mathiverse's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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mathiverse
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:40 pm

mathiverse's journal

Post by mathiverse » Fri Nov 29, 2019 8:19 pm

Hi,

I mentioned in my intro that had learned to be frugal earlier this year and at the end of last year, but really that reverted after a few months. The only thing I've kept is that I log all my expenses and income.

I'm a high earning, high spending individual living in the SF Bay Area. I'm currently at the "having trouble lowering my expenses" stage. I did try living in a van, but ultimately that wasn't the lifestyle for me. Currently I'm living the apartment close to work and the grocery store lifestyle. Still quite expensive since I don't have roommates. I'll be lowering my expenses in other ways than housing in the coming months.

It seems as though lowering my expenses is the only way to meaningfully speed up my time to FI.

I'm mainly aiming for FI for the financial security and options with respect to lifestyle.

Also I want to get into shape and I've started running after a few months hiatus from exercising.

Well anyway, let's see how things go.

mathiverse
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:40 pm

Re: mathiverse's journal

Post by mathiverse » Fri Nov 29, 2019 8:26 pm

Oh I started a journal to get advice. It seems like people often chime in with advice on things to people who frequently write in their journal and who describe problems/issues they are encountering. Folks can feel free to give me advice if they have it at any time.

I've read the ERE book, Your Money or Your Life, the Tightwad Gazette, In Over Our Heads, and some other ERE related books. I also have lurked for a while and asked a few questions on the boards.

Zanka
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:33 am

Re: mathiverse's journal

Post by Zanka » Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:56 am

Gl! Will be following:)

mathiverse
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:40 pm

Re: mathiverse's journal

Post by mathiverse » Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:37 pm

Thanks!

I'm going to start with weekly updates on straightforward goals.

Goals
  • Eat out at most twice this week
  • Concentrated work for at least 10 hours at home on Economics by McConnell and Brue
  • Run 2 miles five days this week
  • Meditate 30 minutes a day
After housing, food is my biggest expense each month. I'll start by eating out less. I have an SO who I normally eat out a lot with, so I'll have to work out a way to avoid eating out so much with them that is satisfactory for both of us.

mathiverse
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:40 pm

Re: mathiverse's journal

Post by mathiverse » Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:40 pm

November 2019

Total Income: $22,000
Total Expenses: $6,972.73

This was a high income month due to getting reimbursed from work for various business expenses and a few other non-recurring payments.

Expenses

Code: Select all

$2,898	 Rent
$850.00	 Healthcare
$827.00	 Work Related Personal Development
$553.87	 Dating
$441.18	 Van Maintenance
$260.91	 Eating out alone
$187.57	 Transportation - Ride Sharing
$140.00	 Money to Younger Sister
$135.79	 Car Paperwork Expenses
$116.93	 Groceries
$94.71	 Household supplies
$92.11	 Books
$108.07	 Utilities (Water, sewer, gas, electric, trash)
$82.00	 Library Fines
$43.38	 Gasoline - Car
$42.14	 Boba alone
$39.28	 Eating out with friends
$30.73	 Phone
$12.27	 Snacks
$11.63	 Clothing and Accessories
$3.81	 Sales tax
$1.35	 Convenience fees
Various explanations or excuses about my expenses

I typically spend a lot each month even though the high categories vary. The expenses have been decreasing for the last few months, but things are still out of hand.

Dating is largely eating out. The total for all non-dating food categories is $471.53. If you include dating then the total is $1,025.40.

The total for all transportation categories this month is $807.92. I can sell the van sometime in the next month or two. It needs some more work before I can do that though, so van maintenance will be another category for me in December.

I will get reimbursed partially for the work related personal development category in a few months, but only $331.33 of the total expense will eventually be reimbursed.

The healthcare expenses may be almost as high next month because I have to get some dental work done.

The sales tax category is there because I don't like having to assign sales tax to the specific expenses on itemized grocery receipts where items fall into different categories.

My rent is high. It's due to location and living alone. As I mentioned before, I'm not open to changing that right now. While I can easily get along with roommates, I am often too self conscious to do anything other than hang out in my room. Is that a problem other people have? For example, in my place I might read a book at the kitchen table. When I have roommates, I may do this, but if they come out either 1) they are doing something that prevents me from reading books like hanging with their friends or watching tv or 2) I feel embarrassed enough about reading that I stop because that distracts me as much as the actual noise they might make. I'm a lot more productive alone since I don't have to worry about that social issue I've got. That might be something I tackle down the line... Or maybe I wait until I can move in with my SO. Next year that might be a possibility.

Plan
  • Eat out less (no boba, no eating out without company, limit eating out with SO).
  • Sell the van.
  • Don't buy any books until I've read the ones I've got in my queue.

m741
Posts: 1167
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:31 am
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: mathiverse's journal

Post by m741 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:28 am

Good luck!

