Author Topic: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?  (Read 7480 times)

JLE1990

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Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« on: September 14, 2017, 05:18:26 PM »
Topic Question: Come from a low income background and made 35k(after-tax) last year and realized I didn't save any of it. How should I get to FIRE?

26, no kids, single, file 6 dep. on employer tax forms but still usually get taxes back for paying for school out of pocket, in the pnw in a fairly low COL area.

Gross Salary/Wages: So I have a hourly salary and get commissions so it varies but averaging the last 3 mon equals about 2500/mon from work. Plus 500/mon for livestreaming(Twitch etc.). I also get two paid weeks off per year that I do wildland firefighting. This year I grossed 3800$ from that.

Individual amounts of each Pre-tax deductions: 0, none of the things I do offer benefits and I assume that I should pay down debts first.

Other Ordinary Income: I do livestreaming(Twitch etc.) and also get two weeks paid vacation per year that I spend wildland firefighting.

500/mon from livestream
3800/year from WWF

Actual Expenses
I'm hoping to put half of these for down tax deductions for livestreaming.
Item          Monthly
Rent          650       
Internet     40
Electric      70

School       300



Adjusted Gross Income: 30880

Taxes: (Yearly projection based on 3 mon availability)
Income: 266.92
SS: 1729.2
Medicare: 404.8
State Income: 642.8
Worker Ben. Fund: 27
Total 3070.64

Current expenses: Ugh here is where it gets embarrassing, so I just started using the app Penny, it tracks every time you use your cards and puts them in 6 categories, I'll try to subcategorize as much as possible(Keep in mind this is based on the average of the last 3mon).
Food: 470/mon
 47/mon alcohol or brewpubs
 100/mon supermarket(I go weekly and try to watch spending. I powerlift, so I buy a lot of chicken etc.)
 47/mon GNC(only buy clearance items/stack store discounts)
 250/mon (This is fast food or situations where I need to go buy food[forgot lunch etc.] or buying food for a special meal)

Gas:  164/mon(I have been trying to hike as many mountains as possible this summer and they are a couple hours drive usually)
Car:  293/mon
Gym: 68/mon
 27/mon Gym Mem
 125/Crossfit 10 use punchcard(I wrote this whole post to tell everyone I do this)
CC Interest
24.33/mon(Paid off 1 this mon)
Other Purchases 331/mon(It's hard to categorize, Ex: A trip to Walmart might have included food for a camping trip as well as supplies such as bugspray or alum. foil etc.)
 Clothes 40/mon
 Amazon Prime 181/mon(mostly "luxury" items such as a 3L bladder for hiking)
Tuition 416/mon
Insurance 146/mon(Lowest, good driving record, this is due to credit rating)
Phone 0(Sweet setup with a Sprint unlimited plan where I got added to a friends for free. Although I might shoot her 200 or so to help with her 90/mon bill for the year.)
Income 3727/mon (work, firefighting, livestreaming.)
 Normal monthly amount w/o firefighting 3087/mon(This is higher than the actual average of the last 3 mon w/o FF  because of opportunity costs of firefighting such as no livestreaming/commissions)

Assets(Here is like the Sahara desert compared to some people on herelol):
 Vehicle: 2700/4000$ at dealer(way upside down in loan)
 Misc: 1000$(Electronics etc.)



Liabilities(Brace yourself):
Student Loans: 5.25% interest
$18,894 Unsub.
$11,783 Subsidized Interest until finished with school
School Debt: $1/day interest
$6023
CC: 23.99% Interest
$921(Paying this one off in the next two pay periods)
Car Loan 23.99% Interest (36mon)
$7414 (Just two payments so far and I paid more than min., approximately $642 in principal.)

First off I know the car is a huge liability, I purchased a 1 year warranty on it ($2000) which turned out to be a good thing(sort of) because they have put close to $1000 in repairs since I've gotten it. I can immediately take off about a $1000 in principal(bringing it down to $5800) if I cancel the rest of the warranty. Is this a good idea? It is a fairly old vehicle(2004) and I would need to create an emergency fund because I have lost 4 cars in the last 18mon from mechanical problems. AKA, I'm paranoid AF now. I live 9.1mi from work but have been strategizing on how to get there via bike/public transport which would save me at least 250/mon if I suspend the insurance coverage except for driving to the mountains(camping) every other weekend.

I was raised in pretty extreme poverty but this means that I am very good at living frugally and very rarely a complainypants. Of course it also means I have virtually no knowledge of finances and despite making pretty good money for the last 4 years I'm still at zero. Pretty frustrating.

I could "easily" make an additional $500-1000/mon by creating a side business in insurance. (Very low additional costs, 41/mon for E&O ins. and 105/mon for quoting software) This income will also increase by the same 500-1000 every year because of renewals. This is at odds with the timing for school though, putting a lot more on my plate but it's possible I could simply do less business when I have more hw.

When I was a young and ignorant lad I had a lot of trouble with finances etc. and my credit suffered pretty horribly because of it. No bankruptcy but the student loans had to be restructured and I'm just getting into the 600+ range again. Most of the info here is for people who are doing pretty well in life(180k a year? seriously?? Must be one of Hilary's lizard peoplelol ) so I wanted to get info for someone who is building things from the ground up.

So many questions...
After the CC, what should I pay off next?
What do you guys think about continuing school vs. side business? Side business could end up being more profitable than job in 2-3 years.
When it comes to credit should I try to build it aggressively and purchase a home or just pay off loans and let it rise on its own?
What other areas can I immediately make changes besides fast food and vehicle?
What is a reasonable goal for FIRE? 10years? 15?

CU Tiger

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2017, 08:39:30 PM »
The car... I can't even... So I am going to mention a few other things.

First, pay yourself first. You need to start contributing to a 401k (does your work have one?) or an IRA, at least something. Money invested now will have time to grow. Jeez, start with the $250 you are about to stop spending on fast food.

Ack, ack! Those Other Purchases are one of the reason you are not saving or paying off debt.

Other Purchases 331/mon(It's hard to categorize, Ex: A trip to Walmart might have included food for a camping trip as well as supplies such as bugspray or alum. foil etc.)
 Clothes 40/mon
 Amazon Prime 181/mon(mostly "luxury" items such as a 3L bladder for hiking)


Why does a 26 year old man spend $40 a month on clothes? What are you buying? Stop for a while and get along with what you have and put the $40 on debt.

Shop with a list, always. Stop the impulse purchases.

If you are reading MMM, you know he is all about living healthy, fitness, and moving your body...but don't let your love of hiking become an excuse for buying a bunch of extra shit every time you are in Walmart or online. Hiking requires clothes, shoes, and a hat. All the other fancy accoutrement is just frosting. Expensive frosting. One day, in the future, when you have no debt and are well on your way to FI, you can enjoy buying some fancy hiking stuff. Right now, it is not needful or helpful.

There is more, but I am sure some others will chime in.
There are two ways to get enough: one is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less. - G.K. Chesterton

Laura33

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2017, 08:43:46 PM »
So, first, congratulations on making it this far and fighting your way to this point without any real guidance or experience.  You can do this,

Second, one thing at a time.

Debts:  what are the SL rates?  Are you still taking more out, or are you now paying your way?

With debt, you want to tackle them in order, highest interest rate first.  So after the CC, pay off the car, then tackle the SLs that are already accruing interest.  Now for the face punch:  the CC and car loans are insane, both in terms of the interest rates and the amounts compared to your income.  This is an emergency; you can't afford to drive hours to hike mountains, or to buy cool camping gear off Amazon, because you are less than broke.  Do you really want to be still paying off that 3L bladder in 5 years -- probably after it has long since worn out?  "Buy now, pay later" is the path to a lifetime of poverty, because you are committing tomorrow you to continue to bust his ass just to pay for today's Big Mac.  You never give yourself a chance to be free. 

So:  whack those expenses, mercilessly.  No more Amazon.  No more fast food.  Skip the pricey supplements.  You can't afford to spend hundreds of dollars a month camping (gas + gear + car to drive there).  Why crossfit AND a gym - can you consolidate in one?  Personally, I love Crossfit -- but if you have a $27 gym available, use that for your powerlifting, park the car, and get on a damn bike to work/school for your cardio.  Etc.  You really need to readjust your expectations to not buying anything until you have cash in hand.

Re: school vs job:  what are you going to school for?  What is the career path there?  How much of a salary bump will the degree get you, and how long do you have left?  You need to weigh the cost-benefit of the degree, long-term, against the cost-benefit of your other options.  Honestly, I would be hesitant to try to add a third job on top of school -- when you are getting pulled so many ways at once, it is hard to do a good job at any of them, and there's really no sense paying for an education if you're going to bomb the classes and just barely skate through. 

At this point, don't even think about buying a house.  Get your debt paid off, get off the stupid-expensive-and-unreliable car treadmill, finish school, settle into a career, get an emergency fund, and start putting money aside for retirement.  Once you get to that point, you can think about saving for a house.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by raising your credit "aggressively."  You should absolutely work your ass off to get that credit score back up, because it is costing you in every one of your loans, your insurance rates, and possibly even your employability.  But the way you get your credit score higher IS to just pay your debt, on time, every month, until you get everything paid off.  That's it.  There's no magic here.  Which is actually good news:  it means that the more aggressively you can cut your expenses, and the more money you can throw at your ridiculous debts, the faster you will also raise your credit score.  It's a two-fer.

There's lots more, but I think that's good for starters.  :-)
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Lady SA

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2017, 10:58:43 AM »
Yikes! $331 of unknown purchases, plus $180 amazon purchases??? There is $500 at least leaving your pockets every month and you aren't exactly sure what you spent it on.

Do you use Mint? I think that would be helpful for you. Your biggest opportunities I see are really getting a handle on what exactly you are spending on (an accurate measure of this allows you to clearly see the tradeoffs you are making. Leaving yourself with a large, fuzzy "other" category is all too easy to brush off with justifications).

