Author Topic: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO has longer FI timeline  (Read 2412 times)

morjax

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My hair is crawling with flaming bees of consumer debt.

I've updated with debt interest rates, and broke some of the categories down further (I tried to combine for brevity, but lack or details is lacking). I am correcting some items, especially that I'm at least half to blame for our notable hair-on-fire consumer debt of $57,540.

It is my aim to hit FI by 45, in ~16 years (targeting ~1.1 million for a ~3% withdrawal rate. This is about 62,000/year if no interest was earned and I did not earn anything after FI), and/or hopefully transition from full-time engineering work to at least part-time YouTube creation within the next 5-10 years. SO is targeting a more typical working career length.

Income:
My gross day job income 3,566 monthly after taxes, and the ~$1500 monthly pre-tax into my 401k, between my contribution and employer match.
YouTube channel income $130 monthly
SO income ~$2701 monthly (with government pensions on top of that)

Total Income: $6,397 per month

Expenses, in descending order, and per month as averaged over last 12 months:
Food - $1,467.99 (FRICK. 550 restaurant, 60 booze, 45 coffee. I almost want to punch MYSELF in the face)
Mortgage - $1,443.40 (we chose where we live for the school district)
Transportation - $458.37
        $153.44 Auto payment
        $104.75 Auto insurance
        $94.87 Gas
        $53.88 Parking
        $51.43 eBike repairs (first assembly and tire rebuild after nasty spill)
Misc. - $428.38 (doctor, charity, home projects, kid activities, pets, pharmacy)
        $128.68 Doctor & therapist
        $81.52 Charity
        $40.56 Home Projects
        $28.90 Kid Activities
        $26.74 Pets (though the canned cat food is hidden in the grocery bill. Our boy cat barfs and scratches himself bloody on all the dry food we've tried)
        $21.55 Pharmacy
Utilities - $342.75 (electric, garbage, internet, etc.)
        $261.63 power company, trash, water, etc
        $81.12 Internet
Vacation - $329.14 (three major-ish vacations this year, which is atypical)
consolidated cc debt - $322.40
Shopping - $321.33 (too damn many impulse amazon purchases)
Mobile Phone - $207.13 ($48 for mine through RW, balance SO through Verizon)
Entertainment - $183.84 (both myself and SO have spent too much on microtransactions and games)
Asst. Purchases - $170.49 (hobbies, books, movies, clothing)
        $52.98 Hobbies, mostly xmas presents, cosplay items
        $40.32 Books (books, audiobooks, and the now-cancelled $15/mo NYT subscription)
        $40.20 Movies (includes Netflix, renting movies, going out to movies)
        $36.99 Clothing (some of this is hidden in the grocery bill. Includes $20 loot crate SO has been on)
YouTube-related - $160.27 (buying games, hardware upgrades, etc.)
Fees & Charges - $143.79 (mostly CC interest)
Student Loan - $143.48

Total Expenses: $6,122

Assets:
House - 311,000
401k -  $82,000
SO pension - ~$80,000
Asst. investments on Betterment - $4,707 ($2,100 of which is emergency fund)
2009 Toyota Yaris - $3000 (115k miles)
2013 Nissan Leaf - $8000 (55k miles)
Juiced Bikes Crosscurrent S: $2000

Sum: $490,707

Liabilities:
Mortgage: $177,500 owed on a $200,000 loan (don't have the APR to hand, but I believe it's 3.25%)
Consolidated cc debt - $29,189 @5.29%
Student Loans: $11,222 @5.875%
Nissan Leaf loan - $6,679 @3.74%
Fidelity Visa - $4,650 @12.49%
Southwest card - $5,800 @17.74%
REI mastercard - $0 @18.49%
Target Card - $0 @24.65%

Sum: $228,361

Me and my Goals:
Iím 29 with a SO and 5yo kiddo, and I want to get my arse in gear with plans to retire by age 45. Kiddo just went into kindergarten, so we suddenly have a fair amount less school fees (still does before school care). Iím pretty sure we were running in the negative each month when in pre-k care.

My SO works for the government and has stated that she has no intentions of retiring early (which is why I always try to frame it as FI, and not ER). At the start of the year, we sold the 24 MPG subaru Impreza for a Nissan Leaf, which I think has been good. Still have a Toyota Yaris thatís has a damaged passenger door and mold in the trunk after getting rear ended messed up the seal to the trunk.

We took a Disney Vacation at the start of the year that weíd saved for and stayed within budget (yay!), but subsequently spend the flight delay vouchers on a trip visiting friends in San Francisco, which we neither had a budget for, nor would probably have stayed within it if we did have one.

I have a YouTube channel that is the top 20% globally, and I aspire to do that with most of my post-FIRE time, as it is the most fulfilling thing Iíve done thus far. The unfortunate reality on YouTube is that it is not a good means to make money, but it is extremely satisfying. This is, in part, what drives my towards FI, so I can pursue the thing love doing.

I feel like we should be able to manage some pretty swift moves towards FIRE with our income level, but we have been exceptionally flabby and lazy with tracking our spending, frivolous purchases, and generally not doing a super job in handling and tracking money.