That's a ton of library fines. I see you have a fair amount of book expenses... Many libraries have ebook and audiobook checkouts directly to your phone/ereader. These don't even require visiting the library, so it's very convenient. In my case, they get auto-returned, as well.

What kind of work-related personal development are you doing?

mathiverse
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:40 pm

Re: mathiverse's journal

Post by mathiverse » Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:06 am

m741 wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:28 am
Good luck!

That's a ton of library fines. I see you have a fair amount of book expenses... Many libraries have ebook and audiobook checkouts directly to your phone/ereader. These don't even require visiting the library, so it's very convenient. In my case, they get auto-returned, as well.
Thanks!

I typically prefer physical books. My current plan is to stop going to the library for now until I have time to go regularly enough to avoid fines. I get big fines like that approximately once a year when I stop going for a few months at a time and don't make the time to return the books I have out during that period.
What kind of work-related personal development are you doing?
I'm going through a career counseling class in an attempt to get more clarity on how to improve my career. It's a meta class rather than one specifically about being a software engineer. This will be partially reimbursed at work.

The other expense was yearly dues for a profession related group that centers on personal development and getting mentorship from peers. It's been useful since I'm still somewhat early in my career. Still trying to get to senior engineer! (Also now that I think about it, maybe I can get it expensed partially by work. I'll ask my manager.)

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Lemur
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Re: mathiverse's journal

Post by Lemur » Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:35 pm

$553.87 Dating ....

Disregard females, acquire currency? lol I'm not a fan of using memes but this line item popped out. The long game here .. if you're looking for long-term relationships I would filter down to more frugal or those who have the personality to acquire frugal behaviors. Short-term, no advice as my dating experience was extremely limited but I have to imagine that this shouldn't cost that much.

mathiverse
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:40 pm

Re: mathiverse's journal

Post by mathiverse » Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:32 pm

@Lemur Thanks for the comment! However, dropping my SO wouldn't work since we both pay for only our portions. We are both software engineers with a lot of disposable income. I spent that much only on myself during meals on dates. I eat out around 10 times a week with my SO at $12 - $25 per meal. I also eat out without my SO to the tune of $300+. Definitely a me problem and not a problem with them.

The change has to come from me declining to eat out all the time. My SO doesn't care if we eat together for meals, so this shouldn't cause a problem. I'll let you know how it goes at the end of this week.

mathiverse
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:40 pm

Re: mathiverse's journal

Post by mathiverse » Sun Dec 08, 2019 7:44 pm

Weekly Goal Review
mathiverse wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:37 pm
Goals
  • Eat out at most twice this week
  • Concentrated work for at least 10 hours at home on Economics by McConnell and Brue
  • Run 2 miles five days this week
  • Meditate 30 minutes a day
Let's see how I fared with the goals.
  • Eat out at most twice this week
I ate out five times for $72.48 total eating out expenses this week.

Two of those were out of habit since I normally get breakfast with my SO on the weekend. The other three times were basically due to me not wanting to cook. If I had skills to make something quickly without a lot of mess or if I had some pre-made food (via meal prepping), then I think I could have gotten this down to eating out only twice. My plan for the latter is to meal prep twice next week. If I make a bowl of pasta or stir fry twice a week, then I should only have to cook twice a week and I will hopefully be able to avoid the lazy evenings.

The two that were out of habit could have been easily changed with a talk with my SO. I asked a few minutes ago and they said they don't care if we go out to eat for breakfast on the weekends and we can stick to oatmeal and fruit like we have on occasion in the past.
  • Concentrated work for at least 10 hours at home on Economics by McConnell and Brue
I didn't do any reading of this textbook. Fortunately, I'd already read the first four chapters, so I'm up to date with the ERE Investment Club reading schedule. I'll quickly get behind if I don't figure out how to get quality reading done even when I'm not on holiday. (I read the last four chapters during the Thanksgiving holiday in the US last week.)

I'm going to change this goal to a chapter reading goal. I want to read a single chapter of McConnell and Brue by next week. This will keep me on top of the EIC reading and it means I'll get an hour or two of concentrated textbook reading in. If I hit this, then I'll aim for more next week. My plan to hit this is to mark off Tuesday for reading.
  • Run 2 miles five days this week
I ran three times. I think I'm going to change this one to running Monday, Wednesday, and Friday since I'm restarting exercise. I was too tired to run two days in a row each time I ran this week. I'll gradually increase the frequency that I run from there.
  • Meditate 30 minutes a day
I missed only Saturday on this one. I can hit this when I spend a few hours at home in the evening, but tend to forget if I'm on the go or out of the house. Yesterday, most of the day was spent at my SO's place and thus I didn't have the normal cues to complete the meditation and ended up completely forgetting. I think I'll add a reminder for myself everyday and see if that helps.

Goals for Next Week
  • Meal prep three to four days of dinners twice this week.
  • Eat out at most twice this week
  • Complete chapter five of Economics by McConnell and Brue
  • Run 2 miles on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
  • Meditate 30 minutes a day

General Updates

My boss said I can expense the yearly dues for the professional development group I am a part of! Woo!