Mint has the capability to take an expense and "split it" -- ie grab your receipt and you can split the charge based on what you bought. Trips to Target or Walmart or Amazon especially where you are getting groceries, sporting goods, clothing, etc all in one trip/transaction. Generally when you make a transaction at a retailer, it gets categorized as generic "shopping". That's not useful. You want to know how you are allocating your money, ie how much on food, clothing, sporting goods, etc.

Drill down with Mint to categorize accurately how much you are spending in each category. The goal is to get to ~$10 or less of Other/uncategorized misc shopping. You should take steps to know exactly what categories you are spending on.

I personally go in as soon as the charge appears in mint and grab the receipt and spend 10 minutes breaking and $85 entry down into something like $50 - grocery, $10 - clothing, $25 - sporting goods or something like that. Then I have an accurate gauge of what I actually purchased that month/year.


The car is a mess. You know this. Other posters have good ideas and you should listen to them.

You have a line item for "School" ($300) and another for "Tuition ($416). What is this?

I think on the side hustle side, I'm never one to discourage someone from a side hustle. But honestly, your problem is not an income problem. It is a spending problem. Making more money will not make your actual problem any better. Sure, it's awesome to go on cool trips and all your friends are doing it. But seriously, you can't afford it yet. Cultivating some patience would help if you are serious about saving any of your hard earned cash. It doesn't mean you dont ever get to go camping -- it means you don't have to climb 20 mountains in a summer. Choose 1 frigging mountain and save all the gas and cost for the other 19. Once you actually have some money to your name you would actually start to be able to afford going more often, but you can't now. That's what tradeoffs are -- trading off a good time now for a stable future.

According to your budget, you currently spend $2600 but make over $3 grand, where is this surplus going?! Not in savings because none if it is in your pocket, which means you are spending it but not tracking it and it isn't accounted for in your budget. You need to find out where this $400 is going. Is your budget you posted, is that an aspirational budget or an accurate reflection of your spending? That missing money indicates it is aspirational.

FIRE depends on 25x your spending. Let's say your aspirational budget is real. $2600 per month --> spending $32k per year. That translates to a 'stash of $795k. At your current savings rate (0%), it will take infinity time. Your question about a "reasonable timeframe for FIRE" is kind of a weird one because it is individual to each person and situation. Measuring yourself against an arbitrary timeframe is silly. You get to financial independence when you get there. Some people never do. Some get there faster. What is reasonable for your situation is not universal. But you need to start saving *something* in order to make any progress.
https://www.earnest.com/invite/lillian2 --> Use this referral to refinance your student loans with Earnest and get a $200 bonus!

JLE1990

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2017, 11:36:03 AM »
OK I really appreciate the answers and they are all great points. The CC will be gone before the next month payment(it started at a 0% IN introductory period).

My employer doesn't offer 401k(or any benefits except the paid vaca) so I will look for it privately, are there any specific routes I should go? Would that be better or should I pay down debts?(beyond the car and CC obviously)
For the SL, the rate is 5.25%, and the 11k is subsidized, so no interest until I am out of school. I have several years left and the pay bump would be about the same as the side business and it will take at least 30k more to get there. I am not taking out any more loans though, just paying by the term. For my type of engineering the starting salary is about 10-15k more than I'm making now but goes up to 150k.

I actually joined Crossfit for the cardio which now I realize is silly since I could've just put that money towards a bike. So the clothes were to increase my office shirts to 4 and a pair of sneakers and my first tailored suit. This leads to a couple of questions I have about emotions surrounding leading an MMM lifestyle. I think most of my problems boil down to inconsistencies with how I am confronting desire and fear.
So there's things that I desire and also can justify to some extent: I look much more professional to clients in a suit and feel more confident, which lends to more commissions and I got it at a good price on Amazon. Snowboarding is coming up and I feel refreshed and amazing after a couple days on the slopes. A season pass is only $$549 and I can sleep in my hatchback car with my mattress and not pay for a hotel and then get two days on one gas trip, that's being frugal right...? I really do enjoy it and feel happier and more productive when I get back to work, but also realize it will prolong the debt nightmare! As a Mustachian how have you decided when to spend money (carefully) on these things vs saving it for the future?

To make the question more interesting, is the FOMO, that if I don't do all the things I want to do ASAP(finally travel outside the country, learn alpine climbing, and so many others...) then I will never get them done and just be one of those people who plans shit forever while they sit at home and watch tv. At 26 I'm still at near peak health but there's a lot I want to do and some of it takes years to be really good at.

The 180/mon from Amazon was a sub category of the 331 but yeah it is still pretty ridiculous. I have tried Mint but I thought that it was tedious because you have to manually enter everything. But doing that would definitely force me to account for every dollar so I will get back into it. The monthly amounts were based on an app similar to Mint separating my spending from the last 3 mon into categories and then I added together the 3 mon and then just divided by 3 to get the average.

Yeah that is a lot for FIRE and I think I am just being impatient and will worry about the things I can do right now.
There's plenty of material for me to work on just from your answers but knowing how to balance those two emotions with savings are the main things I'm still coming up with a strategy for.



dycker1978

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2017, 11:42:35 AM »
You are spending more then 50% of your food budget on fast food then you are spending money to goto the gym and crossfit to burn the calories that you gained by eating it.

STOP THIS. 

JLE1990

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2017, 12:12:06 PM »
To clarify a little more, the 300/mon for school is what it will average for year but I just paid for last term which was 1250 so its 416 average over 3 mon.

Same with the 2600/mon vs 3000/mon, because of firefighting, I wasn't getting as much commission or doing the side gig. So the actual avg monthly of last 3(subtracting FF income) is the 2600/mon.

Yeah I definitely didn't realize how much damage impulse spending is really doing, damn!!!

Laura33

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2017, 02:19:31 PM »
his leads to a couple of questions I have about emotions surrounding leading an MMM lifestyle. I think most of my problems boil down to inconsistencies with how I am confronting desire and fear.
So there's things that I desire and also can justify to some extent: I look much more professional to clients in a suit and feel more confident, which lends to more commissions and I got it at a good price on Amazon. Snowboarding is coming up and I feel refreshed and amazing after a couple days on the slopes. A season pass is only $$549 and I can sleep in my hatchback car with my mattress and not pay for a hotel and then get two days on one gas trip, that's being frugal right...? I really do enjoy it and feel happier and more productive when I get back to work, but also realize it will prolong the debt nightmare! As a Mustachian how have you decided when to spend money (carefully) on these things vs saving it for the future?

To make the question more interesting, is the FOMO, that if I don't do all the things I want to do ASAP(finally travel outside the country, learn alpine climbing, and so many others...) then I will never get them done and just be one of those people who plans shit forever while they sit at home and watch tv. At 26 I'm still at near peak health but there's a lot I want to do and some of it takes years to be really good at.

OK, a lot to unpack here.  Couple of things that aren't necessarily related:

1.  Growing up poor can mess with your mind.  I always wanted cool stuff but couldn't have it; my mom was also very anti-consumerist, but that didn't stop me from wanting the expensive stuff -- it just made me feel guilty for wanting it.  So I had a pushme-pullyou for a long time, going between feeling compelled to save to not be poor ever again, and yet still craving the expensive toys that I never had.  I was probably close to 50 before I even realized how crazy my head was around all of this stuff, and that having those expensive toys wouldn't/didn't actually make me happy.  I am not sure if at your age I would have actually believed, deep down, that expensive toys wouldn't make my life better (if I could only afford them). 

It sounds to me from some of what you wrote that you have similar emotions around this.  You need to deal with those head-on and figure out what level of saving/spending/etc. is reasonable for you right now, or else you're just going to subvert your best-laid plans by giving in to overwhelming impulses (like the crash dieter who makes it a couple of weeks and then eats a full cake).  Full-on Mustachianism may not be the right thing for right now -- or it may be.  Just do a lot of thinking about that.

2.  The big mental change is the "I want it now" mentality (paging Willy Wonka).  You've heard of the marshmallow study, right?  Where they told the kids they could have one marshmallow right now or two when they came back, and then they left the kid alone with one marshmallow, and the kids who were wealthier had better self-control and ended up doing better in school, life, etc.  For many years this was circulated around as evidence that rich people did well because they have good moral fiber -- they can defer gratifiction, their brain can overrule their baser desires, etc.; and then conversely, that poor people are poor because they don't -- they make stupid impulsive decisions and can't plan for the future, etc.  But more recently, there has been research that suggests that the poor kids are actually acting entirely logically and pragmatically given the world they grew up in.  IOW, when you live in a world in which every scrap of food is fought over, why would you leave any on the table to save for later?  You grab what you can get, when you can get it, because you don't trust that there will actually be two marshmallows there tomorrow -- because that's what life has taught you.  Same thing with money -- you get a windfall, you spend it on yourself and your family and friends, and then when you have nothing they do the same for you.

Your history demonstrates a strong need to grab life now, to have it all right away.  It could be immaturity; it could be a character flaw; or it could be something you learned from the way you grew up.  It's not always just the lack of good role models; it's also what you learn about what is "normal" from the bad ones.  Again, this is something for you to do some serious thinking about.  The single biggest thing you need to do to succeed long-term is to learn to wait for that damn second marshmallow -- to train Current You to put in hard effort and make sacrifices now, even when it doesn't seem to be paying off, trusting that Future You will appreciate it.

3.  The much more concrete thing is:  you may no longer spend more than you make.  Period.  EVER.  And certainly not for fun.  No credit cards -- not even 0% ones; no buy-now-pay-later; no camping trips or Wal-Mart runs before you have confirmed that you have extra room in the budget.  None of us deserve jack shit -- you get what you earn.  Fuck FOMO.  The only thing you're going to miss out on is security.  You have spent too long justifying purchases based on them being better than other options (gee, it's just camping, that's cheap -- SO much smarter than fancy vacations).  It's not which is better -- it's can you afford ANY?  And given the car you got stuck with, the clear answer is no.  This is your first baseline:  get back to 0.