Questions:
1) Aside from our grotesque food expenditure, are there other items that are grossly off from typical?
2) Tips when your SO has a much longer FI timeline than you? I donít want to be like the spending police, and I own at least half the blame for our current financial situation.
3) What are biggest bang for the buck ways to pay down consumer debt? Our consumer debt is stupid, and needless. I want to find ways to pay this shit off fast, and build systems to STAY out of it.
4) Thoughts on when you have a very different retirement timeline than does your SO?

Please feel free to ask about clarifications, comments, and face punches (I have a feeling: RIP, my face).

Edit: Cooking at home gets a little fancy, because SO is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, is suspicious whether she is allergic to beans, chickpeas, and lentils, and will not eat onions, or non-poultry meat. Do you have favorite recipes that don't include the above?
« Last Edit: October 17, 2018, 11:33:41 AM by morjax »

Greyweld

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO not as Gung Ho as Me.
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2018, 12:50:11 PM »
I only have advice on the 1st question.

Even after taking out restaurants and coffee, food is quite high. $900-ish a month is a LOT of good food from the grocery store.

Ideally break down transportation costs. How much is each part listed? Same comment on breaking down misc, entertainment, and asst. purchases.

Phone is quite high. Even our $60/month between my SO & I is considered somewhat spendy around these parts.

Asst. Purchases looks an awful lot like entertaining things. In fact, if you consider eating out, booze, games, hobbies, books, and movies entertainment, you actually spend about $1000 per month on entertainment. Pick some of these and ditch others.

If you are spending over $300 per month on shopping, you should know what you've bought.

Noticed that you spend more for your YT channel than you are making. Do you have adequate records and business structuring so that at least you aren't taxed on what you've made, since your expenses are greater than your income?

Greyweld

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO not as Gung Ho as Me.
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2018, 01:07:08 PM »
I also noticed your "cooking gets fancy at home" comment, but I'm struggling to understand why the ingredients you have listed as being used are what would drive "fanciness" or a high cost in food. Poultry isn't that expensive - I find beef is higher cost per pound. Many vegetarians and vegans and budget-conscious carnivores swear by fruits and veggies as cost-efficient foods. "Can't eat beans, peanuts, onions or beef" does not set off impossible-to-eat-on-a-budget alarm bells.

Is the fanciness from exotic spices you are buying to spice up the monotony of meals that cannot include these things, or do you think the staples of what you are eating can't be purchased affordably?

Sorry, I try not to be a facepunchy person, but I'm always curious as to the details of the high grocery budgets, because they are often such a good place to make an improvement but it's hard know where to improve without understanding the details.

morjax

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO not as Gung Ho as Me.
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2018, 01:21:09 PM »
Greyweld,
Groceries are indeed 821 monthly, though as we shop at Super Target, this is slightly inflated by clothes, and things (though it's still a face-punchingly high bill).

I've broken apart transportation costs.

I just now cranked my $50 for 6GB to $30 for 3 GB. I had SO on Republic Wireless as well, but she has switched to Verizon because she feels she needs an unlimited data plan. this bill makes be cringe every time (her bill is $135 a month or so. I hates it precious).

You are correct on "Asst. purchases" I tried to break it down to provide detail, but group things up to not get too far into the weeds. pulling all my categories together from my built spreadsheet, here's the entertain-y things:
$366.93 Going out for dinner
$329.14 Vacation
$321.33 Shopping (mostly amazon purchases, probably most of which we could have done without
$183.84 Entertainment (this is principally non-YouTube-related game purchases, and an embarrassing number of microtransactions)
$172.75 going out for lunches
$62.12 alcohol and sometimes growlers (this is completely my habit)
$52.98 hobbies (often holiday presents, or Cosplay items for an annual convention)
$45.17 Coffee shops (this is completely SO's habit)
$40.32 books (print, audiobooks, and a $15/month NYT subscription I've been trying to talk SO into dropping)
$40.20 clothing (including a $20 monthly loot crate SO has)
$28.90 kid's activities (birthday parties, camping, and the like)

for a total of $1643.68 monthly on entertainment-y things. This makes me feel nauseous, but at least it should be relatively easy to carve out some big progress here. In writing out the above list I am really rather embarrassed, but today, I am COUNTING these things, whereas for a number of years we've just looked the other way (resulting in ridiculous CC debt that we've got no one but ourselves to blame for).


regarding shopping, I have also lumped that together for brevity, but those are a mix of amazon items (camping items, cat food, curry mix, video game controllers, fitbit, cat food, etc), a number of souvenir-type items while on vacations this past year - I'm not without fault here, but nearly fell over when I saw the $1000 silent auction total X\



On my YouTube channel, this year I have been sloppy just as with all my other finances, but I have also made a number of larger upgrades, including software upgrades and a couple new HDDs. I need to do a better job in tracking this is I mean it about going full time. Likewise, I need to do a better job tracking everything[\i]. It is good that I'm going through this whole process, but it is painful as well to lay bare one's foolish choices.

morjax

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO not as Gung Ho as Me.
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2018, 01:29:00 PM »
I also noticed your "cooking gets fancy at home" comment, but I'm struggling to understand why the ingredients you have listed as being used are what would drive "fanciness" or a high cost in food. Poultry isn't that expensive - I find beef is higher cost per pound. Many vegetarians and vegans and budget-conscious carnivores swear by fruits and veggies as cost-efficient foods. "Can't eat beans, peanuts, onions or beef" does not set off impossible-to-eat-on-a-budget alarm bells.

