,600
Rent: $0
Gas (Car): $0 - 136.44 - We did a ton of road trips with Chica's parents.
Groceries: $277.36 - They were a little higher since we hosted few more lunches/dinners than usual
Cellphones: $16.63 - Chica's international plan with Lebara
Internet & Chico's phone: $46.53
Misc./Entertainment: $786. It includes the following:
- $157 translating documents for Chica's EU residency.
- $117 Car Battery
- $67 Car Tensor Belt
- $190 Athletic Bilbao tickets for soccer game we went with Chica's parents
Cash Withdrawals: $250

We saved 82.20% of our income. It is crazy we feel we spent a lot and lived a pretty lavish life this last month and we still managed to spend so little.

CURRENT ASSETS: $452,767.92 ($10,006.37 increase from last month)
Cash savings: $107,003 - 80K are in a Savings account with a 1.81% APY.
Investments: $275,777.34 - We finally transferred 70K from our savings account.
Chica’s 401K: $69,987 - It will be rolled into IRA to our Betterment account.

ACHIEVEMENTS/HAPPENINGS THIS MONTH:
- Chica's parents were visiting these last 5 weeks and we all had a blast. They loved it very much and are already planning another long trip for September.
- Chica worked her first month as a freelancer. we are setting 30% of her earnings into a savings account to pay taxes. She gets paid in gross
- We transferred $70,000 from our savings account to our investments account. Luckily we did it during the coronavirus selloff.
- We are still waiting on the condo paperwork to close the buying.
- Still waiting on Chica's residency paperwork approval.
- Mini Chica is already eating solid foods and she can almost sit up!
- I screwed up the one year no clothing purchase challenge. I bought a second hand North Face parka for $65. Great deal though :lol: - I will start the challenge from today...

GOALS:
- Develop the tour guide business idea.
- Continuing having a great time and saving a ton of money.
Last edited by Frugalchicos on Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

Some cool pictures of places around my town:
Sopelana
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Zumaia's Flysch
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Somorrostro
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Laguardia
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Gorbea
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Biarritz
Image
Image

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

Time for an update:

FEBRUARY INCOME –$7,038.03
Chico’s Salary – $430.27
Chica’s Salary – $6,607

FEBRUARY EXPENSES – $944
Rent: $0
Gas (Car): $105.99
Groceries: $325.11
Cellphones: $21.74 - Chica's international plan with Lebara
Internet & Chico's phone: $46.51
Misc./Entertainment: $357.77 It includes the following:
- $46 - Clothes for Mini
- Some tolls we paid while chica's parents where still here.


We saved 86.58% of our income.

CURRENT ASSETS: $442,157 ($10,610.56 decrease from last month)
Cash savings: $105,766.61
Investments: $336,390.75 - Chica's previous 401K was rolled into an IRA and now it is part of our investments.

ACHIEVEMENTS/HAPPENINGS THIS MONTH:
- We achieved the lowest expenses ever. We are trying to live within the 3.5% SWR of our NW
- Coronavirus hit our investments hard, hence the $10K+ decrease in NW
- We will be closing the buy of the condo in the next 3 months and will start construction by September. Planning in moving there by Spring 2021
- We are still waiting on Chica's residency paperwork
- My job hunt has been harder than expected. I get interviews here and there but for jobs that I am not really interested in. I am seriously considering starting my own company of guided tours around the Basque Country.
- Related to the previous line, I was supposed to start working last week with some friends doing guided tours. However, they got scared about some cancelations due to the coronavirus and delayed my hiring without an estimated start date. If I don't hear back from them before mid-April, I will move full steam ahead with my own company.

WHAT I DO/ HOW I SPEND MY DAYS:
- Really, I don't really do much to be honest. For the most part, I cook and clean the house in the morning and take care of mini in the afternoons. That already takes me 90% of my time. My creativity/energy level has been quite low lately.

I surf 1-3 times a week, depending on the waves and responsibilities. It definitely helps me to decompress and reconnect with myself.

I have spent a lot of time applying for jobs and getting discouraged, frustrated and a little angry. The job market is very stagnant, there is very high demand for very few jobs and the conditions are quite unstable and pay is low.