4.  Your second baseline, once you have the big debts paid off, is to live on LESS than you make.  Your time to FI depends entirely on how much of your income you spend.  Right now, start with 10% even -- again, this is retraining your brain for the better habits.  Once that seems easy, go for 15%.

5.  FWIW, sounds like college is a better long-term play -- it's not just what you make right away, it's what you have the potential to make 10 years down the road, and what makes you the most employable in the most number of places.  You are doing the right thing by working your way through; just stick to the plan and work on getting back to 0 for now.
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lentil

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2017, 05:27:33 PM »
Quote
Snowboarding is coming up and I feel refreshed and amazing after a couple days on the slopes. A season pass is only $$549 and I can sleep in my hatchback car with my mattress and not pay for a hotel and then get two days on one gas trip, that's being frugal right...? I really do enjoy it and feel happier and more productive when I get back to work, but also realize it will prolong the debt nightmare! As a Mustachian how have you decided when to spend money (carefully) on these things vs saving it for the future?

To make the question more interesting, is the FOMO, that if I don't do all the things I want to do ASAP(finally travel outside the country, learn alpine climbing, and so many others...) then I will never get them done and just be one of those people who plans shit forever while they sit at home and watch tv. At 26 I'm still at near peak health but there's a lot I want to do and some of it takes years to be really good at.

If you live near mountains, you can also snowboard in the backcountry for free (except for gas, and you could be ride-sharing to cut that cost lower too). As a bonus, you'd get free cardio hiking up the slopes!

If there's something you really want to do -- alpine climbing, for instance -- then you can absolutely use that motivation. That's free motivation for getting off the couch and exercising (without the expensive gym membership). Quit drinking at brewpubs, and save that money toward gear...AFTER you pay down your debt (and the faster you pay down that debt, the sooner you can get your ice axe, so make sure you're working toward goals that really do matter to you). Having solid goals helps a lot with short-term sacrifices, and helps the "sacrifices" feel like anything but. I know plenty of people who do alpine climbing, including people in their 40s and 50s who are still going strong, and it's just another case of prioritizing a passion over other things.

But you're going to need to come to terms with the fact that debt is one of the biggest limitations on your options out there. It's forcing you to miss out on things now, and will continue to do so as long as you keep spending every penny you make. Figure out how to get control of your finances, get rid of the high-interest debt, and then you be in a great position to figure out how to allocate your money according to your priorities. Until then, it's pretty much all just impulse spending (that you can't afford).

FireHiker

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2017, 05:37:19 PM »
Well, you've taken the first step and jumped in here, so welcome. Gotta start somewhere, right? :) I grew up with extreme financial instability (including homelessness) and no guidance on money at all, so I know how much it can mess with your head. The marshmallow study Laura references hits home for me, and it has taken years to overcome it and defer gratification. The good news is that it IS possible to overcome it if it's something you really want.

The first step is to track every penny that goes in and out, however works best for you. Yes, it is tedious, but the insight is invaluable. It also makes you stop and question every purchase, because you have to be accountable for it, if only to yourself. Other posters here have pointed out the obvious: car, food, amazon, gym. There's lots of good advice here for you already. The amount of money you spend on food is really high for one person, but you already know this. Fortunately, it's the easiest one to fix. I recommend you check out the "throw down the gauntlet" sub-forum for some inspiration.

I definitely suffer from the FOMO on the travel/activity front as well, so I can sympathize. My guideline is I won't do anything that requires going into debt, but I do spend money on travel even though I know it will (slightly at this point) slow my approach to FIRE. If I were in your place, I would defer ALL "fun" spending until the credit card is gone, the car situation is addressed, and an emergency fund is in place (I would say $1000 to start, so you don't find yourself in a bind putting stuff on credit). It sucks, but it is temporary. Once you are in that position, I would recommend setting specific goals for the things you WANT to do, and save specifically for them.


Finally, I would stick with school if it really has the salary potential you referenced here.

You've got a steep climb ahead of you, but it's worth it. The good news is that you've found MMM now and not in your 40's. You have lots of years ahead for compound interest to work in your favor!


marty998

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2017, 05:55:51 PM »
You should appreciate that you are not just spending $549 + a tank of petrol on snowboarding. You are spending that money at an interest rate of 24%.

In fact, everything you are spending on is currently costing you that rate, because that is the opportunity cost of your money right now.

Snowboarding is not only for 26 year olds. Imagine being FIRE at 40 and being able to snowboard for 6 months of the year... that's what you will not be able to do if you stay on the 24% interest treadmill.

katscratch

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2017, 06:48:35 PM »
As someone who is still in debt-emergency mode myself, marty998's comment is a concept that lit my ass on fire the first time I read it. It's not just the payments per month that stretch you, it's the amount of money you are literally throwing in the garbage (by garbage I mean lender's pockets) every single month.

Regarding buying a house: hell no. IF you could get approved for a mortgage in the next few years, you'll get shit rates. Put that on hold even in thought until you're a bit further up the credit worthiness chain. You're in the right place to turn things around, and making continuous progress will improve your credit on its own.

Tracking every single penny of spending is, in my opinion, the only way to see what your emotional and mindless spending habits really are. I was in a very low financial spot after my divorce years ago where it was very very difficult to have enough money for food. I now know that for me, it's regular ol' grocery spending where I tend to be the most emotional and ignore impulse spending. But I'll think I'm doing great because I'm not buying clothes, or going to a bunch of concerts, etc. then when I actually start tracking every transaction it's obvious my grocery bills are $100 higher than I think.


It can be really hard to deny yourself activities that mean a lot to you, especially if you have friends that spend a lot more. But right now I'd say it's super important for you to minimize that spending as much as possible and throw everything you can at debt while you ARE young and can get to a point quickly of starting to sock money away in savings instead. Plus it will help future you to already have frugal spending habits in place before you're earning a higher salary.


This fall I'm limiting my 'fun' spending to one beverage OR one appetizer when out with friends and no more than once a week; and NO spending on bike gear or hiking gear (I have the basics). I'm also limiting my state park visits to one per month to cut down on gas usage and plan to rehike the parks within biking range. I'm guessing you have all the basic gear you need already, so make a commitment to yourself to spend ZERO on gear. For me, trying to cut out entirely the activities that cost money was not good for my emotional health. I'm guessing it would be the same for you. But you can definitely cut down while that car loan is hanging over your head.


I think it's great you're asking these questions now. I didn't think to until I was 40.


So, to sum up my rambling:
* Start tracking ALL your expenses to the penny. Either Mint, or a word doc or spreadsheet, or by hand in a notebook. ALL your receipts. You can't start bailing water from your boat when you have unaccounted-for Other spending that is a huge gaping hole in the floor.
* NO fast food. That's insane. What's the point of investing in your body with money at the gym if you're going to put this shit in it?? If you're already used to eating high protein it's crazy easy to batch cook chicken breasts and sweet potatoes then put them in Ziplock bags in the freezer. Grab and go. I cook 2 dozen eggs every weekend and don't have to think about breakfast all week. 3 eggs, chicken/potato for breakfast. Bag of salad greens with tuna and avocado for lunch. Dinner I'm honestly quite boring and repetitive as well but it saves me money and time not having to think about it -- this also eliminates about 90% of my "forgetting" to make food by having it on autopilot.
* NO spending on gear for activities - you have what you need for now. When you're debt free and saving like a frugal ninja, you can upgrade or add on.

You'll discover pretty fast where your emotional blocks are. For a lot of us that have been in similar positions to you that is the biggest hurdle. But push through, and you'll start making progress quickly.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 06:51:12 PM by katscratch »

okits

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2017, 09:03:17 PM »
You should appreciate that you are not just spending $549 + a tank of petrol on snowboarding. You are spending that money at an interest rate of 24%.

In fact, everything you are spending on is currently costing you that rate, because that is the opportunity cost of your money right now.

JLE1990, when I saw your 24% interest rates, I felt ill.  That is a very high interest rate.  If I could make 24% annual investment returns I would be very rich, very quickly.  Paying 24% interest rates will make anyone poor, very quickly.  Your hair is on fire.

Quote
Snowboarding is not only for 26 year olds. Imagine being FIRE at 40 and being able to snowboard for 6 months of the year... that's what you will not be able to do if you stay on the 24% interest treadmill.

Except you don't need to imagine.  Our community has FIREees in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond who are immersed in all kind of physical, athletic pursuits and are in damn great shape and health.  The FOMO I think you should fear is not getting your financial footing soon enough, so that someday, when there are HUGE things in life that financial security will enable (having a family, recovering from serious illness, obtaining a stable housing situation, retirement), you're not standing out in the cold, because at 26 your imagination didn't extend beyond becoming a skilled snowboarder.

There's a forum member, WhiteTrashCash, who has written extensively about escaping poverty and his ongoing journey to FI.  He has a very engaging writing style and understands the switch in thinking needed from just surviving to being able to accumulate wealth.  Look him up for some great reading.

CU Tiger

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2017, 06:08:51 AM »

I second the recommendation of WhiteTrashCash's journal. It is fascinating reading, because he really examines the mindset that growing up poor creates, that can keep you poor. He has gotten past that way of thinking, and would be a great read for you.
There are two ways to get enough: one is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less. - G.K. Chesterton

Villanelle

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2017, 07:11:41 AM »
You say you are,  "very good at living frugally", and yet you throw out phrases like "only $549".  These things are pretty contradictory.  I think you want to believe you are good at living frugally--who doesn't want to think that about themselves?--but that is not actually the case.  Some serious self-assessment is in order.  You are buying stuff you can not afford.  Lots of it.  That is, simply put, not "good at living frugally".  It is "very, very bad at living frugally". 

That fancy, utterly unnecessary bladder means you will work an extra week when you are older.  That's a full week of snowboarding or hiking you won't have in your future. 