Is the fanciness from exotic spices you are buying to spice up the monotony of meals that cannot include these things, or do you think the staples of what you are eating can't be purchased affordably?

Sorry, I try not to be a facepunchy person, but I'm always curious as to the details of the high grocery budgets, because they are often such a good place to make an improvement but it's hard know where to improve without understanding the details.

It's a good point. I guess I often feel flummoxed, because it feels like every time I look up inexpensive recipes, a huge swath of them have peanuts, tree nuts, or legumes. I am certainly open to good recipes that do not include these (of course things like onions you can just leave out or swap for powder, red meat can be swapped for poultry etc.) and I have been trying to "lead by example" by cooking at home a lot more often.

I guess I could have said more clearly instead of "cooking gets fancy" to say "historically I have found it hard to find meals that SO will eat, and then we get lazy and just go out to a restaurant... again."

Greyweld

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO not as Gung Ho as Me.
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2018, 01:40:43 PM »
Greyweld,
Groceries are indeed 821 monthly, though as we shop at Super Target, this is slightly inflated by clothes, and things (though it's still a face-punchingly high bill).

I just now cranked my $50 for 6GB to $30 for 3 GB. I had SO on Republic Wireless as well, but she has switched to Verizon because she feels she needs an unlimited data plan. this bill makes be cringe every time (her bill is $135 a month or so. I hates it precious).


Ah, Super Target clothing helps gain insight into the high grocery budget. It's probably worthwhile to hold onto target receipts and figure out how much of that is clothes, if only for a few months. Super Target may also not be the best place, price wise, to get groceries. If you have another sufficiently convenient option, try getting the usual prices of things you buy a lot of from super target and compare those to another grocery store.

If you buy things like spices or Asian/Indian ingredients, these can often be hugely expensive at standard grocery stores. Try finding these kinds of things online or at ethnic markets.

I understand on the phone and SO who wants their luxuries. My SO had the unlimited Verizon data plan for years too, until I finally convinced him to ditch it. Would SO be willing to check either the Verizon statement or data use tracking on her phone, to figure out what unlimited would actually cost if she paid for gig of use? What tipped my SO over is finding that even on his highest data use month on vacation, paying per-gig through Google Fi ($10 per gig) was just *barely* more expensive.

Before you push to hard to get your SO on board, make sure you are able to do what you would like her to do! Microtransactions on games are unnecessary, but she'll be pissed if you ask her to no longer do it and she finds that you've spent money on it.

But if you are doing half the spending on entertainment, let's say, you have the power to reduce entertainment costs by $800 ish per month. That alone can get you working towards getting your debt paid off. It will take a while if that's all you cut to put towards debt, but much faster than with the $275ish wiggle room you currently have.

You might be able to get your SO spending less on entertainment by initiating free fun things with them. Go on a library date, or go for a bike ride. If SO wants a vacation, figure out where you can have an amazing time in someplace that costs less and do your best to sell it to them.

Also consider what your SO wants, if not retirement. How can you align the idea of saving money with also getting them their desires?

Somewhere around here there's a thread all about getting your SO more on board when they don't want to FIRE. I'm struggling to find it, but it's worth checking out.

Greyweld

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO not as Gung Ho as Me.
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2018, 01:44:01 PM »
I also noticed your "cooking gets fancy at home" comment, but I'm struggling to understand why the ingredients you have listed as being used are what would drive "fanciness" or a high cost in food. Poultry isn't that expensive - I find beef is higher cost per pound. Many vegetarians and vegans and budget-conscious carnivores swear by fruits and veggies as cost-efficient foods. "Can't eat beans, peanuts, onions or beef" does not set off impossible-to-eat-on-a-budget alarm bells.

Is the fanciness from exotic spices you are buying to spice up the monotony of meals that cannot include these things, or do you think the staples of what you are eating can't be purchased affordably?

Sorry, I try not to be a facepunchy person, but I'm always curious as to the details of the high grocery budgets, because they are often such a good place to make an improvement but it's hard know where to improve without understanding the details.

It's a good point. I guess I often feel flummoxed, because it feels like every time I look up inexpensive recipes, a huge swath of them have peanuts, tree nuts, or legumes. I am certainly open to good recipes that do not include these (of course things like onions you can just leave out or swap for powder, red meat can be swapped for poultry etc.) and I have been trying to "lead by example" by cooking at home a lot more often.

I guess I could have said more clearly instead of "cooking gets fancy" to say "historically I have found it hard to find meals that SO will eat, and then we get lazy and just go out to a restaurant... again."

Maybe it would work to avoid looking up "cheap" recipes. Any home-cooked recipe, even if it's not a cheap one, is cheaper than going out to eat for an equivalent quality of food (once you get the cooking techniques down).

What kind of meals does your SO order when you go out to eat? I would start there and start googling recipes for those kinds of food.

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO not as Gung Ho as Me.
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2018, 02:32:28 PM »
Also a note- I'm a bit of a cooking fanatic, so if you want suggestions on how to prepare a particular food you or your SO would like, let me know!

SweatingInAZ

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO not as Gung Ho as Me.
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2018, 04:33:03 PM »
What kind of meals does your SO order when you go out to eat? I would start there and start googling recipes for those kinds of food.

This!
My SO loves to go get takeout thai fried rice.