I have been thinking about reframing my situation and time in life. I feel very fortunate for Chica and mini. Very fortunate for our economic situation that allows me take some calculated risks and do something that fulfils me. I need to start focusing my energy in positive projects and center my attention in building my business. All this sounds a little crazy, scary and overwhelming to me since I always worked for "the man"...

On another note, it seems my parents are going to get divorced. I do think it is the best for them (and all of us since their relationship has always been complicated). This may change our living situation but we will take it as it comes.

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

So...big news! Yesterday, I got and accepted a job. I will be working at the welcome desk of a Michelin star restaurant. Pay is 30K a year, which is good in Spain + tips. 40 hours a week with 2 days off and 6 weeks of paid vacation a year. I will work shifts, mornings and evenings. Oh, and they also give me meals during my shift and I will have free parking.

I am pretty happy with the opportunity. In fact, when I was driving back from the restaurant (just 20 miles away), I was thinking that the gig is a pretty good ERE job. Not too much stress/pressure but still fancy, competitive, dynamic and with growth potential. Free meals and free parking. And the pay will cover more than what we need. I still need to drive, but it is just a little less than 20 minutes away from my home and I will rarely find heavy traffic.

If everything goes well, I see us in full gear to fully retire in 5 years with close to 700K + a paid off house.

Nicolino
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Nicolino »

Thanks for posting those pictures!! So inspirational. Euskadi is so beautiful...

Oh, and congratulations on the job!! 30 K is not bad in Spain at all, and free Michelin starred basque food? I will take that, thanks...

Frita
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frita »

Congratulations on the job with great benefits and delicious Basque food perk! May they treat you well. How will you do the 20 mile commute?

theanimal
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by theanimal »

Lovely pictures! Easy to see why you two were so eager to move. A little more aesthetically appealing than Chicago, eh?

Congratulations on the new job! That sounds like a great setup.

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

@ Nicolino, Frita, Theanimal

Thanks guys!! yeah, this job will help to feel more settled and have a better routine. Pretty excited about it! Oh, and it seems I will also have time to surf or run during the week.

@Frita
I will have to drive. There is not really another alternative. The restaurant is up in the mountains. However, it is just 11 miles away from my home. And my old Diesel Audi Avant only consumes about 5L/100km.

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

Crazy times we are living in...

We have been confined for 3 days already and we have already drank half of our booze...

In the meantime, Chica and I designed a plan for the worst case scenario we can imagine if this coronavirus crisis develops into an ugly recession. If she loses her job and I can't get mine back when everything is over (Actually, the restaurant temporarily closed but they want me back for the reopening). We will definitely not buy the condo here, we will go back to the US, live with her parents in AZ, find new jobs and work there for another 4-5 years. Job market is always better in the US than in Europe, and I was able to dodge the 2008 crisis through geo-arbitrage working in 3 different continents, developing my career and always making money. We still want to fully retire in 4-5 years, whatever it takes.

So far, we are pretty good. We still have about 25K in a US checking account, 7.5K in a Spanish account and 65K in a savings account. I think we can definitely manage to live for a year with those 7.5K and the return immigrant help that I am able to collect until mid 2021. Hopefully, we go back to "normal" within a couple of months, Chica keeps her job, I get mine back and continue strong with our ERE plan.

On another note, I am thinking in investing slowly another 15K from our savings account. I don't think the worst of this crisis is here yet since there are only 3,000 reported infections in the US.

It is time to be grateful for being in a good financial situation and having some good frugal habits developed that will help to cope with anything that gets in our way.

Hold tight and I wish you the best of luck to all of you guys!

George the original one
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by George the original one »

Good luck! And we all want more pictures when you get a chance :-)

Frugalchicos
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

@GTOO

Thanks man, I will take more pics as soon as I can get out of the house...

Yesterday, we invested another 15K before the market opened. We revisited our plan and feel we are pretty "safe". Glad we put ourselves in this position with the hard work and sacrifices of the last 5 years. If things get real bad, we can always go the romantic way and embrace the vanlife and post in instagram :)

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Frugal chicos journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

We'll park our vans next to each other!

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