You can let the desire to do cool things fuel your financial transformation.  This year, you don't get to buy that snowboard pass because you simply can not afford it.  You can't.  By next year, if you have paid off all of that credit card debt and 75% of the car debt, you then allow yourself that small luxury (but only that one!, or whichever one you deem most important).  If you don't meet your goal, you don't get the snowboard season pass.

You can't afford two gyms.  Really, you can't even afford one, but I suspect that's a non-starter for you.  (Another indication of the cognitive dissonance in your "good at living frugally" claim.)  At a minimum, you need to ditch one.  A middle option would be ditch one and find a cheaper alternative for the other (since I suspect the spendy Crossfit is what you'd opt to keep). 

If you want to be someone who is good at frugality, you have to start walking the walk.  Read your post again, remove all excuses and justifications and rationalizations.  Do you still actually think you are currently living frugally?

Kl285528

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2017, 08:31:03 AM »
any chance to talk to banks and credit unions about refinancing your car loan? even on a personal loan basis? That interest rate is a killer. I would at least ask the question, or at least you'll get a sense of what it will take to refinance it after you talk to a banker.

JLE1990

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2017, 11:48:58 AM »
I had to take a break the facepunching was hurting too much, but that's what I'm here for.  Kl285528 Yeah I am going to refinance the car loan in a couple months, I'm paying 500/mon on it right now(plus 200-400 more once CC is gone after the 1st) as well as cancelling the warranty. All of this should get the principal under 3k in a few months and then I'll refin to a lower rate.

Villanelle I guess I wasn't clear there, what I meant is that I am used to living frugally because until the last couple of years I only made literally a few thousand a year and I survived mostly. Last year it was 35k after taxes and its all gone and I feel no further along. That blows my mind which is why I'm here! I need to change from living frugally because I have too, to doing it because I want to save for the future.

And thanks I will definitely check out whitetrashcash, more great info!

Laura33
Quote
1.  Growing up poor can mess with your mind.  I always wanted cool stuff but couldn't have it; my mom was also very anti-consumerist, but that didn't stop me from wanting the expensive stuff -- it just made me feel guilty for wanting it.  So I had a pushme-pullyou for a long time, going between feeling compelled to save to not be poor ever again, and yet still craving the expensive toys that I never had.  I was probably close to 50 before I even realized how crazy my head was around all of this stuff, and that having those expensive toys wouldn't/didn't actually make me happy.  I am not sure if at your age I would have actually believed, deep down, that expensive toys wouldn't make my life better (if I could only afford them).

Yeah that is how I am with experiences(hiking, snowboarding and traveling. It's hard for me not to go crazy when I think about all the things I want to do and how little time there really is. It's not like they aren't great experiences to have, it's that constraint to wait on those. I definitely want to go 'full-Mustachian' but there are some complexities beyond my terrible spending habits I will have to work out.

Quote
2.  The big mental change is the "I want it now" mentality (paging Willy Wonka).  You've heard of the marshmallow study, right?  Where they told the kids they could have one marshmallow right now or two when they came back, and then they left the kid alone with one marshmallow, and the kids who were wealthier had better self-control and ended up doing better in school, life, etc.  For many years this was circulated around as evidence that rich people did well because they have good moral fiber -- they can defer gratifiction, their brain can overrule their baser desires, etc.; and then conversely, that poor people are poor because they don't -- they make stupid impulsive decisions and can't plan for the future, etc.  But more recently, there has been research that suggests that the poor kids are actually acting entirely logically and pragmatically given the world they grew up in.  IOW, when you live in a world in which every scrap of food is fought over, why would you leave any on the table to save for later?  You grab what you can get, when you can get it, because you don't trust that there will actually be two marshmallows there tomorrow -- because that's what life has taught you.  Same thing with money -- you get a windfall, you spend it on yourself and your family and friends, and then when you have nothing they do the same for you.

Your history demonstrates a strong need to grab life now, to have it all right away.  It could be immaturity; it could be a character flaw; or it could be something you learned from the way you grew up.  It's not always just the lack of good role models; it's also what you learn about what is "normal" from the bad ones.  Again, this is something for you to do some serious thinking about.  The single biggest thing you need to do to succeed long-term is to learn to wait for that damn second marshmallow -- to train Current You to put in hard effort and make sacrifices now, even when it doesn't seem to be paying off, trusting that Future You will appreciate it.


This. For me it is really important to think of it as a recalibration instead of something inherently wrong with me so that I can move forward positively. It helps to think of it more like a videogame where you simply level up and now the puzzles and bosses are more complex. That mentality of 'get as much as you can' has motivated me to work hard and get better jobs and overcome a lot of obstacles. Feeding into that desire to want the stereotypical "American dream" has pushed me to do things that are hard and I would rather not do.

Laura33

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2017, 12:00:09 PM »
For me it is really important to think of it as a recalibration instead of something inherently wrong with me so that I can move forward positively. It helps to think of it more like a videogame where you simply level up and now the puzzles and bosses are more complex. That mentality of 'get as much as you can' has motivated me to work hard and get better jobs and overcome a lot of obstacles. Feeding into that desire to want the stereotypical "American dream" has pushed me to do things that are hard and I would rather not do.

And FWIW, I really don't agree with the "character flaw" concept (wish I had an irony font that I could have used for that term).  I think that second marshmallow study was revelatory about how much of what we believe and think and do comes from the environment we grew up in and learned to see as "normal"; with some things, it never even occurred to me that other people might do it another way!  I mean, I've been married 20+ years and have not been remotely poor for 30+, and my DH still has to remind me that it's ok to ask for a salad instead of fries, because doesn't he know they charge extra for the substitution? :-) 

I firmly believe that you can change that mindset now that you are aware of it; the important part is to realize that it is a mindset, a habit, and to develop conscious strategies to re-train your brain.  Sounds like you are already along that path with the game analysis, so just keep leveling up!!
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Peony

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2017, 04:18:17 PM »
If you didn't like Mint you might try YNAB (You Need A Budget), especially the "classic" version that doesn't require a monthly subscription. YNAB's concepts of budgeting to zero, always budgeting only money I actually have in hand (no projecting), and understanding that if I'm going to overspend in one category, I have to underspend in another to stay ahead, has improved my finances beyond belief. YNAB has a great forum that's been somewhat hidden by the company; if you are interested, ping me and I'll post a link on here.

Also, check out Economista's journal, in addition to WhiteTrashCash's. She also came from a precarious background (doing very well now) and writes about it quite eloquently.

Eric222

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2017, 05:02:29 PM »
If you didn't like Mint you might try YNAB (You Need A Budget), especially the "classic" version that doesn't require a monthly subscription. YNAB's concepts of budgeting to zero, always budgeting only money I actually have in hand (no projecting), and understanding that if I'm going to overspend in one category, I have to underspend in another to stay ahead, has improved my finances beyond belief. YNAB has a great forum that's been somewhat hidden by the company; if you are interested, ping me and I'll post a link on here.

Also, check out Economista's journal, in addition to WhiteTrashCash's. She also came from a precarious background (doing very well now) and writes about it quite eloquently.

+1 for YNAB.  It really helps with prospectively budgeting and keeping track of money as you spend it (instead of seeing how much you spent at the end of the month....). 
“Except when awesome is just awesome, because sometimes it is.” - Scrubby

Journal: Racing towards zero

Where I started...

Long term goals:  Stay fit, NW0 by 39, and FI by 50.  Required SR:  66%.  SR goal for monthly income: 60%.

RidetheRain

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2017, 06:01:36 PM »
Hi. I can't wait to hear all the progress you make. My dad had a life just like yours and it was interesting growing up and knowing about that dynamic. He grew up in extreme poverty and still has a few mental ticks that show it's still under the surface (can't leave food on his plate, won't retire despite FI long ago). He always described it as losing object permanence in a funny sort of way. Just like a baby thinks if something disappears then it's gone forever, he found that if he didn't buy something while there was money in his bank account then he could never have it. Having a certain balance on the account was a reason to celebrate with shopping!

Unfortunately, this means that he (and you, I suspect) are being rewarded with happy chemicals in your brain when you buy something. It's hard to work against that - it's why people can absolutely be addicted to shopping. You might want to try congratulating yourself when you choose not to purchase something you want (or have a vague inclination for!)
See my journal

caracarn

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2017, 06:57:53 AM »
+1 for YNAB as well.  I do use the new version as I find the mobile app and integration with outside accounts makes the tracking much simpler and reliable.

JLE1990

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2017, 11:37:47 AM »
So I did get started with YNAB, an older version and I like it for creating a budget plan! I found the app Penny recently for real time tracking. It's really nice because automatically(with some degree of precision) separates your account charges into six individual categories and you can get an unlimited amount in the paid version. Does the new YNAB do this? I feel like Penny is not as good if you have investments but great for people just starting out looking to track expenses. It's free but there is a 4/mon for premium.Caracarn does the new YNAB connect to your accts and track expenses too? And anyone know how it compares to Mint, is Mint better for more advanced mustachians?

Thanks guys!

BiochemicalDJ

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2017, 12:10:48 PM »
... It's really nice because automatically(with some degree of precision) separates your account charges into six individual categories and you can get an unlimited amount in the paid version. Does the new YNAB do this?...
Thanks guys!

The OLD YNAB does this.

It just takes a sec to get it fully 'trained'.

Instead of being *super* automatic and just ripping from your accounts automatically, you have to download the transaction data yourself. Why use the older version? No monthly payment, and you keep the program forever.

Buy it, install it, set up your accounts the way they are- DON'T ENTER TRANSACTIONS YET.
Now, go to your websites for every bank, credit card, etc. that you have- Every single one.
There should be an option to 'download transaction data'. It can take a while to find this; they're buried sometimes.
Set the time window on the download to the most recent 2 weeks.
Download all the transactions in 'Quicken' format or 'Quicken Webconnect' (.qfx) format.
Now import the transactions to YNAB, and stick them in the right accounts.