Now I start the pot of rice, fry up whatever veggies and seasonings with precooked frozen chicken strips (sous vide a massive batch every couple of weeks).
Then garnish with thai basil from the garden.

Super target was my enemy for a while. A 'grocery' trip always included some stupid article of clearance clothing that I didn't need, plus extra time to see what was new in the electronics area. I haven't shopped there for groceries in a long time... do they still sell all of their produce with unit prices, or have they started weighing it?

I really like the Kroger family of grocery stores in the US (Fry's food in the Southwest). Stick to whatever meat is on sale that week. Boneless skinless chicken breast has been $2/lb every time I have needed to stock up. Pork shoulder or tenderloin is regularly available for <$2/lb.

Greyweld

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO not as Gung Ho as Me.
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2018, 04:39:52 PM »
What kind of meals does your SO order when you go out to eat? I would start there and start googling recipes for those kinds of food.

This!
My SO loves to go get takeout thai fried rice.

Now I start the pot of rice, fry up whatever veggies and seasonings with precooked frozen chicken strips (sous vide a massive batch every couple of weeks).
Then garnish with thai basil from the garden.

Super target was my enemy for a while. A 'grocery' trip always included some stupid article of clearance clothing that I didn't need, plus extra time to see what was new in the electronics area. I haven't shopped there for groceries in a long time... do they still sell all of their produce with unit prices, or have they started weighing it?

I really like the Kroger family of grocery stores in the US (Fry's food in the Southwest). Stick to whatever meat is on sale that week. Boneless skinless chicken breast has been $2/lb every time I have needed to stock up. Pork shoulder or tenderloin is regularly available for <$2/lb.

Agree with all of this. Chicken breast, thighs, and low-cost roast cuts are my go-to for keeping costs low on protein.

Also, fried rice was the bane of my budget until I learned how freaking easy it is to throw together. Pro tip: If your rice gets mushy as you're stirring other things into it, cook it ahead of time and fridge it or spread it out on a pan and stick it in the freezer for a bit while you are doing other prep work.

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO not as Gung Ho as Me.
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2018, 05:49:15 PM »
I'm concerned you want to move to YouTube as your primary income when it is only $130 a month income, and your expenses are higher than that. There are only so many years you can claim expenses higher than income before a business is classified as a hobby.

And this is a channel in the top 20% globally? Not even making $2000 a year.

Unless you have a strong business plan to enact for this channel, it is only a hobby. How will you get sponsors? How will you attract and retain subscribers? Do you have a 6+ month map of posting and content ideas? Do you have a cohesive brand?

CalBal

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO not as Gung Ho as Me.
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2018, 08:39:21 PM »
I rarely post on case studies, because I am not an expert and often don't feel like I have a lot to contribute, but I felt the need to mention a few things.

First, you have hair on fire debt! You don't mention your loan rates, which sort of suggests to me that they are not low. I don't consider your mortgage part of that hair on fire-ness (unless this house is too much house for you), but including the student loan I see a total of $57,540. Of *mostly* consumer debt. HOLY SHIT that is a lot of debt. Seriously, you shouldn't be spending any money on ANY frivolities until that is wiped out. I would include the VAST majority of consumer purchases and "entertainment" and restaurant and alcohol spending within the category of "frivolities".  Throw every damn cent you have at that debt. (If I have misunderstood the accounting, apologies).

I am allergic to peanuts and all tree nuts. I am a vegetarian also so my diet is somewhat restricted (I eat fish, plus dairy (including cheese) and eggs). I eat a bean-centric meal *maybe* once a week (maybe  something like chili), a lentil meal *maybe* once a week (dal or something similar), fish once a week on average, tofu once a week on average, sometimes seitan (homemade), and often the rest of the time no particular specific protein. That's for dinners, and I usually cook enough for 1-2 additional meals (lunch or leftover dinner). There is SO. MUCH. variety out there. I never get bored with the dishes that are available to me to make or try. I use the internet heavily for ideas, and have certain go-to sites, but try lots of things, subbing when necessary (for example, I use tahini in place of peanut butter in a few things). Honestly, it isn't hard. You just might need a little help to get pointed in the right direction.

(Also, if your SO *suspects* they are allergic to some things, but doesn't know for sure, I *really* recommend them getting tested. I did for my piece of mind, it is worth it. If they are not actually allergic to beans and lentils, you might try different preparation methods. Dishes made with them can vary widely by taste, texture, etc. They might need to cultivate some willingness to try new things. If they won't let them cook their boring chicken breast every night and you try the amazing variety of flavors that are out there. They might get jealous of your amazing meals and start wanting to eat it too...)

(Also also regarding food, there is a lot you can make at home a lot more cheaply than store bought. Bread (Artisan Bread in Five is super fast and easy). Yogurt (also super easy). Granola. Stock. Even things like pasta and ice cream. These things take time and, often, planning, so you have to decide what is worth it to you. Bread and yogurt is really low hanging fruit though. Again, hair on fire debt. It might be worth it to try to hunker down and minimize grocery spending for a while. I spend ~$100/month on food, plus maybe $30-$50 on coffee and alcohol. Maybe once or twice a month out for a restaurant meal. I don't feel particularly deprived.)