I bought three books this month already, so I missed my monthly goal. My plan is to not buy anymore though! I made a list to put all the books that catch my fancy this month and I can review it next month to see if I want to buy any still. Also to be fair, one of the books will be paid for by work and was for a class being held at work.

The van is still in the shop, so no progress on selling it.

My car's engine started making a buzzing noise, so I'm going to take it into the shop next week. Looks like my car maintenance expenses will be through the roof in December haha. Oh well.

After thinking more about the rent situation, I'm considering getting roommates once my current lease is up. I think it'll give me an opportunity to learn more independence of thought and assertiveness plus it'd save me some money. I have a few more months until that time, so I can build up some habits that are harder to build with roommates in the meantime, so once I switch to having roommates, I can focus on habit maintenance rather than trying to do new things until I'm used to roommates again.

Also I was reading the Yields and Flows thread (viewtopic.php?t=10897) since I recently started reading The Fifth Discipline by Senge and I like searching for prior discussion of books related to ERE and then reading what was said. The year of no spending sounds like it might be useful for me. I don't know if I could do it without some preparation though. I feel like it'd be too big a shock for me to continue without easing into it by riding my bike a bit more and gradually lowering my expenses. On the other hand, maybe that immediate shock and adjustment period is the point. As in:
jacob wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 2:35 pm
Necessity is the mother of invention(*).
I was already planning for a No Spend January (inspired by some reddit posts I read this week), but maybe something longer would be better? Let me think more about it.

mathiverse
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:40 pm

Re: mathiverse's journal

Post by mathiverse » Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:56 pm

After eating out a few more times this week mainly due to not wanting to make food in the moment and still not having done meal prep, I wonder how people can do this? I'm not usually so lazy in other areas, but so far I can't seem to resist the draw of eating out several times a week. I thought it was the social pressure, but I've been eating out even without my SO. I don't appear to have much self control in this area without external pressure being applied. I'll give it another few weeks.

In fact, for the next three weeks, I probably won't be able to eat out due going on an elimination diet to figure out some food sensitivities that have been giving me trouble. Maybe at the end of that, I'll have gotten used to not eating out enough to maintain it afterward.

Any tips in this direction on how to resist the urge to order out would be welcome.

EdithKeeler
Posts: 1001
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:55 pm

Re: mathiverse's journal

Post by EdithKeeler » Thu Dec 12, 2019 8:57 pm

Any tips in this direction on how to resist the urge to order out would be welcome.
Eating out is BY FAR my biggest budget buster. I’m frugal everywhere else, and I even like to cook, but despite my best intentions, meal prepping, etc. I still eat out way too much.

I have been able to curtail it some this year, though, with a stupid game I play with myself. I started it after a particularly stupid expensive lunch at work that I paid $30 for, including tip. No special occasion, just a more expensive place than I usually go, I got some soup, split a dessert....Anyway. Ever since then, every time I pack my lunch for work (and eat it) and don’t go out, I immediately deposit $15 into my Acorns account that I established exactly for this. If I think I want to go out to dinner, but I eat in instead, I deposit another $15. Yes, I still go out to eat, but there have been MANY times I’ve talked myself out of it because I wouldn’t be able to make that deposit. After a while, as I’ve watched the money grow, I’ve realized exactly how much money I was spending eating out. Often crap food.

I think this works because I still have permission (from myself!) to go if I want to. I just can’t make the transfer.

So, a stupid game, but it works for me.

ertyu
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:31 am

Re: mathiverse's journal

Post by ertyu » Fri Dec 13, 2019 5:14 am

I am not good at not going out, but I am good at having just the big mac without the coke or the fries, or having just a black coffee at starbucks. I do it for health reasons, but it helps with money, too.

Another approach to try: what is your favorite place to eat out? Could you motivate yourself to splurge there once a week and reward yourself for the good discipline with an evening or breakfast of indulgence? It won't solve the problem, but it'll cut spending in half and it will give you days on which you (a) have to develop workarounds and (b) can observe what works, doesn't work, and why.

EK's game sounds awesome, too.

What if you accepted that you're not going to make food? You're not going to even though it's the better option financially, too bad. What options are there now? If it were me doing it, I''d be stuck with something like ramen, eating tuna out of the can, or eating chick peas from the can. Boiled eggs?

The thing is, after a while, I'd get sick of the plainness and monotony. Suddenly, it doesn't seem like so much effort to dump the chick peas in a bowl, cut up a tomato and a carrot, salt and oil, and chomp. this probably sounds mightily unappetiszing but the idea is, the initial stage is consistent with laziness and wanting to not be fucked with cooking, and then eventually little by little you're doing more not because frugality forces you but because your desire for food you like pulls you.

Hope you find something that works, getting shit delivered and eating out is one of my things, too

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