Now, the tedious part- Start going through and categorizing each transaction from those 2 weeks. Make categories that are meaningful to you- The ones that YNAB starts with seem kinda shitty to me.
MAINCategories for you would be something like
Debt Repayment
These accounts are all your debts. Make sure you set the debt accounts as 'Off Budget' in YNAB- and DON'T CONTINUE USING THEM, FFS.
Fun Money
This is anything that is not survival.
Life Money
This is everything you need to *live*. Bare bones here. Shelter, food, utilities, etc.

Note that you can add sub-categories underneath the main categories- you should definitely do this to help understand your spending.

Example:
Life Money
  • Rent
  • Groceries
  • Power
  • Heat
  • Water
  • Internet

Once you've started categorizing stuff from various stores/places, you'll see it falling into place nicely. When you're done categorizing 14 days worth of transactions, now the fun part begins-

Download all transactions from the last MONTH now. And you'll notice- YNAB starts auto-categorizing and guessing for you. You need to fill in the blanks for stuff it doesn't know about yet.

Then download the month before. More automation, fewer blanks.

Then the month before. Eventually, it will understand where you buy your stuff, you'll have given it enough prior info, that as long as you tend to buy in the same places, the categories will stay the same.

Now, you can go back as far as you want and start getting some trends, if you like. More importantly, All future transactions you put in will be run up against this 'Learning' database, and it will attempt to auto-categorize for you. It will need some training (what if the beer was a gift? What if you had an unexpected car accident? etc.) but most of your categories should be in place.

If any of that in unclear, feel free to PM me and I'll see if I can walk you through with a skype call/screenshare, if you're interested.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 01:56:33 PM by BiochemicalDJ »
Having fun isn't hard when you have a library card.
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Verdure

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2017, 12:19:05 PM »
I use the new YNAB, and I really like it, too. It does connect to your account to track expenses. It doesn't exactly automatically categorize things. Part of the deal with YNAB is to get you in the habit of reviewing all of your purchases, so you have to categorize every purchase.  Once you've categorized spending at one place, it will then mark it as that spending category in the future, but you have to approve it. The nice thing about approving new transactions is that it makes really accurate, and you can split purchases between multiple categories, too.

JLE1990

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #25 on: September 22, 2017, 01:06:08 PM »
BiochemicalDJ So I tried dling my Chase acct info (csv files) and it would not upload into YNAB(file type incompatible). I did go ahead and setup the various sub cats and entered the income in manually in. Anyone else have Chase Bank and use YNAB?
I'll play with it when I have more time this weekend and if I can't figure it out I would love some help on that, thanks!

BiochemicalDJ

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2017, 01:52:18 PM »
Wrong filetype. Click the dropdown menu on the Chase website and pick the 'Quicken' filetype, or 'Quicken Webconnect'. Should be a .qfx file if everything went well.

Chase' website is super crappy; be careful that they don't invert the Month/Day on the resultant .qfx file data. You'll be able to tell during the import- make sure the dates look correct before you pull transactions from Chase. YNAB has a fix for this, there's a button when you import that says 'Swap MM and DD' or something. You may or may not need to use it- Depends on which chase card you have.

.csv is for exporting into Excel. Excel can also be super useful; export your data to Excel, click anywhere in the data, type ctrl+T, and make a table out of it- then you can do some more crunching. Just not as automatically pretty as YNAB, and it doesn't learn anything about categories, and doesn't assist you with guessing monthly amounts- but perfectly functional if you haven't already shelled out for YNAB and you understand how to make Pivot Tables in Excel.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 02:02:12 PM by BiochemicalDJ »
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ElleFiji

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #27 on: September 23, 2017, 08:58:47 AM »
Holy fuckitty fuck.

My first few seconds - oh, he makes about the same as me... Probably struggling cause rent is so high. $650? Plus school and still less than my rent??? Hmmm groceries are good, microbrewery, k, everyone gets a hobby, and then your entire budget exploded.

So. Let's start again. Because you could be killing this shit
Rent 650
Internet 40
Electric 70
School 300
Groceries 200
GNC 47
Lazy/takeout etc 100

Car situation - you need to fix it, but let's see if we can keep it short term
293+164+50 (saving for the next car or extra debt payment on this one)
Gym NOPE. Ask for 10 class packs for Christmas and birthday. Run, do YouTube workouts, buy a kettlebell. But no recurring expense. Maybe prison conditioning
Planned occasional expenses (clothes, gifts, hobbies) 150/mo
Tuition? I thought we already had tuition? 416
Emergency fund 75
Cash for monthly fun and not going crazy 60

Okay. So With a shit ton of luxuries, an emergency fund, keeping the car and paying an extra $50/mo on the car, and maybe double counting school, we can do

2615

And you said you're getting 3070/month, so you have.... 455 to pay debt and save each month.

But if you are willing to go back to your more frugal habits, your rent is so low you could smash this.

 I'm a fan of making changes in stages. When the new habits feel normal, I'm ready for more habits.

No buying a home for a long time. No subscriptions to snowboard or go to the gym. Live under your income bracket.

Dee18

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #28 on: September 23, 2017, 11:07:56 AM »
Use a 30 day list. When you want something, list it out in the open, like on your fridge.  Don't even think of buying anything except food (that you will prepare) unless it has been on the list 30 days.  During that 30 days, try to think of an alternative.  Instead of a 3 liter water bladder for hiking, buy used water bottles at a thrift store for $1 each. A little extra weight in your pack is just more conditioning.

Which leads to the second point. Don't but anything new.  There is so much stuff already purchased that you can find everything you need used at 80-90% off.  This's includes great looking clothes.
Locate the good thrift stores in your area (where I am these are way cheaper than anything one can buy online).  Even then, only buy it if it has been on your 30 day list.

You obviously care about fitness, but are probably not honoring that when you buy fast food.  Instead of getting another job, make living frugally that job, mostly by planning ahead regarding food.

Find other hikers to carpool.  It will save you money and it's good for the environment.

Before making any purchase over $50, post it here.  You will get lots of good advice.  I'm sorry you didn't have advice from the forum before buying your car.  You can turn this around. Best of luck!

caracarn

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #29 on: September 25, 2017, 07:37:44 AM »
So I did get started with YNAB, an older version and I like it for creating a budget plan! I found the app Penny recently for real time tracking. It's really nice because automatically(with some degree of precision) separates your account charges into six individual categories and you can get an unlimited amount in the paid version. Does the new YNAB do this? I feel like Penny is not as good if you have investments but great for people just starting out looking to track expenses. It's free but there is a 4/mon for premium.Caracarn does the new YNAB connect to your accts and track expenses too? And anyone know how it compares to Mint, is Mint better for more advanced mustachians?

Thanks guys!
Yes, new YNAB connects to accounts and tracks expenses.  I have tried nearly everything over the years and this product is so far ahead of anything else that I'd never go back.  It is more the 4 steps (and the software being designed around them) that makes the difference IMO.  There are a lot of trackers, but where YNAB stands out for me is that it is a tracker that gets you to actionable information much, much easier than the others.  And with needing to update the budget on the fly since my wife and I are not always together but want to coordinate the spending the mobile app is incredible.  Well worth less than $4/month in my opinion.  It has handled all the complexity in our lives, where Mint, Quicken and others fell short.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #30 on: October 03, 2017, 01:08:46 PM »
I highly recommend you stay in school, if you have the potential to one day earn 6 figures.  It's a lot easier to save a lot of money when you make a lot of money!

I've struggled, like you, with the balance between saving and spending.  I work best with goals, both short-term and long-term.

What are your financial goals?  Really sit and think about this.

Is it to retire in X years?
To be debt-free in Y years?
To go on Z vacations/snowboarding trips per year?
To own a home in A years?

Goals must be specific and measurable and include a time frame.  They should also be prioritized.  Ours are simple:
a) Save $50k per kid for college (needed in 2024, 2025, and 2026).
b) Save $1.5M for retirement by age 50 (and have the house paid off by then)
c) No credit card debt ever [e.g., have an emergency fund that can handle contingencies]
d) Take a minimum of one vacation per year

The money for a and b come out of our bank account automatically after every paycheck - we're paying ourselves first.

I also have an automatic draft of $X that goes into my savings account every month and is earmarked for travel.  If I spend too much money on crap each month and don't have enough to pay off the card, that money comes out of my travel fund.  That means some years, the vacation has been a single long weekend in a place I could drive to and stay with a friend.  In some years, we all fly to CA to go to Disneyland for a week. 

Now, when you're young, is the time to make your goals and prioritize them.  When you want to buy something, ask yourself how that will fit in with your overall goals.  It makes it easier to argue with the side of your brain that tells you that you deserve something.
Boldly leading a blended family into (future) financial independence

JLE1990

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #31 on: October 06, 2017, 12:50:19 PM »
So I have been trying to get YNAB to work but I have been unable to get it to update in real time like Penny. I did get the records imported from my Chase account. Creating the budget side is fairly easy but I'm not sure how to add the real transactions into the budget and take it from a theoretical budget to reflecting spending history.

My goals right now are actually pretty simple, I want to get rid of all interesting generating debt as soon as possible with the exception of 1 activity per season that I enjoy. Calculating it out if I can save 1250/mon I can do this in approx. 2 years.

So I recently came up with a plan for an ebike and I was wondering what everyone's thoughts were on it. Commute to work is 9.4mi and it rains 160 days/year here in the PNW, that's why we are addicted to coffee and happy lights. I found a reputable kit for $204 on Amazon and approx. $100 for batteries(lead acid) that willl get me to and from work on one charge. If I reduce my insurance to the state minimums and don't use any gas for work this will save me min 200/mon., And that is not including est car repair/reduction of the warranty. This is one of those things that I can justify and feel like will make me much happier(then biking 10mi in the rain) but are an expenditure. Thoughts? Facepunches?