Take care of your own house first. You have a 5 year old, so I assume you have been together since before this FIRE revelation. It is a bait and switch to suddenly want to be frugal after years of not being that. There's a sticky about getting your SO invested in FIRE and frugality, but really you need to look at all of your own expenses first and cut those to the max, before even pushing your SO towards this. Lead by example and all that.

Tracking. I use Excel. I break out receipts even between cleaning, alcohol, food, so if I buy all three of those at one store I look at the receipts and find the totals and record them. It seriously maybe takes 5 minutes a day, probably less. You do have to do it every day (or else it does become overwhelming - easy to avoid if you keep up and are not making 5 stops every single day, which you shouldn't be doing because hair on fire!). I don't understand people who say it is too much trouble. Just save the receipts and do it each evening. It has helped me so. much. to see where the dollars were actually going. I have almost 2 years of expenses tracked now (I don't really budget but I record fastidiously), and I have a *much* better sense of expenses, both regular and irregular. Do it.

Why do you feel your Yaris is worse for wear? I have a 2008 3-door manual with 94k miles that gets 39mpg combined consistently and I fully expect it to last at least another 10 years. It is the best little car out there, eve has the highest reliability ratings. What is wrong with it?

You have almost no retirement savings if you are wanting to retire early (80k + 80k ish for two people isn't a ton). However, you ARE young and have PLENTY of time to catch up. I acquired almost 400k in 10 years starting from literally zero (no debt but also no assets, like, at all), as a single, without working that hard at it. No kids, but no one sharing all expenses to lower them either. If I had actually been on this bandwagon earlier, I would probably would have been done, like, yesterday.

I don't think things are hopeless by any stretch (not that you implied that they were!) but you do have some hard work ahead! Good luck! You can do it!
« Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 08:54:59 PM by CalBal »

morjax

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO has longer FI timeline
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2018, 07:34:23 AM »
All,
I value that you've seen my hair afire from afar, and taken it upon yourselves to come over and give me the face punches until my hair stops smoldering :'D

@Greyweld: Chicken fajitas are the items most gotten by DW when we go out places. The "spitting on the griddle" kind. We often have fajitas at home, but they don't often taste like some of the kinds we get out. I will begin a campaign to try recipes that may more closely match what we sometimes get out.

The other thing we love to get is General Tso's chicken from a local chinese place. So tasty. I will also start screening recipes on that.

Good advice too on looking for recipes that we will cook and eat at home rather than trying to choose frugal ones (e.i. EVERYTHING cooked at home is almost certainly going to be cheaper than eating out).

Also, I will look into Google FI for both of us potentially. I have turned down my Republic Wireless to 2GB (was at 6) which will bring that down to $30 or so. DW may have a device payment plan going and I'm pretty sure I recall Version has some lame-o contract length shenanigans. I'll look into that.

--------

@SweatingInAZ: Thai fried rice sounds tasty! No nuts, but I'm sure we can just leave that out. Do you have directions for what you make you'd be willing to share?

Super Target is indeed a slippery slope on non-grocery buying. DW is not convinced that Cub foods would be cheaper than Target with the 5% off card (I plan to collect data on this so we can know rather than guess). We have shopped at Aldi in the past, and that is certainly cheaper.

We are limited to either 1) watching for when poultry is on sale, or 2) me just buying non-poultry meat on sale for myself, as DW won't eat it.

--------

@I'm A Red Panda: It's a fair cop, and your concerns are well founded. It's the other way around where I only have the time to make it a hobby right now, and I want to build it to a job (by buying my time/freedom back incrementally). YouTube is not a good career choice for making money, which is part of why I'm aiming towards FI, so that I can do things that are very fulfilling to me without having to worry that they don't pay great.

The stat on 20% globally is correct to the best figures I have, and the most accurate estimate of channel size I've been able to find save having access to YouTube or SocialBlade's data. 50% of all channels are smaller than 500 subscribers, and you can't even begin to monetize videos for money until 1000 subscribers (top 40%).

As for a business plan, I can do better, but I don't have nothing. You are right that it is a hobby - for now. I have made more than 1,000 videos, so I have some practice with the actual making part of it. I do have a plan for each of the items you astutely mentioned, including viewer retention, content selection and planning, and branding. It is also the nature of the platform that these are always under revision and improvement.

--------

@CalBal: My hair is on fire. I am not proud of it and I have been a fool of a Took, but I am now looking at it laid bare and in real numbers so that I can do it right from here on.

I would love your suggestions on a few favorite recipes - we're going to be cooking at home a lot more in coming years :) I will bring up being tested for suspected allergens, but it may be only part of the equation (even if not allergic to beans, she says they make her not feel well when she eats them; there are a number of things that she is allergic to, but also a number of things that she isn't interested in eating).

Part of the trouble we've had is that I'll eat most things, but DW and kiddo are pickier than I am. Maybe I just haven't done a good job in finding the proper things to cook. We're on an ongoing mission to find things that 2-3 of us will eat so that I'm not cooking three different dinners (or two dinners and a lunchable).

I will look into making bread, yogurt, granola, stock and pasta at home. Kiddo said at school that he wants to be an ice cream maker when he grows up, so we may start doing that at home too XD

I am trying to take every opportunity to admit that regardless of what DW has done, I HAVE BEEN STUPID and made lots and lots of purchases that were not needed, too expensive, and lazy. I have a lot I can do before asking DW for anything (and as you say, my example may inspire in this or that arena).