The second thing that I want to spend on this month rather than pay down debts like a reasonable person, is initiating the subscription to my side business. The software is 300 to start and then 104/mon but is required to do it. However, I would be able to easily make 500-1000+ and this would double every renewal period(1 year). I feel pretty confident doing this since meeting with clients would not require me to drive anywhere and I could deduct even more things from taxes(phone, internet, most driving that I would do, etc.). I am also wondering what thoughts on this might be.

Thanks for the responses, I definitely read every one and really appreciate it!

RidetheRain

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #32 on: October 06, 2017, 12:59:48 PM »
I would be wary of an ebike kit in the rain. I know some people have had issues with some brands being not as weather-proof as advertised. I would recommend looking very closely at reviews for whichever one you are looking at for other people riding in the rain. Plenty work just fine, but I'd hate for you to run into trouble.
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Laura33

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #33 on: October 06, 2017, 01:12:12 PM »
So I have been trying to get YNAB to work but I have been unable to get it to update in real time like Penny. I did get the records imported from my Chase account. Creating the budget side is fairly easy but I'm not sure how to add the real transactions into the budget and take it from a theoretical budget to reflecting spending history.

My goals right now are actually pretty simple, I want to get rid of all interesting generating debt as soon as possible with the exception of 1 activity per season that I enjoy. Calculating it out if I can save 1250/mon I can do this in approx. 2 years.

So I recently came up with a plan for an ebike and I was wondering what everyone's thoughts were on it. Commute to work is 9.4mi and it rains 160 days/year here in the PNW, that's why we are addicted to coffee and happy lights. I found a reputable kit for $204 on Amazon and approx. $100 for batteries(lead acid) that willl get me to and from work on one charge. If I reduce my insurance to the state minimums and don't use any gas for work this will save me min 200/mon., And that is not including est car repair/reduction of the warranty. This is one of those things that I can justify and feel like will make me much happier(then biking 10mi in the rain) but are an expenditure. Thoughts? Facepunches?

The second thing that I want to spend on this month rather than pay down debts like a reasonable person, is initiating the subscription to my side business. The software is 300 to start and then 104/mon but is required to do it. However, I would be able to easily make 500-1000+ and this would double every renewal period(1 year). I feel pretty confident doing this since meeting with clients would not require me to drive anywhere and I could deduct even more things from taxes(phone, internet, most driving that I would do, etc.). I am also wondering what thoughts on this might be.

Thanks for the responses, I definitely read every one and really appreciate it!

Three immediate thoughts:

1.  Don't fall into the habit of solving money problems by throwing more money at them.  Start with the "free" option; you can always upgrade later if that doesn't work. 

2.  Have you decided what your optimal path forward is yet?  You have work, school, firefighting, live streaming, and now you are talking about adding selling insurance.  If you add insurance, where is that time going to come from?  And what is the basis for your projected net income -- do you have past experience selling insurance, or is this just what the folks selling the program have told you?  Before you invest money into a side business, you need to analyze the costs and projected profits like a business.  And given all the other side-businesses you have going on, you need to be 100% sure that this is the most profitable use of the time you will devote to it.

3.  If you have a longer-term plan, I'd like to hear more about what that is.  I am a little concerned because you have a bunch of folks here who have told you that getting the degree is the best choice for your long-term finances, and yet your response seems to be to chase yet another source of immediate income instead of taking the deferred gratification of living super-frugally while you get the degree.  Don't get me wrong:  adding a few extra grand to your income so that you can be debt-free in two years while making @$40K is absolutely a laudable goal.  OTOH, if the other option is that two years from now you had your CC and car paid off and were in a job making $100K, which is the better long-term option?  Not saying that that is how it would work out, of course; point is to really evaluate whether you are past the "go for the immediate gratification" mindset (even if you are now defining "gratification" in a much better way).

In short, don't throw money at an e-bike now.  Just start biking to/from work and save all that gas/insurance AND the cost of the e-bike conversion.  It's less than 10 miles and you are a badass who camps and hikes and gets outdoors every chance he can get -- so be a badass every day for the benefit of your bank account.  You can always do the e-bike conversion later if it just isn't working.

The insurance may or may not be worth it; just take a hard look at the rosy profit-per-unit-of-effort projections and make sure this is the best possible use of the extra time you will devote to it, and that it is not taking away from other activities (like school or livestreaming) that may pay off better in the short- or long-run.
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runbikerun

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #34 on: October 06, 2017, 01:33:00 PM »
I'm going to focus on one very specific thing for the moment, because it's a subject close to my heart. You do not need an ebike.

If you're a member of two gyms, snowboarding on a regular basis and hoping to learn alpine climbing, then cycling less than ten miles to work should be comically easy without resorting to artificial aids.

Ebikes are great if you're too old to ride at the pace you need, or have a physical condition or disability that makes riding difficult or painful. If you're young and in good physical condition, then they're a pointless waste of both money and time. When in doubt, refer to Rule Five of the Velominati: Harden The F*ck Up. I'm willing to bet a sizeable chunk of money you're in much better physical condition than I am, and I'd be ashamed to be caught riding an ebike by any of my bike-riding friends.

Use your damn training, grit your teeth, and ride your bike to and from work using nothing but your legs. Download Strava and see if there are any segments on the route. Create some if there are none. Are you the king of the mountain on those segments? No? RIDE HARDER.

You clearly love the outdoors, and you enjoy pushing yourself. Take the opportunity to use your commute to scratch two itches at once while saving money. Get on your bike and ride as hard as you can to work.

Vaulter

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #35 on: October 06, 2017, 03:42:49 PM »
I 100% second what runbikerun said, and what Laura33 said about NOT spending money on an ebike. Nine miles will be easy for you, and you will enjoy the extra training you are getting while commuting.

I bike-commuted on a normal bicycle for 6 years in all seasons in the PNW before I moved for work. It was fun and kept me fit. You don't need special gear, either, just some gloves for the winter. The one item that I enjoyed having was a pair of waterproof booties to cover my shoes in all the rain. Wet feet & hands get cold quickly. You can do fine without special shoe covers by putting on socks, then plastic bags, then shoes, and carrying a full set of work clothing in a waterproof bag (or use a trash bag liner in a regular bag if you don't have one) with you. Keep a set of shoes at work and you're all set.

Any time you think you can't do it, just read what runbikerun said again until you change your mind.

JLE1990

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #36 on: October 06, 2017, 06:01:48 PM »
ridetherain
Hey thanks I will that in mind. Some of the reviews on some of the others showed that they were waterproof so I might go with one of those models instead.

VAULTER
Haha thanks Vaulter I think I will turn what he said into a mantra and just say it to myself every morning before I start the day.
LAURA33
1. Yeah I think it would be better to spend the next few months with only the bike I just got. I can ride a few miles to public transit(free with school) and take that into town. Maybe in December I will see if I should get the e-bike upgrade to be more mobile. I did get another term setup for the winter so I will be extra busy then.

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2.  Have you decided what your optimal path forward is yet?  You have work, school, firefighting, live streaming, and now you are talking about adding selling insurance.  If you add insurance, where is that time going to come from?  And what is the basis for your projected net income -- do you have past experience selling insurance, or is this just what the folks selling the program have told you?  Before you invest money into a side business, you need to analyze the costs and projected profits like a business.  And given all the other side-businesses you have going on, you need to be 100% sure that this is the most profitable use of the time you will devote to it.
 
So work is going to have to be primary because I need the income to pay for school and offer stability while in school. I could go back to school and work part-time but then I would just need more loans and I feel like I would just be going backwards. My plan is to continue working and livestreaming in the evening but slowly replacing that with the side biz which will generate more income. The evening is the best time for this anyway since most people work during the day.
Without going into too much detail the new side biz would cost $145/mon(software and E&O coverage) with little other monetary costs. The other main initial cost is going to be time like you mentioned and it is the one that concerns me. I have been working in this same industry for a couple years and using this software, while required, will also give me a large price advantage by allowing me to work with multiple different companies(6). With 85% of consumers choosing a company based on price I will be able to be very successful by having access to these companies and then pursuing customers etc. If I had all the time and money to support myself while I build my client base I have no doubt that I would be successful. The first two years are the hardest here because the income per customer is so low that you need hundreds to even equal my current income. So what I will need to do is build my client base while working these next several months and then I can suspend the entire monthly cost during the busier months of school.

So essentially I am going to rely on my current job and continue school and then add the side businesses as I have time. This is why I'm hesitant to add $145/mon to my budget because until I get real data there's no telling how easily it will be to make it pay for itself; unfortunately there is no 'trial period.'

Firefighting is only in the summer and is fully optional and I can simply not do it if I do not have the time. As much as I love it, it is not a career path. Maybe when I'm FIRE I can buy an engine and work for myself. One day...

What I am trying to do is do the things I can make money at now and as I find things that are better investments of my time I transition to those things. They aren't extremely difficult gigs to have and the $145/mon is the biggest investment I have had to consider. Would definitely love to hear your input on it and can clarify anything that I missed!


RUNBIKERUN

I do agree that I am being a wussy pants and will bike until the winter term starts at least. I don't mind the biking and was biking for awhile before I got my car out of necessity. The main reason I am thinking about the ebike is time constraints. For now I will just use the new(to me) bike I just got and then re-evaluate if I have time in January when I will need to get to class soon after work etc.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 06:03:57 PM by JLE1990 »

runbikerun

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #37 on: October 07, 2017, 01:31:50 AM »
On a broader note regarding your hobbies/sports:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you're doing the following:
Powerlifting (and paying for a gym membership to cover this)
Crossfit (and paying for Crossfit classes to cover this)
Snowboarding (and paying for season passes to cover this)
Hiking/camping (and forever buying equipment for this

...and you want to take up alpine climbing.

You're a middle-income person doing four different high-cost sports and considering a fifth. I'm a member of a running club and race duathlons (albeit not especially well), and I earn a figure that's not a million miles from yours, and yet I suspect my annual spending on membership fees and equipment is less than the money you spend for a snowboarding season pass. Snowboarding and alpine climbing are for rich people. You are not a rich person. Crossfit is for wealthy people who don't have enough time to keep fit unless they're on the verge of vomiting the whole way through every training session. You are not wealthy, and you have enough time to be doing three other physical activities. Powerlifting is fairly cheap if you do it at home (I have a coworker who's put together a fairly impressive setup in his garage), but you're paying for a gym. Camping should be virtually free, but you're buying new kit on a consistent basis.

Stop and think about this. You say you want to do all this while you're young, but do you have FOMO about not running a sub-17-minute 5k because you're not training for it while you're young enough? No, because your FOMO is trained almost exclusively on activities that cost money. You want to do these things, as opposed to running or joining your local soccer team, because they cost money. I know that feeling, because I spent a year and a half trying to learn to swim well enough to race triathlons. It cost me a sum of money I've deliberately never calculated, and it cost me a year and a half of better training, as I spent the bulk of my training time trying to become mediocre at swimming instead of getting faster and stronger as a runner and cyclist. It's a seductive feeling, but it should be resisted.

Remember: the people running Tabata sprints in the local park are going to suffer every bit as deeply as the people doing burpees in a Crossfit box. The people riding across mountains are going to see view just as beautiful as what the snowboarders do. The soccer player who scores a crucial last-minute goal in a knockout game feels just as deep a sense of satisfaction as the powerlifter who adds another kilo to his personal best. Spending more money on your sport doesn't make you happier. You're spending too much of your money trying to keep up with rich-person sports; save your money and find something less financially onerous. You're cleary driven, so you'll probably do pretty well at whatever you choose, so choose something that doesn't cost a fortune.

JLE1990

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #38 on: October 09, 2017, 11:20:41 AM »
runbikerun

Well I do see where you are coming from for the most part. I think that I should definitely cut back on most spending. I think the thing that isn't understood is the difference that being bigger makes. I know a lot of people have stereotypes about bigger guys etc., but I don't think people understand that most everyone that lifts does more to improve their self-esteem in a continuous loop of getting that high you mentioned. That high of a new PR is then re-enforced when you walk out of the gym to get on the bus(because I didn't have a car at the time) and the bus driver looks at you with respect instead of just another poor person forced to use public transit. That self confidence growth has a measurable impact on your life that goes beyond the gym. While it is shallow and unfortunate, people respect a "fit" person more and that translates to getting better jobs, promotions, and thus more money. This builds more self-confidence and the cycle repeats. I have ran before and did a little in highschool(did a 1 1/2mi in 9min 17sec, don't know if that's even fast) but powerlifting improves your life even when your not working out. While some guys get stupid and do steroids and turn into douches, most people in my gym use it as therapy.

I do agree with you as far as Crossfit goes although I would mentioned that working out as a group absolutely improves performance. https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/having-a-workout-partner-can-double-performance I just purchased the Crossfit punchcard as a once every couple weeks thing that I can't even defend because they are expensive.

What I am suggesting is that while some activities are more expensive they provide a intangible boost for other areas of your life. At the same time I agree that spending money is mentally linked with quality in an exaggerated way. My question than is what is a reasonable budget for those activities? If I spent 100/mon I could easily do everything fun I want to do in a year and still save 50% of my income.

RidetheRain

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #39 on: October 09, 2017, 12:18:01 PM »
runbikerun

Well I do see where you are coming from for the most part. I think that I should definitely cut back on most spending. I think the thing that isn't understood is the difference that being bigger makes. I know a lot of people have stereotypes about bigger guys etc., but I don't think people understand that most everyone that lifts does more to improve their self-esteem in a continuous loop of getting that high you mentioned. That high of a new PR is then re-enforced when you walk out of the gym to get on the bus(because I didn't have a car at the time) and the bus driver looks at you with respect instead of just another poor person forced to use public transit. That self confidence growth has a measurable impact on your life that goes beyond the gym. While it is shallow and unfortunate, people respect a "fit" person more and that translates to getting better jobs, promotions, and thus more money. This builds more self-confidence and the cycle repeats. I have ran before and did a little in highschool(did a 1 1/2mi in 9min 17sec, don't know if that's even fast) but powerlifting improves your life even when your not working out. While some guys get stupid and do steroids and turn into douches, most people in my gym use it as therapy.

I do agree with you as far as Crossfit goes although I would mentioned that working out as a group absolutely improves performance. https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/having-a-workout-partner-can-double-performance I just purchased the Crossfit punchcard as a once every couple weeks thing that I can't even defend because they are expensive.

What I am suggesting is that while some activities are more expensive they provide a intangible boost for other areas of your life. At the same time I agree that spending money is mentally linked with quality in an exaggerated way. My question than is what is a reasonable budget for those activities? If I spent 100/mon I could easily do everything fun I want to do in a year and still save 50% of my income.

I think the point being made was that you can get the same type of thing without having to spend all that money. It seems like you look around for something fulfilling and stop at the first thing you see without considering alternative paths for less money. For example, I decided to purchase a P90-X DVD instead of going to the group classes for it at the gym. One DVD is much less than a 1 year gym membership and cost of enrolling in the class.

I could work out with my friend at a private yoga studio for $25/class or we could go to a park and do yoga there with a YouTube instructor.

This is where you look at the things you enjoy and say "Ok. Definitely, like this activity. I wonder if anyone does it for free." I know skiing at a slightly smaller hill might not be peak fun, but neither is the really popular high mountain with thousands of people that fill the place to bursting.
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runbikerun

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #40 on: October 09, 2017, 01:11:24 PM »
If you find being a big guy helps your self-confidence, go for it. But that's actually a fairly simple goal, and doesn't require a lot of what you're doing. Crossfit is probably helping (albeit very expensively), but you don't need to go snowboarding or alpine climbing to maintain muscle mass, and you definitely don't need to go hiking. They're very expensive methods of having fun, rather than tools to help you reach a particular deadlift target. By all means hold onto your gym membership if lifting is really important to you, but bear in mind that a lot of what you're describing isn't focused on that target.

There's a running joke among cyclists that the correct number of bikes to own is N+1, where N is the number of bikes you already own. There's a truth to it - I can easily imagine having a blast with a mountain bike, or going hell for leather on a track bike, or taking up cyclocross - but it's crucial to remember that you're looking at rapidly diminishing returns once N goes above one. Cyclists with two bikes don't have twice as much fun as those of us with one. Having six different bikes doesn't mean you're getting six times the joy - it's debatable whether you're getting any extra joy at all in return for the five figures of income you'll be handing over for them. It's the same for sports: this time next year, I'll probably have gotten as much joy out of my bike and my running shoes as you will have gotten from gym membership, Crossfit classes, snowboarding season passes, hiking equipment and lessons in climbing. These things aren't making you any fitter, any stronger or any happier than cheaper alternatives would. Maybe you can afford them at the moment. That's not the question to ask. The question is whether it's a good use of your money.


*Incidentally, and only tangentially, what you're describing about self-esteem is predominantly internal. Being big and muscular is grand, but I doubt the bus driver cares (or judges you at all for taking the bus). I've seen enough people at the top and the bottom of the corporate ladder to know that being physically fit has very close to zero effect on your success. There's probably a proxy factor, in that people predisposed to disciplined fitness and dietary regimes are also predisposed to disciplined and diligent work, but other than that I'd suspect the effect is very limited.

Laura33

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #41 on: October 09, 2017, 01:56:45 PM »
runbikerun

Well I do see where you are coming from for the most part. I think that I should definitely cut back on most spending. I think the thing that isn't understood is the difference that being bigger makes. I know a lot of people have stereotypes about bigger guys etc., but I don't think people understand that most everyone that lifts does more to improve their self-esteem in a continuous loop of getting that high you mentioned. That high of a new PR is then re-enforced when you walk out of the gym to get on the bus(because I didn't have a car at the time) and the bus driver looks at you with respect instead of just another poor person forced to use public transit. That self confidence growth has a measurable impact on your life that goes beyond the gym. While it is shallow and unfortunate, people respect a "fit" person more and that translates to getting better jobs, promotions, and thus more money. This builds more self-confidence and the cycle repeats. I have ran before and did a little in highschool(did a 1 1/2mi in 9min 17sec, don't know if that's even fast) but powerlifting improves your life even when your not working out. While some guys get stupid and do steroids and turn into douches, most people in my gym use it as therapy.

I do agree with you as far as Crossfit goes although I would mentioned that working out as a group absolutely improves performance. https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/having-a-workout-partner-can-double-performance I just purchased the Crossfit punchcard as a once every couple weeks thing that I can't even defend because they are expensive.

What I am suggesting is that while some activities are more expensive they provide a intangible boost for other areas of your life. At the same time I agree that spending money is mentally linked with quality in an exaggerated way. My question than is what is a reasonable budget for those activities? If I spent 100/mon I could easily do everything fun I want to do in a year and still save 50% of my income.

I think you sorta missed the point here.  No one is saying "don't powerlift."  They are saying "don't powerlift, and ski, and ice climb, and Crossfit, and buy new camping gear all the time to feed your camping habit, and and and."  You have a $27 gym membership.  I don't know that a single person here would have even mentioned that if that was the only physical activity you were spending money on.  Hell, if you're at the gym 5x/week, that's like $1/day -- that's about the cheapest entertainment you can get. 

What is a reasonable budget?  That's up to you.  But you just posted about how you're looking to take on yet another side hustle to pay down debt and can't afford to focus on school, even though the degree will bring you a $100K job, because of the loans involved -- so you tell me?  Is skiing and crossfit worth a fourth job?  If you left it up to me, I'd say keep the cheap gym membership, and then do whatever the hell else you can do that is local and free and does not require you to buy more equipment or pay fees -- camp nearby with your existing gear, bike everywhere for your cardio and quads, etc.