« Last Edit: October 17, 2018, 07:36:31 AM by morjax »

morjax

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO has longer FI timeline
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2018, 07:38:33 AM »
@CalBal, I've updated loan rates in OP, most of which are at ~5% except the cards themselves. My hair is no less flaming, but we purposefully moved $30k from a 17%+ interest rate to a 5%.

lhamo

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO has longer FI timeline
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2018, 06:53:44 PM »
My go-to source for authentic Chinese recipes is Fuchsia Dunlop -- this is her version of General Tso's Chicken (approved by J. Kenzi Lopez-Alt at The Food Lab, who knows his stuff:

https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/04/the-best-general-tsos-chicken-food-lab-chinese-recipe.html

Her recipe for Kungpao Chicken is also the bomb -- you can substitute cashews for the peanuts if your wife can eat those.

Her cookbook Every Grain of Rice is worth getting from the library if you eat a lot of Chinese food -- lots of good homestyle recipes in that one.  Her Sichuan cookbook (Land of Plenty) is also awesome, but not everyone can handle the spice/numbing spice levels.  She studied at the Sichuan Institute of Culinary Arts so her recipes are the real deal.  But also not overwhelmingly complex.

lhamo

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO has longer FI timeline
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2018, 07:51:35 PM »
Re: fried rice -- can your DW eat turkey?  My version of fried rice uses turkey sausage, is REALLY easy to make, and I think it is pretty good:

For best results, use leftover rice that has been refrigerated at least overnight -- this helps dry it out and ensure your fried rice will not be soggy.

Get the rice out of the fridge and nuke it for 1-2 minutes -- this makes it easier to break up when you add it to the pan.

Dice 1 lb turkey sausage

Put some oil in a large, hot pan (best to use a large wok if you have one, but a large dutch oven will work, too), start cooking the sausage -- stir occasionally.  Cook it until it gets at least partially caramelized (it will start getting dark around the edges and shrink down as the fat gets cooked off)

While the sausage is cooking, dice about 5-6 green onions (use the whole thing, minus roots), peel and dice a cucumber (remove the seeds to make it less watery), chop up some cilantro, and whisk 5-6 eggs.

Once the sausage is nicely cooked, scoop it out into a bowl and add the eggs to the pan -- let them solidify a bit before you start poking at them/breaking them up.  You can add some salt/pepper while they are cooking.  Once they are almost cooked through, add the green onions in and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the cucumber and cook for another 1-2 minutes, and finally add the sausage back in and mix well.

Gradually add the rice into the pan and break up clumps as you do so.  You don't need to cook it very long -- just long enough to heat it through.  Add salt and pepper to taste (I do several shakes of each -- you can always add more to the individual bowls later)

Sprinkle the chopped cilantro over the top and scoop into cereal-sized bowls for eating.

I make this a few times a month now. I even make extra large batches of rice to ensure I have some on hand in case I want to whip up a batch.  It is really quick and easy -- takes me less than 30 minutes including all the chopping.

CalBal

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO has longer FI timeline
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2018, 08:02:38 PM »
I really like Norecipes.com (among other sites), and for Chinese/Chinese-American I particularly like these ones:

https://norecipes.com/twice-cooked-pork-recipe

https://norecipes.com/mongolian-beef

They are *fantastic*. I sometimes use a variety of vegetables. I substitute seitan instead of the meat, so the pork recipe is simplified for me, but really the main thing is the homemade sauces you make to cook the dishes. Asian cooking sauces from bottles from the store in general are kind of crap. These ones are soooooo good. (You probably will need to find an Asian supermarket to find some of the ingredients (or Amazon?) like tianmianjiang or doubanjiang. (I use dry sherry for cooking, not shaoxing.) It's totally worth it.)

For a great bean recipe I like the black bean soup recipe in Mark Bittman's How to Eat Everything Vegetarian. It uses onions (in fact, so many things use onions, that the flavors won't be quite as good without it), but in this case everything is blended so maybe that's not an issue. I eat it kind of like Mexican soup. I also will occasionally make chili using black beans instead of kidney beans, and then make sort of a 7 layer dip with it (including salsa/pico, corn, sour cream, avocados) and then eat it with tortilla chips for dinner. Or instead of making homemade, use 1 can of Amy's vegetarian chili (the one without tofu is better for this) and it's plenty for 2 adults.

morjax

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO has longer FI timeline
« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2018, 11:25:34 AM »
October update! Thank you all for the great recipes! I have been greatly enjoying Budget Bytes, as well as some of your tasty suggestions!

In October our spending was as follows:

Mortgage: $1630.88
Food: $788.05
      Groceries: $327.75
      Restaurants: $362.00
      Fast Food: $98.30
Pets: $536.29 ($480 pre-paid for delivered cat litter for all of 2019, $20/box, $40/month averaged over 2019, and $56.79 for canned food since out boy cat seems like he's allergic to damn near everything)
Auto-related: $242.81 renewed tabs
Entertainment: $200.37
Utilities: $188.74
Mobile Phone: $182.19 (following months will be $15 cheaper on my phone)
Shopping: $145.85
Student Loan: 143.48
Home improvement: $124.86 (saved us from the plumber's quote of $2500 to replace rather than repair our water softener. Take that!)
Auto Insurance: $115.00
Health: $114.83 (picked up a weight logging scale that will log to trendweight.com)
Hobbies: $103.78 (Halloween costumes for the wife and I)
Fees & Charges: $73.19
Doctor: $65.00
Charity: $56.60
Vacation: $53.65 (more of family outings than vacations, but there it is)
Clothing: $48.48 (including two $18 Jackbox tee shirts resulting from Halloween party. Facepunch! Not needed!)
Books: $47.15
Gas: $44.30
Streaming/Movies: $38.59
Alcohol: $27.44
Coffee Shops: $15.45
Pharmacy: 5.39
Parking: $5

Total Spending: $5,079.32



Biggest increases from average:

Pets $461.56 more: We previously picked up cat litter and canned food form target, now these are each their own thing. I preordered 2019's litter at $20 per box, and the cat food is now it's own delivery at $0.92/can or meal, $3.68 per day.

Mortgage $173.06 more: The mortgage has been 204 higher for Sep, Oct, Nov. I have to call the bank to see why this is.

Health $114.83 higher as I purchased a scale that will help me track my weight over time (ŗ la Hacker's Diet). This view of my weight is helpful in my weight management, but it has fallen through too many times when I must enter my weight manually. No excuses! Get in shape, me!

Home improvement $68.68 more: If it'd not done it myself, it would have been $2443.82 higher than average, so go wahoo!



Biggest decreases from average:

Groceries 458.41 less: Holy wow. I am a bit at a loss to explain how that was so high before. Even if you exclude the pet stuff, which is about $90 per month and separate now, that's still cut in half.

Vacation 227.00 less: A few family activities, but the average was megasized from our three vacations this year.

Shopping 247.68 less: This should go down ever further in Nov, because we will be being diligent all month instead of half of it (when I wrote OP). Also, we're doing better about not buying a bunch of crap that we don't need, with room for improvement!!

Fast food $69.13 less: lots and lots of NOT eating out for lunch going on in the latter half of them month!



I will be putting together an hypothetical month in which
1) we were diligent all month (which should be the case in November onward, since I made my OP realization part way through Oct), and
2) Halloween costume spending is not a thing (again, November onward), and
3) we continue to reach on groceries, restaurants, and fast food to expand our comfort zone and minimize these as much as possible.

I feel like this will give me a notion of what we can aim for and give us a number to beat!

Greyweld

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO has longer FI timeline
« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2018, 12:18:47 PM »
Nice job on the grocery budget!

My guess would be that there's been some property tax change adjusting your mortgage, but it's definitely worth looking into. Seems like a weird time of year for it.

Kierun

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO has longer FI timeline
« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2018, 12:36:47 PM »
Nice job on the grocery budget!

My guess would be that there's been some property tax change adjusting your mortgage, but it's definitely worth looking into. Seems like a weird time of year for it.
Or could be an increase in your insurance premium.  Either way it's likely an increase to your escrow account. 

SweatingInAZ

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO has longer FI timeline
« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2018, 12:46:58 PM »
Nice job reducing your spending! Food was great!
It looks like you should have $1300 excess right now, is that going to your Southwest card?

In addition, I think you're unlikely to achieve >10% gains in your betterment account. It looks like there could be ~$2600 in there to throw at your highest-interest loan!
Emergency fund might need to stay, but I would personally advise using it to get rid of CC debt. If you have an amergency, it can just go back on the CC.

morjax

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO has longer FI timeline
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2018, 01:07:48 PM »
Nice job on the grocery budget!

My guess would be that there's been some property tax change adjusting your mortgage, but it's definitely worth looking into. Seems like a weird time of year for it.

It's amazing how far a little attention can go. I'm over here mentally chanting "Less worse! Less Worse! Less worse!"

Do you happen to know who keeps track of the escrow business? I guess I'll probably call the bank first and have them direct me from there. FWIW, the house has gone up by almost 50% value since we've bought it, so a readjustment would not be a real surprise.

I keep cooking tasty meals and circling back to this thread and Budget Bytes for more planning and ideas. We've even had a few things that the DW will eat as leftovers! :)

We did a lot better in October and there's lots of room for improvement in November. Based on a hypothetical month in which we nail a budget in every category, we should be able to drop right around $2,000 versus our previous monthly average. Which by the way, is friggin' nuts the degree we were overspending and blissfully aware.

@SweatingInAZ, you're just about completely right on the betterment vs debts front. It hurts to "give up" my YouTube earnings to pay down debt, but the reality is that our entire finances is an ecosystem, and nothing probably should be considered in a vacuum.

Of the $5011 in Betterment, $1464 is set aside for saving for family vacations, $1900 is safety net, $496 is earmarked for a nephew and godson when the come of age, and $83 is the first beginnings of a charitable endowment for those in extreme poverty (for curious parties, I'd encourage a visit to thelifeyoucansave.com). What's left is about $1000 between YouTube and their SmartSaver account. That 1000 can come right out and pay down debts, but the other things are probably staying put... at least for the nonce.

Aaaand, I just processed the withdrawal for the $1000.

morjax

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO has longer FI timeline
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2018, 01:21:52 PM »
And as a side note more to myself than anything, in a hypothetical month in which we stuck to  our not-even-mustachian-yet budget in each category, we make $6,397 and would spend $3,670, which would mean

1) We'd be saving/Paying debts at a rate of $2,726 monthly, or about a 42% savings rate.
2) Based on the Shockingly Simple Math, this is about 22 years to FI plus 2 more on the front end to get out of our current consumer debt (or 24 years in all)
3) There's still lots of room for improvements in said budget

My plan is to see how far we can sustainably reduce spending over the next 3-6 months and go from there.