I think what you are missing is that very, very few people get to do all of the things you are trying to do.  I mean, I am FI, with two professional incomes, and I ski and do crossfit -- don't travel everywhere on weekends to camp, not making plans to learn ice climbing, don't belong to multiple gyms, etc.  So what you're talking about isn't FOMO -- it's flat-out unrealistic expectations about the kind of lifestyle you can afford at this point in your life (or, frankly, the lifestyle that most people with lots of money actually lead).  This is you trying to fill a hole with activity to create an outward appearance that makes you feel successful.
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NoraLenderbee

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #42 on: October 09, 2017, 04:53:54 PM »
So I recently came up with a plan for an ebike and I was wondering what everyone's thoughts were on it. Commute to work is 9.4mi and it rains 160 days/year here in the PNW, that's why we are addicted to coffee and happy lights. I found a reputable kit for $204 on Amazon and approx. $100 for batteries(lead acid) that willl get me to and from work on one charge. If I reduce my insurance to the state minimums and don't use any gas for work this will save me min 200/mon., And that is not including est car repair/reduction of the warranty. This is one of those things that I can justify and feel like will make me much happier(than biking 10mi in the rain) but are an expenditure. Thoughts? Facepunches?

If you got an ebike for commuting, you would still be riding in the rain. You would get just as wet as if you pedaled a regular bike. You'll just save some time. Why would this make you *much* happier?
 This is a small example of a tendency in your thinking to jump ahead to a "fun" result without thinking through. I think you want the ebike because it is fun and cool (which is fine, it's OK to enjoy gear), but you don't entirely want to admit that to yourself, and so you emphasize the savings over a car commute. You're skipping past the fact that you can save exactly the same amount of money right now by riding a regular old bike.
I think you are secretly a gearhead. :)

JLE1990

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #43 on: October 10, 2017, 01:55:17 PM »
noralenderbee

Haha maybe, they are soo cool right? It's like super-charging your legs. It's actually faster than cars on city streets if you think about how much more versatile you are on a bike. I definitely can't afford to upgrade now though.

laura33

ok thanks! Although it hurt a little. That's what I was wondering though: how much do mustachians really spend on these activities? I have just been looking at the prices for alpine climbing($750 for two days!!) and snowboarding($550) and wondering how people mustachify(?) the things they do for fun so that it's not wasteful spending? I already despise when I(or see other people) purchase something and don't use it to its full potential. I'll definitely skip the alpine climbing/crossfit. For snowboarding do you pay for the season pass? What did you do for skiing when income was tighter?
So I will be taking the full credit load(12) but I can't devote my time solely to school and take 16credits because even with max loans(vomit) I would still not have enough to cover classes and living expenses. My plan is to build the side business enough that I can go part-time at my job for the last two hard years and while it will take more time I won't need any more loans and continue paying down the ones I have, thus graduating with a positive net worth!

RUNBIKERUN
Yeah like I was saying before I definitely think it's silly when people buy more things than they would need(like people who have 2 drivers and 3 cars). I was only looking at alpine climbing because its something I feel passionate about doing but when I looked it up it was prohibitively expensive. I will just do the one gym for 30(they raised the price)/mon.

Ridetherain
That's definitely a good idea for things I want to do like BJJ and grappling. There's a lot of info on youtube and honestly its more about practicing basic repetitive movements until you've mastered them then getting fancy and paying someone I suppose.
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I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. -bruce lee
« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 01:56:56 PM by JLE1990 »

RidetheRain

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #44 on: October 10, 2017, 02:17:17 PM »
Do you want to take a full credit load (16 credits)? I would always recommend taking the maximum credits you can afford and still do well with. School is really expensive and you don't want to pay tuition a second longer than you have to. I know I barely got any sleep in school because I was maxing out my credits and work schedule as much as possible. It makes life after school much nicer though. Delayed gratification is a wonderful thing when you make it to the delayed bit.

If I saw that snowboarding was $550 (season pass I assume?) I would have laughed so hard and run very, very fast. The mustachian thing to do for your snowboarding is to recognize that you are not yet in a position to spend on this luxury. You are ACCUMULATING DEBT. This means you CANNOT AFFORD luxuries. Pay for a day pass and enjoy the day with your friends. Look back fondly on that day while you are working and plan for another one after you save up. A season pass is for Bill Gates. You are not Bill Gates yet.
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Laura33

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #45 on: October 10, 2017, 07:21:28 PM »
@JLE - when I was young and broke, I didn't ski.  ;-)  Except when friends took me for my birthday or something.  My first ski trip (I was 23) I wore a leftover waterproof biking gear (shell/pants) over top of sweats, because I couldn't afford "real" ski gear -- damn that was cold!!!

If it makes you feel any better, though, it's a long life.  I ski every year now, am in better shape than I've ever been thanks to Crossfit (I sure couldn't deadlift 200+ lbs back then, you know?), and plan to retire part-time to a ski area.  You really don't have to do everything right now or miss out forever.  Take your time and enjoy the free hiking and camping now*, and trust that you still have decades to enjoy more spendy hobbies once you have your finances straight.

*Because I may be in better shape at 50 than I was at 25, but I'm damned if I'm sleeping on the ground ever again.  Now THAT is for you young whippersnappers.  ;-)
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Villanelle

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #46 on: October 11, 2017, 01:46:18 AM »
To me, you can't afford skiing/snowboarding.  You just can't.  Sorry.  There's no way to "mustachify" it that makes it affordable, as far as I know.  If you want to ski, pay off all the shit you've already bought, and then you can afford it.  Until then, you don't.  You certainly don't to the tune of $550 (plus transportation to and from, gear upkeep, and other associated expenses).  You need to accept that when you can't afford something, no matter how much you want it, you don't do it.  What can you afford?  Perhaps one or two snowboard weekends, if you carpool with stay with friends and spend NOTHING ELSE on the trip.  Or perhaps ask family to pitch in money for a weekend ski pass in lieu of other gifts, if that seems appropriate within your family norms.

Until you accept that you don't think things you can't afford, and that when you are paying on debt you can't afford much of anything, you are never going to get caught up, much less get ahead. 

Set a goal. When you have increased income by $X and paid down debt to $Y, then you can get a ski pass.  Make those aggressive goals, and use that for motivation. *Maybe* next year you will be able to afford it.  If you are extremely careful until then. 

MMM would say you are in a hair on fire emergency.  THIS IS AN EMERGENCY!  You can't take time off from an emergency to spend the season snowboarding.

I didn't exactly follow your post on taking 16 credits.  Would that cost roughly the same as 12, with the difference in affording it being less time at work?  If so, I think I'd push myself for at least one semester to make it happen.  It may be a long exhausting semester, but again, you are in an emergency and if it gets you graduated (and earning more) faster, and allows you to take one less semester of loans, it seems like it would be worth it.  If it is utterly miserable, then the following semester, you cut back to 12 again. 

JLE1990

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #47 on: November 07, 2017, 12:04:57 AM »
Just wanted to do an update!

I had banner month last month in sales, one of the guys moved to Arizona so I get all the leads to myself(muahaha). He wasn't much of a salesman so the owner is happy we are doing well with our sales goals now. I'm actually doing more than the two of us combined. When my boss heard how many we had done for the day his response was "holy shit!".


I start my side business tomorrow officially!! I'm hoping to match the commissions I'm making at work (500-1000/mon) which will put me at making near the same after-tax as 80k/year earners. I looked it up on a paycheck calculator to stroke my ego (and motivate me).

I'm still terrible on the impulse spending for food/alchohol. $217.34 over!!!!! Part of it is that I stopped seeing someone so I went out a couple times and got like actually drunk even though I'm too old for that. Also I've been cutting(basically just stopping myself from buying lunch if I forget it) so I've been craving the carbs alcohol has in it. I have a total fun money budget set of a $150/mon which I know is a lot but doing new things is a way to keep a positive mindset. And the impulse spending is the problem anyway, I looked it up on that new Mustachian Calc app and it came out 67k after ten years. Not fucking going over this month, thats like 4 years worth of monthly expenses.

The good news is it looks like I only need about $1365/mon for real expenses(not including debts). That's going to go way down once I change my insurance next month and cut back on gas even more. Insurance will drop to 66 from 146 and gas should go to about 50 from 120.  Stopping the 2 year old gotta-have-it mentality I'll easily be able to save 50% and more.

I realized I was being silly in making $500 car payments when I should pay off the CC first so I put in $182 last check and $750 this one and got it down to $243.

I still have some questions though: So I was talking to my boss whose not at all mustachian but very successful. He suggested buying a starter home(once interesting generating debt is eliminated) and fixing it up. I'm going to volunteer at Habitat for Humanity and get more skills(I'm rdy pretty handy) and then remodel it and sell. I mentioned this before and someone said definitely not a good idea but after debts are paid down, is this a good next move?
Also my boss doesn't want to do matching on 401k, is it still a good idea to get one and max it out? Or should I focus on debt until the car is paid and the next highest level is the 5.25% student loans?
Lastly I wanted to post my budget that I made from YNAB but I can't seem to find a way to export the the actual budget plan itself. Google wasn't any help. Does anyone know how to get a printout of what your budget goals are for the month?
« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 12:07:07 AM by JLE1990 »

JLee

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #48 on: November 07, 2017, 02:39:29 AM »
Your boss "doesn't want to do matching" on a 401k?  Either they offer a 401k plan or they don't - and AFAIK what is offered has to be the same to all employees. It also has to be employer sponsored, i.e. if you are a W2 employee and your employer does not have a 401k, you can't get one.

marty998

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Re: Rip it off like a band-aid, right...?
« Reply #49 on: November 07, 2017, 02:50:01 AM »
I don't want to pooh pooh your dream, but you have a job, a side hustle and you want to do flipping on the side?

And you want to go skiing in whatever is left of your spare time?

I am flat out with just one job lol. You must have one of Hermoine's magic stop watches.