So we could soon be on track-ish for me to hit FI by my early 50s, presuming we stay in one place in spending, earning, and savings rate. Not bad, but I CAN DO ME ONE BETTER.

CalBal

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO has longer FI timeline
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2018, 03:01:04 PM »
Re: escrow amounts, my property taxes went up last year, and part way through the year the mortgage company did an escrow assessment in order to determine what the shortfall would be and how to make up the difference. I was sent notice of this I think in the mail as well as via email. I had the choice of paying the difference up front (and then the following tax year the amount being put to escrow would go up) OR they would recalculate for the rest of the year. If I did nothing it got recalculated. This is what I did. I think this means next tax year (IF Nothing changes) that amount should be nominally lower. I don't know if the tax assessors office sent the notice of the tax change to my mortgage holder since my taxes get paid from an escrow account through them, but I have to assume yes, otherwise how would they know there would be a shortfall months before getting the tax bill? I also got notice of the tax change in the mail. I think every year I get a statement about homeowners insurance as well, how/if it will change. SO this is all to say, a change should not have been made without you being notified of either tax rate change or insurance rate change. Of course, you could have been notified it and missed it as well. Hope this helps (although probably not - sorry!)

seemsright

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO has longer FI timeline
« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2018, 08:41:02 PM »
It seems to me that you are still trying to figure out what you are trying to do. Is your SO and you on the same page????

How many things do you have in your house that you could be doing instead of buying?? How many books do you have that you 'just' have not gotten to? Yet you buy more?

Can you get creative and make your own costumes for next year? I have a 8 year old and she made a bad ass robot costume out of a box and some recycling my cost was $0.

How much food do you have in your house? Can you do a clean out of the pantry challenge and then put the savings of not spending on food towards debt?

Just your Oct report shows me you need to work on getting organized. Make sure you have coffee prepped so you are not spending the money out. (if you have to invest in a thermos) You need to make sure you have food prepped so you are not buying fast food. Hell keep power bars in your car or bag so you always have a snack if needed till you get home.

the scale...that to me is a face punch...really? You can take your weight on a cheap scale and create a google spreadsheet and graph your weight without a stupid cost...that is was a student loan payment.

The other thing I want you to do is figure out how much you make per minute. Know that number. And when you go to buy food out, something, anything think...I have to work how long for this.

You are at the beginning steps of this. You have a long ways to go, it is a long long haul. But good job on jumping into the rabbit hole.

fuzzy math

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Re: Engineer to YouTuber: Income, But Poor Habits. SO has longer FI timeline
« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2018, 08:27:36 AM »
My 11 yr old also dreams of being a gaming youtuber.

Here are my thoughts on your budget and your spending items (face punch time)

1) you seem to be addicted to spending. Like literally the amount of categories and spending amounts you're posting here lead me to believe your family goes out aimlessly with the express purpose of shopping. A spending freeze even one day a week (Leave your cards at home) would be a good mental exercise for you both. Learn to be creative on those days, and let that creativity spill over into other areas of your life. You bought Halloween shirts for a party??? Halloween is the holiday that screams out "GO TO GOODWILL". Be creative, make a costume, go to a thrift store with no pre conceived notions and just patch something together. It would be a lot more festive and garner more attention than matching t shirts.

2) your YouTube habits are entertainment. You need to classify them as so. It probably needs to come from your personal spending and not under the guise of a business expense. Very few people hit it big. Focusing on your budget instead of winning the Internet lottery will reward you many more times over while you are in such deep debt.

3) Regarding entertainment overall - you need to rethink your habits entirely. You have a high entertainment budget, as well as a high restaurant budget, a high coffee budget, a high fast food budget etc. Getting coffee is entertainment. Going out to dinner is entertainment.

4) you need to attack your Southwest credit card debt first so you can have a $0 balance and close that account very soon. That APR is terrible! The general advice is to never carry a card that has an annual fee while you are in debt. You are paying $99 for the privilege of earning points that you are paying interest on. So you're not really earning points after the interest and fees you're paying.

5) you would be better off switching to a cash based system until you get your spending under control. There may come a time in a few years where you can handle credit cards but now is not that time. The Every dollar app, or YNAB are good solutions to learning a 0 based budget where you can pay cash. It will allow you to see how much $$ is really left over for debt payments, which will help motivate you.

6) Regarding saving money on cat litter, see point 4. You aren't really saving anything if you are putting it on a credit card, because you are paying interest on it. That extra $$ you spent up front has an opportunity cost if it's not being spent on paying down debt, so your balance is also higher from that aspect too. All purchases need to be evaluated on an actual needs basis and an opportunity cost basis. what type of litter do you buy? I'm a fairly savvy shopper and might have some advice for you.

7) you are here. That's a start. On some level you know this is wrong, and you must feel somewhat unsettled or unhappy. That's good because you can utilize those feelings toward change. What you're trying to do now is gain inertia going uphill because interest is going against you. It will be a slow journey until you get to the top of the hill (no debt), and then it's all downhill from there because interest is working with you.